In a previous post I discussed receiving foster care payments as a part of the process of adopting through the Minnesota Waiting Children program. One part of the foster care payment is the Difficulty of Care (DOC) payment. Minnesota Administrative Rule 9560.0653 provides that DOC payments are paid “for children with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities who require additional supervision or assistance in behavior management, activities of daily living, management of medical problems, or interaction with the birth parents and the community.” Minnesota Administrative Rule 9560.0654 provides information to help individual counties assess what level/amount of a DOC payment a foster parent should receive for a child.
Calculating the DOC payment provides you with an opportunity to advocate for your child. The money that you receive will help you be able to afford to access care and services that your child needs. Figuring out the DOC payment generally feels very awkward for a pre-adoptive parent, because (if you are like me) you feel “icky” talking about money when it comes to your children. Also, because there is a stereotype that there are people out there who only do foster care for the money, you might worry that you seem too “money-focused.” At the end of the day, you need to put those feelings aside, and advocate for your child. Your child deserves the DOC payment for which they qualify. You were not the one who neglected, abused, and/or traumatized your child. You are, however, the parent who will be helping them heal.
Before signing off on a DOC payment, familiarize yourself with how DOC payments are calculated. If your child’s behavior begins to escalate, advocate for their DOC payment to be increased. You are your child’s best advocate!
August 2017 Update from Elizabeth Rosar Chermack, Attorney at Law: Please note that since this post was first published, the laws have changed regarding how foster care payments and DOC payments are calculated.