Note: This information has been excerpted from materials specific to one state. Be sure to check with your Foster Care Specialist for details in your state, county, or province.
All provider parents are paid a daily rate for clients for which they are responsible. There are different rates of pay for the different services that are provided. The rate is discussed prior to placement and an agreement between the Agency and the provider parents is completed. Parents are paid for days which end with an overnight stay. On a day when a client changes provider families, the family who has the client overnight will be paid for that day. Since the first and last day of a placement are partial days, only the first day will be paid. If a client is temporarily in the home of another provider parent overnight, that parent is paid. Payment for day-time sitter services is the responsibility of the provider family.
Reimbursement for expenses incurred providing room and board for clients in provider homes is a part of the daily payment to provider parents.
Money paid to parents is expected to cover food; shelter; laundry expenses; personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo, sanitary needs, hair cuts/styling, etc. which are normally used by other members of the family; any activities which the family plans such as movies, amusement parks, etc.; and transportation costs.
All children are normally eligible for free school lunches. They are also eligible for food services and fluoride supplements through WIC. The form for free lunches is obtained through the school the child attends. The form for WIC services is available through the FCS office.
Some clients have income from Social Security, jobs, or other sources. In various cases, these funds are held by This Agency, a natural family member, a provider parent, or the client. Provider parents should not use these funds or require these clients to pay for expenses which fall within the definitions of room and board above.
A client may acquire furniture and appliances with his/her own funds, but should not be required to purchase furnishings for his/her room or appliances that are for general family use. Clients retain ownership of those things that they purchase. They may pay for entertainment and other activities they attend as individuals and not as part of the family.
Provider families are expected to treat clients as their own. They are to purchase all items which they normally purchase for their own children such as school pictures and yearbooks, color day, homecoming, or other special occasion items, toys, etc.
Provider parents are expected to reward clients as they do their own children by supplying treats, allowance, etc.
Reimbursement is not provided for any items needed to care for a client which are normally part of a home such as beds, linens, furniture, toys, play equipment, dishes, bottles, etc. Reimbursement is not provided for any home furnishings/equipment that are damaged or missing while a client is in placement. Money cannot be taken out of a client’s personal account against his/her wishes to pay for damages in the provider home. If damages occur and the client refuses to pay for the damages, the parents should file criminal charges to recover the loss.
Medical costs including prescription medication are normally covered by Medical Assistance through the client’s ACCESS card. Intermittent over-the-counter medication prescribed for colds, fever, upset stomach, headaches, etc. is furnished by the provider parents. Regular, long-term use, over-the-counter medication used to treat a diagnosed disease, ordered by a physician, and not covered by the ACCESS card is paid for by the provider parent and reimbursed by this Agency. Except in emergencies, foster parents must have prior approval from the client supervisor for this Agency to pay for medical expenses not covered by the medical card, eyeglasses not covered by the medical card, etc. If prior approval is not obtained, provider parents will be responsible for payment. Reimbursement is requested by submitting a reimbursement form to the client supervisor with a copy of the physician’s order or prescription and receipts for purchases.
Clothing is purchased by provider parents and reimbursed by this Agency or clothing may be purchased by the client or natural family members from client or other funds. Other expenses may be reimbursed by this Agency according to specific program procedures. All reimbursements are requested by submitting reimbursement forms to the client supervisor with receipts and other necessary documentation. Forms must be filled out with ink (not pencil) with the client’s name as it appears in the Agencies records. Enter the date of the day the form is filled out which should not be prior to the dates on the receipts. Receipts submitted must show that the items were purchased by cash, check, charge card or charge account. Price tags are not adequate receipts. If lay-away statements are used as receipts, they must show that items were received and paid for. If a receipt is lost, prepare and sign a statement as follows:
I certify that I purchased (list items) from (store) on (date) for (price). (your signature)
Attach receipts to the back of the form. Receipts and purchases must be shown to the client supervisor when reimbursement is requested. The reimbursement form will be taken to the Agency office by the client supervisor and a check will be issued promptly.
Advance payments may be requested to meet unusual expenses connected with provider parenting, such as initial placement expenses or major purchases of $250 or more. We will not issue advances for routine expenses because we process reimbursements within three weeks or less. Advance checks will be mailed as soon as possible. Reimbursement forms will be submitted as usual. The advance will be collected from subsequent payments.
Some providers have requested early payments due to being away on vacation and other reasons. Due to the Agencies cash management policy, payments are not made before the due date. However, advance payments to meet unusual expenses connected with client care are available as described above. The Agency can deposit checks when provider parents are away.
Provider families are responsible for all transportation of clients to school, work, day programming, medical and dental appointments, counseling appointments, natural family visits within our normal geographical placement limits which is 50 miles in any direction from this Agency, court hearings, and any other activities that are part of an approved treatment plan. Clients may use free or subsidized transportation that may be authorized for them. Any cost of transportation will be paid by the provider family. Client funds will not be used, except when the client’s plan includes working toward independence by providing his/her own transportation. Provider families are also responsible for arranging backup transportation if a client misses scheduled transportation such as the bus going to or from school. If transportation cannot be arranged in an emergency, This Agency will arrange it and deduct a charge per mile travelled by FCS staff or half of the daily provider payment, whichever is greater. The Agency may assist with unusually difficult transportation requirements. Parents should discuss transportation problems with their client supervisor.
Provider parents are responsible for arranging for a qualified sitter when the need arises. If no sitter can be found in an emergency, this Agency will arrange for a sitter and will deduct at least 1/2 of the daily payment or more if the expense exceeds that amount. If an overnight sitter is needed, the entire daily payment will go to the sitter. It is the responsibility of the provider parents to arrange for their own sitters except in emergencies. See the Sitter Policy for sitter requirements.
In some cases, a provider parent serves as representative payee for a client receiving social security benefits. The Agency will provide appropriate financial training.