Foster kids just like money in the bank
December 19, 2013
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
Children taken from parents and placed in foster homes generate a generous flow of cash to California counties, according to a recent Los Angeles Times report.
County social services agencies throughout the state net at least $1,800 each month for every child placed into foster care.
“The currency of the system is children; the key to getting more children — and earning more money — is finding willing foster parents,” The Times reported.
The newspaper noted the strong financial motivation for government’s placement of children in what often are inferior foster homes.
Approximately 40 percent of a monthly grant for each child goes to the foster parents; the remaining 60 percent goes to individual counties to help pay salaries and reduce office expenses.
Earlier this month, San Luis Obispo County Social Services Department Director Lee Collins asserted this county does not receive any government funding for children in the foster care system.
He told the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 10 that there is a high cost to the county for keeping children in county custody.
Statewide, many of these children then end up in neglectful or dangerous foster homes.
“The money that foster parents receive — about $748 a month in California, or $25 a day — is for the children’s living expenses,” The Times reported. “The homes are not meant to be profit-making enterprises, but it is the sole income for some parents.”
According to California’s state website, “The preferred placement of children who require out-of-home care is with relatives.” However, county employees have wide-ranging, often absolute, discretion in determining if children stay in foster homes, or with family members, while working to “reunify” kids with parents.
Many parents of children “relocated” to foster homes also reported extreme difficulties in getting child welfare employees to respond to allegations of foster abuse. Those employees are required by law to investigate within 48 hours allegations of abuse or neglect of their wards.