Kinship caregivers often face legal and financial changes and uncertainty when they begin to provide care for a relative's child. 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
A Family Right to Care: Charting the Legal Obstacles (PDF - 1,011 KB)
Grandfamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy, 3(1)
Outlines the rights of kinship families in two areas: the opportunity to care for children and enabling caregivers to successfully care for children. This legal brief reviews Federal laws, mainly concerned with assistance to families and child welfare, and State laws, which implement Federal law and provide additional governance in these areas.
Grandfamilies: Legal Issues
Generations United (2016)
Lists concerns kinship caregivers may face when trying to obtain a legal relationship with a relative's children and reviews laws and programs responding to these challenges. The site provides information on legal relationship options, legal assistance and kinship navigator programs, and additional resources for support.
Grandfamilies: State Law and Policy Resource Center
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 (2017)
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 Web sites, and publications for relative caregivers.
Duties of a Guardian
Judicial Council of California (2017)
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.
Guide to Kinship Legal Guardianship Support Services (PDF - 978 KB)
New Jersey Department of Children and Families (2016)
Provides information on supports for kinship caregivers in New Jersey, including topics such as financial assistance, health care, education, behavioral and/or emotional challenges, and disabilities.
Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York (2016)
Discusses kinship care in New York; provides access to resources, such as the New York State Kinship Navigator; and presents information on legal options for caregivers.
Kinship Care Resources
The People's Law Library of Maryland (2017)
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.
Oregon's Legal Guide for Grandparents and Other Older Relatives Raising Children (PDF - 679 KB)
Oregon Department of Human Services (2016)
Discusses legal topics that grandparents and other kinship caregivers should know about when caring for a child, such as parents' rights, temporary power of attorney, court-ordered visitation, guardianship, legal custody, adoption, and more.
Raising Relatives' Children (PDF - 1,352 KB)
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (2013)
Presents a booklet designed to help kinship caregivers, including grandparents and other relatives who take in children they care about. The booklet has information on kinship care, legal guardianship, foster care, and adoption.
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.
Grand Resources: A Fact Sheet for Grandparent and Relative Caregivers to Help Access Support Through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program (PDF - 2,099 KB)
Generations United (2013)
Gives an overview of the TANF program and explains how it may provide kinship caregivers with short-term or long-term assistance along with access to other important supports, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food stamps, and Medicaid.
Generations United (2016)
Describes potential sources of financial assistance for relatives raising children, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), foster care payments, adoption assistance, and subsidized guardianships. The site also lists additional resources.
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
Children's Bureau (2013)
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.
Federal Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program: State Policies and Laws
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (2012)
Provides links to States' guardianship laws, policies, contact information, and forms, such as guardianship agreements for kinship caregivers.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Describes Ohio's Kinship Permanency Incentive Program, which provides payments to families caring for kin.
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 (2017)
Provides information on financial assistance available to kinship caregivers in Florida, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the State of Florida Relative Caregiver Program, and food stamps.
Kinship Care Portal: Financial Support Services
Georgia Department of Human Services
Lists financial resources available to relative caregivers in Georgia, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, earned income tax credit, subsidy payments, care subsidies, Medicaid, and child support.
Kinship Care Subsidy Program
Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (2017)
Reviews eligibility requirements for Louisiana's subsidy program and discusses how to apply, caregivers' rights, and how benefits are issued.
Indiana Department of Child Services (2017)
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.