What is Kinship Care?
When a child must be removed from his or her home, caseworkers first try to place the child with a family member, close family friend, or nonrelative connected to the child or family. This is known as kinship care, and it represents the most desirable out-of-home placement option for children who cannot live with their parents. Kinship care offers family preservation and the greatest level of stability by allowing a child to maintain his or her sense of belonging and by enhancing the child’s ability to identify with his or her family’s culture and traditions.
Kinship care can be a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or nonrelative adult takes over the full-time substitute care of that child when the parents are unable or unwilling to do so. Kinship caregivers’ commitment to devote their lives to the children in their care is a courageous, life-changing decision.
Kinship Permanency Incentive Program (KPIP):
Kinship Permanency Incentive Program is designed for permanency, so the application process happens when the kin caregiver receives legal custody. This if often at the end of the ongoing case. Eligible caregivers receive a one-time payment to reduce the costs of the initial placement of $525 per child. Kin may receive up to seven subsequent payments, every six months, to support the stability of the child’s placement in the home at $300 per child. To be eligible for KPIP, the kinship caregiver must have:
- Legal custody or guardianship of the child
- A gross family income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty guideline
- A kinship home study and background checks completed
- Submit an application
Applications can be obtained by calling WCDJFS, Children’s Services Unit, and the program is administered by Liza Swartz, 419-373-6940.
Ohio Works First (OWF) Child Only Financial Assistance and Medicaid:
A kinship child placed in your temporary or legal custody may be eligible for child only assistance through Wood County Department of Job and Family Services (WCDJFS). This assistance should not be based on the caregiver’s income. Kin would complete an application for Request for Cash, Food, Medical/Day Care (JFS 7200). There are three ways to apply for benefits:
- Online at https://benefits.ohio.gov click on “Apply Now” and complete the application.
- Call the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services at 419-352-7566 to have an application mailed or pick up an application up in person at WCDJFS.
- Call the call center to request an application at 1-844-640-6446 M-F 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The call center can answer questions prior to applying. This number will also be the number for appointments.
Kinship Child Care Program (KPC):
Kinship Child Care is administered by WCDJFS, Social Services Department. There are two programs available through KCP: Caregiving and Stabilization. Contact Shannon Fisher at 419-373-6972 for an application.
- KPC – Caregiving is designed for kin whose household size and family income are under 200% federal poverty rate, but does not qualify for PFCC, and has employment, a work requirement, or an educational activity. It will last for 12 months.
- KPC – Stabilization is designed for kin that do not qualify for the other programs but need assistance for respite, job searching, or support/family stabilization. It is only available for four consecutive months in a calendar year.
Publicly Funded Child Care (PFCC) – is also administered by WCJFS. If the household size and income is under 130% federal poverty rate, apply for PFCC through the county JFS that the kinship provider resides in. Contact WCDJFS, Social Services Department to apply.
Kinship Support Program (KSP):
The Kinship Support Program (KSP) is available to eligible kinship caregivers to provide financial payments for the placement of children in the kinship caregiver’s home.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Kinship caregiver definition is met.
- Kinship caregiver is not currently a certified foster caregiver.
- Child is placed in the home through an approved kinship home assessment and is in the custody of a County Public Children Services Agency.
There is no application process for KSP. The payment timeframe for KSP is not more than 6 months from the date of placement when the child is placed in the home. Eligible kinship caregivers will receive KSP payments until the first of the following occur: The kinship caregiver becomes a certified foster caregiver, or the applicable timeframe is exhausted, or the child is no longer placed in the home.
Payments for KSP:
$10.80 per day and $10.80 per day for each additional child
Kinship Caregivers receiving OWF child only benefits will NOT be able to receive both KSP and OWF. Once certified as a foster home, the kinship caregiver will be paid the agency’s foster home rate.
Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (KGAP):
The state kinship guardianship assistance program provides financial payments to eligible kinship caregivers who have been granted legal custody or guardianship of a child that was previously in the custody of a public children services agency.
Additional information can be provided by your assigned caseworker.
KGAP Connections to 21 (KGAP C21):
Kinship Caregivers may be eligible for a new benefit: KGAP C21. Young adults who leave foster care to live with a kinship caregiver at age 16 or 17 may be able to receive the following benefits and services until age 21: Monthly subsidy payment, Medicaid coverage, and referral and services. There are eligibility requirements. Questions, referrals, and applications can be submitted to:
K-12 Fitted to Success – Administered by WCDJFS, Social Services Department, for help with backpacks, school supplies, coats, and shoes. Applications are submitted in the summer preceding the school year.
Grandparent & Kinship Care Support Group – Support Groups for grandparents and kin caregivers held in Bowling Green, Lake, and Rossford Schools. Contact Sarah Nidiffer, WCESC, at 419-354-9010 ext. 136 for more information https://www.wcesc.org/programs-and-services/prevention-education/kinship-support-groups/
Grandparent Holiday Project – Help with Christmas presents from the Wood County Senior Center with applications available in October each year. https://wccoa.net/
Thanksgiving & Christmas Food Baskets – Applications are obtained and submitted with The Salvation Army from October 1 to November 19 each calendar year. https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/northeast-ohio/northwest-ohio/brighten-the-holidays/
Alicia’s Closet of NW Ohio – a nonprofit organization serving the foster care community by providing infant to adult sized clothing, shoes, and other essentials, at no cost to families. We are happy to serve current foster and kinship families, as well as reunified families and former foster youth. Details on our service are available at www.aliciascloset.org or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/aliciasclosetnwohio.
The Ohio Resource Guide – The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services publishes an extensive guidebook for kinship families called “Relatives Caring for Children: Ohio Resource Guide.” To obtain a copy, call 1-866-886-3537 (option 4) or go to www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/ and search for JFS 08146.