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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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18Handbook 18:  Financial Support Systems
18-3  DFCS Special Funds (SCZ 414Z)- Purchasing Items and Other Expenses
Financial Support Systems
18-3  DFCS Special Funds (SCZ 414Z)-  Purchasing Items and Other Expenses
Reference Points
Overview
Purpose
Policy Exceptions
Purchases Made Prior to Authorization
Pre-approved Items
How to Apply for Funds
General Things To Know About Special Funds Requests
Adoption Expenses
Birth Certificates
Burial Expenses
Children's Activities
Clothing - Initial Clothing Allowance
Clothing and School Uniforms
Furniture and Bedding
Housing
Immigration Expenses
Mass Transit
Medical Records and Copies of Medical Records
Passport Expenses
PG&E, Water and Other Utilities
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation
Snacks
Transportation - Mileage Reimbursement
Travel
Vacation and Trips
VTA Flash Passes or Day Pass Tokens
Miscellaneous Purchase
Contacts
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: In effect
Last Updated: 11/4/11
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Legal Basis Text
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request (SCZ 414Z)
MS Word Direct Pay Requisition (SC-59)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
PDF Forms Text


Overview  

The Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) Special Funds Program is designed to provide one-time services to a family or child in need.  Different services may be requested over any length of time.  However, each type of service will be authorized only once per family/child.  DFCS Special Funds come from a variety of sources.  Social workers make requests and the management analysts determine which fund to access for payment of the requested item or services.

DFCS Special Funds are limited.  Community resources must first be contacted or applied for before requesting funding through DFCS Special Funds.

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Purpose  

The purpose of the Special Funds program is to:

  1. Provide funds that can be used to establish safe and nurturing environments for children.
  2. Reduce the need for out-of-home placement.
  3. Hasten reunification for children who have been removed from their parents or caregivers.
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Policy Exceptions   DFCS directors do not have the authority to override fiscal or purchase policy and procedures.  Under extreme circumstances, social workers may request a "Director's Exception" to the DFCS policies included in this OPP chapter.  To request a "Director's Exception," the social worker completes the applicable Special Funds form (SCZ414Z) in the usual manner, adding a sentence in the narrative section specifying why the request warrants a policy exception.
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Purchases Made Prior to Authorization  

The DFCS Special Funds Program does not pay for services or items purchased prior to written authorization, except in certain cases where a "standing" approval has been established.  Caregivers and vendors do not know the regulations and policies that guide County expenditures. 

Therefore, social workers must explain the regulations and policies and the importance of getting pre-approval BEFORE a purchase is made or services rendered.  Social  workers or caregivers who make purchases prior to authorization may not be reimbursed. 

See Agency Purchasing Policy.

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Pre-approved Items  

The SSA Purchasing Manager has made a standing pre-approval for the following items:

  • Snacks and meals purchased for a client under DFCS supervision during visits and during times when the social worker transports the client to other scheduled appointments or services.
  • Fingerprints
  • Birth Certificates
  • Medical Records and Copies of Medical Records
  • Emergency Placement necessities directly related to the emergency placement of a child.
    • The social worker must demonstrate that he/she was unable to submit the request in advance.
    • Examples of emergency placement necessities include:
      • Bed, bedding, car seats for relative placements that are immediate (during regular business days, a pre-approval usually can be obtained the same day.)
      • Emergency clothing needed for school
      • Lice treatment
      • School activity fees due to a child being enrolled in a new school
      • Medication for which there is an immediate need and not covered by Medi-cal
      • Emergency Relative Respite Care due to a medical emergency or death in the family.
      • A few days of therapeutic intervention for a minor in crisis.
    • The SSA Purchasing Manager is the person authorized to determine if a purchase meets the extreme emergency category. 
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How to Apply for Funds  

A DFCS Special Funds Request (SCZ 414Z) must be completed for the requested item or service.  See details in the appropriate sections below.

