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Building a Bridge to High‐Quality Child Care for Foster Children

Monday, February 22, 2016

By building a bridge between California’s child welfare and child care systems, we can recruit and retain more resource families, stabilize children at a critical moment of their lives, and help ensure that they can benefit from services that prepare them for school and life.  

Child Care for Foster Children: An Overview 

When children are removed from their parents due to abuse and neglect, they are in crisis and need a safe, loving family environment. But for our youngest children, one of the top barriers to finding placement is the lack of access to child  care. In an October 2015 survey conducted by ACHSA, 100 percent of foster family agencies cited that concerns about child care affect recruitment and the willingness of foster parents to accept young children into their care. Over two‐thirds reported that their foster children had been denied eligibility for subsidized child care. In another survey of social workers charged with finding placements in the Children’s Welcome Center, an estimated 25 percent of the denials were due to the lack of child care.

Increasing access to child care would enable a larger pool of families to become foster parents, providing a stable home for more children in need. Furthermore, we know that for all the benefits that high‐quality child care has on children ages 0 to 5, the impact can be even more dramatic for young children who have experienced the trauma of abuse, neglect and removal  from  their  homes. With 28 counties applying for 2015 Foster Parent Recruitment, Retention & Support funds for child care purposes, this is clearly a statewide unmet need.

The Access Barrier

Immediately following a child’s removal, resource families, including relative caregivers, struggle to access child care because State child care programs often operate at full capacity. Many of these programs can only sign up children during short enrollment windows that may not align with the moment of a child’s placement into foster care. This means that caregivers who work or are in school cannot take in a child without significantly disrupting their lives or putting their family in financial jeopardy. In  addition, State child care enrollment is complicated and resource families may languish on waiting lists.

If you would like to learn more about this proposal, find proposed solutions, look at the full proposal attached below. To get involved with supporting this proposal, please contact Karen Freeman, our Finance and Operations Consultant and the Vice-President, Operations & Government Relations at Southern California Grantmakers, at