Calculating Foster Care Rates in Virginia: How Payments Are Calculated

Foster child playing Ginger with a foster mom

Introduction to Foster Care Payments in Virginia

The Department of Social Services (DSS) calculates foster care rates in Virginia. Foster care rates determine the monthly, annual, and one-off payments foster parents receive.

The Role and Significance of Financial Support in Fostering

Raising a child is expensive. Foster care payments are designed to reduce the financial burden of accepting a foster child into your home by covering some basic costs.

Breakdown of the Reimbursement Process for Foster Parents

Foster parents receive monthly payments directly from the child-placing agency they worked with.

Daycare fees may be paid directly to the daycare organization or as reimbursement if parents pay out of pocket. Transportation fees are also reimbursed after parents incur the cost. You must have a receipt if you pay upfront and want to receive reimbursement.

Overview of Foster Care Payments

Virginia foster parents receive financial support through the Standard Monthly Payment. Foster parents can also access an annual clothing allowance and certain additional reimbursements.

The Standard Monthly Payment covers food, clothing, shelter, school supplies, insurance, and transportation costs for taking your foster child to visit their parents and siblings.

Monthly Payments Based on Child's Age, Needs, and Placement Type

Standard Monthly Payments vary depending on the child's age. The younger the child is, the smaller the payment. The same is true for the annual clothing allowance.

Some foster parents can access enhanced maintenance payments for foster children requiring daily supervision. These payments are for foster children with enhanced emotional, behavioral, or medical needs.

The monthly payment also varies based on the type of home the foster child lives in a family foster home, group home, or residential care facility.

Funding Sources and Average Payment Range in Virginia

The main funding source of the Standard Monthly Payment is the Title IV-E fund. The foster child's SSI, SSA, or child support income can also help cover maintenance costs.

The average monthly payment to Virginia foster care parents is around $600. The payment will depend on multiple factors the DSS uses to calculate foster care payments.

Steps in Calculating Foster Care Rates in Virginia

DSS calculates foster care payments using the Virginia Enhanced Maintenance Assessment Tool (VEMAT). Foster child assessment for payments in VA takes place within 30 days of the child entering the foster care system.

Each child receives a unique VEMAT score based on the following factors.

Assessment of the Child's Individual Needs

Enhanced foster care payments are available to children with mild to severe needs in certain areas. These areas include but are not limited to:

  • Impulsive, distractible, or hyperactive behavior
  • A history of depression or anxiety
  • Challenges socializing
  • Disordered eating tendencies
  • A history of substance use or abuse
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Criminal behavior
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Self-care difficulties
  • Physical disabilities
  • Chronic health issues

Foster care payment adjustments in the VA take place annually. The only exception is if the child received over 28 points on the VEMAT. In that case, their VEMAT score will be re-evaluated every 90 days.

Classification of the Child Into a Payment Category

VEMAT foster care payment categories in Virginia are determined based on the frequency, duration, and intensity of the above needs. These categories range from mild to severe, with payments increasing accordingly.

A child will receive no score if they showcase behavioral, emotional, or physical needs that are age-appropriate or due to a short-term condition.

Calculation Based on the Child's Age

Younger children are expected to incur fewer costs than older foster kids. The foster care payment schedule reflects this expectation, with payments increasing with the foster child's age.

Adjustments for Type of Placement and Regional Differences

Foster care payments differ based on whether a child is placed in a family, group, or residential care home. Family foster care home payments also vary depending on the level of care the child needs.

Additionally, there may be regional differences in foster care payments due to factors like cost of living and local service gaps.

Types of Foster Care Placements

Not all foster children live in family homes, and not all family homes provide the same services. Some children require therapeutic family foster homes, while others may live in group homes or residential facilities.

Payment Ranges for Family Foster Care Homes

Family foster home payments range from $496 per month for very young children to more than $700 per month for teenagers. The annual clothing allowance is $330-$497 per year, depending on age.

Payments for Therapeutic Foster Homes

Therapeutic foster homes are home to children with enhanced behavioral, emotional, or physical needs.

In addition to the above monthly payments, some therapeutic foster homes may be eligible for reimbursements for the cost of therapeutic programs, additional daily supervision, and more.

Group Home Placement Costs

Group homes also receive reimbursements for taking in foster children. However, foster children must meet one of six placement categories to receive Title IV-E reimbursements.

Residential Care Payment Details

Group homes providing Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) services are eligible for Title IV-E reimbursements.

These non-profit facilities provide trauma-informed treatments to foster children. To receive funding, the facility must facilitate family outreach, employ licensed nurses and clinicians, and provide care for at least six months.

Additional Foster Care Financial Support in Virginia

The Standard Monthly Payment and annual clothing allowance are not the only financial support Virginia foster parents can receive. The following financial help may also be available.

Overview of Additional Financial Assistance Available

In addition to monthly maintenance payments, foster parents can receive reimbursement for certain other expenses. These expenses include but are not limited to property damage, health insurance, school lunches, and respite care.

Other financial assistance for development challenges affecting your foster child are also available with proper documentation.

Discussion on Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Supplemental Funding Options

Even though monthly maintenance payments reduce your financial burden, they are not designed to eliminate childcare costs entirely. Foster parents can expect to cover some expenses out of pocket.

Look into supplemental funding if you still need help supporting your foster child. For example, the Children's Services Act (CSA) has a fund providing supplemental payments for parents of at-risk youth.

You can access additional resources and support through our website. Learn more about FosterVA and get additional resources to calculate Virginia foster care rates today!

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