HONOLULU (AP) — A lawsuit saying Hawaii foster parents are underpaid is moving ahead despite a recent increase in state payments.
Foster families will receive a pay raise for the first time since 1990. The state was paying foster parents $529 per child per month. The new rate ranges from $575 to $676, depending on the child’s age. Foster families will receive their first increased payment in August.
Those behind the lawsuit said they still think the payments aren’t enough. Attorneys are expected to move soon for class-action certification, representing more than 1,000 Hawaii foster parents. A federal judge recently rejected a motion to dismiss the suit against the state.
According to the state Department of Human Services, the new age-tiered system is indexed to documented costs contained in a federal annual report.
State officials say there are other financial resources available to foster parents, including up to $570 a month for children with special needs. Families also receive an annual $600 clothing allowance and other benefits.