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How Much Money Do You Get For Being a Foster Parent?

If you are considering becoming a foster parent (also known as Resource Parent) or host-guardian, at some point you’re going to wonder how much foster parents get paid in California.  That’s a perfectly fair question.

In theory, a resource or foster family can earn as much more than $9,000 per month, prorated per night.  But it’s all based on variables like the number of kids you’re fostering, their ages and any special needs they may have. So what’s the actual payment range?

In the state of California, foster parents currently (2020) may receive between $1000 to $2609 each month per child, depending on the Level of Care. You may have up to 6 children in one home, depending on their needs; but it is more reasonable to have less than 6.  A foster family agency may opt to give foster parents more than the minimum, so you should check with your agency.

Learn More About Fostering in California

How Foster Parent Pay Works

Technically, foster parents get reimbursed, not paid.  But for the sake of simplicity, let’s call it a payment that comes completely tax-free.

As a foster parent or host-guardian you take on the responsibility of ensuring the kids are safe, well fed and clothed. You’ll need to provide everything a child needs to grow healthy in a safe environment. So, regardless of whether you are fostering on a temporary or a long-term basis, there are legitimate costs involved in supporting the child or children you’re helping.

That’s what makes the money reimbursement programs such an important part of foster care programs.

Here are some of the factors that impact the payment scale:

  • The medical and emotional needs of the child
  • The state you live in (but we’re only focusing on California in this article)
  • Any bonuses offered by your chosen foster care agency

In general, the foster parent pay scale increases depending on the specific health or emotional needs of the children. For example, foster parents in Intensive Service Foster Care (ISFC), and care for a child with significant mental or health needs, may receive up to $2,609 per month. 

How Much Will You Get Paid to Foster a Child?

It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyways: don’t become a foster parent just for the money.  Fostering children should be about providing a safe, nurturing for the kids while emotionally enhancing your own life as well. That being said, we know the money matters.  That’s the way the world works and you need money to create the best possible environment for the kids.  

It’s nice to know the general numbers.  But your situation is different from everyone else’s.  Here are some things to consider:

  • You have a certain amount of space in your home.
  • You may be interested in foster kids within a certain age group.
  • You may or may not be able to help children who have special medical or emotional needs. You may be interested in children with serious health needs (e.g. medically-fragile children).
  • If you’re working with Knotts Family Agency, we pay a monthly compensation bonus that is over and beyond the minimum rate established by the state.  But you may be working with an agency that doesn’t. Contact us to learn more about our benefits.
  • You may want to be a host-guardian (part-time foster parenting) instead of being a full-time foster parent

Certain Foster Care Agencies Pay Foster Parents More

Because your situation is unique, you’re going to need help navigating the process and figuring out the best possible outcome for yourself and your family.

That’s where we come in.  Knotts Family Agency has offered friendly, no-rush, no-obligation coaching to foster parents for nearly two decades. Although money is not the only factor, when selecting an agency, consider one that is willing to provide higher than the minimum. 

For example, although the state of California currently has a rate of approximately $2,600 per month for children in LOC 5 (also known as Intensive Service Foster Care), Knotts Family Agency adds up to $400, bringing the total to $3000, for children in certain IFSC sub-categories.

Give us a call today at 909-301-0504 or click here to Contact Us.

We’d be happy to answer any questions you have – and walk you step by step through the process of becoming a foster parent.

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