Message from the California Department of Education (CDE):
The CDE understands that the field may need further clarification about how to consider foster care payments to foster parents when determining the eligibility of a foster child for subsidized early care and education services.
· Contractors must consider foster care payments as total countable income as specified in Section 18078(s) of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (5 CCR)for the purposes of determining income eligibility for early care and education services.
· Contractors must not include the income of the foster parent in the income eligibility calculations. (5 CCR 18100(c))
Additional historical background:
· In January 2015, the California Department of Social Services published the “California’s Child Welfare Continuum of Care Reform” report after a three-year workgroup process. The report was required by a 2012 budget trailer bill (Senate Bill 1013, Chapter 25, Statutes of 2012), which directed the workgroup to consider, at a minimum, reforms to programs provided by Foster Family Agencies and group homes. Assembly Bill 403 (Mark Stone, Chapter 773, Statutes of 2015) was the first in a series of massive reform bills to implement the reforms suggested by the Child Welfare Continuum of Care Reform report.
· In 2017, the follow-up bill containing technical updates to the original reform bill, Assembly Bill 404 (AB 404 Stone, Chapter 732, Statutes of 2017), was a 243-page bill that clarified and updated numerous components of the continuum of care reform effort related to foster care placements. The bill was the second clean-up bill following the original bill which enacted the broader Continuum of Care Reform effort.
· Assembly Bill 1694 (AB 1694) repeals one section of language that was mistakenly included in AB 404 at the very end of the legislative process in 2017. That provision effectively changed priority of certain subsidized child care slots by including a foster care payment disregard that CDE had not previously used.
· The language repeal accomplished in AB 1694 in 2018 aligns statute with current practice. In accordance with this language and with current practice, foster care payments, but not foster parent income, must be used when determining a child’s eligibility for subsidized early care and education services.
If contractors were following the language of AB 404 between July 1, 2017, and April 5, 2018, and did not consider foster care payments when determining eligibility, the certification is valid for no less than twelve months.
If the foster care parent is still receiving foster care payments at the end of the twelve-month period, that income must be included when determining eligibility at recertification.
If you need assistance in counting total countable income, or if you have any questions specifically related to this message, please contact your Early Education and Support Division Field Services Consultant by phone at 916-322-6233. A listing of Field Services Consultant regional assignments is located on the CDE Consultant Regional Assignment Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp.
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