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General Things to Know About Special Funds Requests  
  • The DFCS Special Funds analysts are the only persons authorized to spend DFCS Special Funds.

  • Written authorization from a Special Funds analyst is required for verification of request approval.

  • Written authorization approving a request for funds is required prior to purchase of items or services.
  • Social workers and caretakers should not purchase items prior to approval, because they will likely not be reimbursed.

  • Special Funds are limited and, therefore, the amount paid for items is also limited.
    • The cost of a specific item for purchase must be reasonable.
    • Special Funds has targeted costs for various items, based on average retail costs from a number of local stores.
  • Social workers should direct questions and concerns regarding a Special Funds requests to a Special Funds analyst.

  • Clients should not be directed to contact the Special Funds analyst or Accounts Payable directly.

  • Completed forms make for quicker approvals.
    • Social Worker's Name and the Case Name and Number are required on the SCZ 414Z.
    • Incomplete forms will cause a delay in processing and may be returned to the social worker for completion.
     
  • The social worker is not required to obtain W-9 Tax forms from the vender for pre-approved requests involving counseling, parenting education, child care, orthodontics or medical/dental care.
    • The Special Funds analyst will ask the vendor to provide a W-9 with the vendor's first invoice.

  • The social worker must notify a Special Funds analyst when there is a program service change in the case, e.g. case going from FR to PP, FR to FM, or dismissal.

  • If the vendor your client must use will not provide any kind of written documentation (voided receipt, training receipt, etc.), the Item and Purchase Information (SCZ167b) form may be used to document the cost of the necessary items.

  • Obtaining a check requires 10 working days. Anything less is considered a RUSH request and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please write “RUSH” on the top of this form.

  • All approvals will be copied to the SW.
    • All denials will be returned to the SW with denial information in writing.

  • On each type of Special Funds request form, signature lines for the required signatures are included.
    • Signature requirements vary, depending upon the type of request.


  • There is a 6 month time limit on using County issued checks and purchase orders.
  • Checks and purchase orders obtained for one purpose cannot be use for another.
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Adoption Expenses  

The DFCS Request - Adoption Expenses (SCZ 414Z) is used for reimbursement for nonrecurring adoption expenses up to $400.

For other adoption expenses complete DFCS Request - Miscellaneous/Other Expenses (SCZ 414Z).

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Birth Certificate  

See OPP Chapter 19-1: How to Request a Birth Certificate

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Burial Expenses  

When a child in out-of-home placement dies and the birth or foster family requests financial assistance with the burial expenses, the social worker completes a DFCS Request Placement Expenses (SCZ414Z) for burial expenses, the social worker must attach a:

  • Written estimate showing each item with its price, the total, and the tax up to $5000.
    • Any amount over $5000  may be requested on a separate SCZ414Z for burial expenses and may be approved at the discretion of the DFCS Director’s Office.
  • W-9  Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, if the vendor does not already have a vendor approval from the County.
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Children's Activities  

When submitting the SCZ 414Z for recreational items, the social worker must attach a:

  • Written estimate flyer receipt showing each item with its price, the total and the tax.
  • W-9  Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, if the vendor does not already have this.
    • The W-9 for most national chain stores and many local furniture stores are already submitted to SSA.
    • Call the Special Funds Analysts to check if the store from which the purchase will be made needs to provide a W-9.


Funding Limits

  • Bicycle  - $100
  • Recreation Activities & Programs:
    • $250 per week -4 weeks per summer and
    • $1000 per school year - 3 months per school year
      • Social worker must use Royal Kids Camp and Kids-to-Camp, if at all possible.  Contact the Special Funds Analysts.



