LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, February 14 raised expectations for child welfare staffers to develop a plan to make all back payments to foster parents and children, which were due since December 2016, by mid-March 2017.
“These delays began in December and the fact that they have not been remedied is unacceptable,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “They have impacted foster parents, group homes, and youth in extended foster care. Group homes depend on this money to pay their staff and foster parents and youth depend on these payments to survive. I am hopeful that we can resolve these system issues quickly and recommit ourselves to unwavering support of our foster youth and foster parents.”
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) who are responsible for payments have delayed payments to hundreds of foster parents and children. The Los Angeles County foster care system is the largest in the country and DCFS makes thousands of payments each month to foster parents, group homes and youths in foster care.
Supervisor Hilda L. Solis stressed the importance of the issue impacting foster families on multiple fronts. Several low-income families rely on payments to satisfy their basic life necessities like food, rent, etc. The delay in payments also affect the operating costs and payroll of businesses.
“It is imperative that we ensure foster youth are supported both emotionally and financially. The County’s support must be consistent and reliable,” said Solis. “As the custodian vested with the responsibility of caring for these children and youth, we must ensure the delays are resolved quickly and efficiently.”
The DCFS has been asked by the board to report back in seven days and every week after until the issue is resolved. By Tuesday, March 14, the DCFS has been directed to come up with a complete back pay plan, determine steps to resolve and distribute funds and the reason for the current delay in payments.