Kinship caregivers often face legal and financial challenges when a child is placed in their care. By recognizing these challenges, States and localities have grown to adjust services and supports to better meet the unique needs of kinship caregivers in hopes of more effectively supporting families. The following section provides resources for caregivers on the legal rights and responsibilities of kinship care and on financial assistance for caregivers, including child care and housing assistance, food vouchers, and guardianship assistance programs that may be available to help.
- Legal information
- Legal information: State and local examples
- Financial assistance
- Financial assistance: State and local examples
Provides access to a searchable database of laws and legislation affecting grandfamilies inside and outside the foster care system for all 50 States and Washington, DC. The site also lists resources, including free online legal resources in support of grandfamilies, and publications relating to the topic.
Guardianship Information by State
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (2018)
Includes a searchable directory with basic information about guardianship procedures in each State. The directory includes information from clerks of courts, legal aid attorneys, refugee resettlement staff, court websites, and publications for relative caregivers.
Supporting Kinship Caregivers
National Conference of State Legislatures
Explores support for relative caregivers of children in the areas of medical consent and school enrollment, relative notification, and subsidized guardianship. The resource also lists State legislative enactments from 2012 to 2016 supporting relatives, kinship care providers, and grandparents.
Duties of a Guardian
Judicial Council of California (2019)
Outlines the rights and responsibilities of a legal guardian in California and includes answers to frequently asked questions about guardianship to help readers decide if they are ready to take on legal responsibility for a child.
Kinship Care Resources
The People's Law Library of Maryland (2019)
Describes formal and informal kinship care in Maryland and provides access to laws and regulations related to kinship caregiving. The site also lists resources to learn about the legal benefits of care and links to other useful documents.
Benefits.gov: Your Path to Government Benefits
Allows kinship caregivers to browse for government benefits they may be eligible for. The site includes benefits broken down by State and government agency.
Describes potential sources of financial assistance for relatives raising children. The site also lists additional resources.
Financial Support for Kinship Care
California Evidenced-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (2021)
Lists various resources for kinship caregivers to receive assistance and supplemental income.
Kinship Guardian Assistance Program (KinGAP) (PDF - 287 KB)
Virginia Poverty Law Center and Voices for Virginia's Children (2018)
Discusses the KinGAP program in Virginia and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 and how it gives States flexibility to amend their title IV-E plans to allow Federal funds to be used to support kinship caregivers.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
Offers nutrition assistance to eligible families, including family caregivers. The site includes information on how to apply, eligibility requirements, and more.
Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2018)
Explains the title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program, a grant that provides guardianship assistance payments for the care of children by relatives who have assumed legal guardianship of children. The program is authorized by the Social Security Act.
Kinship Care Fact Sheet (PDF - 797 KB)
Maryland Department of Human Services (2017)
Explains benefits kinship caregivers can receive in Maryland, including food stamps, assistance with child care, assistance with health care, education assistance, Social Security benefits, and more.
Kinship Care Information
Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association (2021)
Provides information on financial assistance available to kinship caregivers in Florida, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the State of Florida Relative Caregiver Program, and food stamps.
Kinship Care Portal
Georgia Department of Human Services
Lists financial resources available to relative caregivers in Georgia, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, earned income tax credit, subsidy payments, care subsidies, Medicaid, and child support.
Kinship Indiana Support Services Financial Resources
Indiana Department of Child Services (2019)
Provides information on financial assistance for relative caregivers, including a brochure, resource guide, and legal policy. The site also lists other sites that offer additional information and support for relative/kinship caregivers.