DHR Says Pay Increase Needed to Help Alabama Foster Parents

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Department of Human Resources
officials are advocating paying foster parents 105 dollars more each month to help the state find and retain more people to participate in the foster care program.

The department will ask state lawmakers to increase the average monthly payments from 420 to 525 dollars, or 25 percent, to help parents cover basic expenses. The increase would be the first since

DHR Commissioner Page Walley said there is not a shortage of foster parents, but he said constant recruitment is needed to keep an adequate pool.

Payments vary slightly by age and a 2004 survey by the Child Welfare League of America showed that Alabama ranked 31st among 40

states in foster care payments for 16-year-olds. The state ranked 21st in payments for 2-year-olds and 22nd in payments for 9-year-olds.

As of September 30th, Alabama had six-thousand-555 children in foster care.

If approved by the Legislature, the changes would be effective October first. Last year, the Legislature rejected the agency's request for an increase in foster care payments.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)