Kinship Care Information

FSFAPA Kinship

Let’s get noticed #fsfapakinship

WELCOME TO THE FLORIDA STATE FOSTER ADOPTIVE PARENT ASSOCIATION (FSFAPA) KINSHIP INFO PAGE

FSFAPA recognizes the growing needs of over 251,000 children living in kinship care homes in Florida, and the many grandparents and other relatives who are providing the primary care for them.

According to the Child Welfare League of America, “Kinship Care is the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives, members of their tribes or clans, godparents, stepparents, or any adult who has a kinship bond with a child.”

The FSFAPA Kinship Program is being designed with these goals:

  • develop, maintain, and support kinship caregivers and their children living in the community.
  • collaborate with the community and develop new innovative program components to address the needs and concerns of the kinship care family;
  • research and identify techniques for working with children, kinship caregivers, biological parents, school systems, local and state service provider agencies, and the community;
  • serve as a statewide clearinghouse of kinship care information obtained at local, state, and federal level of government for service providers and caregivers.
  • provide training for kinship caregivers, service provider agencies, case workers that provides leadership and direction for statewide efforts to address the growing needs of all kinship caregivers
  • provide direct services to kinship caregivers throughout Florida by means of the FSFAPA Information line 866-913-0977, a statewide line for kinship caregivers (foster & adoptive caregivers) who support and information and through the FAST line 800-327-8119 if there is an allegation on the home

 

Frequently Asked Questions of Relative Caregivers:

 1. What financial assistance is available for Relative caregivers? There are two options available (each has eligibility requirements):

A. State of Florida Relative Caregiver Program. – The children you are raising were brought to you by the Department of Children and Families and/or adjudicated dependent then you may be eligible. (See basic eligibility requirements below) The child will be eligible for Medicaid.

B. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF)/Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) – The child you are raising has not been through the dependency court system and adjudicated dependent. For example: You took your grandchildren into your care and did not call the children’s parent/s benefits. You can apply for child only TANF/TCA. This is a federal program and it only looks at the child’s income. The child is eligible for Medicaid.

2. How much financial assistance do I receive each month with the Florida -Relative Caregiver Program benefits?

The Florida Relative Caregiver program monthly benefit for EACH child is:  Age: 0-5 – $ 242.00 per child, age 6-12  $249.00 per child, age 13 +  $298.00 per child

3. How much financial assistance do I receive each month with the child only TANF/TCA? The monthly benefit is: $180.00 for 1 Child, $241.00 for 2 Children, $303.00 for 3 Children, $364.00 for 4 Children

4. How do I apply for Relative Caregiver Benefits, TANF/TCA, Medicaid or Food Stamps?  Go to http://www.myflorida.com/accessflorid and fill out the application online, or go to an agency that is part of the Community ACCESS Network,

5. What about a child placed with relatives out of state? Only children living in Florida and placed by the court in Florida are eligible for Relative Caregiver benefits in Florida. A child placed in Florida by a court in another state is not eligible.

6. My grandchildren’s mother died and the children get social security. Will the social security they get affect the assistance I receive? The state looks at the children’s income when determining benefits. If the child receives social security it is very likely the child will not qualify for the Relative Caregiver Funds or TANF.

7. What about a child placed with relatives out of state? Only children living in Florida and placed by the court in Florida are eligible for Relative Caregiver benefits in Florida. A child placed in Florida by a court in another state is not eligible.

8. What if the parent moves in the home with children and the caregiver? If the parent is in the home for 30 days or longer, eligibility for Relative Caregiver Funds ends.   Always follow the rules of parental involvement set by the court

9. Are stepparents eligible for Relative Care? Only if they are divorced from the biological parent, otherwise, they are considered a parent as opposed to a relative caregiver.

10. How long does it take for benefits to begin? The ESS worker had 45 days to complete the approval process. If the family is already receiving TCA, the Relative Caregiver benefits will be approved in about 10 days from receipt of the competed communication form. If not, it will take about 30 days to approve or deny the case and longer for the relative to actually receive the benefits.

11. Do I qualify for Child care benefits? If you are working and receive Relative Caregiver Benefits and/or the child has been adjudicated dependent you should receive subsidized daycare based on status, and are eligible for priority placements under the school readiness programs. The case manager will provide the referral for child care (you must have this referral when you sign up for subsidized child care). Once the case is closed you need to maintain your relative caregiver benefit, provide proof and re-certify annually.

12. What about post high school educational benefits? A child who is receiving Relative Caregiver Benefits when he/she turns 18, may be eligible for tuition waiver at community colleges and vocational schools.   The tuition waiver is eligible for 4 years after high school graduation.

13. What about health care for the children? Any child not living with parents is eligible for Medicaid.

14. What other services are available for my family? Where can I find out about? Services for relative caregivers are very limited and can vary per county.

What kinds of issues do kinship caregivers face?
What does this program plan to advocate for?

  • Financial
  • Legal
  • Inconsistency of programs
  • Availability of community-based services/resources
  • Access to services such as:
    • Transportation
    • Respite Care
    • Childcare
    • Support Groups
    • Counseling
    • Advocacy

 What are some statistics relating to kinship care?

More than 31% of all children in state custody are placed with extended family members.

Approximately 3.5 million children in the US live in the home of a grandparent or other relative.

Approximately 231,000 children in Florida live with relatives.

Forty-four percent of these relative caregivers are raising children due to parental substance abuse.

   Roughly two-thirds of kinship caregivers are the child’s grandparent.

HELPFUL LINKS 

Florida Access System – Application for benefits (Food Stamps, Cash, Medicaid) – application for benefits

Temporary Cash Assistance – additional information – information on benefits

Relative Caregiver Statutes in Florida

Stepping up for Children Report (Annie E. Casey)

Department of Elder Affairs – Kinship Support Information

Working with Kinship Caregivers 

Links to short videos for information on relative caregiver benefits (WIC, ACCESS, the Dependency System etc)

Caregiver Pamphlet from KidsFirst of Florda – great tool for relative placements

A Parent’s Guide to Juvenile Dependency Court (good for caregivers too)