Important Changes Due to the COVID-19 Virus

  • During this time, the Department of Human Services is encouraging customers to utilize online self-service options. We have shortened our hours as a result of Kern County moving to an essential-staffing only model due to the quickly changing situation related to the COVID-19 virus. 
  • While our office will be closed to the public, we will continue to provide restricted in-person homeless services only between the hours of 7:30 AM and 1:00 PM. Our main lobby located at 100 E. California Avenue, Bakersfield, will conduct in-office interviews with our homeless clients by telephone utilizing the recently installed telephones in the lobby interview booths.
  • Due to these shortened hours and social distancing regulations, we are encouraging our clients to make use of our online options. Please go to and download the mobile app to apply for and keep track of your benefits, services, and application and redetermination forms. Applications for CalFresh may be made by phone at (661) 631-6062 and applications for Medi-Cal benefits can be made by calling 1-800-300-1506.
  • If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call the Child Abuse Hotline at (661) 631-6011 (Countywide) or (760) 375-6049 in Ridgecrest. Reports of child abuse can be made at any time.
  • Also, due to our limited service hours, we are encouraging clients to contact the EBT Customer Service line toll free at 1-877-328-9677 to report a lost, stolen, or damaged card, as well as to request a card replacement by mail.
  • Information regarding services will also be available by phone at (661) 631-6000. We want to reiterate, all critical services will be provided during our shortened hours.

Thank you for understanding.


Specialized Care and Incentive Assistance Program (SCIAP) and Respite Care

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What Is SCIAP?

The Specialized Care and Incentive Assistance Program (SCIAP) and Respite Care Programs are funded by the State of California. These funds are intended to be used solely for the benefit of eligible children with medical or behavioral challenges and only after alternative funding sources such as Special Care Incentives (SCI), Medi-Cal, California Children's Services, and Kern Regional Center funds have been exhausted and/or denied.

Who Is Eligible For SCIAP?

Only federally eligible dependents of the court placed with relatives, Resource Family Homes and legal guardians are eligible. Those not eligible include children in group homes or foster family agency homes, children receiving SSI/Social Security only benefits and undocumented children.

What Can SCIAP Pay For?

Use of SCIAP funds is limited to specific goods and services on a non-recurring basis. Pre-approved expenses could include:

  • Medical equipment and equipment to maintain a power supply
  • Orthodontia
  • Replacement or repair of eyeglasses and dental appliances
  • Activities to enhance and improve a child's growth [as funds permit]
  • Items to build a child's self-esteem
  • Mileage and lodging for medical care requiring out-of-county travel (may include an overnight stay)

SCIAP Can Help With

  • Summer camp and sports
  • Club tuitions and fees
  • Tutoring
  • Respite Care
  • FFA or 4-H
  • Graduation costs
  • Band and orchestra costs

What Is Respite Care?

Respite care pays substitute caregivers while the regular caregivers take a pre-approved break [for eligible children.] Need for respite care includes:

  • Caretaker's family or medical emergency
  • Caretaker “time out”
  • Caretaker stays with hospitalized foster child

Limitations and Restrictions

There are two payment categories: Regular (for most children) and Enhanced (for children requiring Level II and above SCI).

  • Regular respite care is limited to 7 days/168 hours per child annually and pays $3 per hour/per child or $36 per day [12-24 hours].
  • Enhanced respite care is limited to 12 days/288 hours per child annually and pays $60 per day [12-24 hours].

Maximum respite care pay is $156 per day/caregiver, and cannot be used for ordinary childcare expenses and is not an option to emergency foster home placement. A child's out of home stay in respite care is limited to no more than 72 consecutive hours per incident of respite.

Who Do I Contact?

Contact your child's social worker for details or to submit a request for use of SCIAP funds. Discuss your plans for taking advantage of SCIAP funding and Respite Care with your child's worker before incurring the expense. There are restrictions and limitations for disbursement of these funds. Checks are issued from the Kern County Auditor/Controller's office, and those accessing funds must be prepared to wait at least 4 weeks for issuance of payment.