monthly stipend questions
I was wondering, if we go into foster care can we spend the monthly stipend on a good used bigger vehicle or would we need the money elsewhere.
Also, is that money taxable income?
The money is not taxable.

My agency does not dictate where we spend our money. We did go buy a van three days after our three kids came because our two sedans couldn't fit all three & their car seats.
The stipend is intended to meet the child's needs, which includes all board and care needs. In other words, the money is intended to help with the increased cost of food, utilities, wear/tear on your home, toys/books, car seats, time off from work because the child is sick or expelled from school/daycare, etc. It would certainly include the upkeep of your vehicle which could mean the purchase of a different vehicle to meet your needs.

The stipend is a non-taxed reimbursement for your expenses... hence most places don't send a check until after you provide the care. That makes it really hard when a child first arrives at your door. They may have nothing except the clothes they have on and that first month is expensive.
Yes that first month can be very expensive!!! Our support helps me stay home more. Besides most foster children are special needs and need a mom at home. Less change the better.
bulrusmama said...
I was wondering, if we go into foster care can we spend the monthly stipend on a good used bigger vehicle or would we need the money elsewhere.
Also, is that money taxable income?

The state is going to make sure that you can meet your monthly obligations (like the car payment) without the use of the stipend. What if your foster children are suddenly reunited with a Biological family member or reunited with family before the car is paid off? There is no guarantee in foster care. The caseworker may call you with a sibling group and tell you it's long term-and then a month later call you to tell you the kids are being moved to a paternal aunt in another county. All of a sudden, that monthly stipend money is gone! Can you still make the car payment? What if you don't get another placement for two or three months?

I wouldn't recommend counting on a child's stipend in order to meet your own personal financial obligations because it's not something you cannot count on as being a steady & permanent income.

For instance, I have three foster children. Two were placed on 10/27 and I still haven't gotten paid anything for their care and it's now 12/11. In the meantime, I've had to buy winter coats, boots, shoes, clothes, groceries and pay $125.00 each for daycare every week. This is ALL coming out of my pocket because the stipend checks haven't started coming in yet-and it's 12/11.

The baby was placed on 8/24. I never get his checks at the same time each month. Sometimes it's the first week of the month. Sometimes it's the third week of the month. I got his October daycare reimbursement (they pay 1/3 of his daycare) on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. However, the cost of daycare, diapers and the new clothes (because he grows like a weed) eats up 95% of the money.

I guess I'm trying to say that it isn't a guaranteed income with a guaranteed paydate where you can count on the cash to pay your expenses. Also, you are going to be needing a LOT of extra cash when the kids come for daycare, school clothes, shoes, coats, formula, groceries. It adds up. There is NOT that much left over after I pay the kids expenses. I certainly couldn't keep enough cash out of the stipend for my three children to keep a new car.

I suppose I could put hand-me-downs on them from a thrift store and feed them lots of mac&cheese to save money-BUT, the money I get each month is SUPPOSED to be used for the children-not for my car payment. Therefore, it would be unethical for me to take money the state is paying me to care for children and use it to benefit my family by buying a bigger car that I otherwise couldn't afford.
Well, I didn't consider how late the checks would be. I can afford a good used vehicle without a stipend. My view on it is though that I wouldn't need another vehicle if it wasn't for taking in more children. I don't see that as unethical. Thanks for letting me know about how the daycare and all those expenses I didn't realize were there. Can another certified foster home provide day care for a foster child in my home while I'm in school? If so, does the state reimburse that person or is that my responsibility?
Daycare for foster children depends on the state you live in. In TX another licensed foster home can babysit & I was able to submit 3 "emergency" backup people that had to get background checks & agree to the policy & procedures of the agency. If a foster home is full they won't want to watch your kids too. (from my experience) & if they do want to watch your children (w/ a full house) the children aren't getting the attention they deserve.

I wouldn't buy a bigger vehicle for the intention of transporting foster children. I'd start w/ 1 or 2 at the most if you haven't had any palcements. I know for initial lisencing you need reliable transportation so whatever you have now must be ok w/ your agency.

The stipend is strictly for the children - they would benefit from a larger vehicle if there are a lot of children but kids are EXPENSIVE - I wouldn't buy anything until you know what your getting (toddler bed, crib, diapers, bottles) I have a pack & play on hand & the extra bed in the spare room - you don't know what you'll get or what that child needs. Your electric bill will skyrocket & they need clothes, shoes, food ect... you get the point. You have to buy these things up front & wait a long time for reimbursement-I wouldn't obligate myself to a car note for what you "may" get. The $$ is for the childrens basic needs which eat up the entire stipend.

I am expecting two more kiddos tomorrow, so went by the Sam's Club to pick up some groceries, more pull-ups (I have another 2yo), some warm jammies and clothes (just three each) AND stopped by the daycare to put down a deposit for them.....the state only pays part and usually takes a couple of weeks to start up.

Total for th day?

In my state we get paid every 2 weeks and I don't pay daycare they pay to the daycare directly. She bills them and they send her a check so I don't have to worry about it. I don't think the payment system in my state is that bad - I did have to wait about 1.5 months for my first check
Oh my Gosh! $600.00! Does anyone know what West Virginia pays for day care?
Florida pays a portion of day care - there is a copay - we did have to get a bigger vehicle - because or little sedan couldn't hold 4 carseats. Since they changed the law - almost all of our kids are in carseats. Last year I had 5 full sized carseats because all my kids were smaller that the norm and didn't fit in the "boosters".

Yes, you also have to remember carseats, strollers, cribs, toddler beds, gentle soaps, lotions, laundry products, lots of Magic Erasures, extra bedding - in case you don't get a chance to wash and dry that wet bed,

But don't foget~~~~~~ foster prents are only in it for the money. . . . .

We usually get our board check right around the 10th - unless we do respite - for some reason - respite gets way out there - like they are hoping we'll forget or something. . . . .. LOL
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