One of the most difficult considerations families must make in determining whether to become a resource family is whether they have child care services available for the foster child they may welcome into their home.
LA County’s Department of Children and Family Services has a successful (existing) contract with Child Care Resource Center, Inc. to provide child care services for families with foster youth. It is a small pilot program, but this week the Board voted to expand it two-fold. This action will have no net fiscal impact, since the total cost for the increased number of slots is still within the approved maximum contract sum.
This pilot is part of a larger and impactful program based on a piece of legislation recently signed by the governor called the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program.
The Emergency Child Care Bridge Program will be integral in safeguarding children’s right to a safe and loving home by providing those who care for them with the proper resources. It is estimated that 25 percent of children from ages 0 to 5 at the Children’s Welcome Center had trouble being placed with a family primarily because of a lack of child care resources. Additionally, a 2015 survey by the Association of Community Human Service Agencies (ACHSA) found that two-thirds of foster family agencies in Los Angeles County cited lack of reliable childcare as a reason why potential foster parents were reluctant or refused to care for foster youth.
Children who have been removed from their homes need immediate stability and placing them in a loving foster home is the best placement.
The Child Care Bridge for Youth in Foster Care includes $15.5 million in General Fund money in 2017-18 and $31 million General Fund annually after that to assist foster care providers and resource families in securing short-term child care services. This funding source will be a tremendous boost to encouraging foster families and relative caregivers to take a young child into their care. These childcare vouchers will become available this month.
“Los Angeles County needs more resource families to help care for the children in our system. I’m looking forward to seeing the positive difference this new funding makes in alleviating the financial burdens foster families face and allowing us to place more kids in foster homes,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl after the vote.