New Policy Regarding Approved Relative Caregiver program

The Adult Relative Caregiver (ARC) program provides payments on behalf of children and Non-Minor Dependants (NMDs) who are placed with approved relatives, but are not eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Care-Foster Care payments, and meet other existing eligibility requirements. 

Effective January 1, 2021, ARC payments are available on behalf of children/NMDs in out-of-state placements with relatives when the children/NMDs are not eligible for AFDC-FC.

Homes must be licensed or approved in the receiving state consistent with the requirements of the state in which the home is located. The county placing agency is responsible for contacting the receiving state to determine these requirements.  (ACL 21-141, December 3, 2021.)

Posted in ARC

Social Security hold on failure to provide information suspensions

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has temporarily changed its procedures about benefits suspension for failure to provide information.  SSA will be changing its procedures for suspending benefits for failing to provide information.  Until that change is made, SSA will not suspend payments for failure to provide information.  If at any time the recipient provides the requested information, benefits should be processed normally.

For redeterminations and other post-eligibility issues, SSA should exhaust all efforts to obtain the requested information.  If the issue remains unresolved, payments continue until the moratorium on suspending benefits ends.

For continuing disability review cases, SSA will develop the cases but cannot suspend benefits until the moratorium on suspending benefits ends.

The moratorium on suspending benefits will remain in place until further notice.  (EM 21079, December 23, 2021.)

Posted in SSI

Caregiver’s right to access education records

The California Department of Social Services has provided information regarding caregiver’s access to education records.  Caregivers for youth in foster care now have access to education records, including an approved or licensed foster parents, resource parents, an approved relative or non-relative extended family member, relatives caring for the child, tribally approved homes, foster family agencies and Short-Term Residential Treatment Program staff, even if they are not the child’s education rights holder.

Education rights holders, including caregivers who are sometimes assigned education rights by the courts, a child’s biological parent who retains education rights after their child is placed in foster care, or a person other than the child’s caregiver or biological parent who is appointed by a court to hold education rights, have full access to student records.

Education records inclue records of attendance, discipline, online communication on platforms established by schools for students and parents, and any plan adopted pursuant to federal law.

Child welfare agencies, probation departments, or their designated foster family agency, are required to take all necessary steps to assist the caregiver in obtaining relevant health and education agencies.

Case plans for children in foster care now must include the health and education summary, contact information be redacted when disclosure is a threat to health and safety, an assurance that the placement agency provided the health and education summary to the current caregiver and helped the caregiver in getting needed information for the health and education summary.  (ACL 21-86, August 20, 2021.)


Instructions on interpreter services and confidentiality agreement

County welfare departments must offer free bilingual or interpreter services to all non-English speaking or limited English proficient persons. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a new form, the CR 6181, to inform non-English speaking or limited English proficient persons of the risks of using their own interpreter instead of using a free interpreter provided the county.  Counties must use this form when applicants or recipients choose to use their own interpreter after being offer a free interpreter by the county.  The CR 6181 form replaces any county form previously used for this purpose.

The county must ensure that the applicant or recipient and their interpreter have read and understood the CR 6181 form.  The county must provide the CR 6181 form in the applicant or recipient’s primary language (if it has been translated into that language), and provide an interpreter to help with understanding the form.   If the applicant/recipient or their interpreter refuse to sign the form, the county must use a county-provided interpreter or bilingual staff member.

The form must be completed at redetermination, if it was signed over a year previous, or if the applicant/recipient chooses a different interpreter.

For telephone or virtual communication, the county must use a county provided interpreter unless a CR 6181 is already on file.  If there is a CR 6181 on file, the applicant/recipient can use their own interpreter.  If there is not a CR 6181 on file, it was signed over a year previous, or a different interpreter was named on the form, the county must read the form to the applicant/recipient in their primary language age get verbal consent to the risks of using their own interpreter.

The CR 6181 does not replace the GEN 1365 Notice of Language Services which informs individuals of their right to free language assistance services.  Counties are reminded that they must advise clients of their right to a free interpreter, and must provide interpreter services promptly and without delay.  Although clients can use their own interpreter, a county must not compel or encourage them to do so.  A client can use a minor as an interpreter only in extenuating circumstances.  (ACL 21-128, November 12, 2021.)

CalFresh flexible interview scheduling and Medi-Cal dual enrollment

Counties were initially required to implement flexible interview scheduling for CalFresh no later than July 1, 2021.  See ACL 21-24, summarized here.  That deadline was extended to January 1, 2022.  By January 1, 2022, counties must one of these interview scheduling methods: time block interviews, telephonic contact in conjunction with written communication about scheduling an interview, and same day interviews.

Counties were required to implement CalFresh/MediCal dual enrollment by January 1, 2022.  See ACL 21-52, summarized here.  That deadline has been extended to January 1, 2023.  (ACL 21-150, December 31, 2021.)