Benefits for Foster Parents in California

Being a foster parent can be a rewarding experience. In addition to helping to brighten the life of a child in need, foster parents in California receive a variety of benefits to ensure that they are able to best provide for the child or children in their care 2. The Golden State recognizes the special needs of foster parents and works to make sure that the parents are given the support needed to provide loving homes. All benefits are offered through:

California Department of Children and Family Services 425 Shatto Place Los Angeles, CA 90020 213-351-5507 2

Respite Care

One of the biggest challenges that foster parents of children of special needs or behavioral issues face is finding short term, quality replacement care for their foster child. The state of California offers a respite care program that is designed to allow foster parents of children with special needs to take a break 2. Foster parents who are working around the clock to meet the needs of a child with physical or emotional issues may become burned out and be less effective as parents. To prevent this, the state provides professionally trained child care workers to stay with the child while the foster parent takes some much deserved time off, typically lasting no more than a couple of days.

Free Parenting Classes

Parenting classes can be extremely beneficial and are offered free of charge to all applicants who wish to become foster parents in the state of California 1. These classes are taught by licensed social workers and instruct new and would-be foster parents on the basics of child care as well as how to care for a special needs child or child with emotional issues. Participants in the class learn methods of stress management, the importance of structure in a child's life and the difference between discipline and punishment. In addition to the classes provided, support is offered 24 hours a day through the California Department of Children and Family Services 2.

Financial Assistance

In addition to being sometimes stressful, being a foster parent can present financial concerns. To help offset the cost of raising a foster child, the state of California provides a monthly payment to the foster parent that is to be used for typical children's necessities such as clothing, food and toys. While the monthly rate given to foster parents may vary by county, the typical monthly stipend averages $446 to $667 per month, per child and is based on factors including the age and needs of the child. For children who are considered special needs due to physical or emotional concerns, this rate may be increased by an additional $84 to $175 per month, based on specific needs as determined by the state.