Louisiana increases monthly pension rate for foster parents

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For the first time in more than a decade, foster families in Louisiana will benefit from an increase in the monthly pension rate that provides financial support for the care of children and youth in the care of the State.

The increase was included in HB 1, which allocated an additional $ 11,946,139 to Louisiana foster families for fiscal year 2021-2022. The additional state funding will allow an increase of about 25% in the pension rates paid to caregivers, increasing the average daily rate from $ 15.20 to $ 19. The new rates came into effect on July 1. The last rate hike was in 2007.

The increase in counseling rates also means an increase in adoption and guardianship grants, which are paid to 80 percent of the current foster counseling rate for eligible families.

“This increase has been a long time coming, and we are so happy to finally be able to provide more meaningful financial support to families who help ensure the safety and well-being of children in state care,” said the Department of Secretary of Child and Family Services Marketa Garner Walters. “Our foster families not only meet the basic needs of children placed in their homes, but also provide specialized care to deal with the trauma of abuse or neglect. We are eternally grateful for their service. We are also grateful. to Rep. Mike Johnson for leading the charge on the budget amendment that included this well-deserved increase. He raised the conversation around the need for the increase and made sure lawmakers understood what the council rate covers . “

“No problem is more critical to me than taking care of our children, so when foster and foster families in my district asked me to see what could be done to increase board and inadequate grant, I was more than happy to do whatever I could for them, ”said Rep. Michael T. Johnson, R-Pineville, who previously served as founding president of the Rapides Children’s Advocacy Center and the program. special advocate appointed by the court.

Foster care commission rates are based on the age of the child and paid to foster families and family members whose homes are certified for children in state care. Board rates are intended to help meet the child’s daily needs for accommodation, food, clothing, allowances and incidentals, and cannot be used for unrelated expenses.

Without sufficient state support in recent years, foster families have continually disbursed to meet the basic needs of the children in their care, creating challenges in recruiting and maintaining foster homes.

Judge Adam J. Haney, of the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Court, told the House Appropriations Committee that the state expects a lot from foster parents, but has historically shown little appreciation in the form of what he pays as a pension rate. Foster parents are just ordinary people turning their lives upside down to help vulnerable children and young people, he said. They welcome a child they don’t know much about, treat him like their own – taking him to school, to the doctor, to the dentist, to the therapist – while serving as a mentor to the birth parents, coordinating visits with the family. and trying to keep their jobs and live their lives.

“And we, as the State of Louisiana, recognizing that without them we couldn’t do this, we say, ‘Thank you for everything you do. Our children are our future. They are the most important thing we have, and you take care of the most vulnerable children in our society. Thank you. Here is $ 15 a day. “My dog’s boarding costs me more,” Haney said of the old boarding rate. “We are flat on taking advantage of the kindness of these people.”

According to USDA reports on the costs of raising a child, the recommended rate for foster care counseling for southern states is $ 21.68 per day, and the subsidy rate recommended adoption / guardianship is $ 17.34 per day.

“The work of our foster parents is so often misunderstood and undervalued,” Secretary Walters said. “I don’t think there is a rate that could pay them for their extraordinary service.”


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