INDIANAPOLIS-As a result of a legal settlement, today the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) released a new foster care per diem rate schedule. The reimbursements become effective January 1, 2012. With the new rates, the supervision needs of the child and his or her age, rather than the licensure level of the foster home, will determine the rate at which foster parents are reimbursed. All of the approximately 4,900 foster homes currently licensed in Indiana will be affected-about 2,700 managed by DCS and about 2,200 managed by Licensed Child Placement Agencies.
"The new rates we're unveiling today are the direct result of a survey of our foster parents by the Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research," said James W. Payne, DCS Director. "These new rates focus foremost on the needs of the child, which are our most important considerations when it becomes necessary for us to remove a child from his or her home for their own safety."
In 2009 DCS announced an intention to implement a 10 percent decrease in the foster care daily per diem, from $25 to $22.50. The American Civil Liberties Union then filed a lawsuit on behalf of several foster parents. A Federal District Court froze the rates at the 2009 level until DCS could demonstrate a clear methodology for covering the costs of caring for a foster child.
As a part of a legal settlement, DCS agreed to develop a rate setting method to determine foster care rates. To that end, DCS drafted administrative rules and held public hearings to gather input on the proposed methodology. As set out in the rules, the foster care rates cover the reasonable costs of caring for a foster child including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, a child's personal incidentals and travel for visitation and school. DCS engaged the Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research to survey Indiana foster parents to understand the actual costs incurred by foster care households associated with caring for foster kids. (A copy of the study may be viewed at http://www.in.gov/dcs/.)
Some children need enhanced supervision, which is categorized as Foster Care with Services, Therapeutic Foster Care or Therapeutic Plus. Rates for these categories of supervision were determined by a formula using the Ball State University Foster Care rate and the current rates paid to service providers for these enhanced services. Like the Foster Care rates, these are also broken out by age group. A nationally-recognized assessment tool, the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment (CANS), along with input from child and family team meetings, will be used by DCS to determine the category of care the child requires.
Beginning January 1, in addition to per diem rates described above, foster parents may receive additional payments to help purchase items that will benefit the child. The personal allowance will increase from $100 to $300 annually which can help children in care participate in activities such as sports, band or scouts, attend events such as a prom, or provide for other extracurricular fees. (See list of additional payments below.)
"The special allowances of $50 for the child's birthday and $50 during the December holiday season will help foster parents see the child receives things during these gift-giving occasions," said Payne. "While a child is in out-of-home care, it is important the child receive the level of supervision necessary but also for the child to celebrate a birthday or remain involved in extracurricular activities. Foster children are no different than any other child."
About Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS):
DCS is committed to protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. Family case managers' primary goal is to keep children at home with their family though sometimes placing them in temporary foster care is necessary to ensure their safety. The Kids First Trust Fund, supported by the sale of 'Kids First' specialty automobile license plates, subsidizes child abuse and neglect prevention programs. DCS also oversees foster-care adoptions and the child support bureau. In collaboration with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, Books for Youth is targeting a Super Goal for the Super Game: collect 750,000 books for foster kids by Feb. 2012. Child abuse/neglect hotline: 800.800.5556. http://www.in.gov/dcs/index.htm.
For more information:
Ann Houseworth, Communications Director
Rich Allen, Ass't. Communications Director
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES'
NEW FOSTER CARE RATES
The standard per diem payments effective January 1, 2012 are:
| Category of Supervision
|| Infant-4 years
|| 5 - 13 years
|| 14 - 18 years|
| Foster Care
| Foster Care with Services
| Therapeutic Foster Care
| Therapeutic Plus
In addition to the above described per diem payment, foster parents may receive the following payments to purchase items for the benefit of the child:
- Initial Clothing Allowance - DCS may provide the foster family with an initial clothing and personal items allotment at the time of placement of up to $200 based on the child's need.
- Liability Insurance - DCS will provide foster care liability insurance for foster parents through a contract with the Indiana Foster Care and Adoption Association (IFCAA). Foster parents no longer need to be members of IFCAA to obtain the insurance.
- Personal Allowance - DCS will reimburse foster parents up to $300 annually for each child in placement. Foster parents may request reimbursement for personal allowance items once the child has been in placement for at least 8 days. The items that fall within the personal allowance will be defined in DCS Policy.
- Special Occasion Allowance - DCS will provide a $50 special occasion allowance on the child's birthday and a $50 special occasion allowance during the December holidays.
- Travel Reimbursement - DCS will reimburse foster parents for travel in excess of 162 miles if the travel is for visitation, school, physical/behavioral health appointment or other DCS required travel which will be set out in the Indiana Foster Parent Resource Guide.
The foster care per diem covers 162 miles per month for travel as determined by the Ball State Study. If foster parents travel in excess of 162 miles for the reasons cited in 5 above, foster parents can invoice DCS for the additional travels.
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