RALEIGH, N.C. — Nicole Hummel's life is busy as the mother of four, and still, over the past eight years she and her husband have opened up their home to foster children.
“I would say in those eight years we’ve had seven or eight long-term cases, but a lot more like short-term respite or for a weekend or a week or two or something like that,” Hummel said. “I haven’t counted out those."
What You Need To Know
The monthly stipend for foster parents hasn't been raised in over a decade
The money comes from federal, state and county dollars
The House and Senate have rate raises in budget proposals
She says the goal is always to make the children comfortable, to make them feel like they’re getting the same attention and love as their own children.
Taking in another person, however, comes with costs.
“There’s child care. There’s summer camps and day camps, and field trips, school supplies, shoes and clothes and backpacks and just general, everyday needs like food,” Hummel said.
Foster families do receive assistance in a monthly stipend when they have a foster child. The money is put together from federal, state and county dollars.
The rates haven’t gone up in over a decade.
“It goes a good way to cover them, but it doesn’t quite cover everything,” Hummel said.
In this year’s budget proposals, however, these rates get an increase.
Both the House and Senate proposals raise the rates.
The General Assembly hasn’t agreed on a final budget yet.
The Hummels don't currently have a foster child living with them, but Nicole says this increase would reflect the rising cost of living and hopefully encourage potential foster parents.
She adds, however, that it’s not about the money, it’s about the kids’ experiences.
“It’s a rough system. It’s not easy no matter which side you’re coming from,” Hummel said. “All we really want is just to make sure kids can survive and thrive and be able to grow and reach their full potential.”