Other Information

  • Children's Activities include, but are not limited to, those fees and items related to:
    • Organized sports
      • Equipment, uniforms and registration fees
    • Uniforms
      • E.g. Boy/Girl Scouts
    • Art programs
    • Field trips
    • Tutoring
    • Bicycles
    • Educational supplies
    • Graduation
    • Prom
    • Camp

Other Resources

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Clothing - Initial Clothing Allowance   See Clothing Allowance Eligibility Matrix and Amounts for criteria for qualification. If qualifying, Initial clothing allowances apply to children upon their initial placement.  Clothing allowances are given once a year to those children in qualified placement.  No allowance is given with a placement change, unless it has been less than 6 months since the last clothing allowance issued.  Exceptions may be made with adequate explanation.
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Clothing and School Uniforms - Special Funds  

When submitting the SCZ 414Z for clothing, the social worker must use Target stores.

Only when there is not a Target store near the residence may another store be used.  If another store is used, the social worker must attach to the SCZ 414Z a:

  • Written estimate or “voided” receipt showing each item with its price, the total and the tax.
  • W-9  Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, if the vendor does not already have a vendor approval from the County.
    • The W-9 for most national chain stores and many local furniture stores are already submitted to SSA.
    • Call the Special Funds Analysts to check if the store from which the purchase will be made needs to provide a W-9.



Fund Limits

(Includes tax)

  • Clothing for child (from Special Funds): 
    • 0-4   years - $110.00
    • 5-10  years - $120.00
    • 11-14 years - $150.00
    • 15+    years - $185.00



Other Information

  • The Clothing Allowance program should be used before request Special Funds for clothing.
    • Request for a Clothing Allowance must be made within 60 days of the child's placement in relative or foster home (excluding ESH) homes.
    • Workers can apply directly to the eligibility worker without supervisor or SSPM signatures.

Other Resources

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Furniture and Bedding  

When submitting an SCZ 414Z for bedding, the social worker must use Target stores.

 

When submitting an SCZ 414Z for furniture, the social worker must use one of the three following furniture stores for requests for residences in Santa Clara County:

  • San Jose Furniture Warehouse

    (does not have cribs, toddler or chest beds)

    1065 South 5th Street

    San Jose, CA 95112

    275-0549
  • Furniture Super Discount

    (has cribs, chest beds & toddler beds)

    982 East Santa Clara Street

    San Jose, CA 95116

    993-8288
  • Econo Furniture

    (does not have cribs)

    7390 Monterey Road

    Gilroy, CA 95020

    846-8788

For placements outside Santa Clara County, the social worker requests funds for furniture by:

  • Locating a furniture store near the residence.
  • Submitting a written estimate or “voided” receipt showing each item with its price, the total and the tax.
  • Submitting a W-9  Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, if the vendor does not already have this on file with the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency.
    • The W-9 for most national chain stores and many local furniture stores are already filed with SSA.
    • Call the Special Funds Analysts to check if the store from which the purchase will be made needs to provide a W-9.

 

Funding Limits

(Includes Tax)

  • Single Twin Bed (mattress, box spring & frame only) - $250.00
  • Bunk Bed - $380.00
  • 5 Drawer Dresser - $100.00
  • Chest Bed (bed & dresser combination) - $275.00
  • Crib - $350.00
  • Bedding
    • $75.00
    • Allowed 1 pillow, 1 sheet set, 1 blanket, 1 comforter and 1 pillowcase.



Other Information

  • Funding will only be provided if/when the items are not available from the child’s previous home. 
    • The social worker should find out what furniture is available at the home from which the child was removed. If there is furniture, the first choice would be to move that furniture so that the child may sleep in his/her own bed.
  • Many churches and community organizations to which families may belong provide referral to resources or to other members who have “extra” furniture. Clients should be referred to their church or community organization, before Special Funds are requested.
  • Estimates and receipts cannot be more than 3 weeks old.
  • The adult purchasing the furniture should be told that the furniture belongs to the child and that the furniture will be moved with the child, if there is a change in placement.  This is the case, even if the adult has provided a co-payment for the furniture.
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Housing  

When submitting the SCZ 414Z for housing assistance, the social worker must attach:

  • A copy of the lease agreement signed by the tenet(s) and the landlord.
    • The lease agreement should clearly indicate that the landlord knows that the children will be residing with the adult.
  • A Rental Deposit Agreement, if DFCS Funds will be used for any part of the Security Deposit.



