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What is Kinship Care?
In New Jersey and across the country, many grandparents, relatives and family friends are providing care to children who are unable live with their birth parents. It is more common than you might think. When situations arise and a child can no longer safely reside with their birth parent/legal guardian, DCP&P (formerly DCP&P) first looks for relatives and family friends who may be familiar to the child to provide care. Relatives and family friends are usually known to a child and can often help ease the trauma of separating from a birth parent by providing a safe, nurturing environment.
Before DCP&P can place a child with a relative or family friend, the following must occur:
Within five business days of the child's placement, DCP&P must work with a relative or family friend to obtain an application to become a licensed resource parent.
As of July 1, 2005, all relatives and family friends caring for a child under DCP&P supervision are required by the State of New Jersey to be a licensed resource parent. By becoming a licensed resource parent, a relative or family friend will be eligible for a monthly board payment, a clothing allowance, health coverage for the child and other support services. Click HERE for more information.
If you are a relative caring for
a child who was not placed through DCP&P you may be eligible for financial
assistance through the Kinship Navigator
program administered by the department of Children and Families. Click HERE for more information.
Foster Care Tuition-Scholarship Program
Are you a family member raising your relative's children?
You've come to the right place for help!
Department of Children and Families (DCF)
offers a variety of support services and financial aid to Kinship Caregivers.
Kinship caregivers may be eligible for monthly payments through the federal
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and the children under
their care may be eligible for Medicaid health insurance.
KINSHIP NAVIGATOR PROGRAM
Trained "Navigators" are responsible for responding to calls received on the Kinship Care Hotline to help families navigate through various government networks to find supports and services.
In speaking with relative caregivers, the
Navigators assess the family's particular needs and help identify items or
services that are available and arrange for the necessary items or services to
be provided. For example, short-term assistance such as a mortgage or rent
payment, clothing, moving costs, or legal fees may be provided. The Navigators
monitor each family's request and follow up to make sure the appropriate
services are received.
If financial assistance is needed, the Navigators will help the family apply for financial benefits.
Support Services, available through numerous government and private agencies, include for example
--help with paying child care
--referrals to grandparenting and family support groups
--help with getting medical coverage and services
--assistance with child support collection
--help with paying for legal services/fees
--help to pay for furniture (for example, a bed, a computer, computer supplies for the
--tutoring services for the children in your care
--help with paying for summer camp for the child
In addition, the
Navigators help administer support programs created specifically for kinship
caregivers, including cash assistance, child care subsidies and wraparound
KINSHIP CARE - CHILD CARE SUBSIDY PROGRAM
This program helps Kinship Caregivers with paying for child care. Financial eligibility depends on the caregiver's age, household size and the total income of the family unit.
See our fact sheet on the Child Care Subsidy Program.
To apply for the Kinship Child Care Subsidy, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R).
KINSHIP CARE - WRAPAROUND PROGRAM
The Wraparound Program helps
caregivers obtain essential services or items they need that are not available
through existing programs.
fact sheet on Wraparound Services
KINSHIP LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP PROGRAM
This service assists caregivers in obtaining legal status for the child/children in their care. For more information, call the toll-free Kinship Care at 2-1-1
This service assists caregivers who want to make a legal
commitment to the child/children in their care. For more information, call
To obtain legal guardianship, the caregivers must have been:
a.) caring for a child for at least one year;
b.) willing to be responsible for the child until age 18 (21 if the child is disabled).
Caregivers who have legal guardianship may also be eligible for a subsidy.
Note: The Kinship Navigator Program differs from the services provided by DCP&P which formally places a child with a relative for care. If you are caring for a relative who was placed with you by DCP&P and the case is active, contact your DCP&P caseworker to find out what services might be available. However, if your DCP&P case is closed, you may be eligible for Kinship Navigator services.