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How Much Do Foster Parents Make? State by State Guide

Deciding to foster a child is something that should be done out of the kindness of your heart to help a child have a safe and stable home. People should not decide to foster a child to make money.

The money that foster parents receive is to take care of the child in their home. Many times, this money is not even enough and the parents use much of their own money to take care of the child while they are with them.

When it comes to being a foster parent, it’s important to realize that the amount of the non-taxable government subsidy varies from state to state.

We’re going to look at how much foster parents receive for children in their care as well as other relevant topics relating to foster care.

How Much do Foster Parents Make Monthly Per Child?

Truthfully, foster parents are not “making” any money because there is no monetary profit. The rewards come in knowing that you made a positive impact on a child’s life when they needed it most.

But, here is a breakdown of the government subsidy, state by state. It should be noted that these are just ranges and the amount could vary depending on the level of care a child needs as well as the child’s age.

Source –

State Amount
Alabama  $462-501
Alaska   $781-1,432
Arizona $590-652
Arkansas $410-500
California $1,037
Colorado Varies by County
Connecticut $779-$856
Delaware $397-511
D.C. $1,011-1,038
Florida  $417
Georgia  $411-$486
Hawaii  $576-$676
Idaho $329-$587
Illinois  $426-$511
Indiana  $638-$800
Iowa  $478-$551
Kansas  $500
Kentucky  $690-$751
Louisianna  $330-$406
Maine  $797
Maryland  $835-$850
Massachusetts  $658-$788
Michigan  $534-$637
Minnesota  $345-$964
Mississippi   $325-$400
Missouri  $232-$313
Montana  $550-$658
Nebraska  $597-$1,097
Nevada  $591-$682
New Hampshire  $655-$836
New Jersey  $763-$838
New Mexico  $483-$542
New York $497-$631
North Carolina  $475-$634
North Dakota  $752-$954
Ohio  Varies by County
Oklahoma $532-$679
Oregon  $693-$795
Pennsylvania  Varies by County
Rhode Island  $538-$630
South Carolina  $332-$435
South Dakota  $579-$695
Tennessee  $731-$831
Texas  $400
Utah  $187-$211
Vermont  $522-$640
Virginia  $486-$721
Washington  $450-$668
West Virginia  $600
Wisconsin  $384-$499
Wyoming  $399


What Do Monthly Payments Cover?

The monthly payments are provided to meet the basic needs of the child. This includes money for food, clothing, transportation, and any personal expenses.

Foster children are covered under their state’s health insurance which is their version of Medicaid. This also covers any behavioral or mental health needs.

Do Payments Differ for Children with Special Needs?

If you are fostering a child that has special needs, you will get a higher monthly payment. Typically, these children require more attention which may include more doctors’ visits or visits to specialists. 

Other children may need therapy or mental health help due to any issues they may have in their past. Many children experienced neglect or abuse in their homes before becoming foster children.

When do Payments Start?

The start of payments will differ from state to state. Inquire in the state you live in to get more information. Typically, payments don’t start until the beginning of the second month you are providing care.

Be sure to have some money saved to cover expenses during those first two months. You should also have money set aside for while you foster since the monthly payments likely won’t cover all of the expenses.

Some states may offer an extra clothing allowance. But, that payment will likely be delayed. Be ready to spend some extra money if your foster child needs new clothes when they arrive.

Are There Tax Breaks for Fostering a Child?

Foster children are not eligible for many of the tax deductions and credits as biological or adopted children. Don’t forget, any government reimbursements are non-taxable.

If the agency that placed the child with you receives charitable donations, you can deduct your foster care expenses as charitable donations. If not, you may be able to qualify for claiming the child as a dependent.

Are There Income Requirements to be Eligible to Foster a Child?

This may vary in some states, but generally, the state just wants to make sure you make enough money to adequately support the child and your family’s needs.

Before being approved to be a foster parent, you’ll have to prove that you can pay your mortgage or rent, utilities, and provide basic needs like food and clothing.

Tax returns, pay stubs, and utility bills are typical documents that you will have to provide before being approved. Be sure to check your state’s application process and requirements.

Do Payments Continue After You Adopt a Foster Child?

Some states do offer a post-adoption subsidy. You can also try to apply for adoption assistance. This is available to children that the state determines cannot be adopted without assistance.

These children have special needs. Each state has its requirements for what this includes.

When you decide to foster a child, be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons and not as a way to make money. All children deserve a loving home where their needs can be met.