Hitting the MARC: Establishing Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children

States must raise the rates by which they reimburse foster parents by an average of 36 percent to cover the actual costs of supporting a child in foster care, according this report. Its sponsors said it is the first state-by-state analysis of the expense of providing for the housing, food, clothing and other basic needs of foster youth.

Most states were found to be paying foster parents far less than what middle-income families spend to raise their children. Researchers estimated the national average monthly costs of raising a 2-year-old foster child at $629, a 9-year-old at $721 and a 16-year-old at $790. But the average rates paid are $488, $509 and $568, respectively. The report recommends a uniform rate (the Minimum Adequate Rate for Children, or MARC) that can be adjusted to account for state variations in the cost of living. Its proposed rate is based on expenses reported by middle-income families in a U.S. Department of Labor survey, plus a 22 percent increase for extra food and other resources needed by foster youth who may have been malnourished or abused.

Using that standard, the study found that only Arizona and the District of Columbia are meeting or exceeding the MARC.

Free, 32 pages. (212) 683-2210,



Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments




Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top