Foster parents in the West Midlands could be forced to quit their roles as local authorities are struggling to cover costs of one in three carers.
Figures published today by The Fostering Network revealed 36 per cent of the region's foster parents are not getting the recommended minimum wage.
The charity fears this will put people off becoming foster parents and may result in carers quitting the vocation, following a nationwide funding shortfall of £35 million. It claims this could spiral out of control as more than 8,000 people are needed to meet the demand for carers in England.
While 64 per cent of foster parents across the Midlands receive the recommended minimum pay of £112.07 a week for the youngest child, five local authorities' pay is up to 38 per cent lower.
Carers in Birmingham receive £103.67 for the youngest child, with Staffordshire paying £ 74 . 69 and Worcestershire giving them £73.92.
However the two worst authorities are Herefordshire, which pay foster parents £69.72 and Wolverhampton where pay is a paltry £69.63 - 38 per cent below the recommended minimum.
The Fostering Network's survey found that 40 per cent of local authorities in England were failing to reimburse foster carers with its recommended minimum allowance.
It believes carers should get at least £112.07 a week to cover the cost of looking after the youngest child, with the figure rising with age, but a handful of local authorities were paying out just £50.
In more than 20 cases, foster parents were only getting between £60 and £80 a week.
Robert Tapsfield, the charity's chief executive, said: "Our survey shows that, while there has been some improvement since last year, an unacceptably large number of foster carers are still being expected to contribute to the cost of looking after a fostered child."