Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
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Relatives Caring for Kids

Relative Support Services Fund

Relatives and other suitable persons who are caring for children who are in state custody are eligible for some financial help through the Relative Support Services Fund.

The questions and answers below have been provided to staff and Children's Administration. It describes the money available and how it can be used.

  1. What are the Relative/Other Suitable Person Support Services funds for?

    The funds are authorized and available to Children's Administration (CA) to increase kinship care/suitable person placements.

  2. Which cases are eligible for Relative/Other Suitable Person Support Services?

    Eligible cases include cases open for Family Voluntary Services (FVS), Child Protective Services (CPS), Child and Family Welfare Services (CFWS) or Family Reconciliation Services (FRS). The funds help facilitate and support the placement of children in the homes of unlicensed relatives/suitable persons. The support services are intended to provide help to relative caregivers/suitable persons who are not receiving foster care payments.

  3. What can these funds be used for?

    These funds can be used flexibly to help promote placement of children with relatives/suitable persons. It can be used for things such as:

    • First/last month's rent or utility hook-ups for relatives who must move in order to take a child into their home;
    • Purchase of bedding, furniture, supplies, etc. so that a child can be placed.

  4. Is there a limit on how many months a relative can receive Relative/Other Suitable Person Support Services?

    Yes. Services under this funding category may not be authorized for more than four (4) consecutive months. Most payments under Relative/Suitable Person Support Services will be a one-time payment. In rare situations, a relative/suitable person may need help for a brief period of time to maintain a child in their home. This should be approved on a case by case basis.

  5. Are there things these support services CANNOT be used for?

    Yes. These funds are considered "non-assistance" TANF funding. For that reason they cannot be used as on-going payments to meet basic needs such as on-going rent or utility payments, etc.

  6. Can I authorize Relative/Other Suitable Person Support Services if the relative/suitable person is receiving a monthly TANF grant through the Community Services Office?

    Yes. Relative/Suitable Person Support Services funding may be used to address an urgent need; they are considered reimbursement for expenses that have been, or will be, incurred by the relative caregiver/suitable person. The support services will not affect the TANF grant or food stamps for relative caregivers or the 5-year TANF "time clock" for relative caregivers receiving TANF.

  7. When can I begin to authorize Relative/Suitable Person Support Services funds?

    This funding is available now. Each Region is allocated a set amount of Relative/Suitable Person Support Services funds. Social workers should work with their supervisor and area administrator to follow the regional approval process for authorization.

  8. Can I refer relatives to Aging and Disability Support Services (ADSA) if I can't access support funds?

    No, please do not send relatives with a child placed by CA to ADSA to access relative support funds at that agency. Their dollars are budgeted only for relative caregivers not involved with CA.

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