Judge: Raise Foster Care Pay Rates or Else

foster care childA federal judge has finally thrown up his hands over California’s foot-dragging in response to his order to increase reimbursement for foster parents.  U.S. District Judge William Alsup told the state today they better comply with his June order or he wants to see the head of the state agency, William Lightbourne, in court July 28.  And Lightbourne better bring a toothbrush, because he might not be going home.

Alsup pointed out June 1 that he had waited two and one-half years for the state to figure out how to comply with a court order to raise the rates for the cost of raising a foster child.  He said the state had a fair chance to study how to adhere to the order but had done nothing but study the question.

Now Alsup wants action. 

He issued a one-paragraph order Monday telling the state that Lightbourne, director of the California Dept. of Social Services, and Gregory Rose, the deputy director, if they don’t comply with his order he wants them to appear personally in court July 28 to explain the delay and face contempt of court.

There are roughly 18,500 children in the care of foster parents in the state.  On May 1 Alsup ordered the state to increase rates for a child up to 4 years old from the current $446 per month to $609 per month.  And for older children rates would rise from $627 to $761 monthly.

 Case:  Calif. State Foster Parent Assoc. v. Lightbourne, C07-5086WHA

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