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Q:  What are the costs of:

· Visiting the family to check on living conditions?

· Removing the children and placing them in temporary foster homes from an adjacent county versus turning this matter over to that county?  The goals are the same if, protecting the children is the goal.

A:  These questions seem to be concerned with the relative cost of the County having custody of children cared for in foster homes versus the cost of the County visiting the family to check on living conditions.  In most cases, it costs the County taxpayers more for the County to care for children in foster homes than the cost of monitoring conditions when children remain in the home.  However, the primary consideration by the courts in deciding whether a child remains in the home or is placed in the custody of the County is the safety and well being of the child.  There are many factors the courts use in making this consideration, which are taken on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Is there a monetary incentive for DSS/YFS to bring children into custody?

A:  The average yearly cost of care for a child in foster care in the County's custody is $10,000. The County DSS estimates it will have 1,500 children in its custody for the year. It costs the County nearly $10 million annually to care for approximately 1,300 children in DSS custody.  Therefore, there is no financial incentive to have children in custody of the County.

Q. Is there a monetary incentive for DSS/YFS to find adoptive homes for children in custody who have been cleared for adoption?

A:  The state sets a yearly adoption goal for each County. If a County surpasses its state designated goal, and is able to provide adoptive homes for more of the children in its custody who are cleared for adoption, the federal government provides the County incentive money. The amount is $9,000 for each child adopted beyond the designated goal, and it is  $10,000 for adolescents and for each child in a sibling group. That money must be used strictly for adoptive services, such as recruitment of families.  In FY02, the County received $387,000 in federal adoption incentives. 

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