money matters

With my first paycheck received for Jo Jo, I want to be upfront about the exact costs and reimbursements received in foster care.

I receive $482.72 per month (for four weeks) for Jo Jo. She is a level 1, meaning she receives only the basic level of compensation. For a medically fragile baby, such as Moose, who was a level 3, I received roughly $900 for four weeks.

Since Jo Jo’s arrival, I’ve paid out-of-pocket for the following:

Before WIC came through, I spent $56.43 on formula
Diapers so far: $45.95
Wipes: $5.97
Diaper genie: $19.99
Clothing/socks: $57.79
Batteries for swing: $6.99
Towel/washcloths: $17.48
Swaddle/receiving blankets: $21.98
Baby shampoo: $2.98
Baby clothes hangers: $2.99
Bottles: $13.99
Toys: $3.29

Total: $280.30

Today I received a check for the first week’s expenses ($120.68). Of course, this is not my first baby, and I had a completely prepared nursery prior to Jo Jo’s arrival with every big ticket baby item imaginable on hand; some that I bought, and some that were loaned to me. I also had baby clothes donated soon after and now I’m getting diapers donated as well. You can imagine that the initial cost for Moose was much higher, because I had to buy all the bottles/towel/wash cloths, car seat, etc. Plus everything I bought before he arrived, like a pack’n’play, extra swing for babysitter’s, crib, pacifiers, etc etc. He also had a LOT of extra gas expenses because many of his specialists were located 50 miles away, not to mention the frequency of his visits. So far, Jo Jo has none of these costs.

I don’t count the photo session for Jo Jo or all of the photos I paid to get printed for Moose.

There is an initial and annual clothing stipend that I suppose I can apply for in order to get reimbursed for the $57 I spent on Jo Jo’s clothing. Moose came with tons of clothes provided by his parents and grandma, but Jo Jo only had the pajamas she had on, which was provided by CPS. The clothing sent by her mother was all clothing for a one or two-year-old. I never got the stipend for Moose but I didn’t inquire about it, since the outfits I bought him were really just gifts, not necessary clothing items. I could’ve applied for reimbursement for his travel expenses, but I was already getting an increased rate for his medical care so I figured that it counted. All of his $900 per month went to childcare. Other than that, I spent money for him out of my own pocket for the duration of his stay for diapers, wipes, travel fuel, and the increased electric bill (I installed an A/C which was medically necessary for him, and the oxygen concentrator did increase the electric bill some).

I now have free childcare (yay for foster-grandmas!) so the money actually covers the cost of her living expenses, as it’s meant to. (Electricity, water, heat, and transportation to appointments as well as wipes, diapers, shampoo, etc).

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Categories: foster care

5 Comments »

  1. I want to thank you for posting this. My husband and I have always talked about one day fostering, but we could never get anyone to tell us the breakdown of expenses etc.

    • Remember that WIC and Medicaid covers all food/medical expenses (except gas mileage) and you can borrow or get on craigslist baby things for pretty cheap. The biggest hurdle is childcare, but if your foster child is older than 8 weeks, and doesn’t need specialized medical care, you can probably find a state-licensed daycare that will be at least partially subsidized. My work hours are 12 hours long, so there was no daycare open that long, plus on weekends. Still, I was always in the red when it came to Moose and his childcare. The biggest help is a friend or relative who is willing to babysit for a discounted price. My sister and another friend were willing to watch Moose for a 14 hour day for only $50. My point is, it’s much cheaper to raise a foster child than a bio child, but you definitely won’t *make* any money!!!

      With all the love you have for Willow and Hazel, and the mothering instinct they instilled in you, I know you’d be a great foster mommy πŸ™‚

  2. I understand you probably can’t divulge too much information about Moose, but I’m unsure of why he was fostered. I know you had a previous blog, so maybe you covered it then, are you willing to revisit that?

    • his parents made some mistakes early on, so because of his medically fragile condition the judge felt it was unsafe for him to go home until they could prove commitment/ability to parent him safely, which they did πŸ™‚

      • Ahhhh, I see. I’d gathered you’d expected him to be home, so I didn’t get why he wasn’t there in the first place.

        Good for them! And how wonderful he has you in his life then and now.

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