10 Financial Considerations Foster Parents Should Know in VA
Financial Considerations as a Foster Parent
Many people worry that they cannot be foster parents if they don't make much money. However, this isn't the case, as plenty of resources and financial aid are given to foster parents to help cover the costs of raising children.
Being responsible with your finances is one of the most important aspects of being a foster parent. It ensures the child will be brought up in a stable and secure environment that will give them the necessary things. Understanding the financial aspects of fostering is an essential first step in becoming foster parents. While completing your home study process, you will discuss your financial stability.
To learn about what you need to consider for the costs of being a foster parent, keep reading.
1. State, Local, and Federal Funding
The type of funding you'll receive depends on if the foster children are IV-e eligible or not. If they are, funds are granted via federal and state funding. If not, funds are granted through state and local funding.
Essential maintenance payments per month vary depending on the foster child's years of age. A typical range of payments includes the following:
- Ages 0-4 receive $471 per month
- Ages 5-12 receive $552 per month
- Ages 13 and up welcome $700 per month
This money is intended to use toward the basic costs of child care. You should be able to pay for your monthly bills and use this as extra income invested into your foster children.
2. Enhanced Regular Maintenance Payments
There are certain situations where you may receive more than the basic maintenance payments mentioned above. This includes problems where children need extra care. Suppose you feel your foster child needs additional care. In that case, you can also request an evaluation by the Treatment Foster Care agency (Child Placing Agency - CPA).
Documentation of any extra care required to support a child helps receive these additional funds when needed. While a child is in your care, good documentation is critical. Your caseworker should be able to assist with training and support while a child is in your foster home.
3. Cost of Clothing
If you have the funds to provide clothing for foster children, this is, of course, encouraged. Many foster parents keep basic clothing items for boys and girls in different sizes and age ranges, especially if they enjoy fostering sibling groups.
However, foster children receive a monthly allowance intended to use toward clothing. You can request to use these funds by contacting the Local Departments of Social Services or the Licensed Child Placing Agency your child is registered through.
4. Property Damage Fund
Contingency funds are given out to people by the Virginia Department of Social Services. There are funds specifically for foster parents in case foster children cause significant damage to your home.
After having been through abusive situations, children who enter foster care tend to act out without solid support systems in their lives. This is why fostering is so rewarding. You get to play a positive role in children's lives who need it.
The Virginia Department of Social Services recognizes that damage may happen that you aren't responsible for. Keep in mind that an extensive process takes place to receive these funds, as you have to be approved and validated for your situation.
Regardless of your medical insurance, foster children qualify for Medicaid. The children's families' financial status does not matter for them to qualify.
Their age and foster care agency aren't factors that get considered to get the benefits from Medicaid.
Transportation reimbursement works for Medicaid clients. Any mileage used to get to a Medicaid appointment is reimbursed. Transportation services are provided for patients as well.
Register with Logisticare if you're interested in these services.
7. Respite Care
Respite care is offered to foster care parents to account for various circumstances. Another care provider is approved to take temporary care of your foster children.
If siblings become separated, they can see each other without living together. Sometimes foster parents need a break from their foster children due to tension. Having a temporary care provider can maintain the relationship between foster kids and their foster parents by having a healthy break from each other.
Situations like sleepovers are not considered respite care.
WIC is a nutritional program that women, infants, and children can access. Foster care children between zero and five can access the WIC program.
9. Free School Lunches
If your foster care children go to public school, they can receive free school lunches. This helps you not have to worry about providing lunch for them or having enough money for them to eat during school hours. Some schools offer breakfast, too, which your foster children may also have access to.
Contact your local public school for additional information.
10. Additional Services
While the basic financial resources given to foster families cover many expenses, foster children may need additional help to succeed. You'll need to provide documentation of their unique case to receive compensation or funding for extra care for your foster children.
You can use any behavioral assessments, clinical reports, or journals documenting their behavior and growth to prove additional funds are needed.
You may also qualify for tax benefits by claiming your foster children as dependents on your tax return.
Being Financially Responsible as Foster Parents
Foster parents get the joys and rewards of helping foster children improve their lives. It's essential to be financially responsible for properly giving them access to the necessary resources. You can receive the benefits the foster care and child welfare system provide to support you during your time fostering.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has its own rules, so please check with your CPA in your state. Most of these programs are federally funded for children in the foster care system throughout the United States.