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Infant Supplement Payment Eligibility

Q: I work with parenting youth, how do I know if they are eligible for the infant supplement payment? Can both parents receive the infant supplement payment for their child?

A: The Department of Social Services has issued an All County Information Notice clarifying infant supplement eligibility, ACIN NO. I-10-20. The department clarifies that the following parenting youth populations who are living with their non-dependent child are eligible:

  • Youth under delinquency jurisdiction who are residing in foster care.
  • Nonminor dependents (NMDs) in Extended Foster Care.
  • Youth in non-related legal guardianships receiving AFDC-FC payments.
  • Youth receiving Kin-Guardianship Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) payments.
  • Youth receiving Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) payments.

The department further clarified that either male or female parenting youth may be eligible for an infant supplement and that all eligible teens and nonminor dependents be screened for current or expectant parents. Only one infant supplement may be paid per eligible child. If both parents are eligible, the infant supplement must be paid to the parent with primary physical custody of the child.

See more question of the week answers related to the infant supplement here.

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Infant supplement rate for parenting youth in STRTPs

Q: Should a parenting youth placed in a Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP) receive the infant supplement rate of $900 (non-group home rate) or $1,379 (group home rate)?

A: The infant supplement amount for a foster youth who is a custodial parent, residing in either a group home or STRTP placement is $1,379 per month. For a foster youth who is a custodial parent placed in a Foster Family Home, Foster Family Agency, Whole Foster Family Home, THP+FC, or a Supervised Independent Living Placement, the infant supplement amount is $900.

Citation:

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Use of infant supplement for youth in THP+FC

Q: The THP+FC program I work for provides parenting youth with a crib (as required by regulations), diapers and other items for their child, and a larger apartment unit to accommodate their family’s needs. I understand that there are new guidelines governing use of the infant supplement. Is my program able to utilize a portion of the infant supplement to cover the increased costs associated with serving parenting youth?

A: Yes, the provider may retain a portion of the infant supplement for the specified needs of the non-minor dependent (NMD)’s child, such as clothing; laundry; diapers; food; medical costs; household items; costs for providing childcare; or housing related costs, such as increased rent for a larger housing unit.

In order to retain a portion of the infant supplement, the NMD and provider must enter into a shared agreement discussed in the context of a Child and Family Team meeting, or other collaborative team meeting. The California Department of Social Services provides a suggested template for the shared agreement as an attachment to All County Letter 17-93.

It is important to note that because the funds are not authorized to be used for administrative costs under federal law, providers may not retain a portion of the infant supplement to cover the cost of staffing, case management and services.

Citation: All County Letter 17-93 (September 8, 2017)

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Can a NMD receive the infant supplement if their child does not reside with them?

Q: A youth in our THP+FC program is providing 100% financial support for his child, however his child lives with the mother, who is not a non-minor dependent. Because the father is supporting the child, is he eligible to receive the monthly infant supplement even though the child does not reside with him?

A: No, the non-minor dependent (NMD) father will not be eligible to receive the infant supplement during the time the non-dependent child is not living with the father. The monthly infant supplement is specifically for the care and supervision of a non-dependent infant/child living with their parent(s) who are in foster care.  

Citations:

  • California Welfare & Institutions Code §11465(a)
  • California Department of Social Services. Manual of Policies and Procedures. Sections 11-415.1 – 11-415.12
  • California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 17-93 (September 8, 2017)
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Questions about the New Infant Supplement

Q: I have a few questions about the new infant supplement. First, what date is it effective? I am working with a youth and her AB12 worker told her she would not be paid the infant supplement increase until January 1, 2017. Second, I heard that the $900 infant supplement is a loan and that youth participating in Extended Foster Care will be billed by the IRS once they are “self sufficient.”  Is that the case?

 

A: The effective date for the higher infant supplement rate of $900 is July 1, 2016. The California Department of Social Services has issued an All County Letter  that states this effective date. The youth you are working with may experience a delay due to local administrative issues. If that is the case, the youth is entitled to receive the increased rate retroactive to July 1, 2016.

Second, the infant supplement is not a loan. It is a supplemental rate paid to the caregivers of parenting dependents for the purpose of paying for child-related expenses, including the food, child care, transportation, clothing and housing. Like other foster care rates, the infant supplement is not counted as income. No youth who receives the infant supplement will be accountable for its repayment.

