To recruit more loving families for children in foster care, Sacramento County is making it easier to find and afford childcare services for resource families. The Emergency Child Care Bridge Program’s goal is to increase the number of resource families for children in foster care by helping families find the right child care provider, connecting families to long-term child care subsidies, and by providing vouchers to pay for childcare for up to six months. The vouchers help ensure that a resource family has adequate support to balance work and home lives along with providing a smoother transition when welcoming a child into the home.
“There are new and exciting things coming to the Bridge Program in 2020,” said Gloria Bedford, Human Services Program Planner. “The program is receiving an additional $750,000 from the California Department of Social Services that will go directly to child care vouchers to help more resource parents pay for daycare and help to stabilize foster placements more quickly.”
From its inception in May 2018 through October 2019, the program in Sacramento County served 190 families who were fostering 264 children and issued $1,165,230 in vouchers to resource families.
“More parents are working outside the home, which makes the ability to recruit and retain foster parents more challenging,” said Michelle Callejas, Sacramento County Director of Child, Family and Adult Services
. “The Bridge Program is vital to help the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services place more local foster children in homes where they will receive high-quality care and to support these families who open their homes and hearts to foster children.”
There are three major components of the Bridge Program:
- Emergency child care vouchers that are issued to eligible families to cover child care costs for children ages 0-12 for up to six months;
- Support from a child care navigator who will work with families to find a child care provider, assist with completion of child care applications, and develop a plan for long-term child care;
- Trauma-informed care training so child care providers can learn strategies for working with children in foster care, many of whom have experienced trauma.
Families who are eligible for the Bridge Program include:
- Resource families that have completed the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process;
- Foster family agency-approved or county-approved foster homes;
- Families who care for foster children in an emergency placement;
- An approved relative or a non-related extended family member who is caring for a foster child;
- Parenting foster youth and non-minor dependents; and
- Those who have foster children placed with them for a compelling reason.
For additional information on the Bridge Program, contact Bridge Program Contract Monitor, Gloria Bedford