The Department of Children and Families (DCF) offers a range of support services to foster parents and the children they look after. These services include support groups and parenting advice for foster parents. DCF also provides health care coverage for foster children and a stipend to foster parents to cover the cost of providing daily care to the foster children residing in their home.
When you’re a foster parent, you’ll work with a family resource worker who visits your home every other month or as needed. Your foster child will also have a social worker assigned to them through DCF. These 2 contacts can help you navigate the services available and get support when you need it.
Support for foster parents
Kid’s Net provides a range of support services to foster parents, including:
- The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) Kid’s Net Program provides a range of services to connect foster and kinship families to the information, resources, respite and support networks they need to address the unique challenges that come with raising foster children.
- Kid's Net Connection - An evening helpline is available from 5:00pm-9:00am weekdays and 24 hours on weekends (800-486-3730).
- The Commission’s primary purpose is to serve as a resource to the Commonwealth on issues affecting grandparents and all relatives raising grandchildren.
- The Wonderfund is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)3 that serves children engaged with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. We provide comfort and dignity to children in traumatic situations and enrich childhoods that have been impacted by abuse and neglect.
- Foster or pre-adoptive parent support groups are available across Massachusetts. These groups usually meet once a month and give parents the opportunity to get together, share their experiences, and learn.
DCF provides a daily stipend and a clothing allowance every 3 months for each foster child in your home. The amount is determined by their ages. The new daily rates effective July 1, 2020 are as follows:
|Child's age||Daily stipend||Clothing allowance|
|13 or older||$29.62||$308.22|
You’ll also receive $50 to help pay for a birthday gift and $100 for holiday gifts for each foster child each year.
You may also be reimbursed for other expenses in special circumstances depending on your foster child’s needs. Contact your foster care social worker for more information.
If you’re having issues with receiving payments, call the Payment Assistance Line at (800) 632-8218 or (617) 748-2442.
MassHealth provides all foster children with:
- Health coverage
- Dental coverage
- Mental health coverage
- Payment for some medications
Your foster child’s biological parents should continue to be involved in their medical care whenever possible.
If you’re fostering a child under the age of 5, they’re also eligible for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program.
WIC provides young children and their guardians:
- Nutrition counseling
- Referrals to health services
If you’re a foster parent to an adolescent, there are a variety of support services and scholarships available. Ask your social worker to connect you with DCF's Adolescent Outreach Services.