Table of Contents
- Overview of Bringing Families Home (BFH)
- Eligibility Criteria
- Homeless Definition
- What Services are Provided by the Program?
- Considerations for BFH Program Approval
- Roles and Responsibilities of the Bringing Families Home Program
- Referring a Family to the Bringing Families Home (BFH) Program
This is a new policy in support of the implementation of the referral process for Bringing Families Home (BFH).
Overview of Bringing Families Home (BFH)
The Bringing Families Home (BFH) program provides housing support and services to families receiving child welfare services who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. The goal of BFH is to increase family reunification and prevent foster care placement among participants in cases where housing instability prevents reunification or could lead to foster care placement. The Budget Act of 2021 (SB 129) appropriated an additional $92.5 million in one-time funding for BFH, available for expenditure from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2025. Of this one-time funding, Los Angeles County BFH received $60 million to continue to maintain the program through June 30, 2025.As a result, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has implemented the state-funded BFH program to provide rapid re-housing and case management services to families experiencing homelessness or housing instability, who are involved with the child welfare system and are being serviced in a Family Maintenance (FM), Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM), or Family Reunification (FR) case. The BFH program is a Housing First model; and the family will receive housing assistance even if they have not completed their case plan goals.
To be considered eligible for the BFH Program, the following criteria must be met by the parent/guardian:
- Receiving child welfare services at the time eligibility is determined by having an open case with DCFS and receiving FM, VFM, or FR services.
- Nonminor Dependents (NMDs) are also eligible for the BFH program if they have a child who also has an open case with DCFS.
- Is homeless, is at risk of homelessness as defined by WIC section 16523 (d), or is in a living situation that cannot accommodate the child or multiple children in the home, which may include, but is not limited to, individuals who have not yet received an eviction notice. Refer to the Homeless Definition section for qualifying events.
- Voluntarily agrees to participate in the program.
- AND either of the following:
- Has been determined appropriate for reunification of a child to a biological parent or guardian by the county human services agency or tribe handling the case, the court with jurisdiction over the child, or both; or
- A child or children in the family is or are at risk of foster care placement, and the county human services agency or tribe determines that safe and stable housing for the family will prevent the need for the child’s or children’s removal from the parent or guardian.
- Have an annual income at or below 50% of the area median family income for the Los Angeles County area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
|FY 2023 Income Limit Area||Median Family Income||FY 2023 Income Limit Category||Persons in Family
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, CA HUD Metro FMR Area||$98,200||Very Low (50%) Income Limits ($)
Extremely Low Income Limits ($)
|44,150 50,450 57,750 63,050 68,100 73,150 78,200 83,250
26,500 30,300 34,100 37,850 40,900 43,950 46,950 50,560
Homeless is defined in WIC Section 16523(d) as the following:
- An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
- An individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including, but not limited to, a car, park, abandoned building, bus station, train station, airport, or camping ground.
- An individual or family living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements, including hotels or motels paid for by federal, state, or local government programs for low-income individuals or by charitable organizations, congregate shelters, or transitional housing.
- An individual who resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation and who is exiting an institution where the individual temporarily resided.
- An individual or family who will imminently lose their housing, including, but not limited to, housing they own, rent, or live in without paying rent, are sharing with others, or rooms in hotels or motels not paid for by federal, state, or local government programs for low-income individuals or by charitable organizations, if any of the following criteria are met:
- The primary nighttime residence will be lost within 14 days, as evidenced by any of the following:
- A court order resulting from an eviction action that notifies the individual or family that they must leave within 14 days.
- The individual or family having a primary nighttime residence that is a room in a hotel or motel and where they lack the resources necessary to reside there for more than 14 days.
- Credible evidence indicating that the owner or renter of the housing will not allow the individual or family to stay for more than 14 days, and any oral statement from an individual or family seeking homeless assistance that is found to be credible shall be considered credible evidence for purposes of this clause.
- The individual or family has no subsequent residence identified.
- The individual or family lacks the resources or support networks needed to obtain other permanent housing.
- The primary nighttime residence will be lost within 14 days, as evidenced by any of the following:
- Unaccompanied youth and homeless families with children and youth defined as homeless under any other federal statute, as of the effective date of this program, who meet all of the following:
- Have experienced a long-term period without living independently in permanent housing.
- Have experienced persistent instability as measured by frequent moves over that long-term period.
- Can be expected to continue in that status for an extended period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical health or mental health conditions, substance addiction, histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the presence of a child or youth with a disability, or multiple barriers to employment.
What Services are Provided by the Program?
Monetary assistance is provided for time-limited rental assistance, rental arrears, move-in costs, security expenses, and basic necessity furniture. Case management, employment counseling, credit counseling, and limited legal services are also available. In addition, there is a six (6) month aftercare component with monthly check-ins by the assigned case manager for additional resources, follow-up, etc. The aftercare component begins when the rental assistance provided by the BFH program ends.
Considerations for BFH Program Approval
The approval process includes an assessment of a parent's long-term ability to pay for their chosen housing unit. DCFS will not approve a housing choice if a parent is unable to maintain payments long-term. However, the program can subsidize the rent for up to twenty four (24) months, with incremental decreases over time. The BFH program will provide financial assistance for housing that is reasonable for the parent/caregiver’s income, in compliance with HUD’s standard of rent reasonableness. The parent/caregiver’s rent portion is assessed based on the family’s income and household expenses. One hundred percent (100%) of rental assistance is possible, however, not guaranteed. Financial assistance shall be adjusted to the household’s unique and changing needs. Incremental decreases in financial assistance are unique to each parent/caregiver. However, the recipient is made aware when incremental decreases will take place in their rental assistance, as they progress through the BFH program, so they are self-sufficient when the rental assistance ends.
