Kinship Navigator Program
Are you a family member raising your relative’s children?
You’ve come to the right place for help!
Kinship Navigator supports caregivers who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their relatives’ children. These children can include the caregiver’s siblings, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren. Local kinship agencies help caregivers navigate other forms of government assistance, determine their eligibility for Kinship Navigator Program benefits, and provide technical support with legal commitments to the child.
The local kinship agencies serve three functions.
1. Staff from the agencies helps caregivers “navigate” other forms of government assistance.
2. Kinship agencies determine if the caregiver’s family is eligible for Kinship Navigator Program benefits such as help with short-term expenses for the relative child, such as furniture, moving expenses and clothing.
3. Kinship agencies provide technical support and guide the family through the process of Kinship Legal Guardianship if the caregiver wishes to make a legal commitment to the child.
Kinship caregivers are special people who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their relatives’ children. These children might be the caregiver’s siblings, nieces, nephews, or, most often, grandchildren.
The children may be eligible for monthly payments through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as well as Medicaid health insurance.
By dialing 211, eligible kinship caregivers can get help addressing immediate problems, and they will also be referred to a local Kinship agency which will work with caregivers to access additional services.
The kinship agency is there to help caregivers to access services.
Support services, available through numerous government and private agencies, include:
- Referrals to grand parenting and family support groups
- Help with medical coverage and services
- Child support collection assistance
- Housing assistance
- Help with legal services and fees
- Help to buy furniture for the child
- Tutoring services for the children in your care
- Help with paying for summer camp for the child
- Financial services
To download the flyer in English click here.
To download the flyer in Spanish click here.
The Wraparound Program provides caregivers vouchers for child necessities not available through existing programs.
- Moving costs
- Housing and legal fees
- Summer camp costs
To download the Wraparound fact sheet click here Wraparound Services.
Kinship Care – Legal Guardianship Program
This service assists caregivers making a legal commitment to the child/children in their care. For more information, call 211.
To obtain legal guardianship caregivers must have been caring for a child for at least one year and accept responsibility for the child until the child’s eighteenth birthday. (Twenty-one if the child is disabled).
Caregivers who have legal guardianship may also be eligible for a subsidy.
The telephone numbers of the four kinship agencies and the counties they serve are listed below:
- CarePlus, NJ – (201) 797-2660 or (201) 986-5000
- Serving Bergen, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren Counties
- The Salvation Army – (973)-373-5045
- Serving Essex County.
- Children’s Home Society – 1-800-396-4518
- Serving Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Union Counties
- Family Service Association, 1-877-569-0350
- Serving Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties
Note: The Kinship Navigator Program differs from the services provided by Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) which formally places a child with a relative for care. If you are caring for a relative who was placed with you by CP&P and the case is active, contact your CP&P caseworker to find out what services might be available. However, if your CP&P case is closed, you may be eligible for Kinship Navigator Program services.
For more information: http://www.nj.gov/dcf/families/support/kinship/