April 10, 2019 | Comments Off on Supporting Foster Care with Two Companion Bills
Representative Holly Grange and Senator Ralph Hise filed companion bills (H580 / S636) to provide additional support for foster care families in North Carolina.
There are over 10,000 children in the state of North Carolina in need of a foster home. This number has steadily risen since 2011 and will continue to rise as drug and substance use epidemics spread throughout the state, causing disruptions in the home.
While maintaining familial relationships is best for children, there are situations when displacing a child from their biological home immediately into a temporary, safe and stable foster care home is best for the child. The Family First Preservation Services Act (FFPSA), which goes into effect in 2021, will reallocate funds from foster care and other temporary care services to programs designed to keep children with their biological families.
The reduced funding for foster care will pose tremendous issues for recruiting and maintaining foster families and ultimately placing children in need. One of the biggest challenges in finding placements for children in need is the lack of funding and support for current foster care families.
Currently, foster parents are reimbursed on average $18.00 a day to care for their foster child.
Foster care reimbursement rates for parents have remained flat over the past 10 years. As a result, parents are faced with financial burdens when caring for a child. Although there is compensation for foster parents, many families still pay out of pocket for the needs of their foster child. This burden leads to families exiting the foster care parent program and creates a barrier to recruiting new families to join foster care programs.
As we see more children entering the foster care system, even if for a temporary stay, we cannot afford to lose foster care families.
The companion bills H580/ S636 proposes to increase the foster care rates of reimbursement and funds allocated to support services. The increase in funding for foster care will help agencies recruit more families and individuals to participate and commit to the program. This increase in the parent pool will, in turn, provide quicker placement for children in need of a temporary home.
The bill proposes a 2-year stepwise increase to foster care funding. On average, parents will see an increase of $90 per month per child.
The filed bill is available for view on the North Carolina General Assembly web page.
Written by Emily Gordon.