Nutrition Services Division
To: All School Nutrition Program Sponsors, County Superintendents of Schools, Diocesan Superintendents of Schools, All Child and Adult Care Food Program Sponsors, All Summer Food Service Program Sponsors
Number: 01-119, 01-220, 01-703
Attention: Food Services Directors
Date: October 2001
Subject: Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) Program
|Reference: Title 7 Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR) Sec. 245.6|
This Management Bulletin provides information on the Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) Program. Children receiving Kin-GAP benefits have been determined to be categorically eligible for free meals in all child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
What is Kin-GAP?
Established by Senate Bill 1901 (Chapter 1055, Statutes of 1998), the Kin-GAP Program provides a subsidy for children who leave the juvenile court system to live with a legal guardian who is related to the child (e.g., grandparent, uncle, aunt, etc.). The intent of Kin-GAP is to enhance family preservation and stability by recognizing that many children are in long-term, safe, and stable placements with relatives, and that these placements are the permanent plans for the children. The Kin-GAP subsidy is paid at the same rate as the foster care subsidy.
In order for a child to receive Kin-GAP benefits, the following conditions must apply:
- The child was a dependent of the juvenile court placed with the relative for at least one year before the dependency was dismissed and the guardianship was ordered by the court;
- A social worker has determined that the relative caregiver no longer needs the supervision of the juvenile court and is ready to leave the foster care system;
- The juvenile court has granted legal guardianship of the child to the relative;
- Juvenile court dependency was dismissed on or after January 1, 2000; and
- The child meets CalWORKs requirements.
Is a Kin-GAP child still a foster child?
No. A child does not receive Kin-GAP benefits until he or she has left the foster care system. For purposes of determining free or reduced-price meal eligibility, a foster child is considered a household of one. However, a child who has left the foster care system becomes a member of the household with which he or she resides.
Why are Kin-GAP children categorically eligible for free meals?
The Kin-GAP Program is codified in the same portion of statutes as the CalWORKs Program (Welfare and Institutions Code, Division 9, Part 3, Chapter 2) and Kin-GAP benefits, like those under CalWORKs, are drawn from block grant funds under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. Therefore, many requirements of CalWORKs also apply to Kin-GAP, including those with respect to immunizations, school attendance, and household income. Because income requirements for Kin-GAP households are the same as those for CalWORKs, and because Kin-GAP payments are paid with TANF funds, Kin-GAP, like CalWORKs, meets the criterion for categorical eligibility in P.L. 104-193.
How do we handle free and reduced-price meal applications from Kin-GAP households?
An application for a Kin-GAP child should include a case number, just as it does for other programs that provide categorical eligibility: CalWORKs, Food Stamps, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). School nutrition program sponsors should contact their county social services agency for information on what constitutes a valid Kin-GAP case number.
Do all children in a household receive free meals under Kin-GAP?
No. Categorical eligibility applies only to the child for whom the Kin-GAP payment is received. Other children in the same household must be evaluated for eligibility based on either household income or, if appropriate, CalWORKs, Food Stamp, or FDPIR benefits. Because a Kin-GAP child is no longer a foster child, it is not necessary to obtain a separate application for that child.
Future state prototypes of the Letter to Households and Application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals will include references to Kin-GAP along with CalWORKs, Food Stamps, and FDPIR.