Want to know what your volunteer time as a foster parent is worth? You may be surprised.
According to newly released figures from Independent Sector, the national worth of a volunteer hour is $27.20. State rates range from a low of $21.20 (AR) to a high of $44.14 (DC).
Using the national rate, and figuring on one resource parent and one child, one day of time as a foster parent is worth $652.80. One week is worth $4,569.60 and a month (based on 30 days) equals $19,584.00. Keep adding, and if you have fostered one child for one year, you have contributed volunteer time worth a whopping $238,272.00 to the national economy.
Figuring with the state rate, your yearly contribution to the state coffers will range from a low of $188,953.20 to a high of $386,555.40. Remember, those figures are for one parent and one child. Add a partner and the worth of the household contribution will double.
Even when you factor in the reimbursement amounts (which, in Oregon, is less than 60 percent of what it costs to bring a child with no special needs or expenses into your home); it is clear that foster parents are contributing more than their share of the Gross Domestic Product. Perhaps, it is time for that fact to be recognized.
CoSA will be focusing more attention on ensuring that the full value of resource parents is recognized and advocating for policies that support foster parents in the difficult work you do. If you are interested in learning more or want to be part of these efforts, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.