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  • Writer's pictureFostering Hope

The Cost to Raise a Child...Priceless

Do you know the cost of raising a child? Most don’t…you just do what you need to do to get through the day, the week, the month. Some families budget really well and truly have an idea of where their funds go (kudos to you friends!) and then there are the rest of us, who just do our best to spend wisely, get our bills paid, not overspend, and be as frugal as we can be to get to the end of the month.

One thing we all know as parents…kids are expensive. Do I hear anyone arguing with me? No, I didn’t think so! Between groceries, diapers, formula, constantly outgrowing clothes, daycare, sports, dance, gymnastics, school snack fees, field trips, club memberships, shoes…the list goes on. But we love our kids fiercely and we do it all without hesitation!

As foster parents, we do all of this plus frequent trips to doctors, therapists, family visits and more. And we do it because we love these children fiercely! There is a common theme amongst foster parents in our area specifically…they do this for the kids. Many of the foster families I know, sacrifice themselves in many ways for these children. Not just sleepless nights and constant reassurance as trust is earned…but skipping hair appointments, trading cars for something less expensive, opting to put home repairs and remodels to the side, not shopping for themselves…because adding children to your home, means adding to your budget and somewhere the budget needs to shift. We are so thankful that the foster parents in our area love so well that they are willing to sacrifice for themselves instead of having these children sacrifice even more. Foster Parents…kudos to you! You are doing it well and we are so proud of you!

“But, don’t foster parents get paid?” Yes! Foster parents get a check each month to help cover the cost of raising a child. And it helps! But, for many families, it does not cover all of the expenses needed. I wanted to talk about that for a minute. In full transparency, because I know people wonder.

First, let’s talk about why Fostering Hope exists. We exist because we want to stand with foster children and with foster families as a whole. We want to be able to be there to ‘fill the gap’ when needed. We want them to know that they are not alone!! For that mama struggling right now…listen…YOU ARE NOT ALONE! WE ARE IN THIS WITH YOU!

Tangibly, we provide items like, clothing, cribs, diapers, shoes, laundry detergent, meals and more. And all of this is FREE for local foster families who are currently parenting kids in care.

Why? Why do we do this if foster families receive a monthly check?

Good question!! Let’s do a little hypothetical...

Imagine you are sitting at home one night doing your thing and the phone rings…

‘Hello, can you help us? We need to place 2 children tonight. Can we bring them to your home now?’.

Ok, it’s not always that simple (we can talk about the million steps it takes prior to getting to that phone call in another post)…but often it IS that quick, with that little amount of info, and in that moment…those children NEED a safe place to sleep.

What will you do? Saying yes means, you need: Beds, bedding, clothes, shoes, personal items, maybe diapers, wipes, formula, crib, stroller, car seats, etc. Our local agencies are great at helping get necessary items to the kids so they are taken care of for a few days, but that goes quickly. And that check we mentioned earlier…it’s going to be weeks before you see it. How is that budget of yours? Do you have it in your monthly budget to buy every single thing those two children need right now? Maybe not…but you will figure it out, because you are an amazing foster parent and it’s what you signed up for!

What if there was an organization that can help put everything you need in your hands, so you don’t have to stress over those few weeks until that first check comes to help adjust your budget. Well, guess what…there is! FOSTERING HOPE!

Foster parents can come into our office and literally get whatever they need for those new children who have been placed in their home. We DESIRE to stand in that gap for you! We want your sole focus to be on loving and providing stability and care for those children. Those first few days and weeks can be tough…we are here to take some of that off of your plate!

Each month, we allow parents to continue coming in and gathering items that they need. Kids grow fast! Clothes and shoes and car seats are quickly outgrown. Again, it’s the least we can do. And that check…it helps! It’s amazing to help that budget! But it often doesn’t cover it all.

Let’s do a little math.

According to Morgan Stanley (2016) raising a child from birth to age 18 costs

approximately $245,000.

I would guess it’s more than that now, but we will stick with those figures for ease. In full transparency, a foster parent receives a check each month for a set amount based on the age of the child. It can be $527.57 - $571.48 for reference (and this varies from state to state and again, different things factor into that amount.).

For the sake of simplicity…let’s use $550 as our number.

$245,000/18 years = $13,611 per year

$13,611/12 months = $1,134 per month

$550 stipend - $1,134 per month - = -$584

I’m going to let that sink in for a minute….

I don’t personally know a single foster parent who is doing this for the money. And I know many foster parents who continue to sacrifice to make ends meet. They do it for the kids!!

Those of you who have not visited Fostering Hope…can I talk to you, from one foster family to another? I was once so…prideful? I don’t know if that is the best word…but never had I ever taken a ‘handout’ for any of my kids. Why would I start now? That was my mentality when we started fostering. Whew…

But then…

I went to Fostering Hope for the first time. I was loved and welcomed and felt like it was my own. I felt like I was in a place where people ‘got it’. It was comforting, and it was what my heart needed!

Not one single thing at Fostering Hope is a handout. Every single item in this building is here because someone wants to love on this child and your family. That is love…not a handout! Now, several years later, I work on the team with Fostering Hope. I feel that passionate about this ministry. My kids love this ministry as much as I do and feel at home here. I want you and your kids to feel the same!

This ministry is not easy, in fact there are days it is just plain hard. But we do this FOR these children and families and we DESIRE to stand WITH YOU!

I know this was long and if you made it this far…thank you! I hope this helps answer some questions that many have been wondering and I truly hope this reaches a foster family who may not yet know about us or has been hesitant to come in. Friend…we want to know you…and we want to walk this journey with you! We will see YOU soon!

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