Parents should search for and follow up on affordable housing leads they find on their own as well as those provided by the contracted housing case manager, followed by agency case manager advocacy with the landlords. The ongoing, severe lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles County is a primary cause of delays in re-housing. Unfortunately, this is one factor outside of DCFS control. Contracted case managers for the BFH program are from a housing agency and contracted care coordinators are from 211 LA County.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Bringing Families Home Program
BFH staff act as liaisons for the housing agency staff, dependency court, and case-carrying CSWs to provide consultation, technical assistance, trouble shooting, and guidance with the BFH referral process and services. They track all data and provide updates on the status of each family, upon request from the assigned CSW, as well as track deliverables and program outcomes.
The BFH manager provides oversight of the BFH program, to include subcontracted agencies, Los Angeles County Development Authority and DCFS program staff, to ensure service delivery to clients and also provide ongoing technical assistance to the subcontracted agencies.
211 LA County Staff Resource and Referral staff, upon receipt of completed documents from DCFS BFH staff, contacts the parent/caregiver to conduct a preliminary assessment. They then refer the parent/caregiver to the contracted housing agency in the parent’s last known zip code or zip code preference and enter all client information and updates into the 211 LA County CareLinQ database.
Contracted Housing Agency Staff assign a case manager upon the parent’s entry and conducts a comprehensive assessment to determine all needs, including housing. They provide case management services and work closely with the parent in locating and obtaining housing and subsidize the rent for a specified period of time with incremental decreases.
Referring a Family to the Bringing Families Home (BFH) Program
- Consult with SCSW to determine if the BFH program is appropriate for the family. If so, initiate an email inquiry to: B6HomelessServices@dcfs.lacounty.gov that includes the following information:
- Parent/caregiver name, contact number, child(ren’s) name(s) and date(s) of birth, case number, and service component.
- If determined eligible by BFH staff, a BFH referral, consent form, and declination of BFH services form will be emailed.
- Upon receipt of the referral form, discuss the benefits of the BFH program with the family.
- If they agree to participate in this voluntary service, have the parent/caregiver sign the referral and consent form as soon as possible or at the next visit with the parent/caregiver.
- If they do not agree to participate, have the parent/caregiver sign the Declination of BFH Services form, document efforts in CWS/CMS, and notify the BFH staff program via email at:
- In some cases, participation in the BFH program is court ordered. If court ordered to participate and the parent/caregiver declines, have the parent/caregiver sign the Declination of BFH Services form, document the efforts made to inform the parent/caregiver of the benefits of the BFH program in CWS/CMS, and inform the court in the court report for the next hearing. Continually follow-up with the parent/caregiver to verify that they continue to decline to participate in the BFH program.
- Return the signed referral and consent forms via email to: B6HomelessServices@dcfs.lacounty.gov within as soon as possible.
- Enrollment in the BFH program does not begin until the signed referral and consent form is submitted/emailed to BFH. Submitting the referral and consent form in timely manner will facilitate working with a case manager sooner to increase a parent/caregiver’s ability to find an affordable housing unit sooner.
- Parent/caregiver must have an open case at the time of enrollment into the BFH program.
- To obtain referral updates, send an email to: B6HomelessServices@dcfs.lacounty.gov
- DCFS is a represented agency and any inquiries from legal counsel or employees of law firms must be directed through the County Counsel who has been assigned to that case.
- In the event that the assigned County Counsel is unavailable or otherwise unresponsive, counsel may direct further inquiry to County Counsel's BFH Liaison, Aaron Jeppson at: BringingFamiliesHome@counsel.lacounty.gov.
- Consult with CSW to determine if the BFH program is appropriate for the family.
Bringing Families Home Staff Responsibilities
- Upon receipt of the email inquiry from the referring CSW, screen the family within five (5) business days and provide a response to the referring CSW. A telephone consultation may be necessary between BFH staff and the CSW and/or SCSW for clarification of information to determine eligibility.
- If determined eligible, provide the referring CSW with the BFH referral form, consent form, and declination of BFH services form via email.
- Upon receipt of the completed BFH Referral from the referring CSW, review the forms for accuracy.
- Submit the completed documents to 211 LA for an initial assessment.
- Email the referring CSW to notify them that the BFH referral has been submitted to 211 LA.
- Provide updates on the status of each referred family, upon request from the assigned CSW.
Bringing Families Home Manager Responsibilities
- Be the Liaison to the contracted agency, housing agency and case-carrying CSW.
AttachmentsU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Rent Reasonableness
Bringing Families Home Referral Form
Consent to Disclose, Release Personal, Assessment and Eligibility Information (English/Spanish)
Declination of DCFS Bringing Families Home Services
Referenced Policy Guides
0080-506.10 , Identifying and Arranging Appropriate Services for Children and Families
0070-548.00, Community Based Resources
Assembly Bill (AB) 1603 (Chapter 25, Statutes of 2016)- Established the BFH program and required the State Department of Social Services to award program funds to counties for the purpose of providing housing-related supports to eligible families experiencing homelessness if specified criteria are met.
Senate Bill (SB) 129 Budget Act of 2021- Appropriated an additional $92.5 million in one-time funding for BFH, available for expenditure from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2025.
Senate Bill (SB) 1380 (Chapter 847)- Required a state program that provides housing or housing-related services to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, to adopt guidelines and regulations to include Housing First policies.
Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 16523- Identifies eligibility criteria for the BFH program and defines homelessness.