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Report Highlights Inadequate Foster Care Rates

10/3/2007:   CWLA is cosponsoring a congressional briefing Wednesday October 3 in Washington highlighting a new report, Hitting the MARC: Establishing Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children.

The report calculates the real expenses of caring for a child in foster care and recommends foster care rates for the states and the District of Columbia, which each set their own rates. CWLA served on the advisory board for the report's authors, Children's Rights, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and the National Foster Parent Association.

Hitting the MARC demonstrates that rates of support for children in foster care are far below what is necessary to provide basic care for children in care in nearly every state. On average, current foster care rates would have to increase almost 40% nationwide to provide for basic care, according to the report. The national average of the Foster Care MARC is $629 per month for 2-year-olds, $721 per month for 9-year-olds, and $790 per month for 16-year-olds, compared with the current national average rates of $488 per month, $509 per month, and $568 per month respectively.

The Foster Care MARC was calculated by analyzing families' typical expenditures on their children, identifying and adding additional costs particular to children in foster care who have needs and behaviors resulting from the trauma they have experienced that generate additional costs, and applying a geographic cost-of-living adjustment.

The full report will be available on CWLA's website and on the Children's Rights website on October 3.

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