July 1, 2010

Why Foster?

Good Info To Have:

Money Issues


I feel like this is the infamous topic of fostering.  Cause you know that we’re all just doin’ it for the dough that we are undoubtedly rolling in, right?  (right…or….not.)

To be honest, there are people who ‘do it for the money’.  During my time as a caseworker, I worked with foster parents that did.  I’m still clueless as to how they made that work.  But anyway….


  • When you are a licensed home and you have children placed with you, the state sends you a monthly reimbursement check.  The amount varies depending on the state you live in, and they will likely be skidish to share much specific info on the topic, as they are trying to avoid said foster parents ‘doing it for the money.’ 
  • Also, while a child is in state custody, they are on Medicaid.  It isn’t an option for them not to be.  So healthcare is taken care of (except it is next to impossible to find good care for kids on Medicaid – infuriating – but all that for another post.). 
  • Also good info to have: if you and your significant other both work, the state also pays for childcare.  You are somewhat limited in what daycares you can use, but there are usually a few to choose from.
  • Finally, most states also have a very minimal clothing allowance that they send out approximately every six months to help with clothes for the kids.  And some states have an additional ‘diaper allowance’ that they give families with children under the age of two.


I would say that this is a non-issue.  I wouldn’t even post on it…except that, there have been times when Brian and I would not have been able to foster, or not been able to give our foster kids the experiences that we have, had it not been for the help offered by the state.  For example, last month when we went to Horn Creek and did lots of extra fun stuff with the kids, or birthday months, etc.

What I mean to say is it isn’t wrong to need your reimbursement check when fostering.  If it were, then only rich people could foster.  The money is there so that people who have a heart for fostering and for these kids can afford to do it.

So, long story short, don’t let money be a reason you don’t foster until you’ve talked with your agency! 


{ I’m posting on this topic because there are a lot of people who probably assume they can’t afford to foster, when really they’d be really great foster parents!  I’m posting at the risk that I’ll get some nasty comment regarding money in foster care – but please realize that money is not, has not, and never will be a central issue for us in fostering.  It is something that has to be considered, though, in the decision to foster.  And to be perfectly honest, if we didn’t have a heart for it, and if we didn’t love these kids like crazy, then you couldn’t pay me enough money to do this!  Ha! 

So.  The disclaimer has been made.  Please be nice.}


  1. When anyone asks me how much I get "paid" to foster I have to try to stifle my laughter and I kindly tell them that we get "reimbursed". I make more money working for myself as a tutor in one hour than I do in 24 hours of fostering. We definitely don't do it for the money!

    Go to my blog to receive your SUNSHINE AWARD.

  2. We just moved to a new state and plan to do foster to adopt as soon as we are completely settled and know we can afford to add a child without this monthly reimbursement. Since we're planning to adopt this way we know we need to have all the monthly funds available before we can welcome a child into our home.
    Anyhow, our new state does not provide daycare fees, we have to. And another thing I've noticed and am really concerned about, they advertise the specific scale of what amount you receive. Almost as though they are advertising for a job. It worries me about the system here and how we'll handle it all when we begin.

    Hope you don't get any nasty comments. I appreciate the info since we're just starting this process.

  3. i certainly don't do it for the money...but i certainly couldn't do it without the money. .72 cents an hour really isn't all that much. ha ha. but i love what i do. and he loves me back which makes it all the more easier to work for $529 a month.

    it is used to fund our starbucks addiction? no. it is used to keep him clothed, fed and enrolled in activities? yes.

    your post was great. and needed.

  4. I agree with everyone else, I don't do it for the money, but could not do it without. My hubby is looking for a better job now that our adoption will be finalized in Oct. Also Utah does not pay for childcare either! http://ldsinfertility.blogspot.com/

  5. Certainly don't do it for the money, but be aware that not all states behave the same as Maggie's:

    In my state, you get a set fee per day, which isn't much. From that fee, you are responsible for *everything* except medical care. We pay for:

    school fees
    activity fees

    Everything. There are no diaper allowances or daycare allowances or clothes allowances in our state.

  6. We've been certified but haven't gotten a child yet. We have shelled out a pretty penny so far in paying for our background checks (there were several because we've lived in several states). Once we get a child we'll be reimbursed for one of those fees.

    We've been told that in addition to Medicaid and foster reimbursement, the child will be eligible for WIC to pay for diapers, formula, etc.

    I've heard (from the foster parenting podcast) that there is a federal fund to help fost/adopt families afford their children even after the adoption is final. The government wants to encourage adoption, not rule it out because a family needs the financial support that fostering provides.

    This is a real life issue, you can't close your eyes to the fact that children cost money. We couldn't foster without the reimbursement. We'd like to set aside a chunk of the money each month and donate it back to fostering or to a foster child scholarship fund - but that depends on how much expenses are.

    It is amazing to see the $ disparity between states. My state pays more than Michigan - it's not a coincidence that Michigan desperately needs fosters while we sit in PA waiting for a placement.

  7. Interesting about your comment about Michigan. I am in Michigan and we get $10 a day for a category 1 child (what I consider no special needs).

    It is not enough to do anything besides feed and clothe the kids. all it does is make it so we aren't totally "in the hole" in taking care of them.

    I love when people say little things like "I am sure it is helping you guys" ha! it helps with the kids them selves but when your water bill, food bill, clothing bill. eating out bill, diaper bill, and activity bill all go up $300 a month doesn't exactly cover all of that!

    I have not used the kids' WIC yet. obviously they all qualify for it but I haven't had time to deal with that mess yet! :)

    I still have empty beds in my house. For a couple weeks I had 3 foster kids, now I just have the two. I am surprised that we haven't filled up faster but we only take little ones (3 and under)

  8. We went in debt fostering for a year because of everything we had to do for the kids. They often come with nothing. BUT...the monthly reimbursment if used responsibly can work for their care. If we did it again, we would budget much more wisely.

    WIC does not pay for diapers. In TX, we did not get reimbursed for diapers or clothes but I absolutely used WIC for formula. There is no reason NOT to! Formula is like $20 a can! And your WIC credit goes for any brand. All you have to do is make an appt. at your local office, take the child and their fostering and Medicaid paperwork with you and VOILA! that is a huge savings! If you have a toddler to 5 year old, you can get food credits and milk credits which is really helpful to supplement your grocery budget. As of Oct. 2009, the revamped the WIC program to include much more healthy options.

    It is also important to note that most states have an adoption subsidy so if you adopt an Afr. Amer. child over the age of 2 or a sibling group of any race- your children will recieve monthly checks from the government until they are 18. A lot of people don't know that. That has helped us pay for summer daycamps, sports, clothes, school supplies, vacations and more.

  9. Leah,
    Here in PA we get $18 for category 1. The highest level child can be $60 a day.

    Heaven help you stretch every dollar!


Thanks for commenting!!


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