The topic of money is nearly always a difficult one. And even more so when you multiply it by a factor of caring for children taken by the state.
Welcome to foster care.
Money muddies the water. It confuses intentions and questions motives.
The first foster child we ever cared for asked us outright if we “did it for the money.” Our words denied it, but more importantly, our actions proved our case. Special meals and fun activities showed we had already spent more those few days on him than the $20 a day we might be paid.
In fact, foster parents aren’t technically paid at all. They are reimbursed approximately $15-20 a day per child for the expenses incurred while caring for these precious children. I think of it as the state chipping in for some of the grocery bill.
For us, and most of the foster parents we know, the math has never come close to making foster care financially profitable. It’s not only not about the money, but we actually have to not be about money in order to do it.
That said, some do it with a different equation. One where they can make an earning via the state’s reimbursements. And while others might, I don’t fault them for it. If you can clothe and feed and love these kids well with less than I can, please do.
My issue comes when the money becomes the driver. Or more importantly, when it shows. When kids know that the motivation isn’t love but money.
Many care for kids and earn money…daycare providers, babysitters, after school leaders. I’m deeply grateful for them and for their gifts, and I wouldn’t ask or expect them to do it for free. But the best ones I know are in it because they love the kids. And the best foster parents I know are in it because they love the kids.
Foster kids need to know that it’s not about the money. There are so many other questions for their hearts. We can’t let this be one of them.