Category Archives: Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) & Adoption Assistance Program (AAP)

Applying to Participate in the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program

Q: I am from one of the 16 counties that did not participate in the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children for Fiscal Year 2017-18. I’d like my county to participate for FY 2018-19. What is the process and how much could my county receive if it does?

A: Counties that intend to participate in the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program (Bridge Program) starting July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019 must complete and submit a plan to the Child Care Programs Bureau by July 20, 2018. The plan template is included as an attachment to recently issued All County Letter 18-73.

The minimum funding allocations for counties that opt into the program are also included as an attachment to ACL 18-73. The child care navigator and training allocations were calculated by determining each county’s percentage of eligible caseload to the statewide total eligible caseload. The voucher allocation was calculated utilizing the eligible caseload multiplied by the Regional Market Rate for the appropriate category to develop each county’s percentage of the total statewide allocation.

After approval of submitted plans, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will distribute any unallocated Bridge Program funds among participating counties. According to CDSS, final allocations for FY 2018-19 will be included in forthcoming County Fiscal Letters along with claiming instructions.

What is the Bridge Program?

The goals of the Bridge Program are to increase the number of foster children successfully placed in home-based family care settings, increase placement stability, increase the capacity of child care programs to meet the needs of foster children, and maximize funding to support the child care needs of eligible families.

Families eligible for the Bridge Program are resource families and families that have a child placed with them in an emergency or for a compelling reason; licensed foster family homes or certified family homes; approved homes of relatives or non-relative extended family members; and parents under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, including but not limited to non-minor dependent parents.

In counties that opt into the Bridge Program, it provides eligible families with a time-limited child care voucher or payment to help pay for child care costs for children birth through age 12, children with exceptional needs, and severely disabled children up to age 21. It also provides a child care navigator to assist with finding a child care provider, securing a subsidized child care placement if eligible, completing child care program applications, and developing a plan for long-term child care appropriate to the child’s age and needs.

Citation:

California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 18-73 (June 14, 2018). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2018/18-73.pdf?ver=2018-06-20-143808-703

California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 17-109 (October 27, 2017). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2017/17-109.pdf?ver=2017-10-30-132310-620

Sharing Bedrooms by Transgender Youth

Q: What things should a caregiver in a licensed facility, licensed or certified home, or resource family consider when assessing the sharing of bedrooms by transgender youth and NMDs placed in their facility or home?

 A: This was addressed in a recent Frequently Asked Questions document disseminated by the California Department of Social Services, stated below:

“The caregiver must consider the health, safety and compatibility of all children sharing a bedroom, as specified in applicable regulations, written directives, or interim licensing standards. When considering compatibility, a caregiver shall consult with children in their care, in an age and developmentally appropriate manner, regarding the child’s sexual orientation and gender identity and what information the child wishes to disclose and to whom. Caregivers shall not disclose information about the child’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity against the child’s wishes, unless compelled to do so by law or court order. Caregivers should consult with the social workers for each of the children placed with them to ensure they have adequate information regarding all of the children in their care, and consult with each child individually in an age appropriate manner to determine their strengths, needs and preferences.” 

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Information No. I-30-18, Attachment: SB 731 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Question 4 (May 17, 2018). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACIN/2018/I-30_18.pdf

Selecting a Housing Plan on FAFSA

Q: I am completing the FAFSA and on the page where I indicate which schools I want my information sent to, it asks me to indicate if I will be living on-campus, off-campus or with parents. I am currently in foster care and have lived with my aunt since I entered the system, and I plan to continue living with her while I go to community college. Which option do I select?

A: You would select “off-campus.” Students should not select “With Parent” as their housing plan if they plan to live with a foster parent, relative caregiver, or legal guardian. Instead, select “Off-Campus.” This is crucial for getting all the money that is available to you to pay for your living expenses. The option you select has an impact on how much money you receive as the “cost of attendance” is considered more when living off-campus than when living with a parent. For more tips on how to complete the FAFSA, check out the Financial Aid Guide for California Foster Youth.

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Youth in guardianship with open dependency case: what happens at 18?

Q: I’m working with a 17-year-old youth who is in a guardianship, but there is still an open dependency case. What happens when she turns 18? Can she opt to move into a placement like a SILP or THP+FC for non-minor dependents? Or must she remain in the home of her guardian?

A: Because there is still an open dependency case, this youth is technically in foster care, meaning when she turns 18 she can access the placement types that other non-minor dependents (NMDs) can access, assuming she meets the eligibility criteria for extended foster care.

For youth in guardianships with open dependency cases, the guardianship terminates by operation of law at age 18. The home of the guardian can still be a foster care placement for the NMD if the guardian is willing and the NMD chooses to remain in the home, however the NMD can also choose to reside in a different placement.

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Has CCR changed AB 12 eligibility?

Q: I am a CASA with a youth who is facing some decisions regarding her permanency plan. I understand there have been recent changes related to Continuum of Care Reform, impacting foster care placement. My question is, has CCR changed AB 12 eligibility at all — particularly in regards to the age of establishing guardianship and eligibility for extended Kin-GAP payments?

