Return to mainpage

This Issue









Vol. 3, No. 1 • Fall 1998

Foster Parents Ask DSS
Responses by Joan McAllister

Question: Why am I good enough to foster but not good enough to adopt?

I am assuming you have been licensed as a foster parent and that you are interested in adopting a child. If I am correct, your license to be a foster parent is based on certain criteria: annual training, the conditions of your home, your health, and so on.

There is a different set of criteria for adoptive parents. If you have been MAPP/GPS trained, you know all foster and adoptive parents go through the same extensive training. Adoptive families have a thorough home study that explores the familyís ability and willingness to offer permanent care to a child. In some ways this home assessment is the same as for foster parents, but for persons who express interest in adoption, there are additional criteria related to the permanence of the situation.

If you are interested in adopting one of your current foster children, and that child is free for adoption, you should be given priority consideration as a potential adoptive home. When a child has been in foster placement, they often form bonds with the foster parent that should be maintained whenever possible. Talk with your social worker about whether the child is free for adoption and what the permanent plan is.

Question: The IRS allows businesses to reimburse their employees $0.315 per mile when they drive their personal cars for business purposes, but DSS pays less. Why the difference? Surely itís cheaper to reimburse a foster parent than to pay a driver and provide a county vehicle!

The NC Division of Social Services reimburses state employees $0.23 a mile for trips over 60 miles when they use personal cars when a state car is not available. The Division pays differently from other state agencies, and less than some county agencies. The difference in rates is related to the amount of money available to each agency to reimburse for mileage. According to a policy interpretation from the Federal government (ACYF-CB-PIQ-97-01), foster parents can be reimbursed with IV-E funds for some day care and transportation costs. County reimbursement is set by county policy.

Can foster parents be reimbursed for local travel?

IV-E funds make it possible to reimburse North Carolina foster parents for some of their local travel expenses. Although individual counties make the ultimate decision, hereís what the IV-E guidelines suggest is reimbursable:

IV-E Reimbursable
Not IV-E Reimbursable

Transportation for foster parentís involvement in administrative case/judicial reviews, case conferences, team meetings, school conferences, and foster parent training (IV-E Administration).

Transportation costs associated with the childís attendance at administrative case/ judicial reviews (IV-E Administration).

Transportation to provide for a foster parentís participation in mandatory foster parent training (IV-E training).

Reasonable travel to the childís home (allowable as separate IV-E maintenance expense).

Local travel associated with providing food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, personal incidentals (included in IV-E maintenance payment).

Reasonable transportation costs for visits at locations other than the childís home e.g. at the child welfare office or other appropriate location (allowable as separate IV-E maintenance expense).

Visitation with siblings, other relatives, or other caretakers (allowable as separate IV-E maintenance expense).

Transporting a child to and from day care or extracurricular activities that substitute for daily supervision (included in basic IV-E maintenance payment).

Transportation to place the child. (IV-E Administration).

Transportation of the child to and from school.

Transportation to and from pre-placement visits.

Foster family trips Transportation to sports and cultural events.

Joan S. McAllister is an Independent Living Consultant for the North Carolina Division of Social Services.

Copyright © 2000 Jordan Institute for Families