8 Types of Assistance Foster Parents Receive

Parenting a child of any age can be both gratifying and challenging, and foster parents are confronted with particular obstacles while caring for children and adolescents. And let’s face it, raising a child can be expensive.

Young family sitting on the couch and reading a book.

Here we will take a look at 8 Types of Assistance Foster Parents Receive:

Foster Parents Receive Monthly Reimbursement

Foster parents will receive adoption subsidies and financial help to put toward their child’s needs during the foster care process.

While these monies are beneficial, they may not be sufficient to properly support a child or provide the type of life you desire.

Before placement, you must also demonstrate that you are financially capable of being a foster parent without these benefits.

You don’t have to be wealthy to adopt a foster child, but you must be financially prepared to face all of the hardships that come with raising a child for however long they are in your care.

Unfortunately, some foster families take advantage of foster care adoption subsidies. 

Some agencies may require foster parents to keep track of their spending to help prevent this. They can be confident that the money is going to the proper destination this way.

Keep in mind that while caring for their foster children, foster parents will get a stipend.

Stipends are a component of fostering, and potential resource families must understand what they are, why they exist, how they should be managed, and how we should feel about them.

The purpose of the foster care stipend is to help defray the costs of having foster children in the home, allowing more families to become resources.

This is beneficial; we require as many good resource families as possible.

Foster care stipends don’t cover all of the costs of parenting a child, so prospective foster parents should be sure they can manage the financial effect.

Transportation to and from visits and medical appointments, formula for newborns and infants, and diapers of varying sizes are all charges that are unique to each foster situation.

Fostering might limit a family’s capacity to make money in addition to the expenses, as more potential working hours are required to transport children to visits, appointments, and other commitments.

Foster Children Are Eligible for School Meal Programs

It is now easier for school districts to enroll foster children in free school meals as a result of the newly approved Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Regardless of household income, children in foster care are now automatically eligible for free school meals, and they can stay enrolled for the whole school year, even if they leave foster care during the year.

As a result, school districts’ processes for enrolling foster children in this program are streamlined.

All other students in a household with foster children may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, depending on the size and income of the household. Households may apply to these circumstances.

Eligibility is valid from the date of approval until the first 30 days of the following school year, or until a family contacts the school or district.

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Foster Children Qualify for Daycare Assistance

Foster families typically receive child care aid to help with the expense of childcare for their foster children.

Reimbursement is available for daycare costs up to the state-allotted amount. If a child comes from a household that receives income-based assistance, this is typically what a daycare provider would earn.

Foster families and their foster children, on the other hand, receive child care support regardless of their family’s income.

The rate of compensation is frequently decided by the child’s age and any unique needs he or she may have.

Foster children who are older may not be eligible for as much childcare reimbursement as younger foster children.

Foster parents will often be obliged to pay the difference if they choose a daycare that charges more than the amount the state has agreed to pay.

Again, rules vary by state, so speak with a local expert for details on childcare reimbursement rates in your area.

Because each state’s regulations and practices differ, a social worker or foster care placement specialist at a family’s local Department of Children and Family Services should be able to assist foster families in figuring out how to seek reimbursement for daycare costs.

Medical Coverage is Provided for the Foster Child

The majority of children and youth in foster care are Medicaid-eligible.

For all children and adolescents, health care is a basic requirement. Children and teenagers who are placed in foster care as a result of abuse or neglect may have extensive healthcare needs.

Changes in the country’s healthcare regulations have made healthcare more accessible and affordable for some of our most vulnerable children and youth, including those involved in child welfare.

Medicaid is a federal-state-funded program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income individuals who meet certain other criteria.

Types of services that are covered by Medicaid for a foster child:

Medicaid Services for Foster Children

  • Screenings for obesity, hearing, vision, autism, and developmental delays
  • Immunizations for such things as measles and hepatitis
  • Physicals
  • Examinations for adolescents and teens, such as alcohol and drug use assessments, depression screenings, HIV screenings, and sexually transmitted infection counseling and screening
  • Pediatric care
  • Mental health services
  • Outpatient care
  • Hospitalizations
  • Necessary surgeries
  • Prescriptions
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Lab services

Within broad federal parameters, states select their eligibility criteria.

While states are not allowed to utilize federal child welfare monies to pay for Medicaid, they do receive some reimbursement from Medicaid to assist in helping with the expenses of insuring foster children.

Poverty and other risk factors, such as parental substance addiction or mental illness, may be linked to health problems.

Actual abuse or neglect, including medical negligence, as well as the disturbance produced by removal from the home and placement in foster care, can all contribute to poor health.

Children in foster care had much higher rates of developmental disorders, certain medical disorders (e.g., vision disorders, teeth, and jaw disorders), and several behavioral disorders, including attention deficit and adjustment disorders.

In comparison to adolescents who were not in foster care, youth in foster care had three times as many behavioral/mental health diagnoses and were more than twice as likely to require inpatient care of any sort.

The risk factors connected with poor health in foster children can lead to long-term and even life-long difficulties.

Studies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study show that the number of ACEs (abuse, neglect, parental substance abuse, witnessing domestic violence) increases the risk of adulthood heart disease, suicide, HIV, and other conditions that can lead to early death.

