INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Missouri’s reimbursement rate for foster families is the 48th lowest in the country. On July 1, state budget cuts took effect reducing that amount for families by another 1.5 percent.
“Many families will loose about $6 a week with the cut, so that takes your money down to about $13.50 a day to take care of a kid. It was hard enough to do it with $15 a day, but it's really difficult to do now with $13.50.” said Heather Saak with Foster Adopt Connect in Kansas City.
Many foster families and agencies that serve them were disappointed with the decision to cut funding.
“Missouri already has the 48th lowest pay in the nation for foster parent reimbursement, so for there to be a 3 percent increase and then within a year a 1.5 percent deduction, it was more of the principle I think for a lot of people,” said Derek Williams.
But on Thursday, July 20th many impacted by this cut received some unexpected good news.
“Governor Greitens has sent a letter to all of us individually telling us it will be reinstated but we haven't heard when it will be reinstated,” said Saak.
And knowing that funding will soon be restored, many foster families say they can breathe a little easier now.
“For the governor to come out and say we made a mistake and we're going to make it right was pretty impressive,” said Williams.
“While we're really happy with what governor Greitens did for the state and for the foster parents and the foster children, we still have a lot more work to do, but we're on the right road,” said Saak.
There are more than 13,000 kids in Missouri’s foster care system. In Jackson County there are more than 1,800 children in the foster system, but only 305 foster families.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent contact the Missouri Department of Social Services: http://dss.mo.gov/cd/fostercare/
There are many local agencies that provide resources and training to foster families. Foster Adopt Connect is one of many agencies working to educate and recruit foster parents and advocate for changes in the system: https://www.fosteradopt.org/