A. What Is Permanency Care Assistance?

The Permanency Care Assistance (PCA) Program provides certain benefits and supports to qualifying kinship families who take permanent managing conservatorship (PMC) of a child. PCA families are eligible for:

•   Monthly cash assistance similar to adoption assistance;

•   Medicaid health coverage; and

•   A one-time reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses, including legal fees, incurred in the process of obtaining custody of the child, up to a maximum of $2,000. Tex. Fam. Code § 264.852(d).

The maximum monthly payments are the same as those for adoption assistance and depend upon the child's authorized service level at the time the PCA is negotiated.

Caregivers who apply must be:

•   Related to, or have a longstanding relationship with, the child / children before the child is placed; and

•   Verified by a child placing agency and provide verified foster care for the child for at least six months after verification and before the court awards PMC and dismisses the case.

DFPS may enter into a PCA Agreement with a kinship provider who is the prospective managing conservator of a foster child only if the kinship provider meets the eligibility criteria under federal and state law and DFPS rule. Tex. Fam. Code § 264.852(b). A court may not order DFPS to enter into a PCA agreement with a kinship provider unless the kinship provider meets the eligibility criteria under federal and state law and DFPS rule, including the requirements relating to criminal history background check of a kinship provider. Tex. Fam. Code § 264.852(c).

Special Issue: The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) must allow a child-placing agency to issue a provisional license for a kinship provider who meets the basic safety requirements provided by Commission rule and the kinship provider issued a provisional license shall complete all licensing requirements within the time provided by the rule.