On Tuesday, Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Hilda L. Solis took action to address an ongoing problem delaying payments to foster parents and foster youth in Los Angeles County.
Since December 2016, hundreds of foster parents and youth have reported missed payments from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Problems with a recent change to the payment system that distributes funds has caused the payment delays. Today the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion, co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisors Hilda L. Solis, to expedite delayed payments and resolve the issue.
“These delays began in December and the fact that they have not been remedied is unacceptable,” said Supervisor 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.”
“It is imperative that we ensure foster youth are supported both emotionally and financially. The County’s support must be consistent and reliable,” said Supervisor 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 Supervisors are asking DCFS to report back to the board in 7 days and every week thereafter until the matter has completely resolved. Due to the urgency of the issue, the motion directs the department to have a complete back pay plan completed by March 14, 2017. This includes determining steps to resolve and distribute funds as well as finding the root cause of funding delays.
Los Angeles County’s foster care system is the largest in the Country. DCFS distributes thousands of payments each month to foster parents, group homes and youth in extended foster care. Low-income families and youth rely on these payments for food, rent and the necessities of life. Businesses rely on these payments for operating costs and payroll. Delays in payment by DCFS can be debilitating and have serious consequences. These circumstances make resolution of this issue essential and urgent.