How Much Do You Get Paid Being a Foster Parent?


How much do you get paid being a foster parent?

The answer: YOU don't. But your foster child's basic needs ARE covered. 

I'm writing about this, because finances are the 2nd brought up reason as to whether or not people choose to be foster parents when I've had conversations with others AND, because I was SO afraid to ask anyone about it, because I thought maybe they would think I was trying to become a foster parent because of the money (HA! laughable, seriously). Children cost a lot of money to raise. Considering fostering, you have to work through if you will be able to afford having others.

(Usually the first reason people decide NOT to be foster parents (in my own limited research) is because they feel that they could not bear to LOSE a child that they fell in love with.)

I remember feeling and struggling through both of these issues when considering it, but for us, bottom line always comes back to trusting in God and what He calls us to do, over fear and money.

In reality, you do get some money each month, but it's money that goes towards the basic needs of the child in your care.

In South Carolina, we receive about $334 each month for the care of B, called "board payments". In addition we received a $100 clothing allowance in the form of a check to go towards purchasing clothing. You receive a clothing allowance every 3 months.

$334 does not go very far, but there are other ways that these children are provided for financially that helps with the basic costs of "raising" them while you have them in your care.

1) All foster children are covered with Medicaid. There are NO costs to the foster parents regarding their medical care. 
2) Foster children receive WIC checks to help towards food and formula. 
3) If you work full-time you qualify for ABC vouchers to cover costs of day-care. If one parent works part-time, this money would come out of your own pocket. 

For us, I do work part-time, but B has been attending a center where they rehabilitate the parents with their children. Fortunately, this falls on the days I work. If the program ends and we still have B. The school I work for has come up with a more than gracious deal for her to attend the nursery while I work. Even that need has been met, if needed. 

Ways you may have to use board payment money or pay OUT-of-pocket: 
1)If one parent works part-time, you have to pay for day-care or babysitting. 
2)If you haven't had a foster child long enough to quality for Respite Care, they deduct the pay from your board payment the days you don't have the child, and they are in an alternate care foster family.
3) Extra curricular activities for older foster children, and other basic costs like food and care products, books for school, etc. I believe older foster children over a certain age, receive more each month, but I'm not completely sure.  

Our little "frugal" family finds that caring for B with the board payments provided and the WIC checks that cut out the cost of formula each month (note it doesn't completely cover everything food/formula related, but the majority), we have plenty to have her in our home, and I still have some in the budget to buy (or make!) her "cute" things.

I haven't been THAT great at keeping track of how much I spend on her diapers and wipes and other small things, but I really haven't felt like we haven't had the money when we needed it. DSS provides you with a special debit card where they deposit the money around the middle of each month. You can use this debit card however you need to. It can go towards groceries or eating out, or you could just use it for the child. No matter, DSS gives you the money, but they let you decide how to spend it. This works great for us, because I can't keep track of my Target runs and what exactly was bought specifically for B vs. the rest of the family.

I will say that $100 for clothing does NOT go very far, especially when they come into care with virtually nothing. I went to the mall and bought a few items on sale brand new that I loved for her. Then, I thrifted, and went to lower income places like Wal-mart and Target for the basics. Friends have also lovingly given us lots of hand-me-downs. Just ask once on FB and you will have lots of people offering! I've always felt like B has cute, brand name, stuff to wear of good quality! This is how I operate with my OWN children, so I feel very comfortable shopping a wide range of places for B.

Lastly, I will add that it takes about a month, before you start receiving any board payments. So, the whole first month we purchased things ourselves for B that she needed, food, formula, diapers, etc. Within the first month, her WIC was started and the first month in she received $100 for clothing. Then, we received our first board payment about 1.5 months after having her in our home.

Anyways, I hope that this answers some people's questions about foster care and helps those on the fence regarding finances. I know this to be true: Trust God and He will Provide, especially for these sweet little ones that He loves so. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.