Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program (Kin-GAP)

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) Program was established to promote permanency for foster children living with an approved relative caregiver by offering guardianship through the juvenile court when dependency is dismissed. 

The Kin-GAP Program is meant to provide an option in a continuum of choices for the relative, the child welfare services agency, probation department, Title IV-E agreement tribe, and the courts to allow the most appropriate permanency plan when moving a juvenile court dependent or ward out of court supervision.  The Kin-GAP Program offers financial assistance and other support services such as Medi-Cal for a child who is placed with an approved relative legal guardian.  The payment amount cannot exceed the amount the child/youth would have received in foster care.  Factors such as the child's needs and the relative guardian's circumstances , along with the continuation of any other applicable rates (such as the specialized care increment, teen parent rate) received while in foster care, are factored into the Kin-GAP negotiated agreement payment.  Relative guardians of probation and Title IV-E agreement tribal youth may also receive Kin-GAP benefits, if eligible. 

Transition from foster care to Kin-GAP is not automatic.  The juvenile or Title IV-E tribal court, with a recommendation from the social worker or probation officer, has discretion regarding whether termination of court involvement is in the child's best interest.  A relative caregiver's participation in Kin-GAP is strictly voluntary and not mandated by any regulation or statute.  Each family's situation is unique; therefore, the decision regarding a child's permanent plan must be mutual between the county or tribe, the relative, and the child (when age appropriate) in order to ensure that the permanency option chosen will be successful.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for Kin-GAP

    • The foster child or youth (dependent of the juvenile court) should have resided with the approved relative caregiver for at least six consecutive months prior to establishing guardianship.

    • Legal guardianship must be established with the relative caregiver through the juvenile court.

    • The prospective relative guardian must enter into a written binding agreement (forms SOC 369 and SOC 369A) containing the terms and conditions of the guardianship with the county child welfare, tribal agency, or probation department. 

    • The written agreement must be signed prior to becoming the legal guardian and dependency must be dismissed by the juvenile or tribal court. 

For information regarding the rights and responsibilities of relative guardian, refer to the SOC 369 and SOC 369A.  Additional program information is available in All County Letter 11-15 New Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program Requirements and All County Letter 11-86 Extension of Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program Benefits and Adoption Assistance Payments to Age 21.  For additional ACLs and ACINs visit the Letters and Notices web page.

Need Additional Information?

Policy inquiries
Foster Caregiver Policy & Support Unit  
Child and Youth Permanency Branch  
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78  
Sacramento, CA 95814  
(916) 657-7465    

Eligibility inquiries
Funding & Eligibility Unit  
Foster Care Audits and Rates Branch  
744 P Street, MS 20-38  
Sacramento, CA 95814  
(916) 324-4873    

Resource Family Approval inquiries
RFA@dss.ca.gov     

Contact Your County

Contact Us

Foster Caregiver Policy and Support Unit
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-7465

Contact Your County