How Much do Foster Parents Get Paid in Virginia?

US dollar bill center

How much do Foster parents get paid?

Parents in Virginia are issued a maintenance payment and not paid!

When looking into becoming a foster parent, we are sometimes asked how much we get paid for a child in our care or do we get paid as a foster parent, all very reasonable questions. Becoming a foster parent is not about looking to get rich quickly because that will not happen. It's due to the practicality of raising a child. A teen boy can eat!

Your family should not be put under financial hardship, trying to keep up with the food bills of a child you have taken on to help a family in need of support. Every child in foster care is evaluated before being placed in a foster home, and a determination is made on many factors see below.

What is excellent for you and your family about not being given money for being paid is you do not have to report your income to the IRS as income, and as such, you do not have to pay taxes on the stipend. 

Foster Parents in Virginia are issued a maintenance payment and not paid


VEMAT was created by the Department of social service (DSS) for children in care. Every child is unique within the child welfare system, so this system is not perfect for raising children. Still, with strong family members, a full-time love and commitment to helping a child, and excellent support from your Child Placing Agency CPA, we can help ensure your community supports you while the child is with you. 

Virginia law helps all children in the foster care system and the foster parents or guardians that support them to return home. Foster parents receive monthly payments (stipends) from the state for every foster child. This is routine maintenance for all foster youth and will support the costs of raising a child in your care.

VEMAT stands for "Virginia Enhanced Maintenance Assessment Tool," which is how DSS and your City or county who has custody of your child. VEMAT allows DSS to assess how much of an allowance that child is allowed due to their age and other factors, including behaviors and social and emotional needs.

This review has to take place upon the child entering care and take up to 30 days, so the child's VEMAT score (see attachment) should be known to you at the time of placement. If a child is new to care, the DSS Placing agency will get that reimbursement rate for you ASAP, usually for 30 days.

How much money a month do foster parents make?

As of August 2022, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a simple breakdown. 


  • 0 -thru 4 $486
  • 5 thru 12 $568
  • 13 and over $721

With a supplemental Clothing Allowance per year of:

  • 0 thru 4 $315
  • 5 thru 12 $394
  • 13 and over $473

Think of this as sessional expenses that a growing child may need from one year to the following winter, coats, boots, etc.

Virginia's definition of foster care maintenance

Maintenance means payments made on behalf of a child in foster care to cover the cost of (and the cost of providing) food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, a child's incidentals, liability insurance concerning a child, and reasonable travel for the child to visit with family or other caretakers and to remain in their previous school placement. 

When looking at this legal definition, you can see it is vast, so always check with your child placing agency (CPA) if you are unsure about an expense. With any allowance from the State government or Federal government, a review is mandatory every year; it is customary that if a child's score is above 28 points, an evaluation will take place every 90 days.

As a Foster Parent, and you can document the increased need for a child over 30 days, you should request a review of the VEMAT from the Department of Social Services or through your Child Placing Agency (CPA). Everyone in foster care wants you to be successful, and agencies like Extra Special Parents will help organize a review with you with the relevant parties.  

VEMAT's complete tool is located here for your review. We hope it helps. 

VEMAT Assessment Tool page 1

Fill out our web form