Funding Limits

  • Housing assistance is available once per family for a maximum of on (1) month.
  • The maximum funding that may be requested is $2000 which may be use for a deposit or rent or both.



Other Information

  • When requesting assistance for customers who are using Section-8 certificates, no authorization will be granted prior to HUD doing an inspection on the property.
  • Though a client may be able to make the monthly rent, that does not mean that he/she has sufficient income to maintain housing, in addition to other bills.  The social worker should consider housing as one component of the cost of living for families.  The client should be able to tell the worker how other costs such as utilities, food, car expenses, childcare expenses and other miscellaneous expenses will be paid.
  • Clients sharing housing with other adults (shared housing situation) remain eligible for consideration for housing assistance, however, only the client's portion of the total housing costs will be considered.


Other Resources

Season of Sharing:

  • Applications, instructions and submission information are now in the SCZ414Z folder in the Sharelib-DFCS (S: Drive) under "Season of Sharing Application NEW.pdf".  The Social Worker and Client are to complete the packet and submit to Frank Motta. 
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Immigration Expenses  

Special Funds are available for payment to Catholic Charities or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to cover the cost of :

  • Photos
  • USCIS representation
  • Applications for Naturalization
  • Special Immigrant Petitions
  • Adjustment of Status
  • Work Authority/Identity Cards
  • Renewal/Replacement of Resident Cards
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Mass Transit  

When submitting the SCZ 414Z for transit requests, the social worker must attach:

  • Written estimate showing each ticket with its total price, including tax.  The Internet usually has this information.

 

Other Information

  • The appropriate, least costly method of transportation will be considered first.  Social workers should review and compare the costs of various transportation methods such as:
    • BART
    • Amtrak
    • CalTrain
    • AC Transit
    • Greyhound
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Medical Records and Copies of Medical Records  

Fees for Medical Records & Copies:

Most medical institutions are now charging fees for medical records and copies of medical records.  Social workers must ask what the fees are before ordering medical records.  If there is a fee, this must be pre-approved by the Special Funds Unit prior to ordering the medical records. 

Social workers should use the SCZ414Z~Misc Purchase form for this purpose; list the medical institution as the Vendor. 

Only when there is a medical emergency will after-the-fact medical records fees be paid, all other requests will not be approved per the Santa Clara County purchasing policy.

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Passport Expenses  

Special Funds are available for payments to the:

  • U.S. Postal Service & U.S. Department of State Processing
  • Santa Clara County Clerk Recorder & U.S. Department of State Processing
  • Another county's clerk recorder & U.S. Department of State Processing

for:

  • Application Fees
  • Acceptance Fees
  • Execution Fees
  • Photos
  • Expediting Fees


Santa Clara County Office of the Clerk Recorder

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PG&E and Water Bills  

When submitting the SCZ 414Z for utility bills, the social worker must attach:

  • A copy of entire bill showing total cost as requested, as well as the monthly bills.

 

Funding Limits

  • This assistance is available once per family.
  • Special Funds do not pay for late fees or penalties accrued due to missed or late payments.
  • Payment may be requested for bills accrued only during the time the child is actually in the home.
  • Payment is for 1 month only.
    • The client must demonstrate how he/she will pay other months on the bill and cover future billing.

 


Other Information

  • Many clients qualify for low income discounts and rebates.
    • Provide low-income assistance forms to clients, available on-line from PGE.com (in many different languages) or the utility in question.
  • The utility company may be willing to set-up a payment schedule for the client with an initial payment made by the Special Funds Unit.
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Philanthropic Ventures Foundation  

All grant checks issued by Philanthropic Ventures Foundation are to be funneled through Social Services Agency Accounts Receivable. 

