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Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) Funding Option Program

As of January 1, 2015, California implemented a new optional program titled the Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) Funding Option Program. This county-optional program provides funding for participating counties to make per-child, per-month payments to approved relative caregivers on behalf of nonfederally eligible children in an amount equal to the basic foster care rate paid to Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) providers. Many approved relative caregivers now receive California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) funds, which are less than AFDC-FC.


Eligible relative caregivers must be approved and live in California; caregivers who are approved must meet health and safety standards that mirror those for licensed foster parents. Further, eligible children must be under the jurisdiction of the California juvenile court in a county that has opted in to the ARC Program; not be federally eligible under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act; and live in California.

More information on the ARC Program is provided in the County Letters detailed below.

All County Letters (ACL) Pertaining to ARC

  • ACL 15-96 - Provides information and instructions on the newly developed Notice-of-Action (NA) forms
  • ACL 15-83 – Provides information on ARC payment proration and clarification of ARC income and asset eligibility
  • ACL 14-89 – Provides child welfare program instructions 
  • ACL 15-20 – Provides CalWORKs program instructions and other clarifying information
  • ACL 15-20-E – Provides an Errata to ACL 15-20

All County Information Notice (ACIN) Pertaining to ARC

  • ACIN I-42-14 – Provides introductory information regarding the ARC Program

County Fiscal Letters (CFL) Pertaining to ARC

  • CFL 15-16-07 – Provides information on the ARC “true-up”
  • CFL 15-16-24 – Provides information on ARC state general fund base caseload and funding amounts and FY 2015-16 ARC allocation 
  • CFL 14-15-45 – Provides information regarding data methodology
  • CFL 14-15-52 – Provides information regarding claiming methodology 
  • CFL 14-15-58 – Provides information regarding allocations

For additional information, including a list of counties that chose to opt-in, send correspondences to:

California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78
Sacramento, CA 95814