Are There Requirements for How to Use Infant Supplement in THP+FC?

Q: I am a mentor for a young mother who lives in THP+FC.  It doesn’t seem like she is getting extra services as a young parent. It is written anywhere what the $411 infant supplement is supposed to cover? Is there a way for her to receive the $411 payment directly?

A: There is no written guidance on how the infant supplement is used in THP+FC. There is also no specific requirement that THP+FC providers account for how they used the infant supplement.

A parenting Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) living in THP+FC is not able to receive the infant supplement directly. Instead, the monthly infant supplement goes to the provider for the care and supervision of the nondependent infant. Some THP+FC providers elect to pass along a portion of the infant supplement to the parenting NMD, but it is not required.

When this question was posed to CDSS, they responded that a youth who has a concern about this should contact the Foster Care Ombudsman’s Office.  They could also request an audit from our Foster Care Audits and Rates Bureau if they feel it’s needed.

Source: W&IC 11465 (a)

Is There an Upper Age for the Infant Supplement?

Q: I am a social worker in a THP+FC program and was told recently by a county social worker that the infant supplement ends when the child turns age 3. Is that the case?

A: No, there is no upper age for a youth in foster care to receive the infant supplement, either in statue or regulation.

The infant supplement for a youth living in a group home is $890 per month and the infant supplement for a youth living in other placement settings is $411 per month.

Source: WIC 11465,  All County Letter 14-44

Infant Supplement Eligibility for Custodial Foster Youth Fathers

Q: I am with a THP+FC provider and we have a young man in the program, who will soon become a young father. He intends to have shared physical custody of his child. Is he eligible to receive the infant supplement? If so, does it need to be pro-rated? Also, what kind of documentation is required?

 

A: According to CDSS, yes, this young father is eligible for the infant supplement, provided he has shared physical custody. This is an issue that has been raised with the department by counties; CDSS has advised that any parent with shared custody is eligible for the infant supplement, not just the mother.

According to CDSS, counties that have addressed this issued have not pro-rated rate the infant supplement based on the proportion of time the child lives with the parent, but instead provided the full $411. As for documentation, the Non-Minor Dependent’s (NMDs) status as a parent and the custody arrangement should be documented in his or her case file.

THP-Plus Foster Care: Infant Supplement Payment

Q: I work for an organization that recently received its license for THP-Plus Foster Care (THP+FC). My questions: are custodial parents placed in THP+FC eligible for an infant supplement? If so, do they receive it directly or is it included in the rate payment to our organizations? Finally, if they are eligible for the infant supplement, does a youth receive one infant supplement regardless of how many children they have or one infant supplement for each child?

A: Yes; a non-minor dependent placed in THP+FC is eligible to receive an infant supplement of $411 per month for the nondependent child residing with the non-minor, which is paid to the provider. Some or all of this payment may be passed through to the non-minor dependent to help pay for child-related expenses. If a non-minor dependent is the custodial parent to more than one child, an infant supplement is provided for each child.

Source: All County Letter 11-69

Eligibility for Continuing Kin-GAP Benefits and Infant Supplement Payment for a Relative Legal Guardian

Q: I am the relative legal guardian of a 17 year-old who is pregnant and has a disability. A few questions: Will I be eligible to continue to receive Kinship Guardianship Assistance (Kin-GAP) benefits on her behalf after she turns 18 years old? Also, will she be eligible for an “infant supplement” when the baby is born?

A: Yes, Kin-GAP benefits extends to age 21 if the youth has a “physical or mental disability that warrants the continuation of assistance” regardless of when the guardianship was established. For youth who are determined to have a physical or mental disability, receipt of extended Kin-GAP benefits is not conditional on the young person in your care meeting one of the five participation requirements due to her disability. There is no definition for what qualifies as a “mental or physical disability” – so contact your county child welfare agency to discuss your child’s needs and eligibility for Kin-GAP benefits until age 21.

In addition, relative guardians receiving Kin-GAP on behalf of a youth that is parenting are eligible for the $441 infant supplement, both before the youth turns age 18 and after the youth turns age 18.

Sources: Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11363(c)(2), 11386(g)(2), All County Letter 11-86