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   Policy Considerations
Funding – Limited dollars and spaces for children.
· The California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP) for child care is intended for families not receiving cash aid but serves far fewer families due to contract funding limits. In California, of the estimated 360,000 spaces available in subsidized child care, only 32,000 (less than 9%) are in the CAPP contracts.
· State Preschool (166,000 spaces) programs may not meet the need of foster families due to eligibility requirements, age restrictions, and hour limitations. Centers must maintain enrollment and spend the full contract by the program fiscal year-end or risk not fully earning their contracts. State Preschool and Head Start have enrollment periods in the spring/summer for fall start times. The needs of the resource family are often not met due to timing and availability.
· Because of this limited pool of funds and lengthy wait lists, it is important that advocacy for increased, sustainable funding occurs.
· Additionally, recent positive changes to the child care system include allowing families to qualify for child care subsidy at a higher income level, to maintain their eligibility until they reach a higher income level, and 12-month eligibility. While these changes are beneficial for families, it also means that families in existing programs will remain enrolled for longer periods of time resulting in less openings for families / children moving from ECC funding to other child care funding.
· This suggests the need for additional funding for the capped programs. Wait List – Current regulations don’t serve foster children well.
· Child Care subsidy agencies are required, by regulation, to recruit families from the wait list based on family size and income. Resource families and children in the child welfare system who are not eligible for CalWORKs (TANF) programs must be placed on the wait list in order to be enrolled in other state subsidized child care. Currently, a foster child counts as a “family of 1” and falls in the lowest rank with their only income being the payment the resource family receives for their care. However, a family with siblings counts as a family of two, three, or more. The combined income of the siblings may move them to a higher rank and they will be less likely to qualify for care.
Need & Eligibility – A broader definition is needed.
· Research shows that it is more difficult to return to stability and well-being once a child is removed rather than implementing family maintenance with the biological family. To ensure safety, permanency, and well-being of the child, eligibility for subsidized child care needs to be considered across a child’s experience: while the child is maintained with their biological family; when they transition to a resource family; and, again upon reunification with the biological family.
· This may require a change in legislation to have the eligibility follow the child from prevention to permanency rather than have eligibility be re-determined at each stage.
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