This topic contains information on the following subjects:
"Foster Care" provides for the care of children who cannot be cared for adequately by their family. The Children's Services Section of the North Carolina Division of Social Services (DSS) oversees the county departments of social services that administer Foster Care programs. NC has several types of Foster Care arrangements and funding sources. CSS caseworkers must have a working knowledge of Foster Care programs to ensure that Foster Care cases are set up correctly in ACTS.
Under the provisions of Chapter 7B of the NC General Statutes, certain information regarding children in the care of Foster Care programs (including addresses) is confidential and can be released only as provided for by Chapter 7B. The child's address should not be included in a child support order and inquiries regarding the address should be referred to the county child welfare agency.
See the "Dear County Director" letter of November 10, 2014, for more information. To see this letter, access this URL: "http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/dcdl/2014.htm".
Confidentiality under Chapter 7B includes children in IV-E and State Foster Home Fund (SFHF) Foster Care cases and children placed in DSS custody.
When a CSS case is opened for a child in DSS care, CSS must contact DSS and:
Prior to a court hearing or entry of a support order, caseworkers must advise the CSS agency attorney of the case status and legal restrictions on the release of address information that can be requested under NCGS 110-136.3 (a). They also notify all appropriate parties of any testimony or evidence that might be required.
If DSS elects to have child support paid to the caretaker of a child in DSS custody or the caretaker receives TANF for the child, caseworkers use the procedures addressing the inclusion of addresses in court orders.
North Carolina pays for Foster Care through two programs:
Most of the time when a child is placed in a licensed Foster Care arrangement, a monthly board payment from either IV-E or SFHF funds pays the cost of the child's care. A child could be in a licensed Foster Care arrangement and only receive Medicaid if they have another source of income, such as SSI or Social Security dependent's benefits.
When a child is in the legal custody of the county but lives with a court-approved caretaker or relative in an unlicensed arrangement, the case is not eligible for IV-E or SFHF funds. The case is not eligible for these board payment funds because the child does not live in a licensed Foster Care home. The county pays one hundred percent (100%) of the Foster Care board, and the child is eligible for Medicaid. These cases are often referred to as "DSS custody" cases.
The child is in the legal custody of the county and lives with a court-approved caretaker or a caretaker who is a relative. CSS workers contact the Foster Care social worker to verify that there is no board payment prior to initiating the case in ACTS. In ACTS, the caretaker of the child is the CP , and case type is "MAO". The caretaker receives the child support payments, because no board payment is being paid for the child's care.
The child is in the legal custody of the county but lives with a relative who is the caretaker. In ACTS, the caretaker of the child is the CP, and the case type is "AFDC" because the relative caretaker receives TANF for the child. Child support payments are disbursed and reimbursed as with any other TANF case.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.