Arkansas Foster Parents To Receive Reimbursement Checks Late

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The Arkansas’ Department of Human Services is changing the way they pay foster parents for their services.

Many families across Arkansas have opened their doors to children in foster care, and for their generous actions, the state sends them checks every month to reimburse them for their care.

But, recently, the Department of Human Services changed their scheduling in payments, which will leave current foster parents without a check until august.

“Some kids come into foster care with just the clothes on their back.” said Nathan Nailling, a foster parent in Arkansas.

For those who have ever housed a foster child, they know the financial demands it requires, which is why the state of Arkansas provides checks to foster parents to help feed and clothe the children they are hosting.

“Folks can use this to buy school supplies, to buy clothing for kids that come in to their home for the first time” Nailling said.

Typically checks are sent to foster parents at the beginning of each month, providing them money in advance of their care.

However, a new scheduling would change that to be much like a time card at an office. Foster families will have to log the hours they work before receiving their checks.

“This is really just a way to be more accurate, and to be more financially responsible, with state and federal dollars.” Said Kate Luck, Public Information Coordinator with the Department of Human Services.

Luck sayd this change will help save taxpayers money.

“Things happen during a month. Someone who may be a foster parent at the beginning of the month may not be at the end of the month,” Luck said. “This way, we are issuing the payment after the month is over, so that any changes that occurred over the month, we can take account of and reflect that in the payment.”

The change will leave foster families without pay through July, and into the first week of August, which means the families will have to pay for services out of pocket until they receive their reimbursement.

That has some in the foster community concerned.

“I think the big thing is the state didn’t notify them,” Nailling said. “If they would have had two or three months’ notice, that would have helped. But here, getting a last minute notice, it could affect some families and kids, which really hurts.”

Some of the foster families that 5news spoke to say that they don’t mind the change, just that the families didn’t have time to properly save for this gap in payments.

“Most families I know, it won’t put a bind in them,” Nailling said. “But, it’s more of an inconvenience.”

But, the Department of Human Services says this was a necessary step.

“Yes, there is a gap, and we apologize for that, and we appreciate everybody’s patience,” Luck said. “But, we think that this payment schedule will be more accurate and better serve the community. We’re making sure that we’re not using state money, or federal money, for services that haven’t been provided.”

According to officials, in June alone, the Arkansas’ Department of Human Services paid more than $3.6 million in board payments for foster families alone.


  • Bob Gnarly

    Shame on all involved in placing this additional hardship on people who are providing a much needed service to our community.

  • Foster Parent

    As a foster parent I am ashamed at the way DHS has handled this matter. We received a notice yesterday via e-mail that this was going into effect immediately. It will not personally effect us, but I know of familys that have opened their homes to several children that this will be a burden. I do not know a single foster parent that is doing this for the money anyway. Most of our foster children come into our home with the clothes on their backs or a small walmart sack with clothing.Financially we always lose money with each foster child. I can not remember when the last time that there was a raise for board payment. A raise is what should have been announced! We have to provide everything for each child except medical. Clothing, diapers, entry fees to events, food, toys, What we do is not for the state but for the children. Don’t blame it on the local DHS, because they are way over worked & extremly understaffed. Some one sitting behind a desk in Little Rock that has never had to keep a child that was taken from their caregivers & placed with strangers is who is making these type of decisions.

    • Realist!!

      Don’t be mad at DHS! Be mad at the Foster parents that didn’t properly refund the over paid monies.(THIS IS WHAT DROVE THIS TO HAPPEN) I agree with the decision to pay for services after they have been performed, it is the way of the workforce and it works just fine. I, as a former foster child do appreciate those out there that have opened their homes up to the children in need during a very difficult time. DHS could have given more notice to the Foster parents, but as in all phases of business, it isn’t about what is best for us, but for the company. Keep up the good work!

      • Foster mommy

        We don’t refund the money personally, it gets taken from the next months check. This is not foster parents fault. I would be fine with this, and I am, but with no notice it really hurt us. Having it be during the summer when we pay more out of pocket for extra meals that would have been from school, childcare so we can work, and activities we do to give the kids a great summer, I say poor timing!!

      • Foster Parent

        REALIST, you sound real knowledgable on the subject, but you are either purposely misleading or maybe you need to research a subject before you comment on it. Foster parents do not bill the state & if there is a mistake it is because the case worker did not turn in the correct information. Then when the foster parent receives the incorrect amount they will have whatever is owed taken out of their next check. If they do indeed reimburse the state as I have done you really have a pickle to swallow, because the state is stilll going to take the amount owed out of your next check & you will be several months of letters & phone calls to the DHS & State offices & might not ever get refunded. Yes, they needed to change the system. They should have given proper notification & time. Foster parents have nothing to do with how much they are to receive each month.

  • Ash Hudson

    Honestly, you opened your home and your hearts to these children. It should be out of love and care and concern that you care for them. You KNEW a child costs money. I honestly do not believe that a foster parent should get compensation. You knew the cost going into it. I was given to a person who took every dime of my death benefit check each month. She paid off her credit card debt with it and bought herself a total of 13000 dollars worth of stuff with just the first check that was given to me. Each month after that $400 was used and I never saw the benefit. The bills were already paid for bc she was disabled, the house had no mortgage. So, personally I don’t think any one should receive a dime for taking in a child. You chose to do it, you knew the cost.

    • Foster Dad

      My family started doing foster care about 3 months again and it has been great. For us IT WAS a month after we started fostering that we got our first check. The child came straight from hospital to us, kinda unexpected, we had to get clothes diapers car seat and everything. What i am trying to say is its already a month behind so they are just skipping a month. And to ASH HUDSON, Let me say no one knows exactly what they are getting into when they do this. Everyone does know that it costs to take care of kids but that is NOT why people are doing it. Some kids come with disabilities and other things come up as they get older that some people could not afford. And as a foster parent the money that you do get is far from enough to take care of everything. Everyone that fosters or adopts is doing this because they want to help not for a check like you seem to think.

    • foster and adoptive parent

      Ash you show quite a bit of ignorance on the topic. Anyone fostering for the board payment has no clue how much kids cost, especially kids with issues and that come into care with little or nothing. No one fosters for the money. The board payment is a drop in the bucket. However that the bucket is what makes it financially possible for some families to foster these children. Our kids came in with very little. All of which had to be replaced because the stench could not be removed and most were torn and in bad condition. So if we want to make it possible for many more families to foster the board payments are neccessary. This change is some what fine, but the government needed to warn the foster parents. My problem with it is many times the money is spent at the beginning of the month. So if a child leaves a home at week one of a month and the money is spent but the family doesn’t get a full check the family is now out the money they need for their own kids. Not a great move. It will hurt the already struggling numbers of foster parents. Not wise.

  • Fostor Kid

    I am a Fostor Kid who is attending the University of Arkansas. My board payment directly affects me and my needs. Much of my food is purchased with this board payment. I will be without the help for a month and a half…This political stunt is UNNECESSARY. Don’t we wanna keep foster parents! This shouldn’t be a weed out process.

  • Mark Smith

    Another example of Arkansas leadership where people in positions of power and responsibility arrive there through Cronyism and nepotism instead true Bona Fides. No wonder Arkansas is 48th in the country in Education. Any leader who recommended or approved this plan without thinking of notifying those affected, has demonstrated an ineptitude worthy of termination. Do us a favor and resign. Unfortunately, those capable of such oversight have also demonstrated a level of self centeredness and disrespect for those they serve that I doubt the morality of resigning would ever occur to them.

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