CDSS Foster Care Rate Reform Proposal


  • California is working to restructure rates so that they are based on the individual needs of each child, not the placement type.
  • Proposal would provide youth in family settings the same level of funding to support care/supervision, strength building, and immediate needs at the child's assessed level of need, regardless of the placement type.
  • Changes would help address historical racial inequities and help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and trauma.


The interim rate structure created as part of CCR created a level of care system for children in family settings and a separate rate structure for those in congregate settings. Statute requires the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to establish an “ongoing payment structure no later than January 1, 2025”. In the development of this proposal CDSS engaged extensively with stakeholders.

Feedback the Permanent Foster Care Rates Proposal Aims to be Responsive to Feedback from Tribes:

During the ICWA State Plan Regional Convenings, TAC, Tribal Consultation, and additional meetings with Tribes, CDSS received feedback that:

  • Culturally responsive services should be made available for Indian children and families.
  • Indian children should not have to leave their community to receive services.
  • Tribes should remain involved in a child’s case.

Stakeholder feedback CDSS received:

  • Rates need to account for services/supports as well as care and supervision.
  • Rates should follow the child and not the placement type.
  • Assessment should identify the child’s level of need, not where the child should be placed.
  • The current rates are inadequate across all placement settings.

Overview of the Foster Care Rate Reform Proposal

California is proposing to restructure our rates so that they are based on the child’s assessed level of needs and strengths, and not based on the placement type. If adopted, California will be the first state in the nation to take this approach.

California’s proposal contains three key innovations to California’s Foster Care Rate Structure:

  1. As mentioned above, the rates are based on a child’s assessed level of need.
  2. There are two new categories of funding within the rate:
    1. Strengths building and maintenance
    2. Immediate needs
  3. The funding shifts away from being connected to the placement type and IS connected to the child.

Summary of the Foster Care Rate Reform Proposal

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Information on the CANS Tool and LCA

Trailer Bill Language

External Partner Workgroups to Provide Input on Key Components of the Proposed Structure

The Strengths Building Program, Immediate Needs Program, and All Other Components of the Proposal workgroups have concluded. The meeting materials can be accessed below:

Workgroup #1 - The Strengths Building Program

Workgroup #2 - The Immediate Needs Program

Workgroup #3 – All Other Components of the Proposal

Additional Opportunities for Engagement

  • On Wednesday, May 22nd from 9:00-10:00am CDSS and the University of Kentucky Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH) will co-host a Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) and Latent Class Analysis (LCA) Overview Webinar.
  • CDSS Rates Proposal – Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) Feedback Session

Contact Us

System of Care Branch (formerly Foster Care Audits and Rates Branch   
744 P Street, MS 8-3-38
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-9152

Fiscal and Performance Audits Bureau   
744 P Street, MS 8-3-23 
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-1802

Foster Care Rates Bureau   
744 P Street, MS 8-3-570 
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-2752