Recently, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted to opt-in to the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program (ARC). This will increase funds, per month, that relative caregivers of foster children receive between $302 for an infant to $469 for a child who is 15 to 20 years old. This program will go into effect July 1, 2015.
Phil Serna, County Supervisor, stated, “In the long run, youth who are placed with relatives grow up to be healthier, well-adjusted and more productive; we must do what we can to maximize those opportunities.”
Currently, foster parents caring for a non-related child receive $671 to $838. However, relatives who take in children only receive $369 (CalWORKs). Funding for ARC is comprised of three sources: Federal, State, and County CalWORKs Assistance funds.
"I am a retired person living on a fixed income, not having planned to care for a child. Without the financial support we receive, we would not be able to provide the stability for her and her future and would be forced to seek employment outside of the home and this would not benefit her. The thought of caring for additional relative children without financial support would not be possible and that is a heartbreaking decision," said Janet McClard from Sacramento County, who provides care for a relative’s child.
The main goal of ARC is to reduce the trauma that youth experience after being removed from their primary home. Research has clearly demonstrated improved outcomes for children who reside with family. The children improve in matters of safety, stability, reduced trauma and permanence. The increase in funding through ARC will strengthen relatives’ abilities to care for their kin.
Sacramento County's Director of Health and Human Services, Sherri Z. Heller, explains, "This is a technically complex program and issue. But, what really matters, is that if Grandma or Auntie take in a child who already trusts and loves her, then she should be just as supported as another person who is not a relative of the family."