How Much Do Virginia Foster Parents Get Paid?
The decision to become a foster parent is one of the most impactful choices you’ll make to improve the life and well-being of a foster child or teen. The idea of giving new direction and purpose to another person’s life is powerful and fulfilling.
Although becoming a foster parent is extremely rewarding, there are some financial considerations that many potential foster parents are unaware of when deciding to foster a child or teen.
It’s important that foster parents in Virginia have all of the financial information to help them best provide for their foster child or teen, as well as their own family. All foster parents receive a tax-free monthly maintenance payment from the State of Virginia to cover the basic costs of caring for foster children. The payment amount varies depending on the age of the child. If a child’s needs require additional daily supervision by Foster Parents, the Virginia Enhanced Maintenance Assessment tool (VEMAT) will be utilized to determine a rate of additional reimbursement payments to Foster Parents.
Here is a breakdown of the various areas of reimbursement for a Virginia foster parent.
Standard Maintenance Payments & Clothing budget
Standard maintenance payments are afforded to parents to cover some of the basic costs associated with fostering in Virginia. The basic rates for standard maintenance range from $450 to $700 per month depending on the age of the child. Annual clothing allowance is also age-dependent and afforded to foster parents in the amount of $300 to $500 per year.
Enhanced Maintenance Payments
If a child’s needs require additional daily supervision, foster parents can request an evaluation of the need for enhanced maintenance payments as compensation for the extra time necessary to care for the child.
In many cases, the Virginia Enhanced Maintenance Assessment Tool (VEMAT) is used to decide the rate for any additional reimbursement payments to foster parents. Other assessment methods are also used to determine eligibility.
Contingency Fund for Property Damage
The VDSS administers a fund to cover major property damage done by children in foster homes. Information about your insurance coverage, along with multiple stages of approval, is required to be eligible for this contingency fund.
All foster children and teens, regardless of age, placement agency or your own financial status, are eligible for Medicaid.
Free School Lunches
If your foster child or teen is enrolled in a Virginia public school they are eligible for free school meals. The application process varies per school, but the program covers meals, both breakfast (where available) and lunch, offered at your school.
Respite Care for Foster Parents
Respite care is a support service offered to foster parents that allow another provider to temporarily step in and provide care. Circumstances are not limited, but may include scenarios like…
- ensuring separately placed siblings have time together
- giving foster parents and their children a break when necessary
- sustaining children’s relationships with extended family
- enabling foster parents to go on vacation where the child is not legally permitted
- offering foster children and teens in group care with new experiences
- discovering potential placement changes
Additional Support Services & Resources for Foster Parents
Additional services and supports are widely available to Virginia foster parents. However, reimbursement of such services is dependent upon the proper documentation indicating issues and challenges affecting the child. Documentation provided to your caseworker for review may include:
- journals tracking developmental/emotional growth
- clinical reports
- behavioral assessments
Foster Parent Financial Responsibilities
Fostering a child or teen is such a rewarding act because it is entirely voluntary. For this reason, it is recommended you be financially secure with your own family before deciding to become a foster parent.
Although financial support is available to foster parents, reimbursement will not meet all of the expenses that come with the responsibility of fostering a child.
Want more information on the financial aspects of being a foster parent? Contact us today!
UMFS has 8 locations throughout the state of Virginia, spread conveniently across the Commonwealth. If you are interested in learning what is involved to become a foster parent, we encourage you to send us an inquiry, or contact UMFS at any of these locations:
- Alexandria-Northern Virginia
- South Hill