Farmington Hills, MI – The nonprofit human services agency Judson Center is applauding Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement that the new state budget includes an increase in financial and respite support for foster parents.
Judson Center’s Child Safe Foster Care program recruits and educates foster families, guides them through the foster care process, and ensures children can thrive in nurturing, safe environments. The program also works to strengthen the biological families and reduce barriers so their children can one day safely return home.
“The increased funding from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is a positive step toward addressing the shortage of foster parents in the state,” said Judson Center President and CEO Lenora Hardy-Foster. “On any given day, there are an estimated 10,000 children in the state’s foster care system. We are in urgent need of more people who will open their hearts and homes to these children until they can be returned to their families. Our hope is the additional money will help ease any financial concerns about fostering children.”
Foster parents are reimbursed by the State of Michigan for expenses associated with taking care of the children, such as room and board, clothing, and day care costs when using a state-licensed facility. The bipartisan budget includes an 8-percent increase in the daily rate paid to foster parents, and $10 million is earmarked annually for respite care providers in order to give foster families additional support.
“Rising costs have a major impact on our foster families who have committed to giving children a loving home,” said Judson Center Chief Strategy Officer George Winn. “They have bills to pay, groceries to purchase and school-related needs for the children they have welcomed into their families. The additional state funding will also help foster parents provide the children in their care with extras that enhance their life experiences, such as recreational and educational activities. Plus, the respite care funding encourages foster parents to take much-needed breaks for self-care.”
Currently, Judson Center is recruiting all families to foster, particularly those who can provide loving homes for older youth, siblings and children with greater needs. The agency’s Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program focuses on older youth who require more individualized care and treatment due to behavioral, emotional or medical challenges. TFC parents undergo specialized training and receive additional supports and services.
“One of our most frequently asked questions from prospective foster parents concerns the economic commitment,” said Judson Center Director of Foster Care and Adoption Michelle Carlton. “Although there are no fees associated with the application, screening and training process to become approved foster parents, I am so happy to hear that the state legislature and Gov. Whitmer are increasing the financial assistance available to these families who choose to make a difference in the lives of children and teens.”
Judson Center also operates Lahser Children’s Respite Home, which provides respite care services for parents and primary caregivers of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) and physical limitations.