With my first paycheck received for Jo Jo, I want to be upfront about the exact costs and reimbursements received in foster care.
I receive $482.72 per month (for four weeks) for Jo Jo. She is a level 1, meaning she receives only the basic level of compensation. For a medically fragile baby, such as Moose, who was a level 3, I received roughly $900 for four weeks.
Since Jo Jo’s arrival, I’ve paid out-of-pocket for the following:
Before WIC came through, I spent $56.43 on formula
Diapers so far: $45.95
Diaper genie: $19.99
Batteries for swing: $6.99
Swaddle/receiving blankets: $21.98
Baby shampoo: $2.98
Baby clothes hangers: $2.99
Today I received a check for the first week’s expenses ($120.68). Of course, this is not my first baby, and I had a completely prepared nursery prior to Jo Jo’s arrival with every big ticket baby item imaginable on hand; some that I bought, and some that were loaned to me. I also had baby clothes donated soon after and now I’m getting diapers donated as well. You can imagine that the initial cost for Moose was much higher, because I had to buy all the bottles/towel/wash cloths, car seat, etc. Plus everything I bought before he arrived, like a pack’n’play, extra swing for babysitter’s, crib, pacifiers, etc etc. He also had a LOT of extra gas expenses because many of his specialists were located 50 miles away, not to mention the frequency of his visits. So far, Jo Jo has none of these costs.
I don’t count the photo session for Jo Jo or all of the photos I paid to get printed for Moose.
There is an initial and annual clothing stipend that I suppose I can apply for in order to get reimbursed for the $57 I spent on Jo Jo’s clothing. Moose came with tons of clothes provided by his parents and grandma, but Jo Jo only had the pajamas she had on, which was provided by CPS. The clothing sent by her mother was all clothing for a one or two-year-old. I never got the stipend for Moose but I didn’t inquire about it, since the outfits I bought him were really just gifts, not necessary clothing items. I could’ve applied for reimbursement for his travel expenses, but I was already getting an increased rate for his medical care so I figured that it counted. All of his $900 per month went to childcare. Other than that, I spent money for him out of my own pocket for the duration of his stay for diapers, wipes, travel fuel, and the increased electric bill (I installed an A/C which was medically necessary for him, and the oxygen concentrator did increase the electric bill some).
I now have free childcare (yay for foster-grandmas!) so the money actually covers the cost of her living expenses, as it’s meant to. (Electricity, water, heat, and transportation to appointments as well as wipes, diapers, shampoo, etc).