• Estimating the Costs Associated with Caring for Foster Children in United States

      O'Neale, Shalita; DePanfilis, Diane; Daining, Clara; Frick, Kevin (2008-12-11)
      This study, a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Children’s Rights, and the National Foster Parent Association implemented methods to estimate costs associated with reimbursing foster parents for adequately meeting the basic needs of foster children in their care. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 provides federal funding for foster care to the states if they meet certain requirements under a plan that must first be approved by the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Among the state plan requirements that states must meet is that foster parents be provided foster care maintenance payments which the law defines as: “payments to cover the cost of (and the cost of providing) food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, a child’s personal incidentals, liability insurance with respect to a child, and reasonable travel to the child’s home for visitation.” Consumer Expenditure Survey data were used to develop templates for estimating costs to meet basic needs in each of these categories considering differential costs based on child’s age and geographic location. The proposed “Minimum Adequate Rates for Children” (MARC) developed for each state and the District of Columbia based on cost of living adjustments. The proposed MARC for each jurisdiction may be used as a resource for adjusting base rates that meet the actual estimated costs of meeting the basic needs of children in foster care. (From project summary)