D. Heimpel

Daniel Heimpel's life as a journalist

Momentum on Kin-GAP guidance

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On Dec. 14th I wrote a story about how the Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) was engaged in a game of “chicken” with California’s Department of Social Services (CDSS).

The issue: ACF guidance that excludes state-run foster care administrations from accessing federal matching funds for kids who were already in subsidized guardianship programs before the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions act of 2008. Fostering Connections provides federal dollars for states that start subsidized or kinship guardianship programs, wherein family members take in kin and receive foster care payments. The problem is that according to the ACF guidance: states can only access the money “prospectively,” meaning that the 27 states including California that have preexisting Kin Care programs can’t draw down federal funds for the tens of thousands of kids already in subsidized care.

So, CDSS is threatening to move kids back into care and out again to make them eligible for federal funds. While I understand why the ACF guidance is written as such, I argue in this piece for the Huffington Post, that rescinding the guidance is a huge opportunity to speed Fostering Connections’ implementation across the country.

Since my story appeared on Dec. 14th, I have been peppering the editorial departments of newspapers up and down the state. So far the San Francisco Chronicle has followed with an editorial on Dec. 21. I have been told that other editorials will follow.

Further, on Dec 18th Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) sent a letter signed by 31 California members of Congress to have the guidance rescinded:Kin-GAP CA Delegation Final

Slowly but surely momentum is building to have this guidance rescinded, which will pave the way for the sweeping implementation of Fostering Connections that foster kids so desperately need.

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