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Get Paid to Help Kids: The Foster Grandparent Program for Seniors

Get Paid to Help Kids: The Foster Grandparent Program for Seniors

Have you heard about the life-changing Foster Grandparent Program? This is an incredible opportunity for seniors to get paid while helping children or teenagers who need extra support. If you’re a senior looking for a meaningful activity that also provides a monthly stipend, you’ve got to check this out!

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This program has always held a special place in my heart. When I was in first and second grade, we had senior volunteers who came into our classroom to help some of the students with reading and other tasks. I’ve also reported on this program as a journalist for local newspapers. It is truly one of my favorite programs of all time.

About the Foster Grandparent Program

This program matches dedicated seniors with children needing extra support and guidance. This heartwarming opportunity offers connection, purpose, and a financial boost.

What is the Foster Grandparent Program?

The Foster Grandparent Program connects seniors with children who need special support for their academic, social or emotional development. These seniors provide one-on-one support and connection for those children.

This program is organized by Americorps Seniors. This is a national government program that connects senior volunteers with opportunities to serve their communities. Their programs are designed to address critical needs like education and disaster response, and participants receive a modest stipend or payment for their service.

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What do Foster Grandparents do?

Each Foster Grandparent is paired with a child who needs special support. The age and circumstances of the child may vary, depending on the needs in your local area.

For example, some volunteers may go into classrooms and assist students who are struggling with reading, writing, or other tasks. These volunteers may assist with tutoring, coaching, or simply listening to a child as they read.

Volunteers may also serve at local community centers, homeless shelters, hospitals, medical centers or other organizations in your area. In some regions, Foster Grandparents offer vital guidance and support to teenage parents, premature infants, children with disabilities, or those who have been abused or neglected.

Benefits for Seniors

Low income seniors who volunteer with the Foster Grandparents Program can earn a stipend or payment for their volunteer work. You may also be able to earn a mileage reimbursement and paid time off, depending on the rules of your local program.

Here’s a list of benefits that this program can offer:

  • Stipend: Low income Foster Grandparents receive a modest stipend to help cover costs associated with volunteering. This is paid for time spent with children, earned leave, and attending official events.
  • Insurance: The program provides accident, personal liability, and excess automobile liability insurance in certain situations.
  • Transportation: You can get assistance with the costs of getting to and from volunteer assignments and official program events. This is usually offered as a mileage reimbursement if you are driving your own vehicle.
  • Physical Examination: The program covers the cost of a physical exam before starting your service and annual ones afterward to ensure your safety.
  • Meals: You may be able to get free meals while volunteering.
  • Reimbursements: Potential reimbursement for other volunteer-related expenses, if permitted by the specific program and grant funding allows.

In order to qualify for the stipend, you must have an income that does not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. The stipend is worth around $160 a week in many areas and does not affect any government benefits.

Who is eligible to be a Foster Grandparent?

In order to serve, you must meet these requirements:

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  • You must be at least 55 years old.
  • You must be physically capable of serving children with special needs, and it’s okay if you need reasonable accommodations (like a wheelchair or a modified work schedule).
  • You must NOT be a registered sex offender or have been convicted of murder.
  • You must agree to follow all the program requirements.

If you want to receive the stipend payment, you also need to have an income that does not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Only low income volunteers are able to get those stipend payments.

How to Become a Foster Grandparent

Are you ready to begin your fulfilling service in your local Foster Grandparent Program? Here’s what you need to do to get started.

  1. Go to the Americorps Seniors Pathfinder website.
  2. Click the Filter button.
  3. Select your state from the dropdown menu.
  4. Select your city or county from the new dropdown menu that appears.
  5. Look for “Foster Grandparent Program” under the Program Name line.
  6. Contact the organization at the phone number or email listed to register for the program.

You can also look at the organization’s website for additional information about the opportunity. The website may provide you with additional context about how and where Foster Grandparents are serving in your community.

FAQs

You’ve got questions about this program and we’ve got answers! If your questions are not answered in this post, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

How much do Foster Grandparents get paid?

Foster Grandparents receive a small, non-taxable stipend to offset the costs of volunteering. The amount of the stipend is determined by the AmeriCorps Seniors for your area. For example, in Louisiana, the current stipend is $80-$160 per week depending on the number of hours you serve. Eligibility for the stipend is based on meeting income guidelines and other requirements.

Will my stipend or reimbursements affect my government benefits?

Foster Grandparent stipends are not taxed and won’t affect your other benefits. This is protected by law (45 CFR Part 2552).

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The law says, “Foster Grandparent’s cost reimbursements are not subject to any tax or charge or treated as wages or compensation for the purposes of unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, temporary disability, retirement, public assistance, or similar benefit payments or minimum wage laws. Cost reimbursements are not subject to garnishment, and do not reduce or eliminate the level of, or eligibility for, assistance or services a Foster Grandparent may be receiving under any governmental program.”

Relief Recap

The Foster Grandparent program provides a meaningful service opportunity and a helpful stipend for low income seniors who choose to volunteer. You could serve children in schools, community centers or other locations around your community. Follow the steps outlined in this article to register with the program in your area and start making a difference in your community!