Eau Claire County Kinship Care Program
Definition of Kinship CareKinship Care is the care of a child by a relative for which the relative receives a monthly payment. The Kinship Care program is designed to help support the child and the relative caregiver during the time that the child is living outside their own home, either temporarily or permanently. Kinship Care recognizes the importance of extended family and provides an alternative to foster care or other out-of-home care placements for those children who are unable to live in their own homes.
Definition of a Relative for the Kinship Care ProgramIn relationship to the Kinship Care program, a relative means an adult who is the child’s step-parent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, brother-in law, sister-in-law, first cousin, second cousin, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, step-uncle, step-aunt, or any person of a proceeding generation as denoted by the prefix of grand, great or great-great, whether by blood, marriage or legal adoption, or the spouse of any person named in this subsection, even if the marriage is terminated by death or divorce.
Two Types of Kinship Care
- Voluntary-refers to an arrangement between a parent and a relative for the care of a child without involvement by the child welfare system.
- Court Ordered-refers to a situation in which Juvenile Court has ordered a child to be placed in the care of a relative. In these instances, the relative caregiver is required to obtain a foster care license to continue receiving Kinship Care benefits.
Kinship Care Program Eligibility Requirements
- The basic needs of the child can be better met with the relative than with the parent.
- The placement is in the best interests of the child; and
- The child currently or would potentially meet the requirements for court jurisdiction as being in need of protection or services if the child were to remain in his or her own home.
- The relative must be able to prove legal relationship, if requested.
- The relative must demonstrate an ability to meet the needs of the child and be able to provide a safe, stable living environment.
- The relative and any other adult residing in the home must agree to have a local and state criminal background check completed in addition to a check into any current or past involvement with Child Protective Services. Also, any child over the age of 10, living in the home, must be checked for any current or past involvement with Child Protective Services or Juvenile Justice Services. Extensive contacts with law enforcement or child protective services by an adult in the home may cause the applicant to be denied kinship care funding.
- A home visit by a social worker must be conducted to ensure that the home environment is appropriate and safe for the child.
- The child’s natural parents will be contacted to be sure they know of and approve of the child’s living arrangements, unless it is a court ordered placement.
- The relative needs to cooperate with providing information regarding the birth parents to the child support agency in an attempt to recoup the cost of the kinship care grant.
To obtain further information concerning Kinship Care or to apply for Kinship Care benefits, please contact Social Worker, Angie Pichler, at 715-839-6830 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information may also be obtained by visiting the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Kinship Care Website at www.dcf.wisconsin.gov/children/kinship
IS THERE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE IF I AM CARING FOR A RELATIVE CHILD?The State of Wisconsin provides a grant in the amount of $232 per month per child for relatives meeting the eligibility requirements. However, due to funding, there could be a waiting list for the program. If this needs to occur, applicants are placed on a waiting list in the order their application is received. Once funding is available, the social worker will contact the relative to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements listed above. (There is one exception in that children placed in a relatives’ home under a Juvenile Court Order are not subject to the waiting list.)
The Kinship provider can apply for medical assistance for the child and may be eligible for daycare assistance. Eligibility for these programs is determined by the Economic Support Program. To apply call Eau Claire County Economic Support at (715) 839-2300. If you are approved, but are put on the Kinship Care waitlist, the medical assistance for the child(ren) and the daycare assistance can still be applied for the child(ren).
**(Note:If a Kinship provider does not live in Eau Claire County, then he/she must apply for medical assistance and daycare assistance for the child(ren) through Economic Support of the county in which the Kinship provider resides in.)**
**(Also Note: Children who are placed with a relative under a Juvenile Court Order are automatically given open MA—Title 19 when their court ordered placement is entered into the State database by our fiscal staff.)**
HOW OFTEN WILL I HAVE CONTACT WITH A SOCIAL WORKER IF I AM RECEIVING THE KINSHIP CARE GRANT?
Kinship care cases are reviewed one time per year to ensure that the relative continues to meet eligibility requirements. If there are concerns about the stability of the living arrangements, the social worker may have more frequent contact. Children who are placed with relatives under a Juvenile Court order will also have a social worker (from the child protection unit or juvenile justice unit) who will monitor the placement on a consistent basis. Social workers will be expected to visit with the child on a monthly basis.
KINSHIP CARE MAY BE DENIED IF:
- The child receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- The natural parent resides in the relative provider’s home
- The criminal background checks do not meet state requirements
- The child resides with someone not identified as a legal relative
- The jurisdictional and need criteria are not met as defined by Wisconsin State Statutes.
- If the relative (or other adults living in the home) have a significant Child Protective Services history
WHAT IF I AM DENIED KINSHIP CARE?
Eau Claire County will mail you a formal letter advising you of the Kinship Care denial. The letter will provide you with the reason for the denial and indicate how you may appeal the denial decision. Once our Department receives your request for an appeal, a further review will be conducted to make a final determination of whether the Kinship denial will remain in place or if the Kinship Care will be approved.
For more information about our Kinship Care Services, please contact the Department of Human Services at (715) 839-6830.