Do foster parents in your state make money by fostering? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 5 Old 11-28-2014, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do foster parents in your state make money by fostering?

Sorry if that sounds blunt and suspicious. I am a short term foster mother in Europe and I am trying to understand the US system. I have read anything from "they make too much money, which makes some people mistreat the children" to "the money is not even enough to cover the child's expenses."

Where I live, short term foster parents make a real salary, a small one -but enough- for taking care of one child, 2 times the same amount for caring for two, and so on. I used to say that I would keep fostering even if there was no salary, assuming I had enough money to survive, but really only meant the part of loving and caring for the child. When a social worker makes decisions that I cannot agree with, or something else happens that hurts the child, I often think that there is no way I would keep fostering if it was not, at the same time, my job.

In my country almost no family could afford to have one parent home basically doing full time volunteer work, so this is the only way the system could work. Yet, if I understand correctly, some stated only give the foster parents about 300 dollars per month for the child's expenses. Have I misunderstood? Are there really thousands of basically voluteer foster parents in the US?

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#2 of 5 Old 11-28-2014, 02:20 PM
 
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I've seen it at around $600/child/month, $1,100 for some special cases like medical needs and emergency shelter. Some foster parents abuse the system by spending way too little of it on the children and pocketing the rest, a neighbor of mine did that where I grew up, took in many kids with HIV, fed them mostly cornmeal mush and kool-aid and gave them worn out clothing. That which may be tolerable if it's necessary but I also never saw any kind, loving moments in that home. I was friends with their kids for a while. You can be frugal while still providing for kids and come in under $600 though, but it's not a living wage. Most bio parents spend well over that on their own kids, though I don't.
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#3 of 5 Old 11-28-2014, 08:01 PM
 
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It truly depends on the state. As of 2010 (when I left NJ), the NJ board rate (basic) was $730/month and I moved to IL (with the exact same cost of living) and it was just shy of $400/month and you had even less provided for you in IL.

In NJ, if we were fostering infants as a stay-at-home parent, yes, there was money left over at the end of the month after the first 1-3 months (depending on how much you needed to buy to accommodate the specific child). But it wasn't to the tune of hundreds. Maybe $100-$150 but they grew so fast you were always buying clothes and we never used cloth dipes on them because you couldn't confirm lack of HepC until they were nearly 2 and we often didn't have an HIV status confirmed on them. So disposable dipes alone ran you quite a bit. And if you needed childcare, that was ROUGH where I was. I know other counties really had great contracts set up for daycare where it was covered by the state contribution for daycare, but mine absolutely did not and I would've had to skimp on clothing or toys to cover the childcare without it coming out of my own pocket.

That being said, when we fostered the pre-teens in the summer (when they were not eating school lunches) the board rate did not cover them--definitely not in the first few months. If not for the extra from the infant care, we'd have absolutely been out of pocket. My word, could those kids eat. I guess if you ate a standard american diet, it would've probably just covered it, but we eat mostly whole foods. And with the older kids, I definitely had to resort to buying some second-hand clothing because their initial clothing allotment was so NOT going to buy them enough to get through a week otherwise.

But transportation to their parent visits and supervision of those visits were done by the state in NJ whereas none of that was done by the state in IL--which is more time and money (not to mention putting you in a heck of precarious position). So more was required of you for that; and as far as I could tell--there were no additional services to offset the lower board rate.

I'm trying to think of just HOW badly I could've cut back on either age level and made money let alone significant money. I don't think I could've without it being very obvious that they were second class citizens in my home--and there's no way I'd do that. There were extra costs involved in childcare for my own kids for when I had to go to meetings or specialist visits (they always had at least a few), and other expenses related to the rest of the household that come with accommodating a baby (specifically when you're juggling and eating out more or running the heat higher, using more water).

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#4 of 5 Old 11-29-2014, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much! This is really interesting. No wonder, if I understand correctly, that few people foster for years and years...

Mama to a little lady and always praying for more.
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#5 of 5 Old 05-04-2020, 10:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Liquidat1on View Post
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Oh. sounds interesting. Could you tell me some more information about it? Let’s talk in PM
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