In July of last year, Louisiana raised the board rate for foster children for the first time in more than a decade. The adjustment to the amount foster parents were allotted came into effect on July 1, 2021, and was the first rise in the rate paid to foster parents since 2007. Even with the larger amount being paid, there are still children in need of loving families to care for them until they can return to their own families or find forever families going forward. Isn’t it time we looked at foster care in Louisiana, and beyond? What can we do for these children?
The Latest Numbers
According to the Department of Children & Family Services, there are more than 4,000 children in the foster care system in the State of Louisiana and that number is expected to rise in the coming years. A huge part of that expectation is the same as in any state and many countries around the world. Addiction is a leading cause leading up to such things as abuse or neglect and poverty also plays a big part in why children aren’t given the care they need in their biological families. Many times, the abuse or neglect is reported by concerned family and friends and other times children are referred to the department by schools who have a legal and moral responsibility to do so. With that in mind, many pastors and concerned civic leaders are urging qualified families and individuals if necessary to step up to the plate. Our children need us.
A Quick Look at Foster Care Abroad
Although there isn’t much that foster agencies can do about the rate being paid for the care of these little people and teens, it may help to raise an awareness of what foster parents are paid in other countries in the Western World. In the UK, for example, children placed in families through independent agencies like fosterplus.co.uk are given what is called a care allowance. This amount averages between £19,000 and £27,600 each year per child. Here at home in our state, that rate is between $21,400 and $31,200 USD. In Louisiana the rate is paid monthly at a daily rate of $19/day per child. That amount equates to less than $7,000 per year if the child remains in care that long.
What You Can Do for the Children
In the end, as a civic minded person you can begin lobbying the State to adjust that amount to a decent care rate for each child. It may be difficult to place children in a state where poverty is rampant, but our children need us. In the meantime, if you have room in your home and heart to take in a child who needs a loving temporary or permanent home, it’s time to step forward. The rate paid per child per day isn’t nearly as much as caregivers get abroad but it can subsidize what you need to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. Only you have the love in your heart to take on this huge responsibility and until such time as we raise awareness of the great need within our state legislators, let your love do the rest. Once again, our children need us. What can you do to ease their suffering?