Resource (foster) families who are not related to the children/youth in their home receive support through the Resource and Advocacy Support Services program (RASS). The RASS program is through our partner agency Seneca Family of Agencies. When a Resource (foster) family receives a child/youth into their home, they are assigned a Resource Family Home Advocate. The resource family home advocate provides support through monthly visits to the resource (foster) family or more often if needed. They also give support through regular phone calls, and useful information and encouragement. They also support the family and ensure that any unique challenges the resource (foster) parents face are addressed by the Department of Family and Children’s Services. The resource family home advocates also provide referrals to community services, respite care, and childcare for working resource (foster) parents. Federal and State foster care reimbursement programs provide funding for the care and supervision of children/youth in foster care. Resource (foster) parents receive a reimbursement check on a monthly basis for each child/youth placed in their home. There is a standard basic rate paid, and children/youth may be eligible for special care increments based on medical or emotional/behavioral issues that are documented by a treating professional. Other funding beyond the basic rate is available for resource (foster) families caring for teenagers and sibling groups of 3 or more children/youth.
Resource (foster) parents also benefit from the services and programs through the Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association (KAFPA). The KAFPA resource center is located at the Department of Family and Children’s Services building in downtown San Jose. KAFPA does have a low yearly membership fee however, being a member of the group is not required to engage in many of the programs and trainings offered. Upon being approved as a resource family, you will get a free membership for the first year you are a resource parent. The KAFPA center is where many of the trainings given to resource (foster) parents are held. On-site is the Director of KAFPA, a resource specialist, resource (foster) parents who volunteer, a resource library and a clothes closet. KAFPA also sponsors many special events for resource (foster) families through the year.
Other benefits for children/youth in foster care include the following:
• Medical Coverage - Most children/youth qualify for the State medical insurance program, Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal pays for medical, dental, counseling and other health related expenses. Some children/youth are covered by their birth/legal parent’s insurance.
• Clothing Allowances - When a child/youth first enters care, an initial clothing allowance is provided based on the age of the child/youth. Although part of the monthly basic care and supervision rate is intended for the purchase of clothing, an annual clothing allowance is also provided. More funding for clothing due to unusual or unforeseen situations is also available.
• Child Care Program - A childcare reimbursement program is available for working resource (foster) parents of young children.
• Respite Care Program - Resource (foster) parents can receive reimbursement for respite care to attend in service training or handle a family emergency. Respite care can also be used simply to take a "break" from the daily demands of parenting. Some resource (foster) parents find their calling in being respite care providers for their fellow resource (foster) parents.
• Sibling Supplement Program – Resource (foster) parents for sibling groups of 3 or more children/youth may receive extra funding for each child/youth every month. They may also receive assistance with preparing their homes for providing care to sibling groups of 3 or more.
• Liability Insurance - Santa Clara County provides liability insurance for resource (foster) parents. This insurance covers both property damage and bodily injury to third parties attributable to the actions of a child/youth placed in their home. In addition, it also provides limited insurance coverage if a child/youth causes damage the resource (foster) parent’s property.
• Special Funds - The child/youth’s social worker can request special funds to meet a foster child’s unique social, emotional and recreational needs.
• There are emergency funds provided to resource (foster) families who take children/youth on an emergency basis. These funds are to cover immediate needs of the child/youth, such as toiletries, food, and clothing.