How Much Do Foster Parents Get Paid?

June 6, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

Foster parents get paid an average of $500 to $800 per child per month. Foster care payments vary by location, age of the child, and level of care required.

Foster care is a system that provides a safe and nurturing home for children who are unable to live with their birth parents. Foster parents play a critical role in providing temporary care and support for these children while they undergo reunification with their biological families or are placed for adoption.

In addition to providing a loving and supportive home, foster parents receive financial assistance to cover the cost of food, clothing, housing, and other necessities for the child in their care. The amount of money foster parents receive varies greatly depending on the state and county where they reside. In some cases, foster parents can receive additional payments for special needs children or for providing therapeutic foster care.

How Much Do Foster Parents Get Paid?


Understanding The Foster Care System

Overview Of Foster Care In The United States

Foster care is a system that provides temporary homes for children who have been removed from their biological parents’ care due to a variety of reasons like neglect, abuse, or abandonment. There are approximately 437,000 children and youth in foster care in the united states.

Here are some key points about foster care in the united states:

  • Foster care can be provided by relatives, non-related individuals, or in group homes or institutions.
  • The objectives of the foster care system are to ensure the safety and well-being of children, facilitate reunification with biological families, and provide permanent homes for children who cannot return to their families.
  • Foster care is regulated at the state level and differs from state to state regarding policies, financial support, and practices.

Why So Many Children End Up In Foster Care

The reasons why children end up in foster care are complicated and interlinked. Here are some of the reasons why so many children end up in foster care:

  • Neglect: Neglect is the leading cause of children entering into foster care.
  • Abuse: Children may be removed from their biological families if there is evidence of abuse.
  • Parents’ inability to provide necessary care: Such as mental health issues, substance abuse or incarceration.
  • Family poverty: Economic hardships, such as inadequate housing, are factors that can lead to the removal of children from their families.
  • Homelessness: Children of homeless adults are at greater risk of entering foster care.

The Role Of Foster Parents In The System

Foster parents play a crucial role in the foster care system. Here are some key points about the role of foster parents in the system:

  • Foster parents provide temporary, safe, and nurturing homes for children in need.
  • Foster parents help children adjust to changes in their lives and support their emotional well-being.
  • Foster parents work as part of the team with social workers, biological parents, and other professionals to help children in their care.
  • Foster parents are compensated for their services, and the payment varies depending on the state and the child’s needs.
  • Foster parents may choose to adopt children in their care if reunification with biological families is not possible.

Foster care is a complex system designed to protect vulnerable children. Understanding the foster care system and the role of foster parents can help us create a safe and nurturing environment for children in need.

How Much Do Foster Parents Get Paid?

Foster parenting is an incredible opportunity to help children in need by providing a stable and loving home environment. However, it’s not all about altruism; foster parents also receive financial support from the government. But how much do foster parents get paid?

Let’s take a closer look at the factors that determine foster parent payment, federal and state guidelines for foster care payments, and average monthly payment rates for various types of care.

Factors That Determine Foster Parent Payment

The amount of money that foster parents receive is not fixed and depends on several factors. Some of the factors that determine foster parent payment are:

  • The age of the foster child
  • The foster child’s needs
  • The foster parent’s skills and experience
  • The location and state
  • The type and duration of foster care

Federal And State Guidelines For Foster Care Payments

The foster care payment system is administered by states and funded by the federal government. States set their payment rates based on a child’s specific needs and age group. The federal government provides guidelines for payment rates, but individual states have the freedom to adjust payment rates as needed.

Average Monthly Payment Rates For Various Types Of Care

The average monthly payment rates for foster care depend on several factors: the child’s age, type of care, specific needs, and state of residence. Here are average monthly payment rates for various types of care in some states in the u.


Family Foster Care

  • $763 to $1, 897 per month

Kinship Or Relative Foster Care

  • $401 to $689 per month

Emergency Shelter Care

  • $513 to $688 per month

Therapeutic Foster Care

  • $3,043 to $4,765 per month

Group Home Care

  • $3,500 to $5,000 per month

Foster care payments vary based on several factors such as the foster child’s needs, the foster parent’s skills, and experience, the location and state, and type and duration of foster care. Each state has its payment rate for foster care and is subject to federal guidelines.

Lastly, the average monthly payment rates for foster care vary depending on the type of care provided.

Eligibility Requirements

Foster parenting is a noble and rewarding experience that can change your life and the life of a child in need. It involves providing a safe, loving, and nurturing environment to kids who cannot live with their birth parents for various reasons.

Although foster parenting comes with its challenges and requires patience, dedication, and compassion, it can be a life-changing experience for both the foster parent and the child. We will explore the eligibility requirements for becoming a foster parent in the united states.

Age, Health, And Other Qualifications

To become a foster parent, there are some age, health, and other qualifications that you must meet. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Age: Foster parents must be at least 21 years old.
  • Health: Foster parents must be in good physical and mental health and free from any contagious diseases.
  • Income: Foster parents must have a stable source of income to cover their basic needs.
  • Housing: Foster parents must have a safe and stable living environment that meets the state’s housing codes.
  • Background check: Foster parents must pass a criminal background check and provide references from non-relatives.
  • Training: Foster parents must complete the required pre-service training or orientation program before being licensed.

