When adoptive parent or guardian stops supporting youth but still receives payments: what must the county do?

Q: If a youth tries to re-enter foster care because their adoptive parent or guardian no longer provides them support, but the parent or guardian is still receiving Kin-GAP or AAP payments on the youth’s behalf, is the county required to take any sort of action to address the lack of support?

A: Yes. In scenarios where a youth alleges that the adoptive parent or guardian is no longer providing support, but the adoptive parent or guardian is still receiving payments on the youth’s behalf, the county must initiate certain activities, which vary slightly depending on whether the youth is in a guardianship or an adoption.

As you’ve alluded to, existing law requires that youth participating in the extended Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) or Adoptions Assistance Program (AAP) can only re-enter extended foster care if their guardian or adoptive parent is no longer receiving aid payments on their behalf.

All County Letter 19-31 indicates that when a youth in guardianship alleges that the guardian is no longer providing support, but the guardian is still receiving payments, the social worker/probation officer must conduct a timely assessment. For adopted youth, if no safety issues are identified, the worker is required to make an effort to assist the young adult and adoptive parent to remain an intact family unit. In both scenarios, the ACL characterizes these efforts as consisting of speaking with the guardian or adoptive parent regarding the allegations of lack of support, and an in-depth conversation with the youth and guardian or adoptive parent to better understand the dynamics of the home.

For adopted youth, the county is also required to contact the responsible public agency (County Post-Adoption Services or the California Department of Social Services Regional Office for the administration of the AAP-eligible youth’s case), to report the youth’s allegations of lack of support.

Ultimately, the county can take measures to suspend or terminate payments, and to initiate re-entry proceedings, if certain conditions are met. For more information about these processes, and for details about how counties should proceed for youth in guardianships versus adopted youth, read the ACL.

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 1931 (2019). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2019/19-31_ES.pdf?ver=2019-04-18-104859-023

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