As you read this please bear in mind that I am highly critical of our current foster care system.
I believe far too many children are removed from their homes too quickly or for unjustified reasons.
I further believe that that there are children left in homes where they are in imminent danger when they should have been removed and these children pay the ultimate price.
I believe youth in care are moved far too many times from home to home which causes damage to them which may haunt them for a lifetime.
I further believe necessary services are not provided to the foster parents or the children in their care.
Though I am critical of the current system I believe if the state determines they need to remove a child from their home then it becomes their responsibility to provide adequate funding to provide for that care.
The report below reflects yet another reason our current foster care system is failing those they are to care for; the children! It also gives added reasons of why our system needs refrom from top to bottom!
Yesterday October 3, 2007, the Children’s Rights Organization, the National Foster Parent Association and the University of Maryland School of Social Work released a historic, first-ever nationwide, state-by-state calculation of the real cost of supporting children in foster care. The report reveals widespread deficiencies in reimbursement rates across the nation—and major disparities among the states—and proposes a new standard rate for each state to use in fulfilling the federal requirement to provide foster parents with payments to cover the basic needs of children in foster care, including food, shelter, clothing and school supplies.
One of the requirements foster parents must meet prior to being licensed is that they have income necessary to meet their financial obligations without any reimbursement from doing foster care. Reimbursement from foster care is meant to cover only additional financial outlay due to caring for a child; the states are not meeting these costs today.
Providing foster care for a child is not meant as a way for foster parents to become rich nor should it cause financial difficulties due to low reimbursement. There is a minority of foster parents that do attempt to provide care for the money but they usually do not last long as foster parents. The majority of foster parents are meeting the needs of children in their care out of their own pockets due to the low reimbursements made by the states.
Most states reimburse foster parents significantly less than the actual cost of raising a foster child, complicating the task of finding good homes for children who need them, according to this first-of-its-kind survey.
The survey analyzed regional living expenses and calculated on a state-by-state basis the minimum cost of adequately raising a foster child. Only Arizona and the District of Columbia pay foster parents more than this minimum amount, according the survey.
To adequately cover the cost of rearing a foster child, base payments would need to be increased as follows:
10 states would need to be raised at least 25%:
Alaska, Nevada, Wyoming, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Connecticut and Maryland
10 states would need to be raised from 26-50%:
Montana, New Mexico, Minnesota, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Georgia, New Jersey and Hawaii
15 states would need to be raised from 51-75%:
California, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont, Delaware and Massachusetts
9 states would need to be raised from 76-100%:
Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Rhode Island and New Hampshire
5 states would need to more than double their current base rates:
Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin
Of the more than 513,000 U.S. children in foster care at any given time, about 75 percent live with foster parents, while most of the others are placed in group homes and institutions.
The report expressed concern that inadequate reimbursement rates would worsen a shortfall of foster parents, “potentially increasing the likelihood that children will be placed in institutions or shuttled from one foster placement to another.”
“The bottom line is that when these rates don’t reflect the real expenses that foster parents face, it’s the children who suffer,” said Karen Jorgenson, executive director of the Foster Parent Association.
Although child welfare agencies are required by federal law to reimburse foster parents for the cost of raising foster children, there is no national minimum, leaving states and localities free to set their own rates. The result is a huge disparity. The base rates paid for raising a 2-year-old foster child range from $236 a month in Nebraska to $869 in the District of Columbia.
The “minimum adequate rates” in the report represented the cost of providing basic needs — housing, food, clothing, and school supplies — as well as a child’s participation in normal after-school sports and activities.
The monthly rates recommended by the report, averaged out on a national basis, were $629 for 2-year-olds, $721 for 9-year-olds and $790 for 16-year-olds. Currently, the average actual monthly base rates offered by states are $488 for 2-year-olds, $509 for 9-year-olds and $568 for 16-year-olds.
For details of each state click on the link below:
http://www.larrya.us (my web site)