When notified by SSA-Accounts Receivable that a check has arrived, the social worker:

  • Completes the Check Conversion Request form.
  • Takes to Accounts Receivable the:
    • Check Conversion Request form with the memo that was sent to Philanthropic Ventures Foundation attached.
  • Contacts Accounts Receivable to make an appointment to:
    • Sign the check over to the County.
    • Drop off the check conversion payment form and memo.

SSA Accounts Payable:

  • Issues a County warrant or Purchase Order, as indicated by the social worker on the Check Conversion Request form.
  • Contacts the DFCS Special Funds Unit for pick-up.

DFCS Special Funds Unit:

  • Picks up the warrant or Purchase Order.
  • Contacts the social worker.
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Snacks  

Reimbursement for snacks must be requested on a Direct Pay form.

See OPP Chapter 20-2: Purchasing Snacks and Meals for Clients.

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Transportation - Mileage Reimbursement  

The DFCS Request - Transportation (for visits and non-SCC/VTA bus passes)

is used for:

  • Monthly bus passes for transit systems outside Santa Clara County
  • One time or periodic travel
  • Mileage reimbursements for clients who use their own vehicles when mass transit is unavailable.
    • DFCS may only reimburse up to the amount mass transit would have cost.

Fiscal Services requires that a W-9 be on file for each vendor at the time of payment.  The County has over 30,000 vendors on file.  To check to see if a W-9 is already on file, contact DFCS Special Funds Unit at 408-501-6867.

 

For Mileage Reimbursement:

  • Mileage plans are only considered if mass transit is not available or is not safe/appropriate for the client.
  • Clients are required to complete a mileage reimbursement form.
  • The family member to be reimbursed must complete a W-9 form to be submitted with the  original request.
  • “PLANS” for Mileage Reimbursement must be approved PRIOR to services starting. 
  • The approval is copied and routed to the social worker.
  • For Mileage Reimbursement, the driver is to complete the Special Funds form. 
  • If the Special Funds Unit does not receive a mileage claim form within 6 months from the date of approval, the “Plan” will be voided.  Further, if more than 6 months lapses between billings, the unbilled portion of the “Plan” will be voided.
  • Funds will not be paid on closed cases and, in some situations, will not be paid after parental rights are terminated, even a balance remains on the “Plan”.
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Vacation and Trips  

School science camps and other activities are generally covered by DFCS.  if the child is staying overnight for longer than 72 hours and the caregiver is receiving any type of foster care or non-needy caregiver CalWORKs, the caregiver is expected to use some of that funding to make a co-payment towards the cost of the activity.

DFCS may be able to financially assist a family to include children placed in its home when the family has vacation plans.  DFCS does not create vacations or trips for children.  Funding for vacations and trips is limited to those occasions when the child would otherwise need to be placed in respite care.

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VTA Flash Passes or Day Pass Tokens  

See OPP Chapter 19-1.1: How to Obtain Bus Passes for Clients.

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Miscellaneous Purchase  

Need to identify:

  • The item or service
  • Who will use the item or service
  • The reason why the item or service is necessary.

 

Required Attachments

  • No attachment necessary, if purchase is made at Target department store.

otherwise,

  • A W-9 must be attached to the request form, if a W-9 is not already on file.
  • An original of one of the following documents:
    • Voided receipt
    • Training receipt
    • Layaway receipt
    • Written estimate prepared by the vendor
    • Flyer/brochure
    • SCZ167b

If you are not using a Target Store:  Submit an original of one of the following choices to document the cost of each item and applicable tax:  Voided receipt, training receipt, layaway receipt, written estimate prepared by vendor, flier/brochure or SCZ167b.

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Contacts  

Special Funds Unit

 
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Other References  
MS Word2 Clothing Allowance Eligibility Matrix and Amounts
MS Word2 Philanthropic Ventures
MS Word2 Season of Sharing
MS Word2 PGE.com

Popup Window2

MS Word2

Department Memorandum dated 5/13/06: Orthodontic Special Funds Requests

Agency Announcment 3/28/14: Pre-Approval and County Purchasing Policy

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