A. Notwithstanding any other provision in this title, the department may provide special housing assistance in the form of vendor payments to achieve permanency for children who are involved in open child safety services cases. The child’s family may qualify for this special housing assistance only if the lack of adequate housing is a significant barrier preventing the child from being reunited with or being able to remain with the child’s family or other caretakers who will provide permanency for the child. The amount of housing assistance provided by the department for each family for an incident shall not exceed one thousand eight hundred dollars during a six month period. The housing assistance may only be used for rent, utilities, deposits and arrears. The department may provide housing assistance only if other resources are unavailable.
B. The case plan for the child and family shall contain a reference to the lack of adequate housing.
C. The case notes shall reflect barriers that the family faces in obtaining adequate housing, a specific, time oriented plan for phasing out the need of the family for continued housing assistance, the actions that are being taken by the family for economic self-sufficiency and a complete financial picture of the family at the time of application to the program, including housing related expenses and income, including entitlements.
D. For the period a family is receiving housing assistance, the department shall provide case management services that include monitoring the financial situation of the family.
E. The department shall make the following information regarding the housing assistance program available to the public on request and on the department’s web site:
1. The number of children and families, by district, receiving services through this program during the previous fiscal year.
2. The total amount of monies spent on the program by district.
3. A programmatic and fiscal evaluation of the effectiveness of this program which includes the amount of monies saved by reducing foster care expenditures.
F. The department may adopt rules to carry out this section.