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Monday, February 9, 2015

"THE MONEY MYTH" & The Child Protective AGENCY



“THE MONEY MYTH”
& The Child Protective AGENCY
By Roz McAllister
AFRA

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Have you been “Searching” the internet for the Truth?


If you have been combing the internet looking for information and assistance to get your children home, you will see the myth stated time and time again. 
  • “They take kids so the agency can make money.”
  • “They get thousands of dollars a month from the Federal Government for the children”. 
  • “Caseworkers get bonuses when they take children”.
All false!  All of it!

My Beliefs Before Research

Did I use to believe it?  You bet!  Even preached it.  Protested with signs that said it.  Repeated it over and over again.  So why did I change?  I looked at source documents, not articles with no footnotes, no proof, no first hand quotes.  Those are just gossip.

My Research to the “Money Trail”

Many years ago, there was a caseworker strike in the next county (Ohio has a separate agency in each of her 88 counties.  This is called “county administered” and it is in 13 states).  I, via FOIA request, got a copy of the budget of that agency.  I intended to write a letter to the editor and really stick it to those greedy idiots.  I saw the numbers for the money from the Federal Government.  I said to myself, wait, this can't be right!  So, I pulled the budget for my entire county, not just children's service.  I found the same thing.  Not enough from the Federal Government to pay for all the expenses, let alone the profit I heard they were making.  I then looked at the state's budget.  After all, the state still has oversight.  No profit there either.
  • What the heck!  I had believed it for so many years.

Where is all the money going?

There is no profit from the Feds, since going back and looking and finding that the reimbursement amount was only a percentage of foster care money.  And that amount of money paid for the foster care seemed high.  I knew that foster care with the county was only paying $405/month.  The numbers didn't add up.  So, I paid for copies of the contracts with the foster care agency, and found that depending on the level of care, the county was paying up to $100/day to the contracted agencies.  The lowest was $20/day if I remember right.  Of course, these agencies do all the home studies, have their own caseworkers that check on the kids, and handle all the paperwork for the foster parents, but still, almost $200/month more than direct care.  And the Federal Government was reimbursing a percentage on that expense. 
The high amounts were for special needs kids and sibling groups.  The actual caregivers were still getting the lesser amounts, about $500/month for “normal” kids.  Remember, Ohio has a low cost of living.  In California, it's up to $1000/month per child.
  • In Ohio, for $1000/month you can rent a 4 bedroom house with 3 bathrooms.
  • In California, that same house would cost $2500/month, to give you an idea.
A friend was looking into another state's foster care payment rate because the caregivers wanted more money.  So, we did the math.  We divided the monthly rate by the number of hours and it was so little!  Take Ohio numbers.  $405/month, divided by 30 days.  That's $13.50/day.  And here, no food stamps.  No big money here!  Full medical, and free school food.  Clothing $150 twice a year.  Not a money maker unless the kids are neglected.  This is for “normal” kids.  And what does the Federal Government pay?  Here it's 52%, same as the Medicaid reimbursement.
But what about the termination money?  Well, did you know that after 24 months, the monthly reimbursements stop?  That $3,000 to $5,000 dollars has to pay for foster care and adoption expenses.  If the child is in care for a year post TPR, the state in Ohio lost $2500/year in reimbursements.  So, is that a profit?  I don't think so.  Foster caregiver, even if it's a pre-adoption home, is paid monthly and it can take that year to finalize the adoption.

Where is all that profit?

It's not there!  Look back at the state or county budget.  CPS is a money pit!  Here, the county pays 48% of all costs.
  • Now, for that myth about caseworkers getting bonuses.
I've read the contracts. Yes, they are union workers.  NO BONUSES!  They make an average of $30,000/year.  New workers make less, and don't forget, most have student loans to pay.  They don't do it for the money!  They do it for one of two reasons.  One is to help kids (and those usually get out of it in five years or less) and the rest are there to be bullies.  These stay around and become supervisors.  The director here in my county makes about $125,000/year.
So, THERE IS NO BIG PROFIT FOR THE AGENCY OR THE STATE!
 

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Proud National Coordinator of the Family Survey Program

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