The Alliance for Children’s Rights and other child welfare leaders articulated specific impacts of the May Revision on the child welfare system. Additional support to families is vital during this difficult time and child welfare leaders are concerned the proposed budget does not fully support the needs of children and families.
FAMILY URGENT RESPONSE SYSTEM (FURS)
The child welfare community is especially concerned with the proposed elimination of the Family Urgent Response System (FURS), a 24/7 statewide hotline and county mobile response teams. Implementation of FURS is currently underway and vital to helping foster youth and families cope with the severe stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
EMERGENCY CAREGIVER FUNDING
To address the need for continuous support for families that accept an emergency placement of a child prior to being approved as a resource family, child welfare leaders are also asking the Legislature to ensure Emergency Caregiver funding is available for up to 365 days, and not terminated after only 90 days, as provided by current statute. In addition, child welfare leaders are asking that resource families are provided with sufficient support by extending and expanding the temporary payments authorized through Executive Order N-53-20 and continuing the equivalent of P-EBT benefits over the summer months.
RESOURCE FAMILY RATE FLEXIBILITY
In addition, we are are asking that resource families are provided with sufficient support by extending and expanding the temporary payments authorized through Executive Order N-53-20 and continuing the equivalent of P-EBT benefits over the summer months.
Child welfare leaders also seek the continuation of the Housing Navigator program which will assist youth, including current and former foster youth, to find housing. This program is desperately needed as rental markets and housing programs are stretched thin due to COVID-19 and the resulting recession, but is proposed to be eliminated in the May Revision.
Children and youth in foster care face several devastating cuts in the current budget that will cause long-lasting harm, compound the trauma they have already experienced, and devastate the safety net designed to support them. The Alliance and partners will continue to advocate to protect our children in this time of crisis.