Category Archives: Placement & Housing

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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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.

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When to use SILP Readiness Assessment

Q: I understand there is now a standardized readiness assessment available for approving Supervised Independent Living Placements (SILPs). Is this tool intended to be used for new SILPs only, or should it also be used when a non-minor dependent’s SILP is changing?

A: It should also be used when a non-minor dependent (NMD)’s Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) is changing. The new SILP readiness assessment tool (SOC 157C) was developed in order to standardize how NMDs are being assessed for SILPs and for continuity for NMDs who move between counties. The California Department of Social Services greatly encourages counties to utilize this standardized assessment tool when a NMD:

  • Requests to live in a SILP for the first time;
  • Has been living in a supported SILP but may presently be ready for a more independent SILP;
  • Requests a new SILP and their circumstances have changed or;
  • Was not deemed ready for a SILP in the past but has since accomplished TILP goals designed to assist the NMD with SILP readiness.

When an NMD is moving from one SILP placement to another, the caseworker is encouraged to at least use section one of the tool to ensure the NMD has adequate income to meet their expenses for the new living arrangement.

Citation: All County Information Notice I-42-17 (September 15, 2017)

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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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Residing in a SILP with biological parent or home of removal now allowable

Q: A social worker told me that there are new rules regarding the Supervised Independent Living Placement. He stated that non-minor dependents are now allowed to reside with the parent from which they were removed, including their biological parent. Is this true? If so, are there any sort of guidelines?

A: Yes, this is accurate. In light of recent guidance provided by the California Department of Social Services, non-minor dependents (NMDs) may now live in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) with a parent, which is defined as a parent from whom the youth was removed or any non-custodial parent, including but not limited to a biological parent, guardian or adoptive parent.

As far as guidelines go, the social worker or probation officer must make a determination of whether it is safe for the NMD to reside in the same home as the parent(s) in the same way it would be made with regards to anyone else a NMD chooses to live with in a SILP. Also in line with the general guidelines associated with the SILP, the SILP readiness assessment tool must be utilized to determine if the NMD is making appropriate decisions with regards to the person(s) with whom they plan to reside.

One different guideline that applies when NMDs reside with a parent in a SILP is that the parent may not be the NMD’s payee for the foster care payment.

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 17-83 (September 5, 2017). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2017/17-83.pdf?ver=2017-09-07-111228-323

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Increase in monthly stipend for youth in SILPs & THP+FC?

Q: I heard in a meeting today that youth in Supervised Independent Living Placements (SILPs) and THP+FC have received a “raise” in their monthly stipend. Is this true, and if so, how much do they now receive?

A: You are correct that as of July 1, 2017, youth in SILPs now receive an increased foster care payment of $923 (up from $883). However, the amount that a THP+FC program provides a youth monthly is not an amount set by the state, and varies from program to program. The THP+FC rate did increase to $3,209 (up from $3,090) for single and remote site models and to $2,553 (up from $2,459) for host family models as of July 1st, and so some programs may have increased the monthly stipend they provide the youth, but this is not a requirement.

These rate increases are part of an annual increase that is made to all foster care placements based on the California Necessities Index (CNI). For a complete list of current foster care rates, view the recently released All County Letter.

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 17-75 (July 13, 2017).

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Tiny House as SILP?

Q: We have a non-minor dependent (NMD) who would like to purchase a “Tiny House”. This NMD has saved up the down payment and the former foster parents have agreed to let this youth park it on their property. The Tiny House is mobile so the NMD could move the house as their situation changes. Can this NMD reside in the Tiny House as a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP)?

A: Yes, the Tiny House could be the NMD’s SILP, as long as the social worker or probation officer approves it. Approving a SILP is a two-part process that consists of:

  • a SILP Readiness Assessment to indicate whether or not the NMD has knowledge of financial skills and is developmentally ready to handle daily tasks on their own, and a financial plan to meet his/her living expenses while living in the SILP.
  • an inspection checklist (SOC 157B) to determine that the living unit meets basic health and safety standards. This is done during a walkthrough of the site with the NMD.

Citation: All County Letter 11-77 (2011) http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/entres/getinfo/acl/2011/11-77.pdf

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Placement with relative that is not a legal resident

Q: With all that I am reading about immigration federally, I am worried about this ability of children to be placed with relatives. What happens for children who need to be placed with a relative who is not a legal resident? Is this allowed?

A: Yes. When a court orders removal of a child, the child may be placed with a non-custodial parent or relative regardless of the immigration status of the parent or relative.

Citation: California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 361.2(e)

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Transgender youth – placement rights

Q: I’m working with a transgender young person who identifies as female, but has been placed in a group home for male youth. Does she have the right to be placed in a group home according to her gender identity?

A: Yes, she does have the right to be placed in a group home according to her gender identity. Senate Bill 731 (2015) amended Welfare and Institutions Code to provide transgender children the right to be placed in out-of-home care according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in the court or child welfare records.

What also may be helpful to review, is a question and answer document developed by a group of organizations which provides helpful information and resources for California child welfare professionals to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of transgender and gender non-conforming children in foster care.

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Resource Family Approval Toolkit for Caregivers

Q: I am a relative caregiver of two siblings in foster care. There seem to be a lot of new changes in place this year that may impact us. What do I need to know about the Resource Family Approval process? Where can I go for information about this?

A: Yes, there are many changes taking effect this year, as part of California’s Continuum of Care Reform (CCR).  Resource Family Approval (RFA), which took effect January 1, 2017 creates one uniform approval process for all caregivers in the foster care system, relative and non-relative. RFA applies to all new caregivers, and those who have already been approved and are currently caring for a foster child must be reapproved by December 31, 2019.

The Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Step Up Coalition and a wide range of state and local partners developed a toolkit to help walk caregivers through the newly implemented RFA process. It includes sample forms and other resources to guide you through the approval process, and a narrative explaining RFA step by step. You can download the toolkit at: http://kids-alliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/StepUp_RFAToolkit_V1_Feb2017_print_download.pdf

While the toolkit is intended to provide caregivers access to easy-to-understand information, it is not meant to be comprehensive. Each county in California may have its own supplemental forms and requirements, and so you should also consult with your social worker and local advocacy organizations for additional guidance.

The California Department of Social Services has also released All County Letter (ACL) 17-16, which provides county child welfare, probation departments and other interested stakeholders with information on the conversion process of all currently licensed foster family homes, approved relatives and Non-Relative Extended Family Members for implementation of RFA.

The ACL provides instructions on which aspects of RFA are to be completed for existing caregivers and what to include in the new Resource Family file, as well as a Frequently Asked Questions document.

Citation: Resource Family Approval Guide (Step Up Coalition); All County Letter 17-16 (February 14, 2017)

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