For Foster parents / The Call ministry / The Process

Fostering for the money

Before you take a new job, you want to know what you will be responsible for, how many hours you will work, and how much money you will make doing it. Before a couple chooses to become foster parents for the money, they need to know all of those things too.

Job training

Before a couple gets their first check they must:

  • Sit through a 2-hour informational meeting
  • Complete a State and Federal background check
  • Collect paperwork: Proof of income, expenses, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, and several more miscellaneous papers.
  • Sit through an in-home consultation. They will get a personalized to-do list. They will have to secure their firearms, kitchen knives, fire place, stairs, pool, pond, medications, cleaners, etc…
  • Complete PRIDE Training (28 hours)
  • Complete 2 hours of online training
  • Draw up a tornado, fire, and gun (if applicable) safety plan.
  • Get a physical
  • Fill out an in-depth questionnaire
  • Complete a SAFE Home study
    • Sit with a stranger and answer a list of personal questions
    • Watch a stranger walk through the home with a fine-tooth comb
  • Get fingerprinted
  • Complete CPR and First Aid (4-6 hours)

When all of that is complete, they will be open to take foster children and start getting that check. Before a couple gets their first check, they must EACH put in about 50 hours of work going to classes, sitting in meetings, and filling out paperwork. They will also possibly spend/lose money if they have to pay for the physical and bedroom furniture or take off work to go to the classes/meetings.

Here’s a few comments from REAL foster families in White County:

“Because we don’t have childcare [where I live], 80% goes to daycare. The other 20% goes to gas because I don’t have the time or patience to do the reimbursement form and I always transport the kids to visits, Dr appts and such myself.” (Gas reimbursements require a lot of paperwork and can take several weeks to be reimbursed)
“We had an emergency placement that was for a teen. She came with nothing. Thankfully, no lice. At $13 a day for 2 weeks I think we made a whopping $95 and we spent probably $45 on the essential girl stuff: brushes, shampoo, some makeup, face wash, razors, etc…That was night one with The CALL taking care of the school supplies. We had a teen boy with a size 14 shoe. The nicest, least expensive pair was $100 and he ate the $400 of the stipend!!!”
“Make money fostering? We have just completed our very first month of fostering. We are still waiting on our stipend and I just had a near panic attack  at how all the extra expenses have blown our budget.
We spend money on:
  • Extra groceries — Not just food for an extra person, but food that you typically don’t buy trying to have things that your foster child will eat.
  • Extra gas — There are a bazillion appointments and an extra school/car line, court/staffing in a different county, etc…
  • Clothes — We use The CALL Boutique, but our foster child is an odd-size stage so we still had to get shoes, clothes, church clothes, backpack for school, etc…
  • Extra eating out — I cook a lot and our family has never eaten out much, but for sanity’s sake (last week was hard with our girl) we ate out 3 times this weekend.
  • Toiletries — We have a bi-racial foster child, which requires extra hair care products that are not cheap. She didn’t know hygiene so extra toiletries like special mouthwash and toothpaste to get her teeth healthy, extra toilet paper because she doesn’t know how much to use (she’s never used it).
  • Summer activities — Swimming lessons because we have a swimming pool; life jacket, swimsuits, etc…
  • Fun trips — She has never been to a zoo so that is a must for her to experience

I would say that we’ve easily spent 3x what a months stipend is this first month with all of the initial costs of getting her setup with what all she needs.”

The reality
Here’s what foster families get in the form of child support:
Birth to 5 — $410
6-11 — $440
12-14 — $470
15-17 — $500
A couple works roughly 100 hours before they get their first check. Let’s say they deserve a minimum of $8 an hour. They deserve a check of $800 before they even open. They could potentially spend another $300 on going to the doctor and buying supplies bringing up their imaginary paycheck to $1,100, but they’ll get less than half of that their first month.
Another way to look at it is this:
An infant gets $410 a month in child support. A foster family caring for an infant will make a whopping $13.22 A DAY to feed, change, cuddle, and sit up half the night.
A foster family that fosters for the money won’t last long because there’s no money to be made. 
If you’re reading this thinking, “Wow, fostering is A LOT of work,” you are correct.
Ask any foster family and they’ll tell you they’d go through it all again in a heartbeat to care for precious children who need someone to love and care for them.
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