Fiscal Road Map

This road map will help counties consider some specific funding areas and resources in making inform decisions about how funds can be leveraged to serve mutual families. Follow the steps below to design an accounting and funding model to support your Linkages program.

1. Assess Fund Sources

It is important that workers involved with family programs have a good sense of the fund sources, rules defining their use, and the fund source limit. Where possible, consider fund sources that permit broad use for family clients. Creating a matrix of decision points is helpful in assessing funds of choice. Attending to funding rules is very important. For example, most federal fund sources available to human service counties prohibit matching with other federal fund sources. So, while contemplating “braiding” funds for Linkages families, it is essential to begin the process by assessing general funding requirements.. At one time, the term “blending” was used to describe funds from multiple sources paying for services for families.  The term “blended” is no longer used, however, because when funds are blended, the funds lose their separate identify.  When funds are “braided” they can be pulled back apart, to allow for precise accounting and claiming

Some key considerations when examining funds for Linkages families are:

  • Internal and external fund sources available to the county and targeted family
  • Connections between services and customers
  • Gaps in fund sources/seek to fill
  • Prioritization of funds utilized for targeted family should include:
    • Allowable use
    • Largest amount available (*)
    • Lowest county share and/or cost
    • Linkage to other programs or services
    • Ease of access
    • Least external reporting requirements

* In Fiscal Year 2011-2012, Child Welfare Services was realigned.  Under 2011 Realignment, the amount that was previously issued as an allocation (State General Fund) is now funded through Sales Tax and Vehicle License fee revenues.  Therefore, the amount the County receives is dependent on the State’s economic performance. The link shown below to the CDSS website gives more information on 2011 Realignment.

Matching Funds…

CDSS has released helpful fiscal instructions to counties regarding their matching opportunities, including use of in-kind and donated funds. Utilizing policies noted below, some counties have been successful in maximizing funds donated by charities and philanthropic foundations to help sustain programming, without additional strain on limited county funds. Some have leveraged additional federal and state funding with the help of donated funds. Stanislaus County, for example, was able to continue to provide Sober Living Environment Services for up to 40 Linkages families per month through its contract with Valley Recovery Resources by utilizing private donated funds. Budget reductions in local CWS funds made it impossible for StanWORKs (the county’s CalWORKs Program) to fund these important services alone. Key to the successful continuation of these services was the local commitment of support and strategic utilization of private and county funds as match. See presentations from Stanislaus’ County: Fiscal Advantages: Leveraging Donated Funds for Community Benefit and Braided Funding to Support Linkages.

Policy Letters:

CFL 94/95-38

- dated 2/21/95
- Matching Funds

CFL 03/04-22

- dated 8/7/03

Matching Funds for Title IV-E

Administrative Funds…

Requirements associated with funds to reimburse counties for administrative activities continue to evolve. Related instructions from the CDSS have been directed to both CWS (Foster Care) and TANF (CalWORKs) programs.

Policy Letters:

Foster Care Title IV-E Non-Federal Discount Rate Clarification

Click to View

Federal Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005

- Signed February 8, 2006
- Revised Policy And Instructions For Title IV-E/Non-Title IV-E Discount Rate

Click to View

Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005

- Signed February 8, 2006
- Revised Policy And Instructions For Title IV-E/Non-Title IV-E Discount Rate

Click to View

2. Select Specific Funds

Once a program budget has been established for the targeted Linkages family, select the specific fund sources to fit the program design and consider:

  • Entitlement and assistance funds
  • One-time (time-limited) fund sources
  • Menu of fund sources and availability for prioritized service needs
  • Order of direct services/non-administrative costs to be utilized
  • A Fiscal Case Plan (Example: Calaveras: Linkages Fiscal Process)

3. Document Financial Requirements

To ensure a sound audit trail, funding streams and expenditures must be documented to:

  • Reflect fund sources to budgeted line items and cost pools
  • Reflect cost pool requirements
  • Include encumbrance/expenditure procedures for budget line items within each cost pool
  • Link with county quarterly expense claims and monthly assistance claims and codes
  • Include procedures to retain source documents backing up cost pools/centers, contracts, time studies, purchase orders,
  • RFPs, etc.

4. Track Financing Results

Utilizing dates from cost reports, the county expense claim and assistance claims, and other external payment sources will enable the county to develop management reports on outcomes, cost avoidance/cost savings, allocation utilization, progress toward continuous improvement targets, and more. This information will also serve to help inform the county regarding available funds that may be used to leverage other non-county general funds and additional services for families.

The CDSS has released a number of all county program and fiscal letters aimed at enlightening counties about potential funding strategies and matching rules, particularly involving CWS programs. Matching flexibility and use of donated funds can create opportunities to free up county general funds for additional program use. Tangentially, training opportunities have increased with expanded interpretation of staff development definitions. These and other letters (ACLs, CFLs, ACINs) issued by the Department may be found at the “lettersnotices” resource link .