Bridging the Access Gap
In partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles (CCALA) and its partner agencies are excited to launch the new Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children (Bridge Program). The new Bridge Program is a time-limited program designed to increase the number of foster children successfully placed in home-based family care settings, increase capacity of child care programs to meet the needs of foster children in their care, and maximize funding to support the child care needs of eligible families.
There are three components to the Bridge Program:
Navigator: Resource & Referral (R&R) agencies throughout Los Angeles County will house child care navigators to assist eligible foster care resource families with finding child care.
Voucher: Eligible families may receive a time limited child care voucher to help pay for child care costs for foster children birth through age 5 and their siblings. This also includes foster children with exceptional needs and severely disabled children up to age 21. Referrals to the Child Care Bridge Program must be made through the resource family’s Children’s Social Worker (CSW) at DCFS.
Trauma-Informed Care: Child care programs engaged in the Bridge Program will receive access to trauma-informed care training and coaching.
The Bridge Program referral process will be collaboratively administered between DCFS, CCALA and the local R&R agency serving the DCFS Regional Office.
The Bridge Program will ensure that emergency child care services are made available to the following out-of-home caregivers with DCFS-placed children, ages birth to 5 and their siblings:
a. Resource Parents, pending RFA approval who already have a child placement;
b. Existing Resource Parents, who already have a child placement or are considering a placement; and
c. Parenting teens/non-minor dependents under DCFS supervision
DCFS will refer families to the Bridge Program:
a. As a condition of accepting a new placement; OR
b. In order to accept placement of siblings together in the same home; OR
c. In order to preserve an existing placement
The goal of the program is to provide immediate access to child care while assisting the resource families in obtaining long term child care, within eligibility guidelines. The Bridge Program is separate and apart from, and not to be confused with the DCFS Child Care Program.
In Los Angeles County, the Bridge Program is a collaboration between CCALA, local DCFS offices and their respective R&R agency. There are eight agencies in Los Angeles County: