Do SC Foster Parents Get Financial Assistance?

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Understanding the SC Foster Care Stipend

Money is always a touchy subject. Nobody wants to ask, but everyone wants to know- “do foster parents get paid?” It’s taboo because we don’t want others to think that we are getting into fostering for the money (hint: most people are not!) But at the same time, we have to be realistic that for many families, money is a concern. 

The need for foster parents is great! We need to address the perceived boundaries to fostering so that more families may feel confident to step up to the plate. So if you’ve ever wondered “do foster parents get paid” or “how much do foster parents get paid,” we’re going to answer your questions outright.

Do foster parents get paid?

South Carolina foster parents do receive a monthly stipend for each child that is in their home called a “board payment.” Fostering takes a lot of work. The stipend or board payment is paid to a family to cover essentials for the children in their care. This money is expected to help cover some of the costs of essentials like food, clothing, daycare, car seats, beds, and any extras like after-school activities. There are additional financial supports in place for foster families which we will talk about here as well.

How much do SC foster parents get paid?

Maybe you’ve heard that foster parents are doing it “for the money” and now you want to know how much they make. Or maybe you are considering stepping into foster care yourself and are curious if it will be doable for your family’s current budget.

Let’s talk dollars! In July 2019, South Carolina Department of Social Services announced updates to the regular foster home board rates. The daily board rate is the amount that a foster family is paid per day that a foster child is placed in their home. This is typically paid by a South Carolina ePay Mastercard or by direct deposit to your bank account once a month. A new foster family will receive their ePay card after the initial placement of foster children in their home.

These are the current board rates for regular foster homes in South Carolina as of July 1, 2019:

What other financial supports are available for foster families?

  1. Medicaid– Expect in rare circumstances, each child in foster care will get state health insurance, Medicaid. The foster parent is not responsible for paying out of pocket for medical appointments or prescription medication. This typically includes counseling and behavioral health as well. 
  2. ABC Vouchers – For individuals or couples that each work at least 30 hours per week, daycare assistance is available upon proof of full-time employment. ABC vouchers allow foster parents to continue working (inside or outside the home) without having to cover the entire cost of childcare. Note: Foster Parents who receive Social Security Disability payments are also eligible to receive ABC vouchers.  If a two-parent foster home, both foster parents must receive disability income.  To use these vouchers, you need to utilize an ABC quality daycare. To apply for ABC vouchers for a new placement, talk with your Family Licensing Support case worker or the child’s case worker.
  3. WIC Vouchers – The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program provides vouchers for healthy foods and baby formula. All South Carolina children in foster care ages 0-5 years old are automatically eligible. You will need to register the child with your local WIC office and it may require an appointment. To apply for WIC or to make an appointment, call 1-855-4-SCDHEC (1-855-472-3432).
  4. Clothing Stipend – Families will typically receive an initial clothing stipend of $100 per child to cover some of the cost of purchasing clothing for a new placement. This comes as a paper check. Families will also receive a quarterly clothing stipend for children that are in their home for a longer-term placement to cover part of the cost of purchasing new clothing or seasonal items such as jackets, etc.

If you are considering becoming a foster parent, you shouldn’t have to feel nervous about asking for more information. You can always be upfront with your case worker and licensing agency. We encourage you to ask questions and express your concerns; they’ve probably heard it all before. 

No one will judge you for not having all the answers or being confused about what foster care is like. Some things you just have to learn along the way, but some things you can be prepared for- like knowing the financial implications of stepping into foster care. It shouldn’t be a secret!

Ready to get started? Learn more about becoming an SC foster parent.

Still have some questions? Trying to process your doubts? We want to help. Contact Care2Foster for more information about foster care and how you can take next steps.

Want to connect with other current and prospective South Carolina foster parents? In the SHAREfostering community, you can get connected, access resources, and ask questions. No judgement!

Kaley has been a foster parent since 2017. Kaley, her husband, and their dog Rosie currently reside in a small town in Upstate SC. As Director of SC Operations for Care2Foster, Kaley focuses on recruiting and supporting families as they take their next steps learning more about foster care. She is passionate about supporting foster families with authenticity, vulnerability, and hope. She is also President of her county Foster Parent Association.

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