Can't Cash or Deposit Your Check?
Several foster parents have had issues with their banks refusing to deposit their monthly foster care reimbursement checks. The primary issue that many seem to be facing is related to the way that the check is drafted on the “Payee” line of the check. Normally checks are issued by Ventura County as follows:
Pay to the Order of: Jane Smith for Little Billy
Banks including Citibank, Chase, and several local credit unions are mistakenly directing the foster parents that they must open a new bank account in the foster child’s name and that the check must be deposited in that account. Some are further mistakenly directing foster parents that this money is intended only for the foster child, not the foster parent and are going as far as to require that foster parents open trust accounts for the foster child so that the money is held until the child turns 18.
Don't fall into the trap....
This is completely incorrect and we cannot stress strongly enough that under no circumstances should you follow the banks instructions. In fact, if you do open a guardian or trust account for a foster child and make a deposit into that account at that point the funds now become designated for the listed child, intentional or not. If this was the intention of the state the checks would be drafted as follows:
Pay to the Order of: Jane Smith on behalf of Little Billy
Pay to the Order of: Jane Smith in trust for Little Billy
Is this true?
In the State of California, foster parents are reimbursed a flat fee for each day that a foster child is in their care. This reimbursement is intended to help cover some of the costs associated with caring for a foster child such as increased food costs, increased utility costs (electricity, water, sewage, and phone), costs associated with properly clothing the child (clothes, shoes, jackets, etc…), costs of transportation (to and from visits, doctors appointments, etc) and any other expense or costs that is normally incurred for the care of the child. The reason that these funds are considered a flat fee reimbursement is because they are paid for expenses for the previous calendar month hence the reason why your payments take 30-45 days to arrive after the initial placement.
To be perfectly clear and help avoid any confusion, your monthly foster care reimbursement:
- IS NOT a payment (or allowance) that you are legally required to provide, as cash, to the foster child each month.
- ARE NOT funds that are to be saved or held in escrow for the foster child until they turn 18 years old and leave the foster care system
- ARE intended to help the foster parent offset some of the of the costs associated with care for a foster child
- ARE a reimbursement for your expenses from the previous month for each day the child was placed in your care
- ARE funds intended for the foster parent, not specifically the foster child
If you have any situation or issues with any financial institution refusing to cash or deposit your reimbursement funds we recommend that you immediately contact your agencies payment support team or better yet, let us know, we'll be glad to help you get in contact with the right person