The state children’s division has no problem admitting state subsidies for foster parents are below the national average and below recommended levels. But the department says it’s not as grim as a national study indicates.
Missouri gives foster parents 271 dollars to 358 dollars every month in maintenance payments, depending on the age of the child. The legislature approved the first increase in those payments since 2001 this year.
A national study suggests foster care payments should be 629-dollars to 790-dollars a month, depending on a child’s age. And even those figures are about one-third less than the national average.
But the Missouri children’s division’s Celesta Hartgraves says Missouri doesn’t place children with people who cannot afford to be foster parents.
The state pays an extra 100-dollars a month to parents who go through a training program, and another 50-dollars a month for diaper costs for children younger than two. There’s also a clothing allowance of 150 to 250 dollars a year, depending onthe age of the child. And Hartgraves says foster children also are Medicaid eligible for most of their health care.
She says she cannot recall ever seeing foster parents give up a child because they cannot afford its care.And she also says she’s never heard someone refuse to be a foster parent because of money concerns.