How can we best support families through Resource Family Approval?
It is critical that families be supported throughout the approval process, particularly when a family has accepted placement of a child on an emergency basis or based on a compelling reason prior to being approved. These families are working to meet all the approval requirements while simultaneously meeting the needs of a traumatized child or children already in their care. Agencies working to approve resource families should consider the following:
- Ensure caregivers who take in a child prior to approval receive financial support while they work to be approved. Specifically, social workers must provide caregivers with the expedited CalWORKs application to access CalWORKs funding until they are approved as resource families and gain full foster care funding. It is always helpful to provide additional funding for caregivers beyond CalWORKS while approval is pending and this can be done at the discretion of counties. For example, Los Angeles County provides a $400 stipend per child each month for up to three months pending approval.The expedited CalWORKs application can be downloaded here and the instructions can be reviewed here.
- Remember that the approval process requires a lot from families who are already stretching to care for a new child, and may be juggling the demands of work at the same time. You can alleviate the pressure on their time by offering childcare at trainings or allowing families to complete the pre-approval training in their home.
- Provide families with the Resource Family Approval Guide, which the Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Step Up Coalition, and a wide range of partners developed to help caregivers through the approval process. The guide explains each element of Resource Family Approval and includes forms and other resources to support applicants. You can download the Resource Family Approval Guide here.