If a relative caregiver was approved prior to 2017, do they have to complete the entire Resource Family Approval (RFA) process if another child comes into their care this year?

Scenario:  I am currently the approved relative caregiver for my granddaughter, who was placed in my home in February 2016. Her mother just had another baby that was born exposed to methamphetamines and, as a result, the child welfare agency is removing the baby from her mother and would like to place the baby in my home so that she can be with her sister. The county is telling me that they can place the infant with me on an emergency basis but that I must then complete the Resource Family Approval process and cannot receiving funding until that process is complete. Do I have to complete the entire RFA process?

A: No, the caregiver does not need to complete the entire RFA process. Instead, to receive foster care funding for the new child, a relative caregiver must complete the RFA conversion process. The reason that a relative must complete the RFA conversion process before getting funding for the new child is because under the old approval standards, relatives were only approved to care for the specific child in their care.

Conversion is a shortened process, in which an existing caregiver must complete the family evaluation (formerly referred to as the “psychosocial assessment”), but does not have to complete other components of RFA such as the pre-approval training hours. The caregiver must complete the conversion process to receive foster care funding for the new child. However, there should be no disruption in funding for the child or children for whom they are currently caring.

The answer to the question would be different for a licensed non-relative foster parent or certified foster parent. Because certified and licensed foster homes were licensed to care for any child in foster care, the county can place additional children in these homes without the RFA conversion process, and funding can initiate as of the day of placement. Certified and licensed foster families that have a child placed in their home at some point during calendar year 2017 have until December 31, 2019 to initiate the conversion process. However, if a certified or licensed foster home does not have a child placed with them at some point during 2017, their license or certification is forfeited as of January 1, 2018, and they will need to complete the full RFA approval process in order to be considered as a placement for a child in foster care.

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