New York State Clothing Allowance Guidelines


A. Department regulations require that for each child in foster care, the social services district shall:

  1. determine clothing needs upon admission to care; and
  2. authorize allowances to buy necessary clothing.

B. The purpose of these requirements is to assure that the following situations do not occur:

  1. Children are placed in foster family boarding homes with inadequate clothing. The local district or voluntary agency caseworkers do not review the child’s initial clothing needs with the foster parents and, where appropriate, with the child.
  2. Foster parents are not aware that they are entitled to allowances to purchase an adequate basic wardrobe for the child.
  3. When foster parents do purchase initial clothing, the expense is not reimbursed by the local district.

PROGRAM IMPLICATIONS – Adherence to the provisions of Regulations 427.16(a)(1) and (a)(2) should:

A. Ensure that children in foster care are provided with adequate initial clothing.

B. Support and improve the self-esteem of children who come into care and improve foster parent-foster child relationships.

C. Ensure that foster parents are not forced to use their own funds to provide an adequate basic wardrobe for their foster children. This should improve foster parent morale and local district-foster parent relationships.

NOTE: There may be occasions, such as emergency placements, when foster parents have to use their own funds until a grant can be issued. If this occurs, there should be a mutual agreement between the district and the foster parents as to the amount of the grant. Districts should reimburse the foster parents as soon as possible.


A. When a child is placed in foster care, the caseworker from the district or voluntary agency (if a voluntary agency has the planning responsibility) must review the child’s wardrobe with the foster parents and (if appropriate) with the child. Together, they should determine the adequacy of the child’s clothing.

B. If additional clothing is needed, the local district must authorize and allowance for necessary initial clothing. Initial clothing needs vary for each child. Therefore, state reimbursement for initial clothing is not subject to the maximum yearly clothing replacement allowances promulgated by the Department. Although the amount of the initial clothing allowance is determined by the local district that placed the child in foster care, the allowance must be sufficient to provide an adequate basic wardrobe. The foster parents should not be required to use their own funds for clothing.

C. Once the child’s clothing is at an adequate level, the cost of replacement clothing is subject to the maximum yearly allowances set by the local district. State reimbursement for replacement is subject to the maximum state allowance.

D. When a child is transferred from one foster home to another, the wardrobe should again be reviewed. If clothing is needed, an initial allowance may be issued for the new home. This allowance is not subject to the maximum yearly replacement allowance. Please note that clothing purchased for a child in care belongs to that child. The child keeps this clothing when transferred to a new home.

E. Local districts must advise all foster parents and applicants of the requirements for providing initial clothing and include them in the foster parent manual that is required by Department Regulation 443.3(p). The attached guidelines should also be included in the manual.

Source: NYS Department of Social Services Transmittal No. 89 ADM-14, Foster Care: Initial Clothing Allowances for Children in Family Boarding Homes

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