Financial Support for Families
California adopted a new rate system to provide financial support to caregivers. It is called the Home Based Family Care Rate and phase 1 of the new rate system 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 residential care and ensuring that all foster children can be raised in a family.
Funding Available Prior to Being Approved as a Resource Family
AB 110 funding: As of March 30, 2018, if you are a caregiver who has accepted emergency placement of a child and is working to complete Resource Family Approval (RFA), you are eligible to receive the home-based family care rate so long as you submit the RFA application. AB 110 funding is $923 a month per child. Families caring for children placed in their home prior to full approval must submit the RFA application to qualify for AB 110 funding. Please note that AB 110 funding is only in effect until June 30, 2018. You can read more about AB 110 funding here.
Foster Parent Recruitment, Retention, & Support (FPRRS): Counties have discretionary funding to recruit potential caregivers and support existing caregivers. Some counties are using this funding to provide caregivers tangible supports, like bedding and school supplies. You can ask your county whether these funds are available to support you and your family.
Funding Available to Approved Resource Families
Foster Care Funding: As of July 1, 2018, once you are approved as a resource family, the rate of $960 is the minimum amount that you will receive as a resource family.
Children in need of additional support are often eligible for supplements based on their needs. The supplements available include:
Infant Supplement: If you are caring for a young person in foster care that has a child, you may receive an infant supplement rate of $900 a month to cover the additional costs of providing food, clothing and shelter to the child of the foster youth.
Dual Agency Rate: Children who are both in foster care and clients of the regional center receive what is known as the Dual Agency Rate instead of the basic foster care payment. Children who are under three years old and receiving Early Intervention Services from the regional center receive a dual agency rate of $1,123 per month. Children who have been diagnosed as meeting the criteria for being a lifelong client of the regional center receive a monthly rate of at least $2,510 per month. (There also are four supplemental payments of $250, $500, $750 and $1,000 that are available to support children with additional needs beyond these base dual agency rates).
Specialized Care Increments: The Specialized Care Increment program provides additional financial support to families caring for a child with additional or special needs. Specialized care increments are available in most, but not all, counties. The specialized care increment that you may be eligible to receive is based on the specialized care system of the county in which you are residing. You can review the various specialized care plans for each county here: http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Foster-Care/Specialized-Care. NOTE: not every county offers specialized care rates.
Clothing Allowance: An annual supplement may be available at the county’s option to help defray the cost of purchasing clothing. NOTE: not every county offers a clothing allowance.
Educational Travel Reimbursement: If you are transporting the child in your care to the school of origin and that school is more than 3 miles away from your home, you may be eligible for the Educational Travel Reimbursement.
All approved relatives are eligible to receive these financial supports. This includes relatives approved prior to the implementation of Resource Family Approval. A relative does not need to be approved as a resource family to receive these supports. Both the clothing allowance and the Specialized Care Increments vary from county to county, so it is important to check with your social worker to see what is available in your county.