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Supporting Foster Parents

Becoming a foster parent is a tremendous decision for a family to make. While the rewards of opening a home to children in need are significant, these must be balanced against the burden of further dividing limited time and resources among even more family members. The need for loving families to foster neglected, abused and abandoned children is so great, however, that the federal department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides subsidies to foster parents through grants to state agencies.

Before becoming a foster home, the prospective foster parents must first prove that their current income and assets are sufficient enough to provide for the needs of the children who would enter their home. Parents are expected to not need to rely upon the money that may be received from the state as a source of income. Upon being assigned foster children, however, the foster parents become eligible for the foster parenting grants made available to offset the cost of supporting children who would otherwise be wards of the state.

By spending money in this way, rather than by spending to directly house and board children and adolescents in orphanages, the state ensures that children are able to be socialized into intact families and stable homes. Such a system reduces the risk of these children later becoming harmful to society and costing even more through incarceration and rehabilitation.

Parents receive fiscal support based on the number of children that they foster and the needs of their children. The funds are disbursed to help support the costs of childcare, including food, transportation, housing and clothing. Children also receive other important benefits, such as medical and dental insurance coverage for free, to alleviate the burden placed on the foster family. These foster parent grants make fostering feasible for families across the socio-economic spectrum.

Money for these foster parent grants is provided by funds from both federal sources as well as county and state revenue. This funding is tightly regulated by the administering state agency to ensure that individuals do not use the support as a way of supplementing their income, but rather solely to support the child. In some states, foster parents are required to submit receipts to prove that they have used the funding to purchase items for the benefit of the child. While these subsidies are not an income supplement, they are a great way to afford to host a foster child without negatively impacting household finances.