A: No. AB 12 eligibility has not changed as a result of Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). AB 12 eligibility, including eligibility for Extended Foster Care, extended Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) payments, and extended Adoptions Assistance Program (AAP) payments remains as follows:

Extended Foster Care:

There are four basic eligibility requirements for a youth to continue to receive support after the age of 18. The youth must:

  • have an order for foster care placement on his/her 18th birthday;[i]
  • continue under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as a dependent, under transitional jurisdiction, or as a ward;[ii]
  • meet one of the five participation conditions*;[iii] and
  • agree to live in a supervised placement that is licensed or approved.[iv]

The youth must also sign a mutual agreement (although not a condition of payment)[v], meet with his/her social worker or probation officer monthly[vi], and participate in six-month court review hearings.[vii]

Extended Kin-GAP:

  • Youth, regardless of age of entry into Kin-GAP, may continue to receive Kin-GAP up until age 21 if he or she has a physical or mental disability that warrants continuing assistance beyond age 18 and up until 21.[viii]
  • Youth who began to receive the negotiated Kin-GAP payment after they turn 16 are eligible for extended Kin-GAP benefits to age 21, as long as the youth meets one of the participation conditions* and signs a mutual agreement.[ix]
  • Youth who began to receive the negotiated Kin-GAP payment before they turn 16 are eligible for extended Kin-GAP beyond age 18 if they have not yet graduated high school, but are expected to complete high school or an equivalent program before they turn 19. In this case, they can continue to receive Kin-GAP until they graduate or turn 19, whichever happens first.[x] There is one exception to this rule: Youth in a guardianship with a non-related extended family member (see next bullet).
  • Regardless of the age of entry into Kin-GAP, youth in a guardianship with a non-related extended family member (NREFM) are eligible for extended AFDC-FC benefits as a non-related guardian when they turn 18 and up until age 21, as long as the youth meets one of the participation conditions* and signs a mutual agreement.[xi]

Extended AAP:

  • A youth, regardless of age of entry into the Adoptions Assistance Program (AAP), may continue to receive AAP up until age 21 if he or she has a physical or mental disability that warrants continuing assistance beyond age 18 and up until 21.
  • Youth who do not have a physical or mental disability and who began to receive the negotiated AAP payment before turning 16 will receive AAP until age 18.
  • Youth who began to receive the negotiated AAP payment after turning 16 may be eligible for extended AAP benefits beyond age 18, and up until 21, as long as the youth meets one of the participations conditions*. There is no mutual agreement requirement for youth to receive AAP after age 18. [xii]

*The “five participation conditions” referenced above are as follows:

1) The nonminor is completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential.

2) The nonminor is enrolled in an institution which provides postsecondary or vocational education.

3) The nonminor is participating in a program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to employment.

4) The nonminor is employed for at least 80 hours per month.

5) The nonminor is incapable of doing any of the activities described above due to a medical condition.[xiii]

Citations:

[i] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11400(v)

[ii] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11400(v)

[iii] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403(b)

[iv] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11402

[v] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 303(d), 11400(u); All County Letter 11‐61

[vi] 42 U.S.C. § 622(b)(17); ACYF-CB-PI-10-11 (p. 11)

[vii] Welf. & Inst. Code §366.3(m)

[viii] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11363(c)(2), 11386(g)(2)

[ix] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11363(d), 11386(h); All County Letter 11‐86; Senate Bill §1013

[x] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11363(c)(3), 11386(g)(3); All County Letter 11‐15; All County Letter 11‐86

[xi] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11391(c), 11405(e)(2)

[xii] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 16120(d); 16123

[xiii] Welf. & Inst. § 11403(b)

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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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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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Can non-minors in guardianships be placed in a SILP or THP+FC?

Q: I work for Child Protective Services and would like to know whether youth in Non-Related Legal Guardianships (NRLG) are eligible for placement in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) or in a transitional housing placement (THP+FC).

Also, is there a certain age these youth had to have gone into the guardianship to be eligible for extended benefits?

A: Youth in guardianships, including Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG) are not eligible for Extended Foster Care, and so they cannot be placed in foster care placements such as a SILP or THP+FC.

Some youth in guardianships are eligible for extended Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) benefits:

  • Youth in NRLG established in dependency court are eligible for extended Kin-GAP to age 21, regardless of the age the guardianship was established.[1]
  • Youth in NRLG established by the probate court are only eligible for extended Kin-GAP as follows: If they are still in high school when they turn 18, they can remain receiving benefits until they graduate high school or turn 19, whichever comes first. “This is called the high school completion rule”.[2]
  • Youth in kin guardianships are eligible for extended Kin-GAP to age 21 if the guardianship was established after the youth turned 16[3] (with the exception of the condition stated in the next bulletin). If the guardianship was established prior to turning 16, they are only eligible for extended benefits under the terms of the high school completion rule stated in the previous bullet.[4]
  • Youth in kin guardianships who have a physical or mental disability, the Kin-GAP benefits can be extended to age 21 regardless of the age the guardianship was established.[5]

Citation:

[1] Welfare & Institutions Code § 11400(2)(aa)
[2] All County Letter 11‐69
[3] Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 11363(d), 11386(h); All County Letter 11‐86; Senate Bill 1013
[4] Welfare & Institutions Code § 11363(c)(3), 11386(g)(3); All County Letter 11‐15; All County Letter 11‐86
[5] Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 11363(c)(2), 11386(g)(2)

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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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Financial aid for youth who were adopted

Q: I am working with a youth who has been adopted, and she is applying for financial aid for college. What age would this youth have to have been adopted after, to qualify for financial aid for foster youth?

A: For the Chafee Grant, which is the only form of financial aid dedicated solely for foster youth, a youth must have been in care on their 16th birthday. So if they were adopted after turning age 16, they would be eligible for the Chafee Grant.

For other forms of financial aid, such as the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, the Cal Grant and the Pell Grant, the terms are different. Eligibility for these forms of aid is linked to financial need. Foster youth (and youth in guardianships) are entitled to independent status on the FAFSA, which means they do 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 on their 13th birthday. So, if they were adopted prior to age 13, they will have to report their adoptive parents’ income, which may or may not qualify them for these forms of aid, depending on the amount of the adoptive parents’ income.

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