Kinship Care is a term used to describe a situation in which a grandparent or other relative takes over the full time, rearing of a child (ren) whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so. This can happen as a result of death or chronic illness, abuse or neglect, substance abuse, incarceration, poverty, or many other reasons. A relative who accepts this commitment must address issues in raising the child(ren) such as financial assistance, child care, education, medical services and legal issues. Help is available.
Grandparents and other relatives raising children in their extended families full-time can receive financial assistance and health coverage for the children, regardless of the caregivers' incomes and custody situation. Job & Family Services will provide health insurance and financial support. Other programs such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, Food Stamps, utilities and housing help may have income limitations. Children with disabilities may be eligible for Social Security Income.
Besides the financial aspect, a myriad of challenges face grandparents and other relatives taking on the difficult task of rearing children. Legal questions, housing limitations, financial needs, and the health of the caregiver, family entanglements and many other factors add to the already stressful emotional situation for both adults and children. The Lucas County Kinship Navigator Program and the counties' Dept. of Job & Family Services will provide guidance and assistance.