Hi again, last month I wrote about some issues within the foster care system. This month, I still find my self irritated, and I wanted to make a clarification. I will start with the clarification first. I made a statement that it costs the state around $1500 per month per child that is in foster care. That is a true statement.
What might be misleading is people believing that the foster parents get this money. We do not. We do get a monthly stipend to help provide for the children that we have. For newborn babies up to toddlers around 4 (it maybe older), foster parents receive less than $500 per month to buy clothing, diapers, wipes, and formula if they use over what WIC provides. Most months we are in the red. We do not get paid to get up three or four times a night when the baby wakes up crying, we don’t get paid for colic, or taking time off work for doctor appointments.
I am thankful for social programs like WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and it may have different names in different states. We normally have children who need special formulas. WIC usually allows 8 – 10 cans per month. One of our recent children needed a formula and the cost is $39 per can or around $390 per month. Our daughter was on a formula that cost $49.95 per can and she went through a can every two days. Thank you WIC because who can pay over $700 a month for formula.
What does it cost birth parents? (Remember, they are usually the reason their child is in foster care). They get supervised visitation from 1 to 4 times a week at government expense. They do not have to help provide for their child, not even diapers. Some have to get counseling, take classes, get a diploma, get their license, get a job. They do not have to get drug counseling, or parenting classes.
Why do we do foster parenting when there are so many problems with the system? We look at this as a ministry. We believe that this is a job that God wanted us to do and has provided us with the means to do so. Most of the time it is hard work, but the blessings we receive make it worthwhile.
Sorry for the rant, but sometime you just have to get stuff out of your system. My wife had a mom ask how much we got paid to take care of the kids that were placed in foster care. When my wife told her what we were paid, she could hardly believe it. She had been told that we got several thousand a month. Only in a perfect world…maybe there would be no need for foster parents. What a concept.
Okay, off my rant. Who knows what next month might hold in store. May you be blessed in all you do.
***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.