Potential Disqualifiers For Foster Parenting

While there are several qualifications for becoming a foster parent, there are also disqualifiers that you should be aware of. Here are some of the potential reasons why someone may be ineligible to be a foster parent:

  • Criminal record: If you or any adult in your household has a criminal history of child abuse, neglect, or sexual assault, you may not be eligible.
  • Substance abuse: If you or any adult in your household has a history of substance abuse, you may be disqualified from becoming a foster parent.
  • Domestic violence: If you or any adult in your household has a history of domestic violence, you may not be eligible to become a foster parent.
  • Child safety: If your home is not safe for children or if there are any hazards or dangers that could harm a child, you may not be eligible to become a foster parent.
  • Previous foster care experience: If you have previously had your foster care license revoked or suspended, you may not be eligible to become a foster parent again.

Becoming a foster parent can be a fulfilling and life-changing experience for both the foster parent and the child. If you meet the eligibility requirements and have a heart for children, you can make a significant impact in a child’s life.

It is essential to understand the qualifications criteria and potential disqualifiers to ensure that you are the right fit for this role. Contact your local child welfare agency if you are interested in becoming a foster parent and learn more about the process and foster care.

The Application Process

Becoming a foster parent is a fulfilling experience as you are providing a safe, comfortable, and nurturing environment for a child in need. However, before you can become a foster parent, there are a few steps involved in the application process.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

Steps Involved In Becoming A Foster Parent

The process of becoming a foster parent can seem overwhelming, but each step is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. Below are the key steps involved:

  • Attend an orientation: Attending an orientation is the first step in the application process. During the orientation, you will receive information on the requirements for becoming a foster parent, the responsibilities involved, and the financial assistance provided.
  • Fill out an application: After attending the orientation, the next step is to fill out an application. The application will require you to provide basic information about yourself, including your name, contact information, criminal background, and any relevant experience working with children.
  • Attend pre-service training: Once your application is approved, you will be required to attend pre-service training. The training will prepare you for the challenges and joys of fostering by providing information on child development, the impact of trauma, and the role of a foster parent.
  • Complete a home study: A home study is the process conducted by a social worker to evaluate your readiness to become a foster parent. During the home visit, the social worker will assess your living situation, including the safety of your home and your ability to provide a nurturing environment for the child.

How To Prepare For The Home Study

The home study is a critical step in becoming a foster parent. Preparing for the home study can help ensure a smooth process and increase your chances of approval. Here are some tips on how to prepare:

  • Clean and organize your home: A clean and organized home can indicate that you are responsible and capable of providing a safe environment for the child.
  • Gather necessary documents: You will be required to provide documentation such as your driver’s license, birth certificate, and insurance information. Make sure to gather these documents in advance to avoid any delays.
  • Be prepared to answer personal questions: The social worker will ask personal questions about your background, your relationships, and your motivation for becoming a foster parent. Be honest and open in your answers.
  • Be ready to provide references: The social worker will require a list of references, including family members, friends, and coworkers who can attest to your character and suitability as a foster parent.

Becoming a foster parent is a rewarding and life-changing experience. While the application process may seem daunting, taking the necessary steps and preparing for the home study can increase your chances of providing a loving home for a child in need.

The Emotional Toll

Fostering a child can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, but it’s not without its challenges. One major consideration for prospective foster parents is the emotional toll it can take. Here’s what you need to know about coping with the challenges of fostering and supporting the emotional needs of the child.

Coping With The Challenges Of Fostering

Fostering is not an easy task and it requires a lot of patience, understanding and resilience. Here are some of the key challenges you may face as a foster parent and tips on how to cope.

  • Attachment: As a foster parent, it’s important to develop a strong bond with the child you are caring for. However, it can be difficult to constantly form new attachments and then say goodbye when the time comes. Coping strategies to help deal with this include focusing on the present moment rather than worrying about future goodbyes, being mindful of your own feelings and reactions, and seeking support from other foster parents or a therapist when needed.
  • Challenging behaviors: Foster children may come from challenging backgrounds and as a result, require extra support when it comes to emotional regulation and good behavior. It can be tough to balance discipline with love and support, but it’s important to consistently reinforce positive behavior while still offering compassion and stability. Also, consider working with a social worker, therapist or behavior specialist for more in-depth support.
  • Navigating the system: Foster care is a complex system that involves working with social workers, court systems, biological parents, and other authority figures. You may also need to navigate insurance, educational institutions and other complex bureaucracies. Staying organized and informed, while remembering your primary goal of supporting the child, can help mitigate stress and anxiety.

Supporting The Child’S Emotional Needs

Foster children have often experienced trauma, abuse or neglect which can manifest in a variety of emotional and behavioral issues. As a foster parent, you can provide the emotional support and stability they need to heal. Here are some tips on how to support the emotional wellbeing of the child in your care.

