Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
Fostering a child seems like one of the most selfless acts imaginable — you welcome a child into your home, and care for him or her until a family comes along whose eyes light up when they see that child, and they sign adoption papers. My sister runs the foster care program at our local animal shelter, and the folks who volunteer for her put in long hours caring for dogs who need lots of love in order to trust humans again, or kittens who are too young and weak to hang out with the big cats at the shelter. They don't receive compensation, but people who foster children do. It makes sense — welcoming another human into your home means feeding, clothing, and sheltering a kid, and all that comes with a significant price tag. Mary Callahan fostered children, and, like any smart consumer, shopped around for the foster program that would provide her with the most money to care for her charges. But when one special child, Michael, asked her where the money came from, she had a crisis of conscience, and now believes monetary incentives for foster parents do more harm than good. What do you think? Do you foster? Do you ever feel like you're being paid to love your foster child? Or that it will look that way to the kid?