Financial and Medical Assistance

Financial Assistance

Foster Care payment rates are established by the State of California and County Board of Supervisors and vary with the type and location of the child’s placement, the age of the child, any specialized care which may be authorized for the child, and/or any special needs the child may have. Foster children can receive foster care cash assistance through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) program. The AFDC-FC program is administered under two sub-programs:

  • State AFDC-FC, and
  • Federal AFDC-FC.

Foster care payments are not income to the foster parent. Payments are intended to help cover the costs of the child’s food, on-going clothing and personal needs, transportation, entertainment, shelter needs and supervision/parenting needs.

Foster Care payments are received on the 12th of the month, following the month of care. For example: payment for the month of September will be received on October 12th.

Medical Assistance

Foster Care payments include Medi-Cal benefits. Riverside County dependents who reside in Riverside or San Bernardino counties and receive Foster Care benefits get their Medi-Cal benefits through Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) as part of IEHPs “Open Access Network”. This is an enhanced program through IEHP in which foster children have immediate access to IEHP doctors, direct referral to a specialist, After-Hours Nurse Advice Line and much more. For additional information call IEHP (800) 706-4347.

If a child has access to private medical insurance through a parent, that insurance is used for medical needs and Medi-Cal is the secondary insurance for the child.

For additional information on Foster Care Medi-Cal, click here.

Federal Eligibility

If the child is placed with a relative, the only available Foster Care funding source is Federal AFDC-FC. If the child does not qualify for Federal AFCD-FC, the FC ET refers the child to the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program.

A child is eligible to Federal AFDC-FC if the child:

  • meets the Federal AFDC-FC linkage requirement, and
  • meets all other AFDC-FC requirements

To determine Federal linkage, the FC ET determines if:

  • the child resided in the home of a parent or relative from whom removed during the petition/voluntary placement month, or one of the six (6) previous months AND
  • the child could have received welfare assistance in that home (per the AFDC-FG/U program regulations that were in effect on July 16,1996) in the month of the court petition or voluntary placement agreement.

If the answer to both questions is ‘yes’, the child meets the Federal AFDC-FC linkage requirement. Federal AFDC-FC cannot be paid if the child returns to, or is placed in, the home that was used for linkage. The child must still meet other Federal AFDC-FC requirements:

  • placement authority
  • eligible facility
  • court order findings requirements
  • all other AFDC-FC requirements, including deprivation. ‘Deprivation’ means that the child is deprived of parental support or care due to the parent’s death, incapacity, absence form the child’s home, or unemployment.

Note: the child will lose AFDC-FC eligibility if the parent moves into the home in which the foster child resides.

Non-Federal Eligibility

If the child is placed with a non-relative (or a relative specified under ICWA), Federal or State AFDC-FC funding may be used.

A child is eligible to State AFDC-FC if the child:

  • meets placement authority requirements
  • is residing in an eligible facility
  • meets court order findings requirements
  • meets all other AFDC-FC requirements. including deprivation . ‘Deprivation’ means that the child is deprived of parental support or care due to the parent’s death, incapacity, absence form the child’s home, or unemployment.

Note: the child will lose AFDC-FC eligibility if the parent moves into the home in which the foster child resides.

Property and Income Limits

To be eligible for Federal or State AFDC-FC foster care payments a child must meet the following property and income limits:

  • Property: A child may not have more than $10,000 in combined, countable value of cash and property (both real and personal). This includes real estate, cars, bank accounts, savings accounts, savings bonds, etc.
  • Income: A child may not have countable income, from any source, which exceeds the foster care rate. This includes child support, Social Security Retirement, Survivor’s and Disability Insurance (RSDI) income from a deceased or disabled parent, Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits based on the child's disability, income from a trust account, etc.

EXCEPTION: When a child in placement age 16 or older is enrolled by their social worker in the Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP), any income or incentive payments earned as a direct result of the child's participation in ILSP are exempt for the purposes of determining Foster Care property and income.

Placement Types & Eligibility

To be eligible for foster care payments a child must be placed with one of the following eligible facilities:

  • a licensed non-related foster home—this can be a foster family home, a Foster Family Agency or a Group Home. Foster homes are licensed through the Community Care Licensing (CCL) division of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) or by an individual county or state.
  • the approved home of a relative: payable only if the child is eligible to Federal Foster Care funding
  • the approved home of a former relative
  • the approved home of a Non-relative Extended Family Member (NREFM)
  • a non-related legal guardian.

Foster Family Homes

Foster Family Homes include:

  • individual licensed homes. Most licensed homes are licensed for six children or less.
  • state licensed small family homes, and
  • relative, Non-Related Extended Family Member (NREFM), and non-related legal guardianship (NRLG) placements. 

Foster Family Agencies (FFAs)

A Foster Family Agency is a private agency licensed by the State of California to certify individual homes for the placement of foster children.

The FFA rate is established by the State of California and includes:

  • a basic foster care rate for the child’s age
  • a monthly child increment
  • additional monies to cover the FFA’s administrative and social work costs

Group Homes

Group Homes are facilities licensed by Community Care Licensing for 6 or more children. Group Homes are institutional in nature and provide care for children with specific behavior problems. Their rates are established by the State of California based on the level and type of service provided to the child.

