When a child is placed in your home, you will begin receiving a monthly stipend to cover the cost of care for that child. Learn more about resource family funding and other financial assistance.
If you are currently caring for a child in foster care who was placed through an emergency placement or placement on a compelling reason, you are entitled to receive emergency caregiver funding at the basic foster care rate ($1,037/month per child as of July 1, 2020). In most cases, you will continue to receive that funding until you complete RFA.
It is very important that you sign and submit your RFA application as soon as possible. You will not receive any emergency funding until the signed application form is received.
Emergency caregiver funding is paid retroactively. This means that you will receive the funding for the month you provide care for the child after that month has ended. For example, if you had a child placed in your home during the month of April, you would receive emergency caregiver funding for the month of April in May.
Once you are approved as a resource family and a child is placed with you, you will receive basic foster care funding rate of $1,037 a month per child.
Foster care funding is paid retroactively, which means you will receive the funding for the month you provide care for the child after that month has ended. You will receive an amount that is at least equal to the rate increase slightly every July, based on the cost of living.
Beginning April 1, 2021, all home based foster care placements receive a Level of Care (LOC) rate assessment, regardless of their date of entry into foster care. The LOC assessment determines the monthly rate paid to resource parents, based on the care and supervision they provide to children and youth in foster care across the following domains: Physical, Behavioral/ Emotional, Educational and Health. The LOC rates range between $1,037 to $1,387.
If you have concerns regarding the LOC assessment completed by DCFS for a child in your care, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with your assigned county worker to determine if an LOC redetermination request is needed. You may also refer to the Notice of Action, which provides instruction on the LOC appeals process.
To learn more about the LOC process, you may watch this video (video en español) or read the Frequently Asked Questions document (preguntas frecuentes en español). For general questions regarding the LOC process, you may email: AskLOC@dcfs.lacounty.gov.
In addition to the Level of Care rate, you may be eligible for one or more sources of increased funding, including the following:
Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC) families are licensed through an ISFC contracted Foster Family Agency (FFA). ISFC families are specially trained to care for children and young adults with intensive needs. These include, but are not limited to, medical, therapeutic or behavioral needs. The purpose of ISFC is to keep children with high needs in a family home. The monthly financial support that ISFC families receive on behalf of an eligible child is $2,706 a month.
Families must be licensed through one of the ISFC FFAs in order to obtain ISFC training. If a resource family is licensed as a Resource Family Home, they can port their license over to one of the ISFC FFAs. In some cases, families may receive ISFC funding before completing ISFC training. To qualify for ISFC funding, the child must need specialized programs that serve children with specific needs. If you believe a child in your care is eligible for ISFC funding and services and you are denied this support, you may request a reassessment and/or an administrative fair hearing. Eligible needs may include:
Children who do not qualify for ISFC may still qualify for additional funding through the county. Most counties provide additional financial support to families caring for a child with special medical, behavioral, developmental, and/or emotional needs. This kind of funding is called a specialized care increment (SCI). Every youth who receives an LOC rate determination will also be assessed for an SCI.
Caregivers of youth who qualify for an SCI rate must complete a specialized Foster and Kinship Care Education curriculum, offered through the countywide community college system. The initial requirement is for participation in the 12-hour course, plus an additional four (4) hours of specialized training to address your foster youth’s individual needs; for a total of 16 training hours. In order to renew the SCI, on an annual basis, six (6) hours of additional specialized training is required. The specialized training may be taken through the community college system, or through online Foster Parent College courses.
Children who are in foster care and are also clients of a Regional Center are eligible for a monthly payment referred to as the “dual agency rate,” even if they are not currently receiving services directly from a Regional Center. The only requirement is that they have been found eligible for services by a Regional Center. Regional centers serve young people with developmental delays and/or disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism. If you are caring for a child who has one of the qualifying conditions, ask your assigned county worker to initiate an assessment for the Dual Agency Rate.
As of July 1, 2020 the dual agency rate for children who are eligible for lifetime Regional Center services is $2,714 per month and may be as much as $3,714, depending on the child’s level of self-care and other factors. If the child is under the age of 3 and qualifies for early intervention services due to a developmental delay, the rate will be determined by the Level of Care (LOC) unit. If you are not sure if you are receiving the correct rate or would like the rate to be re-evaluated, you may contact your assigned county worker and ask to initiate an assessment.
Resource Families may receive an infant supplement if a young person in foster care who has been placed with them gives birth to a baby. The supplement is intended to cover the additional cost of providing food, clothing, and shelter for an infant.
The infant supplement is $900 per month and is paid in addition to the basic rate that you receive to support the foster youth who is the parent of the infant. In most counties, the infant supplement is not paid until the child is born. However, in Los Angeles County, a supplement of $440 per month is available during the last three months of the pregnancy to help prepare for the baby’s arrival. Parents in foster care who are caring for their own biological children can also qualify to receive the infant supplement directly. In other words, the Resource Family caring for the parent of the baby may receive the supplement, or the parent of the baby may receive the supplement, but both parties may not receive the supplement. Learn more about Teen Parenting.
You may be eligible for special funding (known as the educational travel reimbursement, or school of origin funding) if you are transporting a child to a school more than three miles away from your home. A child’s “school of origin” is, in most cases, the school that he or she was attending before they were placed in your home. Funding may be available to transport the child to their school of origin in order to maintain stability and continuity in their education. You may also be eligible for other transportation support. Learn more about the role you play as a foster parent in Foster Youth Education.
As a relative caregiver or non-related extended family member, you are eligible for all of the funding opportunities outlined on this page. You may also be eligible to receive additional assistance from the programs below:
The Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment program (Kin-GAP) is available to eligible children who are permanently placed with a relative legal guardian upon the closing of their dependency case.
Movement to Kin-GAP is not automatic. The court, with a recommendation from the county social worker or probation officer, has discretion regarding whether termination of court involvement is in the child’s best interest. Relative caregiver’s participation in Kin-GAP is strictly voluntary, and not mandated by any regulations or statutes.
To learn more about Kin-GAP, call the Resource Family Hotline at 1 (800) 697-4444.
The Approved Relative Caregiver program (ARC) extends cash aid benefits to relative caregivers who care for children who are ineligible to receive federal Foster Care benefits, otherwise known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC). If eligible, you can receive an ARC payment on behalf of the child which is equal to the current foster care rate.
To find out if you are eligible to begin receiving ARC payments, call the Resource Family Hotline at 1 (800) 697-4444.
Because a foster child doesn’t stop having needs simply as the result of leaving foster care via adoption, the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) benefit is given to adoptive families to facilitate providing for the needs of the child after the adoption.
Adopted youth are eligible to receive AAP benefits from the date of adoptive placement through age 18, with the benefit amount eligible for reassessment at minimum every 2 years or sooner upon the family’s request. Some may qualify for an extension under AB12, which extends foster care to age 21.
AAP funding mirrors that of Approved Resource Family Funding. Similarly, if the child has special needs beyond basic care, the child’s Social Worker will work with the family to determine the maximum AAP Benefit Amount or any additional funding for which that child is eligible and negotiate that benefit amount with the family.
Families can choose to receive their monthly benefit immediately or enter into a deferred agreement, which allows them to request their benefit any before the child 18.
If you have any questions regarding vouchers or are not receiving funding or the wrong amount of funding, please call the Resource Family Helpline at (800) 697-4444 or email FCHL@dcfs.lacounty.gov and eligibility workers will be able to look up your case and assist you.