If the courts have taken primary responsibility for caring for a foster child, the child may qualify for foster care benefits, which include financial (cash) and medical assistance. These benefits are income for the child (under age 21), not the caregiver and the child must meet certain foster care eligibility criteria.
Learn more by visiting the State Foster Care website
Resource families receive payments on the 12th of the month, following each month of care. The State and county Board of Supervisors establishes payment rates, which vary based on the child’s age, location, and special needs.
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 separate state and federal AFDC-FC programs.
If a child in foster care is receiving a foster care payment, it may include Medi-Cal benefits. Riverside County children who are dependents of the court and live in Riverside or San Bernardino counties can receive Medi-Cal benefits through the Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) as part of IEHPs “Open Access Network”. Call IEHP at (800) 706-4347 for more information.
If a child is placed with a relative, the only available Foster Care funding source is federal AFDC-FC. If a child is placed with someone who isn’t a relative (or a relative specified under the Indian Child Welfare Act), federal or non-federal funding may be used. Resource families should talk with their Foster Care Eligibility staff about criteria for these funds and will find contact information above.
Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) Funding Option Program
The Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) Funding Option Program provides funding for monthly payments on behalf of a child who isn’t eligible for federal assistance and is placed with an approved relative caregiver. The amount is equal to the basic foster care rate. Kids receiving ARC may also be eligible for dual agency rates, infant supplements and educational transportation reimbursements. Learn more at this link.
If a child is placed with a caregiver who is not a relative (or a relative specified under ICWA), Federal or Non-Federal AFDC-FC funding may be used.
A child is eligible to Non-Federal AFDC-FC if the child meets placement authority requirements, lives in an eligible foster care facility or meets court order finding requirements, including deprivation. ‘Deprivation’ means that the child is deprived of parental support or care because the parent died, is incapacitated, absent from the child’s home or unemployed. Note: If the parent or guardian that court removed the child from moves into the home where the foster child lives, the child will lose AFDC-FC eligibility.
Emergency Caregiver Funding
Emergency Caregiver (EC) funding is available for families waiting to be approved as a resource family with a child or a non-minor dependent (NMD) that has been placed on an emergency basis. The rate of this funding is equal to the foster care basic rate.
Adoptions Assistance Payment Program
If you are adopting a child with special needs, you may qualify for financial and medical assistance through the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP). The adoption Social Services Practitioner determines if you qualify to receive payments. The adoption agency and adoptive family negotiate to set the amount of the monthly payment. Families can learn more about the payment program through their social services practitioner or by contacting the AAP unit at (951) 358-5302.
Property and Income Limits
For a child or non-minor dependent to be eligible for federal or state foster care payments, the child/non-minor dependent must meet certain property and income limits. A child/non-minor dependent may not have more than $10,000 in cash and property assets. This includes real estate, cars, bank accounts, savings accounts, savings bonds, etc. Also, the child/nonminor dependent must not have income from any source that exceeds the foster care rate. EXCEPTION: the earned income of a child 16 or older is exempt for the purposes of determining Foster Care property and income if the earned income is part of their transitional independent living plan.
Placement Types & Eligibility
For a child to be eligible for foster care payments, they must be placed with a licensed foster family agency, short-term residential therapeutic program, or an approved resource family or tribal home. Non-minor dependents (those 18-21 in foster care) may be placed in Supervised Independent Living Placements or Transitional Housing Program-Non-Minor Dependent placement. Your social services practitioner can answer questions about placement types and eligibility.
Dual Agency Children
When a foster child receives both Regional Center and AFDC-FC assistance, they are considered a dual agency child. Regional Centers provide services for a child with a significant developmental disability or a child under age 3 who hasn’t been determined to be developmentally disabled but meets other criteria. Talk with your social services practitioner to discuss what a dual agency child may be eligible to receive.
Children in foster care may be eligible for health coverage through Medi-Cal, which also provides benefits for children receiving assistance through Kin-GAP and the Adoptions Assistance Payment Program. For information about what medical services Medi-Cal covers, call your medical provider (doctor, dentist, clinic, hospital, etc.)
The Medi-Cal Dental Program, also known as Denti-Cal, covers a variety of dental services. To find a dentist who accepts Denti-Cal, call (800) 322-6384 or visit this website.
Child Health and Disability Prevention Program
Children in foster care who are under age 21 can receive preventative health assessments with Medi-Cal through the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program. To learn more and get help booking an appointment and transportation, call the main CHDP office at (951) 358-5481.
Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program
Legal guardians who are unable or unwilling to adopt a child may be eligible for cash aid that supports a child through the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment or Kin-GAP. To be potentially eligible recipients must meet several conditions and regulations approved by the social services provider and California Juvenile Court. Youth may also receive Kin-GAP assistance up to age 21 if they meet certain requirements. To learn more about available assistance and eligibility, contact the Kin-GAP unit at (951) 358-3894.
Kin-GAP guardians living in Riverside County who need services may call Community Connect at 211 or (800) 303-0001. Community Connect offers resources 24 hours a day on a variety of issues including health care, substance abuse, crisis intervention, employment, and housing. Guardians may also call the Riverside County Kinship and Youth Warmline at (800) 303-0001.