Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children

Budget Priority

CWDA along with numerous child welfare organizations support the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for foster children, a $31 million budget proposal to increase access to early care and education services for abused and neglected children across the State. This program would help to immediately stabilize vulnerable children in the most appropriate placement, and provide them with a bridge to long-term, high quality early education programs.

County child welfare agencies rely on the commitment of countless resource families to provide children who have been abused and neglected with safe and loving homes. Unfortunately, many willing resource parents cannot provide homes for foster children because they lack access to child care. Although foster children are eligible for state child care subsidies, one of the main barriers to accessing child care is a “timing gap.” When children are removed, they are in crisis and prospective resource parents – often relatives – instantly need to access child care in order to care for their new family member and keep their jobs. Yet, child care programs typically operate at full capacity, with short enrollment windows that rarely align with a child’s placement into foster care. This makes it nearly impossible for caregivers who work to take in young children.