BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- Louisiana’s foster caregivers received an increase of about 25% in the monthly board rate, providing financial support for the care of children and youth in the State’s custody.
The raising of the average daily rate went from $15.20 to $19, effective July 1, 2021. Board rates are intended to help meet the daily needs of the child, including shelter, food, clothing, allowance and incidental expenses.
“This increase has been a long time coming, and we are so glad to finally be able to provide more meaningful financial support to the families who help ensure the safety and well-being of the children entrusted to the State’s custody,” said Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Secretary Marketa Garner Walters.
With the increase in board rates, there may be an increase in guardianship and adoption aid.
According to adoptuskids.org, becoming a foster caregiver has little to no cost but requires much patience. The process takes six to twelve months to complete all the steps necessary to be licensed to adopt or foster. This includes submitting an application, undergoing a home study and attending training.
“Our foster caregivers not only provide for the basic needs of the children placed in their home, but also provide specialized care to address the trauma experienced from abuse or neglect,” Marketa said.
Foster care board rates are based on the age of the child and paid to foster caregivers and relatives whose homes are certified for children in the custody of the State.
As of April 2021, there are 667 newly certified foster homes, according to the Department of Children and Family Services.
Walters said United States Rep. Mike Johnson led the charge on the increase and budget amendment.
“He elevated the conversation around the need for the increase and ensured legislators understood what the board rate covers,” Walters said.
“No issue is more critical for me than the care of our children, so when foster and adoptive families in my district asked me to see what could be done to raise the inadequate board and subsidy rates, I was more than happy to do everything that I could for them,” Johnson said.
Are you interested in fostering or adopting a child? Follow this link to the Department of Children and Family Services website.