Foster in Texas, a program of Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSS), is one of the largest foster care agencies in Texas with 15 offices in the state including Lubbock and Amarillo. We are also the organization that operates Neighborhood House and Health For Friends Clinic which provide wonderful services to the needy in Lubbock.
In foster care, we’re seeing an unprecedented shift in demand across the state including Lubbock for foster families willing to take on infants,sibling groups, and teenagers. Children come into the foster care system typically when Child Protective Services (CPS), a state agency, removes a child from the biological home for reasons of abuse and/or neglect.
· There are ~64,000 confirmed cases/year of child abuse and neglect in Texas (according to Dept. of Family and Protective Services, the parent organization of CPS).
· Roughly ~27,500 kids end up in foster care per year in Texas
· Currently there are ~16,500 kids in foster care in 2013
· Currently about ~12,000 verified foster homes statewide
· We need more foster homes!
Increasingly, children removed from the home by CPS are being placed in “kinship care” – with relatives or close family friends nearby. This typically means grandparents or an aunt/uncle. This is often but not always the best case scenario for the child. Kinship families do not have to be verified foster families and they are paid significantly less than a verified foster family would be.
What seems to be occurring is that kinship families struggle to care for…
Infants, because they:
· Require 24/7 care
· Daycare expenses are not reimbursed and must be paid out of pocket
Sibling Groups of 2 or more, because they:
· Require more physical space in the home
· Exponentially more expensive: food, clothing expenses, etc.
· Require more time: - Dr.’s visits, after school activities, etc.
Teenagers, because they
· Are teenagers!
· Normal teenage behavioral issues + the trauma of being removed from the home = tough to handle teenager
· Teenagers are generally more expensive!
So we are receiving more and more requests from CPS to place infants,sibling groups, and teenagers into foster homes. We need more families willing to step up. In Lubbock!
Kinship families typically receive a one-time payment from the state ($500 - $1,000) but do not receive daily reimbursement like a regular verified foster family would receive if they were verified by an agency like ours. Many kinship families are unaware of this and can go through the same process and become verified and eligible for daily reimbursement.
Daily Foster Family Reimbursement rates:
· Basic: $23.10
· Moderate: $40.44
· Specialized: $51.99
· Intense: $92.43