Answer: Unfortunately, this informal arrangement does not qualify the children as being in foster care. The child welfare agency avoids financial liability or custody of the children when using optional “safety plans.” Whether the child is McKinney-Vento eligible would depend on the living situation of the child with the caretaker. In general, the child likely would not be eligible, because the child is not with the caretaker “due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.” However, as with many McKinney-Vento issues, it’s a case-by-case determination. For example, was the parent forced into the safety plan due to a loss of housing? Is the child sleeping on the couch in the living room? Is the caretaker violating her lease and in danger of eviction due to having the child there? Circumstances could qualify the child under McKinney-Vento.

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