Category Archives: Placement & Housing

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)

Tagged ,

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

Tagged ,

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).

Tagged , , , , ,

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

Tagged , ,

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)

Tagged ,

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.

Citation:

Tagged ,

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)

Tagged ,

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)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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)

Tagged , , , ,

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)

Tagged ,