Financial Support for Families

California has adopted a new rate system to provide financial support to caregivers.  It is called the Home Based Family Care Rate and took effect January 1, 2017. This is the first time in California’s history that relatives caring for a foster child are receiving access to the same support and funding rates as all other foster families.

The new policy is part of the state’s Continuum of Care Reform effort, aimed at reducing reliance on congregate care and ensuring that all foster children can be raised in a family.  

Beginning January 1, 2017, all caregivers will receive a monthly check of at least $889 a month per child. The new rate of $889 is the minimum amount that an approved family will receive.  

You may be able to receive more than $889 a month.  If you were caring for a child in foster care prior to January 1, 2017 and receiving less than $889 per month for that child, you will be increased to $889 effective January 1, 2017. Caregivers approved prior to January 1, 2017, do not have to be approved as a resource family to receive the new rates.

In addition to the Home Based Family Care Rate, some counties offer a supplement to the rates that are also available to a caregiver who is caring for a child who meets the relevant eligibility criteria. These supplements can be paid to any caregiver, including all relative caregivers, and include:

Specialized Care Increments (SCI): SCIs are available at the county option and based on eligibility criteria unique to each county.  The SCI is intended to provide additional supplement to care for a child with specialized needs.  Check with your individual county to see what criteria the county uses to determine eligibility for SCI.
Clothing Allowance: Many counties also offer annual clothing allowances to caregivers.  Check with your county to see what, if any, clothing allowance is offered.

California also offers some supplements to the Home Based Family Care Rate that are ONLY available for children who are in a non-relative placement OR who are in a relative placement AND federally eligible. The following supplements are NOT available to children who are NOT federally eligible if those children are placed with relatives:

– the dual agency rate if the child is disabled and receiving services from a regional center.

– the infant supplement if the child in your care becomes a parent herself and is caring for an infant in your home.

Other than the infant supplement and dual agency rates, relative caregivers in California now have access to all the same benefits as a non-relative foster family.

Additional Resources:

John Burton Advocates for Youth – New Foster Care Rates 

CA Department of Social Services – Foster Care Rates

Resource Family Approval Toolkit

All County Letter 16-79 – HBFC rate and STRTP rate

All County Letter 17-11 Phase II CCR Rates

Understanding Eligibility for Federal Foster Care Benefits

NOTE:  Phase 2 of the HBFC structure will establish a tiered structure that begins December 1, 2017. The tiers are known as “level of care”, and are tied to the needs of the child. Each child/family will be individually assessed to determine the appropriate level of care. The assessment will cover the behavioral, health care, mental health, and educational needs of the child. The monthly benefit will then be based on the level of care of the child.