how much money a foster family gets per child ?

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Written and updated on December 16, 2023, by Kidzoot Team

Foster care is an important system that provides temporary homes for children who cannot safely remain with their biological families. Many people are curious about the financial aspect of being a foster parent – specifically, how much money foster families receive each month for each child in their care.

The short answer is that payment amounts vary significantly depending on the state and individual needs of the child. However, we can look more closely at average payment ranges on a state-by-state basis and the factors that determine the monthly stipend amount.

First, it’s important to understand that foster care payments are intended to cover the costs of caring for a child, not make a profit. The monthly stipend is meant to reimburse foster families for expenses like food, clothing, school supplies, medical costs not covered by Medicaid/insurance, and other day-to-day costs of raising a child. Foster parents are not paid a regular salary.

Now let’s break down average payment ranges by state:

  • California, Maryland, Washington D.C.: Payments typically range from $800-1100 per month for a school-aged child. Slightly higher rates for infants/toddlers or children with special needs.
  • New York, Massachusetts: $700-1000 per month average.
  • Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania: $600-900 per month average.
  • Midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan, Illinois: $500-800 per month average.
  • Southern states like Georgia, North Carolina: $400-700 per month average.
  • Some rural states in the Plains region: $300-600 per month average.
There is usually an additional small stipend paid for things like transportation, school supplies, clothing allowances, and activities. Rates also tend to increase annually to offset rising costs of living.

The specific amount a foster family receives depends on factors like the child’s age, any special needs, and level of care required. Infants usually have the highest rates, teenagers the lowest. Children with significant medical needs or behavioral issues that require a therapeutic foster home can bring stipends up to $1500-2500 per month or higher in some areas.

It’s also important to remember that foster parents have additional expenses beyond daily costs of living like food, clothing, and activities. They must complete ongoing training, have their home inspected annually, and attend court hearings, visitations, and meetings which take time. They are also on call 24/7 to meet the needs of children who join their family from traumatic situations.

While the payments help cover costs, very few foster families could rely solely on stipends as a primary source of income without another job, benefits, or subsidies. The financial aspect is certainly not the main motivation for most people who open their homes and hearts to children in need. Rather, it’s about making a difference in the life of a vulnerable child during a difficult time.
I hope this breakdown provides helpful context into the reality of foster care payments. The system aims to reasonably reimburse foster families while prioritizing child welfare. With caring individuals who can provide safe, stable homes, foster care works to support children when biological families cannot.



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