Gov. Ducey proposes increasing stipend for kinship caregivers
Governor Doug Ducey recently proposed to increase the stipend given to foster children cared for by grandparents and other extended family members.
This is called “kinship care,”and is utilized by Arizona at a much higher rate than the national average. According to the Children’s Action Alliance as of June 2021, 52% of all children in DCS’s custody were placed with a relative compared to the national average of 32%.
Research shows that placing children with relatives can mitigate the trauma of being separated from their parents and provide better outcomes, David Lujan, the President and CEO of the Children’s Action Alliance, said.
However, the state has not provided foster children living with relatives adequate financial support. A foster child who is placed with an unlicensed relative is provided with a monthly stipend of just $75 a month. If that same foster child were placed with a non-relative foster parent, they would receive, on average, $641 a month. Lujan said that the stipend disparity makes no sense, and that it “just makes sense” to make these changes.
Ducey’s proposal raises the $75 dollar stipend to $300. By raising the stipend and streamlining the licensing procedures for kinship family members, it will allow an additional $210 federal dollars to be drawn down for each child, Lujan said.
Hopefully, increasing the stipend will keep more children in the care of their family members.
“The research shows that you get far better outcomes when children are placed with family members and so we should be compensating them the same. It costs the same to take care of the child whether you’re with a license foster care parent or a family member…” Lujan said.