Monday, May 7, 2012


I have not kept complete records of the money we have spent on foster care or the money we receive from our agency every month; but I do keep track of our family expenses on my computer so I can pull up a report of how our budget looks (as long as I've been good about categorizing our expenses and incomes).

After having Primo for over 7 months we were pretty close to breaking even in April, meaning we have now spent as much as we have been given for Primo's care.  For the months before this we had way outspent the money that came from our agency for his care.  This is normal as we had to purchase some big ticket items for him, build up his wardrobe, and stock up on bottles, formula, toys, wipes and diapers.

It also takes a while to break even because our agency sends the checks for the current month at the end of the following month.  Meaning, even though Primo arrived in September we did not receive money for his care in September until the end of October.  I'm not sure if this is how all agencies work, but it is the way ours does.

Anyway, now that we are on an even keel I am thinking that it may be possible that we will have extra money left over after Primo's expenses next month.  I will save this money for upcoming wardrobe expenses and a new car seat and pack n play which we will need soon.

Which leads me to wonder what you all do if you have money left at the end of your child's stay with you?

According to my agency's giant red binder of information:   "Any bank accounts should be closed out and the balance should be given to the child in the form of a blank check"  Huh?

Doesn't seem so bright to hand over a blank check to anyone for a child, how can you be sure the money ends up helping the child?


  1. Our funds are given to US, the family, to reimburse us for our expenses. Depending on how you slice it we always use our funds, especially if you consider the cost of housing, food, our vehicle, etc. So, our funds go into the general fund for our family. That being said, we are very aware that we are being "reimbursed" which means that we should be spending on our kids and so we do - we're not shy about buying them new clothes, shoes, books, toys, and taking them on appropriate outings. In the event that we actually have more coming in than going out it means our budget has extra income/less expenses and therefore a surplus - we save that knowing future placements will bring with them a whole slew of new expenses that will exceed the reimbursement amount. The biggest expense like this we face is new furniture for new placements (we always seem to need something) and, even more so, the first few weeks of childcare since our state doesn't begin paying for care until 2 weeks after placement.

  2. Wow. That's crazy! I'm with Mie. That money is to reimburse all expenses-not necessarily just to spend specifically on the child. We traded in our car and bought a minivan for this second round of twins so anything that would be "over" I don't feel bad about designating towards that.

  3. Wow! I can't imagine being told that any surplus money has to go back to the child! We handle things a lot like Mie does. I make sure the children have all they need and then some. They have huge wardrobes, lots and lots of toys and we take them as many places as our schedules will allow.

    I have no problem allotting the per diem money to my family's general fund though. When a social worker decides to show up at 4:00PM last minute - and I end up taking the family out to dinner afterward - I figure I'm spending my per diem money and that's OK. If I go ahead and run the dishwasher when it's only 3/4 of the way full so that I can spend my time doing something with the kids instead of doing dishes by hand, I'm spending the per diem money.

    I think it would be nearly impossible to determine how much of the "extra" money should go back to the child. You have a right to be reimbursed for the other expenses this additional child brings to your family. Besides, I'm with could you know this money was going to be spent on the child if you just handed over a blank check. It would make more sense to think ahead and purchase items for Primo's future needs if you see fit. But me personally, I feel like the money was given to our family to reimburse us for ALL sorts of expenses, not just the tangible ones that can be easily tied to the new child. I have no problem keeping the money in our family's general fund.

  4. I believe that this is for older children that may have money of their own. If extended bio family gave the child a check and you didn't spend it all, or if some of the check you get was supposed to be to fund an allowance, and it was in a bank account. You should not have to return ANY of your 'reimbursement' check