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Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

Abstract

California denies state foster care benefits to nonfederally eligible foster children when they are placed with relative caregivers (a placement known as "kinship foster care"). This note explores the unique benefits and needs of kinship foster care, and analyzes the current legal framework regarding kinship foster care, including the justifications for California's policy. The author argues that this California policy fails to embrace the unique benefits and needs of kinship foster care. Furthermore, the policy is contradictory to the state mandated placement priority with relatives. By not properly supporting kinship foster care, California is harming the state's most vulnerable children by either denying them the significant emotional advantages of being cared for, and raised by, relatives, or causing them to unnecessarily suffer from inadequate financial support and the resulting lower quality of care. The author argues that federal legislation should be enacted to prevent states, such as California, from denying state foster care benefits to children in kinship foster care, and additionally, that the laws in California should be amended to treat children in non-relative and kinship foster care equally.

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