Monetarily? You should not expect to profit from foster care. Should you make memories? Should you make family dinners? Should you make your foster children smile every single day? To those questions, it would be a very loud, “yes!” You will make a lot of things as a foster parent but making money should not be your focus. However, each day a foster child is in your care, you will receive a stipend to help with expenses.

The “board check” will be mailed or deposited each month on a specific day that is pre-determined by your state. This money is to help provide for the child. Every state is different along with many agencies. The amounts vary, but most have a general guideline for how to spend the money.

In the classes you need to take prior to becoming a licensed foster parent, they outline the ranges at which you will receive a board check, and as the foster child gets older, the amount received each month will increase.

As a general rule, you should use approximately 70% for room and board items.  The amount is to help out with your monthly bills at home, such as mortgage, electricity, garbage, phone, internet, television, etc.

Many families use this portion of funds to enroll the foster children in an extracurricular event or to help with costs of sports fees and equipment. You should spend the other 30% on clothing and allowance.

Some states set up a specific amount that each foster child should get to use as “their” money. The clothing allowance is somewhere around 20% of the monthly stipend, and the amount for the child’s allowance is somewhere around 10%. These numbers vary, and the child’s allowance amount is much higher in their teens.  

When you initially fill out your paperwork with your agency, then the checks will be mailed. There is an option to call for direct deposit once you start receiving the checks from your state’s department of human services. Many departments will also outline the dates for disbursement on an annual basis. The caseworkers will submit which children are in your care for the specific amount of days. You will not have to do any of that reporting.

When it comes down to money, yes, the state will support you. Use the money toward helping your foster child succeed. Overall, what your foster child needs the most, is you. Foster children need the same love and understanding as all children do. Understand that the state is helping you provide for this child that needs a home. Being a foster parent is not an easy job, and it is worth more than any money the state can provide. It is well worth every minute because you are making a difference in a child’s life. That in itself is priceless.  

My name is Gina Francis. I am a single mom of two adopted, almost teenage, children named Mireya and Christopher. Our adoption story is one of those “meant to be” situations. My very first foster placement was for one beautiful little 4-year-old girl and one big-eyed, tiny 2-year-old boy. Both of whom were supposed to stay with me for two months. Nine years later, here we are now as an adoptive family of three!