Relatives & Former Relatives

A foster caregiver is considered to be a relative if they are related by birth or adoption to the child by virtue of being one of the following: (DPSS 750A)

  • The brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, or any such person of a preceding generation denoted by the prefixed grand-, great-, or great-great.
  • The stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother or stepsister.
  • The spouse of any person named above even after the marriage has been terminated by death or dissolution.

A relative caregiver:

  • should be able to prove their relationship to the child with documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.
  • must complete the home approval process. The home approval process is similar to the foster care licensure process, and an approved home must meet the same standards as a licensed foster home.

A foster child who is a dependent of the Juvenile Court and placed in the approved home of a relative may receive:

  • Foster Care if they are eligible to receive federal AFDC-FC or
  • CalWORKs if they are not eligible to receive federal AFDC-FC.

If the child is not eligible to federal AFDC-FC, the Foster Care Eligibility Technician will send a notice to the relative stating that the child is not eligible to Foster Care, but may be eligible to CalWORKs, and forward the Foster Care application paperwork to the local CalWORKs office. The relative will need to make arrangements with the CalWORKs office to complete the CalWORKs application paperwork.

Former Relatives

A relative caregiver becomes a former relative when the rights of the child’s parent(s) are terminated by the court. A child who was receiving AFDC-FC in the home of a relative caregiver may continue to receive AFDC-FC when the relative becomes a former relative.

Non-relative Extended Family Member (NREFM)

A NREFM is a person with an "established familial or mentoring relationship to the child" or the child's family, and who does not meet the AFDC-FC definition of a relative. This category may include godparents, family friends, teachers, etc. A potential caregiver's eligibility to NREFM status shall be determined and documented by the child's social worker.

A NREFM caregiver must complete the home approval process. The home approval process is similar to the foster care licensure process, and an approved home must meet the same standards as a licensed foster home.

Whole Foster Family Homes

A WFFH is a foster home specifically trained to assist a foster child who is a teen parent in developing the skills necessary to provide a safe, stable and permanent home for his or her child. A WFFH may be:

  • a licensed Foster Family Home (FFH)
  • a State-Licensed Small Family Home (SLSFH)
  • the approved home of a relative or non-related extended
  • family member (NREFM)
  • the home of a non-related legal guardian (NRLG) if the
  • guardianship was established by the dependency court
  • a certified Foster Family Agency (FFA) home
  • a Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) home, when the home was established as a WFFH prior to dismissal of the child’s dependency.

When a teen parent foster child is placed with his or her non-dependent infant or child in a WFFH, the Infant Supplement Payment (ISP) rate is equal to the basic rate for the placement type and the age of the teen parent’s infant or child.

When a teen and his/her infant or child are placed in a WFFH, the teen’s assigned social worker, the WFFH caregiver, and the teen parent collaborate to develop a written Shared Responsibility Plan (SRP). The SRP is designed to address specific care-giving areas and to document how the teen parent will be developing the skills necessary to provide a safe, stable, and permanent home for his/her infant or child in collaboration with the foster care provider. Once completed and signed, the SRP entitles the caregiver to receive a $200 supplement to the foster care payment.

Regional Center Dual Agency Clients

A dual agency child is a child receiving AFDC-FC or AAP benefits who is served by a Department of Developmental Services (DDS) California Regional Center under either:

    • the Lanterman Act or
    • the California Early Start Intervention Services Act.

Regional Centers provide services under the Lanterman Act to children who:

  • have a significant developmental disability as defined under the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act (Lanterman Act),
  • became disabled prior to age eighteen (18), and are expected to be disabled indefinitely.

Regional Centers also provide services under the California Early Start Intervention Services Act/Prevention Program to children under the age of three who have not yet been determined to be developmentally disabled, but who meet other criteria.

A dual agency child may receive a regional center foster care rate. The regional center foster care rate for which the child qualifies depends upon whether:

  1. the child is in a licensed, non-profit community care facility placement vendored by the Regional Center, or
  2. the child is in a licensed or approved non-vendored placement and
    • the Regional Center is serving the child under the Lanterman Act, or
    • the Regional Center is serving the child under the California Early Start Intervention Services Act.

Dual agency children in licensed, non-profit community care facility vendored placements are entitled to a Alternative Residential Model (ARM) rate, at a level determined by the Regional Center.

Dual agency children placed in licensed or approved non-vendored placements who have been determined disabled under the Lanterman Act receive $2006 per month.

  • In addition, a child served under the Lanterman Act who is age three or older, and who is determined by the social worker to have extraordinary care and supervision needs, may receive a supplement of $250, $500, $750 or $1000 per month.
  • A supplement to the rate may be requested directly by a dual agency child’s foster caregiver or adoptive parent, through a referral from a regional center, or by the assigned social worker, adoption worker, or probation officer.

The rate for a dual agency child under age three who is served under the California Early Start Intervention Services Act/Prevention Program and placed in a licensed or approved non-vendored facility is $898 per month. A child under age three is not eligible to receive a supplement.

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