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 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 congregate care and ensuring that all foster children can be raised in a family.

As of January 1, 2017, all approved caregivers are eligible to receive the home-based family care rate. Currently, the amount of monthly financial assistance received for each child is equal to $923 a month (the amount of the monthly financial support goes up July 1st of each year in accordance with the California Necessities Index). The new rate of $923 is the minimum amount that an approved family will receive.

You may be able to receive more than $923 a month. Children in need of additional support are eligible for supplements based on their needs. Every foster family, relative and non-relative foster parents, qualifies for these supports as long as the child meets relevant eligibility criteria. 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 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 $1,018 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 $2,417 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.

Clothing Allowance: An annual supplement may be available at the county’s option to help defray the cost of purchasing clothing.

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 in order 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.

The state is currently working to implement Phase 2 of the statewide level of care system, which will institute a tiered rate that is based on the “level of care” of the child. Phase 2 of the new home-based rate system is still in development.