(Victor Valley) – Being a foster parent is challenging and rewarding. Most don’t do it for the money, although in these hard times, everyone appreciates a raise. Just last week the California Senate did just that.
“Basically the senate bill that was passed increased the rate that foster parents get for caring for children,” said Kim Hammack, Director at Greater Hope Foundation. “On average, it’s a little over $200 more per child, so it is pretty significant, especially for people who care for sibling sets.”
Hammack explained that the rate increase went into effect on July 1st, and will increase each year on July 1st. She said the increase is anywhere from $829 up to $988 per child for 30 days of care, which is intended to cover everything: room and board, clothing, allowance, and transportation to visits.
“For foster parents this is HUGE because there hasn’t been an increase in years,” Hammack said. “It opens up opportunities for foster parents and it also is good for the kids because they are able to get more funds too.”
At the Greater Hope Foundation they are hoping this rate increase will help foster parents to take on extra children, where they previously couldn’t afford to. For people who were thinking of becoming a foster parent, who were maybe on the border of being able to do it financially, this increase may be that incentive to move forward.
To become a foster parent you have to attend one of the orientations that the Greater Hope Foundation offers several times during the month. They are held on weekends and week nights. You have to have room in your home; you have to pass a criminal background clearance, have CPR and first aid, a health screening, a TB test, and also pass their home study and home evaluations.
Hammack said that foster parents are expected to provide 24 hour care in their home, and support reunification, because the immediate goal when children are placed in foster care is always to place them back with their parent or caregiver. So foster parents have to have the mindset that these children may be only temporarily in their care. “They have to be able to love the children like their own, but let them leave at some point if it is time and if their parents have done what they need to do,” Hammack said. “We also ask them to keep an open mind that if something doesn’t happen where the children in their care can go back with their family, to think about giving them some kind of permanency; whether it be guardianship or long term foster care. So it’s asking a lot of people.”
Hammack said they usually see an increase in placements around this time of year because when kids are back at school, sometimes things that are happening at home come to light when they have somebody to talk to about it. Also around the holidays – holidays are a very stressful for families, so they expect a surge in placements, and they want to have the resources in place to handle that situation and try to keep kids in their communities.
For more information on becoming a foster parent call their office 760-256-0432. You can visit their website www.GreaterHopeFoundation.com, or follow them on Facebook.
“We do offer a lot of things for people who want to become foster parents,” Hammack said. “We offer first aid and CPR, and discounted fingerprinting for background clearance. All of our training is free, it doesn’t cost anything. So we try to make it as low start up costs as we can.”