  • Validate their feelings: Children in foster care may have experienced things that are difficult to comprehend, so it’s important to give them space to express their emotions. Provide empathy and validate their feelings, while letting them know that they are safe and cared for.
  • Create a stable environment: Consistency and stability can be comforting for children, so try to establish a consistent routine and structure that they can rely on. Make sure they know when they will have meals, medication, school or other important daily activities.
  • Access resources: Foster children may require extra support in the form of counseling, therapy or extra educational resources. Work with the social worker and school to determine what resources are available and necessary.
  • Communicate openly: Building a relationship based on trust and mutual respect requires that both parties communicate openly and honestly. Encourage your foster child to communicate their needs and advocate for their wants.

By understanding the emotional toll and offering support to foster children, you can develop a meaningful relationship and provide much-needed care and love.

The Financial Considerations

Foster parenting is a noble act of offering a safe space to a child in need of a loving home. Beyond the emotional rewards that come with it, foster parenting requires a significant commitment, both emotionally and financially. One of the significant concerns that prospective foster parents have is how much it costs to foster a child.

There are financial considerations that foster parents have to make before opening up their homes and welcoming a child.

How Much Do Foster Parents Get Paid?

Foster parents receive a stipend from the state for the cost of raising a child. The amount varies depending on various factors, including state, the number of children in care, and any special needs the child may require.

Other Financial Costs Associated With Fostering

Foster Parents May Incur Other Expenses, Such As

  • Food, clothing, and other basic necessities for the child in care.
  • Transportation costs to and from appointments, school, and other activities.
  • Medical costs that may not be covered entirely by insurance.

Tax Implications For Foster Parents

Foster parents might be eligible for several tax deductions or credits that can help offset the cost of caring for a child. These include

  • Dependency exemption
  • Credit for child and dependent care expenses
  • Adoption tax credit
  • Foster care tax exclusion

While foster parenting is an act of kindness, it has considerable financial responsibilities. Understanding the financial implications and costs associated with fostering can help you make informed decisions about whether or not fostering is right for you.

The Impact Of Foster Parenting On Children’S Lives

Foster care is a noble and fulfilling way of providing a stable and nurturing environment for children who are unable to live with their birth parents. While the primary goal of foster care is to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing, financial compensation is also a significant benefit for foster parents.

Foster care reimbursement varies depending on the state, the child’s age, and the foster child’s needs, among other factors. But, how much foster parents get paid is not the focus of this article. Instead, let’s talk about the impact of foster parenting on children’s lives.

Positive Outcomes For Children In Foster Care

Foster care can be incredibly positive for children in various ways. Here are some potential benefits:

  • Children in foster care are in a stable and supportive environment, which helps provide emotional support to cope with the loss of their birth family.
  • Foster care can also provide an opportunity for children to receive specialized care, such as tutoring, counseling, or medical attention, if necessary.
  • Children who may have experienced trauma or neglect in their birth homes may receive a second chance by learning positive behaviors and skills that can help them build a brighter future.

Long-Term Benefits Of Foster Care For Both Children And Foster Parents

Foster care can have positive long-term effects on not only children but also foster parents. Here are some potential benefits:

  • Foster care can enrich the foster parents’ lives and enhance their sense of purpose. It can also provide an opportunity to positively impact a child’s life, contributing to their growth and development.
  • Foster care can teach valuable life lessons to both the children and their foster parents, reinforcing empathy, compassion, and resilience.
  • Foster care can also be a significant driver of community change, improving the lives of both children and families.

Foster care can be a rewarding and fulfilling way to contribute positively to society by improving the lives of vulnerable children. Foster care may present challenges, but the potential rewards make it an invaluable and worthwhile endeavor.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How Much Do Foster Parents Get Paid?

How Much Do Foster Parents Get Paid Per Child Per Month?

Foster parents receive an average stipend of $500-$800 per child per month for basic expenses.

Do Foster Parents Receive Any Additional Payments?

Foster parents may receive additional payments for clothing, school supplies, and other special needs.

Is There An Age Limit For Becoming A Foster Parent?

There is no specific age limit, but foster parents must be at least 21 years old and able to provide a stable home.

Can Foster Parents Work Outside The Home?

Yes, foster parents can work outside the home as long as they are able to provide adequate care and supervision for the foster child.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Certified Foster Parent?

The process to become a certified foster parent typically takes 3-6 months and includes training, home visits, and background checks.


After considering all the factors mentioned in this blog post, it is evident that foster parents are compensated for their valuable service. Becoming a foster parent is not an easy decision to make, but the rewards can be priceless. While the amount of money that foster parents receive varies depending on the state and the child’s needs, it is clear that foster parents receive financial support that can help cover the child’s food, clothing, and shelter expenses.

However, foster parenting is not about the money. It’s a chance to make a positive impact on a child’s life, give them a brighter future, and provide a loving and stable home environment. And while the compensation varies, the rewards of being a foster parent are infinite and immeasurable.

Therefore, if you are interested in becoming a foster parent, we encourage you to research, get informed, and take action to make a difference in a child’s life.

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …