Category Archives: Extended Foster Care

Cal Grant GPA requirements & more

Q: I know the Cal Grant deadline is less than a month away, and I need some guidance to help my foster child. She is a high school senior, and is hoping to attend our local Cal State University.

Her Grade Point Average (GPA) is 2.8, but I understand that the GPA requirements for the Cal Grant A are 3.0. Should my child still apply?

A: Yes, your foster child should absolutely still apply. The minimum GPA requirement for Cal Grant A is 3.0 for high school students and 2.4 for transfer students, however for Cal Grant B, the minimum GPA requirement is 2.0.

Your foster child should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) along with the GPA verification by the priority deadline of March 2nd. If she is undocumented, she should submit the California Dream Act application instead of the FAFSA (by March 2nd).

For a youth who applies by March 2nd, Cal Grants A and B are entitlements, meaning a youth is guaranteed a Cal Grant if they meet the following requirements:

  • meets the income eligibility requirements (foster youth automatically do if they were in foster care after their 13th birthday because they qualify for “independent” status on the FAFSA)
  • is a high school senior, is within one year after graduating from high school/GED, or is a California Community College transfer student
  • meets the minimum GPA requirements (Cal Grant A: 3.0 GPA for high school students and 2.4 GPA for transfer students; Cal Grant B: 2.0 GPA)
  • submits their FAFSA and GPA verification by the March 2nd priority deadline

Once the March 2nd deadline passes, Cal Grants A and B become competitive grants for community college students only, to those who submit the FAFSA and GPA verification by September 2nd, subject to remaining funds. However, Dream Act students MUST submit by March 2nd. If they miss the March 2nd deadline, they will not be eligible for the Cal Grant A and B competitive grant.

If your foster child qualifies for the Cal Grant B, for her first year, it will provide the living allowance of up to $1,656, but not the tuition assistance that the Cal Grant A will. However, when the Cal Grant B is renewed or awarded beyond the first year, the student will receive the living allowance as well as the tuition and fee award. The tuition and fee award is up to $5,472 at a CSU and up to $12,240 at a UC campus.

A note about where Cal Grants A and B can be used:

Cal Grant A cannot be used at California Community Colleges, but can be used at UCs, CSUs, and private colleges. However, if a student is awarded a Cal Grant A who attends a community college, their award is held on reserve status for up to 3 years, then activated if the student meets all renewal requirements at the time of transfer.

Cal Grant B can be used at California Community Colleges, along with UCs, CSUs and private institutions.

Citation: California Student Aid Commission – http://www.csac.ca.gov/; Cal Grant Handbook – http://www.csac.ca.gov/CGM/calgrant_handbook.pdf

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Financial aid eligibility for reunified youth

Q: I am working with a young woman who has turned 21 and was previously in foster care. She was reunified with her mother approximately 7 weeks before she turned 18. Does this preclude her from educational financial aid that is tied to her foster youth status? Can she access Chafee and the other types of financial aid?

A: No, reunifying at age 17 does not preclude this young woman from any financial aid that she may be eligible for as a foster youth. Yes, she is categorically eligible for the Chafee Education & Training Voucher, the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, the Cal Grant, and the Pell Grant. Provided below is more information about foster care status and eligibility for these types of financial aid.

For the Chafee Grant, a youth must have been a dependent or ward of the court living in foster care on or after their 16th birthday. However, it is important to note in this case because she is 21 years old, that if she turns 22 before July 1st of the award year she would not be eligible for Chafee.

For the BOG Fee Waiver, the Cal Grant and the Pell Grant, eligibility is linked to the student’s “independent” status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Being “independent” means the student does not need to report parental income (but if their own income exceeds the income standards, they will not get aid). In order to qualify for independent status, a youth needs to have been in care at least one day after their 13th birthday.

Citation: California Student Aid Commission (Chafee eligibility: https://www.chafee.csac.ca.gov/), U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (https://fafsa.ed.gov/)

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Eligible placements for AB 2464 re-entries

Q: I’m working with an 18 year old in guardianship who is no longer being provided support by their guardian, and is without a place to live. She has asked if she can access a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP).

Is there a way for this youth to re-enter foster care and access a SILP, and will she be eligible to receive her foster care payment directly as her own payee?

A: If this youth’s guardian is no longer providing ongoing support to her and she successfully re-enters Extended Foster Care through the process established by Assembly Bill 2454 (more information about this process in a previous Q of the W), then she would be eligible for the placement options available to non-minor dependents, including the Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP).

To access a SILP, she would have to pass a SILP Readiness Assessment and her housing would have to pass a Health & Safety Inspection. Youth placed in SILPs are eligible to receive their foster care payment directly.

Citation: Assembly Bill 2454 (2014), All County Information Notice I-17-15 (October 20, 2015), All County Letter 11-69 (October 13, 2011), All County Letter 11-77 (November 18, 2011)

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Clothing allowance & SCI under CCR

Q: I understand that foster care rates have changed as of January 1, 2017 as a result of California’s Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). What about the clothing allowance and the Specialized Care Increment? Do these still exist under CCR?

A: Yes, the clothing allowance and the Specialized Care Increment (SCI) still exist under Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). On top of the foster care rates which did change as of January 1, 2017 (see 11/9/17 Q of the W to learn more), counties may continue to pay an SCI and clothing allowance.

As stated in All County Letter 16-79, families paid at a higher rate than the basic level rate (e.g. any additional SCI) may continue receiving those rates at county discretion. Counties will continue to provide written guidelines for their discretionary continuation of SCI rates and clothing allowances, and apply these guidelines equitably to determine a family’s eligibility for SCI rates or clothing allowances.

Citation: All County Letter 16-79 (September 22, 2016)

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New Foster Care Rates go into Effect January 1, 2017

Q: I am a relative caregiver. I understand that foster care rates changed effective January 1, 2017. Who did they change for, and when will I see this change in the monthly check I receive? If I don’t see an increase, who should I contact about it?

A: You are correct. Foster care rates did change for relative caregivers in addition to several other types of placement settings. The passage of Assembly Bill 403 necessitated the implementation of a new rate setting system to support the goals of California’s Continuum of Care Reform effort. This new rate structure will be implemented in two phases. The first phase, which took effect January 1, 2017, made changes to the rates for Home-Based Family Care (HBFC) and Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (STRTPs).

The rates changes are outlined below. Because foster care is paid in arrears, care providers can expect to receive the payment showing the increased amount for care provided for January 2017, no later than February 15, 2017. If you do not see the correct amount, you should contact the California Department of Social Services’ Foster Care Audits & Rates Bureau at fosterca@dss.ca.gov.

Effective January 1, 2017, a basic level rate of $889 will be issued for all new placements of a child/youth in one of the following settings:

  • Resource Families
  • County foster family homes
  • Relatives (including both Federal and non-Federal relative cases and regardless of participation in the Approved Relative Caregiver Program)
  • Nonrelative Extended Family Members
  • Non-Minor Dependents in Supervised Independent Living Placements

Foster Family Agency (FFA) Rates

Effective January 1, 2017, all new and existing FFA Resource Families and certified families will be paid according to a rate structure that provides one flat rate for administration and incorporates the new components of Resource Family Approval (RFA) and Service & Supports (S&S).FFAs will be paid the total rate in the chart below:

Age 0-4 508 9-11 12-14 15-21
FFA Certified Family $896 $954 $994 $1,032 $1,072
Social Worker $340 $340 $340 $340 $340
S&S $156 $156 $156 $156 $156
RFA $48 $48 $48 $48 $48
Administration $672 $672 $672 $672 $672
Rate $2,112 $2,170 $2,210 $2,248 $2,288

Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (STRTPs) and Group Homes

Effective January 1, 2017, the new STRTP rate is $12,036. For all out-of-state group home placements, the rate the county pays is based on the out-of-state group homes rate; however, the rate paid cannot exceed the new STRTP rate.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP), Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG) Program & Adoption Assistance Program (AAP)

New placements of a child or youth (on or after January 1, 2017) who is determined to be eligible to receive assistance under Kin-GAP, the NRLG Program, and AAP will receive the basic level rate of $889.

The rate structure for families receiving AAP on behalf of an eligible child whose AAP agreement was signed and whose adoption finalized prior to May 27, 2011 will not change. (Consistent with existing law, AAP agreements signed or for AAP eligible adoptions that were finalized on or after May 27, 2011, may be reassessed based on the changing needs of the child or the circumstances of the adoptive parent).

The rate structure for families currently receiving Kin-GAP assistance payments or for NRLG cases where guardianship was established prior to or after May 1, 2011 will not change. Effective January 1, 2017, the Kin-GAP basic rate may be increased upon reassessment of the circumstances of the caregiver and the needs of the child for cases in which the kinship guardianship was established and dependency was terminated on or after May 1, 2011.

Out-of-State Foster Family Home (FFH) Placements

Out-of-State FFH rates will remain the same. Counties will continue to pay the other state’s rate as they do now.

Wraparound Rate

Effective January 1, 2017, the Wraparound rate is $8,573.

Citation: All County Letter 16-79 (September 22, 2016)

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Guidance on how to support sexually active foster youth

Q: My 16 year-old foster daughter told me that she is having sex with her boyfriend. I am not sure what to do and what is my role, versus the role of the social worker or her biological parents. This is a sensitive topic. Is there any official guidance from the state on what I should do?

A: The California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division (CCL) has released a technical support resource guide for children’s residential facilities and resource families to address just this question.  The guide identifies five specific steps for caregivers to take in situation:

1.) The caregiver can review the Reproductive and Sexual Health Care Rights with the youth.

2.) The caregiver can offer reliable, non-biased information on safe sex and birth control to the youth.

3.) The caregiver can direct the youth to reliable websites with information about various types of birth control methods for pregnancy prevention.

4.) The caregiver can assist the youth in making an appointment with a health provider who can explain different birth control options.

5.) The caregiver shall provide transportation to the health care appointment.

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THP+FC client to case manager ratio

Q: I supervise a THP+FC program and am wondering what the maximum caseload is for a THP+FC social worker? I also would like to know where these numbers could be found in the Community Care Licensing regulations.

A: THP+FC placements are licensed under the Transitional Housing Placement Provider license. The client to case manager ratio for a Transitional Housing Placement Provider is 1:12. While the Transitional Housing Placement Program regulations indicate a ratio of 1:25 for social workers, this was amended in statute to be a 1 to 12 case manager to client ratio. You can find this is Welfare and Institutions Code section 16522(f)(3).

Citation: Welfare & Institutions Code §16522(f)(3); Manual of Policies & Procedures, Transitional Housing Placement Program, Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 7, Section 86065.5

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Medical Marijuana Card holder in THP+FC

Q: I’m a county worker with a young man who has a medical marijuana card, living in one of our THP+FC sites. His medical marijuana card says he has to smoke it within the confinements of his own home, however the provider does not want him smoking in the house. Is the provider required to permit him to smoke marijuana, and how do we handle the issue of his roommate (who does not hold a medical marijuana card) being exposed to or potentially accessing the marijuana?

A: In accordance with Title 22, California Code of Regulations, section 86087(f), the provider must forbid smoking at the THP+FC site. However, this does not prohibit the NMD from “taking” the marijuana by other means (e.g., orally). Accordingly, the county must comply with any protections to prevent those without a medical marijuana card from also consuming the substance. Such precautions may include, but are not limited to, keeping the marijuana in locked storage and having on hand only what will be used immediately.

Citation: Guidance from the California Department of Social Services, Title 22, California Code of Regulations, section 86087(f)

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Waiting Period for Re-Entry

No. It is not permitted to impose a waiting period of any duration before an otherwise eligible youth can re-enter foster care.

To re-enter, the youth must sign a voluntary re-entry agreement (SOC 163), which provides the county with the authority for placement for 180 days. Once this is signed, foster care benefits begin the date the agreement is signed or the date that the youth is placed in a qualified placement, whichever is later.

Policy guidance is clear that the youth does not have to be working or in school to re-enter foster care when the re-entry agreement is signed. Instead, they must agree to complete one of the participation conditions.  As ACL 12-12 states, “The youth’s signature on the SOC 163 will indicate their initial agreement to satisfy one of five participation conditions of EFC and will continue to satisfy that requirement pending completion of the TILP that documents their continuing participation.”

W&IC section 388(e); CDSS ACL 12-12

 

 

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Adopted at 16 but in need of services

Q: I was adopted when I was 16, but things didn’t really work out and I’ve been on my own since I turned 18. Now I’m 19 years-old and I work part-time, but it’s not enough to rent an apartment even with a roommate. I’m staying on my friend’s couch right now but I need to be out of here soon. My adoptive parents will not allow me to move back in. Am I eligible for AB 12 or for the THP-Plus program for former foster youth? 

A: Yes, you may be eligible to re-enter Extended Foster Care (EFC) through a process that was established by Assembly Bill 2454.

As of January 1, 2015, a youth who is over 18 years of age and, while a minor, was a dependent child or ward of the juvenile court when their guardianship or adoption was established, may seek re-entry to foster care if the legal guardian(s) or adoptive parent(s) received aid* after the youth attained 18 years of age, but no longer provide ongoing support to, and no longer receive aid on behalf of the non-minor between 18 and (up to) 21 years old.

Once the petition is filed and the court determines there is sufficient information to indicate that the non-minor meets one of the conditions for re-entry, a hearing will be scheduled within 15 judicial days.

The child welfare or probation department will prepare a court report that addresses how the non-minor will meet one of the five EFC participation criteria cited in ACL 11-69 and the appropriate placement setting for the non-minor. If re-entry into foster care is in the non-minor’s best interest, the court will assume dependency jurisdiction over the non-minor and order placement and care responsibility with the child welfare or probation agency.

As for your eligibility for the THP-Plus program for former foster youth, you are not eligible. Youth are eligible for the THP-Plus program who were in foster care or out-of-home placement on or after their 18th birthday and there is currently no mechanism to petition this, as there is for Extended Foster Care.

*Received aid under the state or federal Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP), as a Non-Related Legal Guardian whose guardianship was established in dependency court, or through the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP)

Citation: Assembly Bill 2454 (2014), All County Information Notice I-17-15 (October 20, 2015), All County Letter 11-69 (October 13, 2011)

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