Dental Care Tends to Be a Different Story

Dental decay and poor oral health are public health concerns among neglected children and children from low-income families.

Foster children’s dental issues are frequently undiagnosed and untreated until after they enter the foster care system. The child may have been neglected before entering the foster care system.

Dental neglect can lead to poor oral hygiene, foul breath, decay, infections, and gum disease. Poor oral health can also be caused by alcohol, illegal drugs, and improper food choices.

It’s crucial to remember that dental neglect can be caused by a variety of factors, including financial and transportation constraints.

Oral illnesses become more severe and expensive to restore the longer children remain in the care of neglectful guardians.

When neglected children enter the foster care system, they are removed from many of the factors that contributed to dental disease, which may make it easier for them to improve their oral health.

In the foster care system, dental care is not prioritized. When a child is admitted to the system, oral exams are less prevalent than physical or mental health assessments.

A 2014 study looked at the characteristics that influence dental utilization and expenses for children in Washington’s foster care system.

Only 43% of youngsters received a dental visit, according to the report. Within foster care institutions and homes, this is a problem that must be addressed.

Some foster families are unable to pay for dental services due to a lack of funds, a lack of transportation to dental visits, or a lack of understanding of the necessity of oral hygiene.

Furthermore, because the children are in and out of foster homes, they may not have a consistent dental practitioner.

These children’s dental records may be incomplete or unavailable totally.

It may be difficult to tell when the previous dental appointment was or what disorders were present in the mouth without dental records, making it difficult to follow up with dental care when a foster child is placed into the system.

Foster children may have a fear of pain and authority, making dental treatments and other attempts at restorative work ineffective.

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Tax Benefits

Foster parents benefit from two tax breaks. First, any foster care payments received from a child placement agency, the state government, or your local government are considered nontaxable income.

The money is for the foster child’s support and will not go into your pocket as other revenue would. Support payments are not required to be reported on your taxes.

Second, you may be allowed to deduct unreimbursed foster care costs as a charitable contribution.

If the agency or group that placed the child with you may accept charitable gifts, the costs are deductible; however, your local social services department would not qualify.

If the agency is unable to accept charitable donations, the unreimbursed expenses may qualify as out-of-pocket support, allowing you to list the kid as a dependent on your tax return.

Foster parents may also be eligible to claim their foster child as a dependent on their taxes if they meet the following criteria:

  • You were the guardian of a foster child who was placed with you by the state.
  • They have been a resident of your home for at least six months in the previous year.
  • They are 18 years of age or under.
  • No one else has claimed the child. The full name, date of birth, and valid Social Security number of the child are required. Consult a tax professional.

Transportation Allowance

Many foster children have appointments for a variety of reasons that need travel. Doctor’s visits, dental visits, counseling sessions, family visits, soccer games, and theatre classes may all add up.

You’ll need assistance if you have more than one foster child.

Child welfare can either pay the foster parent for the extra transportation or hire a transportation company to do it. Foster parents will be relieved in either case.

Depending on the state in which you live in, transportation expense reimbursements may also be included in your monthly stipend.

Clothing Allowance

In many states, foster parents are provided clothing allowances for foster children who need clothing.

With this said, the amount of the clothing allowance many times is very small and does not always cover what the child truly needs.

Foster parents are receiving less cash from child welfare agencies as a result of budget cuts across the country, making it more difficult to provide for the foster children who come into and out of their homes.

To make matters worse, the roller coaster economy has left many foster parents short on cash as they try to meet the basic needs of their children, such as clothing.

Foster parents all around the country are straining to provide for the children in their care as a result.

Ask your local agency for a list of local clothing organizations for foster children or visit the link below for a Foster Care Closet in your area.

WIC

The WIC (Women, Babies, and Children) Program was established in 1972 to give low-income women, infants, and children up to the age of five health and nutrition assistance.

The US Department of Agriculture manages the program, which was made permanent in 1974. WIC gives federal subsidies to each state, which then distributes vouchers to program members.

WIC serves about half of all infants born in the United States

Foods such as infant cereal, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, canned proteins, and full-grain bread are purchased with vouchers in local supermarkets and pharmacies.

Who Does WIC Serve?

  • Pregnant women up to 6 weeks after birth or after pregnancy ends
  • Breastfeeding women up to infant’s 1st birthday
  • Non-breastfeeding postpartum women up to 6 months after the birth of an infant or after pregnancy ends
  • Infants up to 1st birthday.
  • Children up to their 5th birthday

Program Advantages

  • Supplemental nutritious foods
  • Nutrition education and counseling at WIC clinics
  • Screening and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services

Common WIC Locations

  • County health departments
  • Hospitals
  • Mobile clinics (vans)
  • Community centers
  • Schools
  • Public housing sites
  • Migrant health centers and camps
  • Indian health services facilities

What WIC Vouchers Cover

  • Infant cereal
  • Baby foods
  • Iron-fortified adult cereal
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Soy-based beverages
  • Tofu
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried and canned beans and peas
  • Canned fish
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Other whole-grain options

The WIC Program

WIC is effective in improving the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants.

A 1990 study showed that women who participated in the program during their pregnancies had lower Medicaid costs for themselves and their babies than women who did not participate.

WIC participation was also linked with longer gestation periods, higher birth weights, and lower infant mortality. 

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Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.