Help Kinship Placements Access Financial Assistance
Help relative placements access other financial assistance to meet minimum licensing requirement, or better yet: waive financial requirements entirely for relative placements, in recognition that poverty should not keep families apart.
Who Can Do This?:
Timeframe: Immediate to Years, depending
Difficulty: Easy to Hard, depending
The Problem It Solves
The biggest barrier to getting kinship families licensed is not safety concerns, it’s financial requirements. Sometimes financial issues are the only reason a relative placement doesn’t qualify. There are various programs that can provide assistance to these families, ensuring that they can still qualify to care for the child.
How To Do This
Connect them to assistance upfront. Provide a list of benefits that families may qualify for, or even better, one-on-one application assistance, to help family members access resources they qualify for that can help them demonstrate they meet financial requirements for your area. Customize the instructions to your community, including translations. Example benefits include:
- Unemployment Insurance
- Social Security
- VA benefits
Conduct a parallel process, carrying out the licensing process as they are working to meet the financial requirements. You can complete many steps, including background checks and home study interviews, even if a family member is simultaneously working to access additional financial benefits.
Waive the financial requirement. Many child welfare systems have exemption processes that allow licensors to bypass the financial requirements for a family member if the placement is in the best interests of the child. Make sure this exemption process is well-documented and easy for new licensors to learn about and follow.
Eliminate financial requirements for relative placements. There are no minimum financial requirements prescribed by the federal government for foster parents, only that “applicants must be financially stable to meet their family’s needs prior to placing a foster child in the home.” Your state can modify licensing requirements to eliminate asking relative placements for financial information. (We still believe that ensuring the financial stability of traditional licensed foster homes is a good practice.)
We are still collecting concrete data, but believe that this:
- Increases the number of kin placements who are licensed.