Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program (Kin-GAP)
The Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) program was established by Senate Bill 1901 (Chapter 1055, Statutes of 1998). The Kin-GAP Program became available to those children exiting the juvenile court dependency system on or after January 1, 2000 to live with a relative legal guardian. Effective October 1, 2006, Assembly Bill 1808 (Chapter 75, Statutes of 2006) extended the provisions of the Kin-GAP program to probation youth exiting the delinquency system to live with a related guardian.
The intent of the legislation is meant to provide an option in a continuum of choices for the relative, the agency, and the courts in order to allow the most appropriate permanency plan for dependent and delinquent children. The Kin-GAP Program offers a subsidy to children who leave the juvenile court system to live with a relative legal guardian. The subsidy is 100% of the basic foster care rate, based upon age. The child will also continue to receive the specialized care increment received while in foster care, as well as a clothing allowance. Therefore, exiting to the Kin-Gap Program for children with special needs may not be in their best interest.
Movement to Kin-GAP is not automatic. The court, with a recommendation from the county social worker or probation officer, has discretion regarding whether termination of court involvement is in the child's best interest. Relative caregiver's participation in Kin-GAP is strictly voluntary, and not mandated by any regulations or statutes. Each family's situation is unique, therefore the decision regarding a child's permanent plan must be mutual between the county, the relative, and child where age appropriate, in order to ensure that the alternative chosen will be successful.
In order for a county social worker to recommend that a child exit foster care and receive Kin-GAP, the proposed relative guardian must be assessed according to the criteria in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 361.3.
The Basic Eligibility Requirements for Kin-GAP are:
- Child must have resided with the relative caregiver for at least twelve (12) consecutive months in a court-ordered placement, i.e., dependent/delinquent child placed in the home.
- Legal Guardianship must be established with the relative caregiver.
- Dependency must be dismissed at the same time or after the establishment of the Legal Guardianship by the Juvenile Court.
Kin-GAP Questions and Answers
- How is Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payments (SSI/SSP) treated in Kin-GAP?
Pursuant to Eligibility and Assistance Standards (EAS) Manual, Section 82-832.1(e), a person who receives SSI/SSP is excluded by law from any assistance unit. Therefore, a child who receives SSI/SSP is not eligible for a Kin-GAP payment.
- How are Social Security Benefits treated in Kin-GAP?
Pursuant to EAS Manual, Section 44-113.3 and 44-133.1, Social Security Survivor's Benefits are unearned income to the Assistance Unit (AU). Consequently, Social Security Survivor's Benefits paid to a Kin-GAP child is income to the child and is counted in total as a dollar for dollar reduction against the Kin-GAP payment.
Pursuant to EAS Manual, Section 44-101.6, 44-111.23, and 44-113.214, Social Security Disability Benefits, which are based on the parent's disability, are disability-based unearned income and are subject to the $225.00 disregard. Therefore, Social Security Disability Benefits paid to a Kin-GAP child are income to the child and must be treated in accordance with the $225.00 disregard regulations, 44-111.23 and 44-113.214.
- Can Kin-GAP children have dedicated accounts for college like CalWORKS?
Kin-GAP children may have dedicated accounts. These accounts can be utilized to save money for the purchase of a home, to pay for education or training, or to start a new business.
- Does a Kin-GAP child get automatic birthday increases?
Yes. As in foster care, when a child has a birthday which puts him/her in a higher age bracket, an automatic increase to the basic rate is granted.
For additional information:
Kinship Care Policy and Support Unit
Child and Youth Permanency Branch
744 P Street, MS 8-13-66
Sacramento, CA 95814
Funding Eligibility Unit
Foster Care Audits and Rates Branch
744 P Street, MS 20-38
Sacramento, CA 95814