The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to push state legislators to maintain emergency caregiver funding for people who foster the children of relatives and family friends.

Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended pressing the issue.

“Kin caregivers — relatives and family friends — are the backbone of our child welfare system,” Solis said. “Foster children do best when they are in their care. They remain with their siblings, endure fewer placement changes and experience less trauma.”

More than half of caregivers countywide are kin caregivers, according to Solis, who said their participation is essential to reducing reliance on group homes.

However, funding for these families was thrown into jeopardy by new requirements for training for kin caregivers. Training and the approval process take nearly six months to complete in Los Angeles County and caregivers cannot access funding until that work is done, even if they have accepted emergency placement of a child.

Last year, a new state law offered 180 days of emergency funding with the ability to request up to 365 days for good cause. However, as of July 1, funding will be provided for only 90 days, with no extension, even though the time frame for training and approval remains longer than that, according to Solis.

“The state must maintain the current funding scheme for kin caregivers to ensure stability and a loving home for our foster children,” Solis said. “These children and their families deserve nothing less.”

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