Supporting Children in Care Program Overview
Governor Chris Sununu has authorized the expenditure of $470,000 from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (“flex funds”) to the New Hampshire Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (NHFAPA) to assist foster and relative caregivers with access to summer and fall programming for the children in their care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely limited the availability of summer programing that is available to children and youth placed in relative and foster care by the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). At a time where months of remote learning have led to concerns about the effects of social isolation on all youths, children in foster or relative care stand out as particularly likely to be negatively impacted, because these children are without a permanent home and may be in a state of crisis.
During this time of social distancing, children and youth in foster care will benefit significantly from participation in activities outside of the home. Many of these children have had their social and educational opportunities curtailed by the response to COVID-19.
The Supporting Children in Care Program, which is part of the Invest in the Future Fund, is designed to benefit not only children in foster care, but also foster and relative caregivers. Foster and relative caregivers face increased costs and shoulder heavy responsibilities due to COVID-19, given the shift to remote learning and limited access to childcare. This program will provide flexible options to foster and relative caregivers to assist them with finding the right summer or fall program for the youth in their care. This program will allow caregivers the ability to make informed decisions with the best interests of youth in mind, and will provide favorable experiences for children.
The New Hampshire Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (NHFAPA) will administer the program by identifying the youth(s), the desired summer or fall programing/respite opportunity, and its anticipated cost. The programming/respite opportunity identified should promote youth socialization and education. Such programming activities include, but are not limited to, day camp, overnight camp, in-home child care, in-state day trips, recreational programs, online programing, etc. In response to qualifying applications, NHFAPA will authorize stipends of up to $500 per child, which shall pay for or offset the cost of the program identified by the applicant. Applicants shall subsequently provide NHFAPA with receipts demonstrating that the funds were expended in accordance with the approved application. If an applicant receives, but does not spend any or all of the funds, the applicant shall return the funds not spent to NHFAPA, which shall return the funds to the State of New Hampshire.