While most foster parents get into fostering because they really enjoy children and they like being parents, a number of foster parents do try to do the job for financial compensation. Depending on what state foster parents reside in, the laws regarding how many children can be in one home, and how much money families can receive for a child with a particular set of needs, it is possible to make a living off of foster parenting.
In some states, though it may be possible to make enough money to survive solely off of foster parenting endeavors, unfortunately, doing the job as a sole source of income makes it difficult or impossible to really provide well for the kids in care. Many states pay just enough money to be able to pay for the food and clothing that children need from month to month. A number of states barely pay enough to even cover those costs. Though high needs children often “pay better” than children with fewer emotional or physical needs, having a houseful of high needs kids is going to cost more in terms of property that gets stolen or broken, clothing that is destroyed, and other unforeseen costs.
In short, doing foster care strictly for the money is generally regarded as a no-no. Parenting requires some heart and soul and trying to foster parent children without this component, as a business endeavor doesn’t have the same results. Doing foster parenting out of love does not compare to doing foster parenting as a business. As a foster parent, when you start looking at the bottom line on a particular child, you know there’s a problem. If a child doesn’t “pay” enough for you to parent him or her, it may be best to request that the child be moved. Perhaps your family is just struggling financially. Or perhaps that particular child just simply isn’t able to fit into your family dynamic. But if you’re counting the pennies that you’re earning off of parenting a foster child, that’s a red flag that says there’s something wrong.
That being said, you need to make enough money to support yourself and the children in your care. You do need to be paid for your efforts. Specifically, you need to make enough money to cover the cost of the children in your care. You need to be able to buy food and clothing for them at the very least and cover the cost of any sort of extras that are important or necessary for the child. Many foster parents could afford to take in foster children if they didn’t have compensation to cover the costs. But in order for foster children to receive love from foster parents, compensation needs to be very basic. Just think about how many people would take in foster children if the money was exorbitant. But they wouldn’t be doing the job for the kids and the love wouldn’t be there.
Though you need to receive support from your state to care for foster children, keep your heart in the right place and don’t spend too much time counting how much money you make off of each one. Focus on the children and building relationships. You get to parent these kids and that is your payment. Money doesn’t last forever but relationships can and often do.