Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

4.5.2 Eligibility Criteria for Children Approved for Kinship Care Benefits Prior to April 1, 2013

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter:
Chapter 4-Out of Home Care Services (OOHC)
Effective:
1/22/2014
Section:
4.5.2 Eligibility Criteria for Children Approved for Kinship Care Benefits Prior to April 1, 2013
Version:
4

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Legal Authority/Introduction

 LEGAL AUTHORITY:

Relative caregivers may be eligible to apply for kinship care benefits if it is determined that a child is at risk of removal from the child’s home, with the child’s biological or adoptive parent, and would otherwise be in foster care.  Eligibility is also considered if the child is in the custody of the Cabinet and residing in foster care due to a Cabinet investigation that resulted in a substantiation of abuse or neglect within 120 calendar days of placement in the home of the caretaker relative, or the death of both parents.  However, the child is not eligible for kinship care benefits if the child’s parental relative resides with the child or has legal custody of the child, including joint custody.  

Protection and permanency staff must maintain an open case until the child reunifies with parents or permanent custody is pursued.  The child's placement with the caretaker relative ideally leads to a more timely and permanent living arrangement and causes less distress for the child.  A timeframe for the pursuit of permanency by the kinship caregiver has been established for both current and future kinship caregivers. 

Kinship benefits are only provided to those who meet eligibility requirements contained within the corresponding administrative regulation, 922 KAR 1:130; thus, the kinship care program is not an entitlement program.

Please note that 922 KAR 1:130, section 9 states, “A child shall not be eligible for the Kinship Care program if the child does not have a designated Cabinet worker to monitor the child’s permanency, safety, and well-being, unless the kinship caregiver has pursued permanent custody of the child.” 

Kinship care benefits utilize Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant (TANF) funding.  Because TANF funding is utilized, the kinship care program requires, at minimum, the collaboration of DCBS staff dedicated to child welfare, as well as, Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP) benefits.

Each service region develops procedures for the referral and tracking of kinship care cases. The Cabinet and community partners share responsibility for providing a full range of services and support that address the factors that place families at risk of separation and the needs of kinship families.

Below is a list of definitions that appear throughout the SOP relating to kinship care.  They have been provided as a reference:

  • "Adolescent member of a household" means a youth who:
    • Resides in the home of an individual who applies for approval to be a caretaker relative; and
    • Is age twelve (12) through age seventeen (17).
  • “Adult member of the household" means an adult who:
    • Resides in the home of an individual who applies for approval to be a caretaker relative; and
    • Is age eighteen (18) and older.
  • "Caretaker relative" means a relative with whom the child is, or shall be placed by the Cabinet, who is seeking to qualify as a caretaker relative.
  • "Child", under TANF, means an individual who is:
    • Under age sixteen (16); or
    • Age sixteen (16) to eighteen (18) and in regular full-time attendance in elementary, middle , or high school or equivalent level of vocational or technical school; or
    • Under age eighteen (18) and a graduate of high school or equivalent. 
  • “Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program" or "K-TAP" means Kentucky's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families money payment program established in 921 KAR Chapter 2.
  • “Kinship caregiver" means the qualified caretaker relative of the child with whom the child is placed by the Cabinet as an alternative to foster care.
  • "Relative" means an adult related to a child by blood, marriage, or adoption. 
  • "Respite care" is continuous care for a period of at least twenty-four (24) hours. 

Procedure

 

If a child is placed with a caretaker relative in Kentucky by the Cabinet, the designated regional staff determines initial eligibility for kinship care by verifying that the child:

  1. Meets the TANF definition for "child;" 
  2. Is at risk of removal from the home and placement in foster care, or is already in the custody of the Cabinet and residing in foster care, due to:
    1. A Cabinet substantiation of abuse or neglect within one hundred, twenty (120) days of the child's placement with the caretaker relative; or
    2. The death of both parents; and
  3. Will not concurrently receive a foster care per diem, K-TAP or supplemental security income and kinship care.

If the child is placed with a caretaker relative in Kentucky by another state, pursuant to the Interstate Compact for Children (ICPC), the designated regional staff determines initial eligibility for kinship care by:

  1. Verifying that the child:
    1. Meets the TANF definition for "child;"
    2. Will not concurrently receive a foster care per diem, K-TAP or supplemental security income and kinship care; and
    3. Was placed with the relative within one hundred, twenty (120) days of substantiation of abuse or neglect, or due to the death of both parents; and
  2. Obtaining and maintaining in the child's case file:
    1. A copy of the duly signed agreement; and
    2. Written documentation provided by the other state agency regarding the placement reason(s).

If a child is placed outside of Kentucky with a caretaker relative and the child and caretaker relative relocate to Kentucky and become residents of Kentucky within forty-five (45) calendar days of the child's placement, the designated regional staff determines eligibility for kinship care by:

  1. Verifying and documenting in the case file:
    1. That the child meets the TANF definition for “child;”
    2. The date of the child's placement with the relative, as documented through court orders or by another state agency;
    3. The reason for the child's placement with the relative;
    4. That the placement is due to a substantiation of abuse or neglect within one hundred, twenty (120) days of the child's placement, or due to the death of both parents; and
    5. The child will not concurrently receive a foster care per diem, K-TAP or supplemental security income and kinship care; and
  2. Obtaining and maintaining in the child's case file evidence of:
    1. Establishment of residence in of Kentucky within forty-five (45) days of the child's placement with the relative;
    2. The caretaker relative's initial contact with the local Cabinet office occurring within forty-five (45) days of the child's placement with the caretaker relative; and
    3. Written documentation, provided by the other state agency, regarding placement reasons. 

Practice Guidance

  • Per KRS 605.120(5), a child, placed in foster care due to substantiated abuse or neglect, or the death of both parents and later relocated to a placement with a relative, is eligible for the kinship care program.
  • The caretaker relative undergoes initial eligibility determination and determination of eligibility for financial assistance under the kinship care program, regardless of whether or not the caretaker relative received kinship care in other state.
  • Reports must be finalized as "substantiated," if the SSW recommends kinship care for a relative placement.
  • Temporary custody must be granted to either the relative or the Cabinet in order for the relative to be eligible for kinship care benefits. 
  • If a relative is eligible for kinship care benefits, assessments require FSOS approval within thirty (30) working days in order to minimize delay in benefits.  
 

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