As budget hearings continue this week on health and human services programs, Idaho’s Division of Child Welfare is requesting a 20 percent increase in the stipends paid to foster parents for caring for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned or who are unsafe in their own homes. “There is no doubt our foster families are tasked with difficult work, caring for children traumatized from abuse or neglect,” Gary Moore, division administrator, told legislative budget writers this morning. “The state must work diligently to ensure our foster families do not face an additional burden.”
The proposed increase – which Gov. Butch Otter is recommending funding – would come to $347,800 next year in state general funds, and would draw $491,300 in federal matching funds, for a total increase of $839,100. For children from birth to 5 years old, the current monthly rate that Idaho pays foster parents is $329; for kids age 6-12, $366; and for kids age 13 and older, $487. The state surveyed surrounding states, and found that Idaho was far below the average of those states.