PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- An overhaul of the way Oregon compensates foster parents means a big raise for most but some foster parents who care for some of the sickest children are facing deep cuts.
The 2009 Legislature put an additional $13 million in the 2009-11 budget for foster parent reimbursements, boosting the total Oregon will spend this year to $52 million.
The Oregonian reports the goal was not only to increase the basic rate but also to make reimbursements more uniform. Under the old system, foster parents could negotiate reimbursement with caseworkers for children with extensive medical, mental health or behavioral problems.
Jeany Stangl was pleased when on Sept. 1 the rate for caring for a child younger than 5 went to $639 a month -- a $240 increase over the $399 she and her husband had been getting for a small child.
Still, some foster parents and child welfare managers have learned that the new system doesn't benefit everyone, especially a critical group of Portland-area foster parents who care for children who might otherwise land in institutions. Those parents had been being reimbursed at a higher rate and now those payments have decreased.