Insurance for Foster Families

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Some states require that prospective foster parents show that their current family insurance will cover certain damages caused by or to foster children living in the home, and some states and foster parent associations offer policies specifically for foster families, children, and homes. Check with your local association, social worker, and current insurance carrier.

In his article "Negligence and foster children -- who is responsible?" in the March 2003 issue of Fostering Families Today, Daniel Pollack, M.S.W, J.D. wrote:

"There are some states that have enacted legislation or have statutes or public policies providing for state-funded liability insurance for foster parents. Because commercial insurance companies are unlikely to insure individual foster parents, state-funded insurance policies provide needed protection. To guard against limitless claims, most states have set boundaries on the protection they provide. For example, Maryland sets a maximum award of $5,000, with payments exceeding $2,000 requiring approval. Iowa will not pay liability damages exceeding $300,000 for a single foster home for all claims arising out of one or more incidents during a calendar year. And Minnesota limits payment to $250,000 for each incident."

And the National Foster Parent Association(NFPA)has been a long-time supporter of liability insurance for foster parents who it calls "volunteers who open their doors to unknown liability each time they take a new foster child." They state further, "NFPA believes that since the agency retains complete legal guardianship of these children, injuries damages and thefts against any person or property caused or committed by the agency’s wards should be the agency’s responsibility. NFPA strongly feels that state or local agencies should provide public and private liability coverage, including additional automobile insurance, for all foster parents."

Sample Policy Coverage

One foster parent liability policy describes its coverage as including:

  • protection in the event a foster child in your care is injured and you are sued by the child’s natural parents or guardian.
  • protection from claims for bodily injury or property damage to the person or property of another because of an act or your Foster Child.
  • personal injury liability coverage for such things a libel, slander, false arrest, wrongful eviction and alienation of the affection of your foster child from his/her parent.
  • incidental malpractice liability coverage for your failure to provide needed medical care, therapy, diet or other special needs of your Foster Child.
  • contemplating coverage for foster children under the age of 18.

Credits: Nancy S. Ashe

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