State To Begin Automated Foster Care Payments

Temporary Hotline for Foster Family, Providers Available During Payment Transition

BALTIMORE (Nov. 17, 2008)—In December, the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) will implement a live test of a new automated system to pay the 3,000 foster families and 310 group home providers who provide care for more than 9,200 children in the State’s child welfare system. State officials say the new payment system will streamline processes and will ultimately allow for direct payment into the accounts of foster parents and providers. The state disburses over $350 million to foster care providers annually.

“Automating the foster care payment process will streamline the process, increase payment accuracy, enhance dispute resolution, and sustain timely payments,” said Brenda Donald, secretary Maryland Department of Human Resources. “This is another component the Department’s effort to recruit and retain quality family foster homes by enhancing the services we provide to them.”

During the two month live test, each foster care provider will receive a statement reflecting the current data in the system. From this data, payment calculations will be made based on child placements for the prior month. Providers will verify that this statement is correct. If corrections are made, a final corrected statement will be sent to foster parents on the 13th of the month. All payments will be mailed on the 23rd of the month.

Beginning December 1, 2008, any foster care provider with questions about the new payment process may call toll free 877–DHR-2PAY (877-347-2729). The temporary hotline will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughMarch of 2009.

In February of 2009, foster care providers will begin to receive automated payments for services they provided to foster children during January 2009.

Source: Maryland Department of Human Resources

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