Be there when family needs you.

Kinship in relation to fostering refers to the practice of placing children with relatives or close family friends when they cannot remain in their own homes due to abuse, neglect, or other reasons. Kinship care can be either formal or informal.

Supports for Kinship Caregivers

When a child must be removed from their home, the local children services agency will first try to find a relative or close family friend to care for them. These individuals are called kinship caregivers. Kinship caregivers can include grandparents, other relatives by blood or adoption, a non-relative who has a relationship with the child or family (such as a neighbor, teacher, or friend), or a parent who has legal custody of the child’s sibling. When a kingship home has been identified, the children services agency may take custody of the child, they may give custody of the child to the kingship caregiver, or the parent or caregiver the child was removed from may retain custody. If you are a kinship caregiver, it’s important to know who has custody of the child, as this will affect what supports are available to you. If you are unsure who has custody, speak with the caseworker assigned to your family.

An overview of the financial supports that may be available
to you once a child is placed in your home:

Agency has Custody
  • Kinship support Program
  • Foster Parent Certification
    • Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (KGAP)
    • Kind ship Guardianship Assistance Program Connections to Twenty-One (KGAP C21)
Caregiver of Parent has Custody
  • Ohio Works First (OWF), Child Only
  • Kinship Permanency Incentive Program

Kinship Support Program

If the local children services agency has custody of the child and places the child with you as a kinship caregiver, you will automatically be enrolled in the Kinship Support Program. This program provides financial support for up to six months while the agency hold custody. You may be eligible for payments if the agency holds temporary, permanent, or legal custody of the child and if the child resides in your home. While you receive these payments, if you would like, you can work to become certified as a foster family.

Kinship Placement to Permanency Options

Kinship Support
  • Monthly financial payments for each child placed
  • Available for up to 6 months until the caregiver becomes a foster parent or the child leaves the home.
Foster Parent Certification
  • Kinship caregivers can have some certification requirements waived if there is no safety issues.
  • Once certified, receive a monthly per diem and ongoing support.
Kinship Guardianship Assistance
  • A kinship foster parent may be eligible for ongoing financial support if legal custody or guardianship is granted by a court.
  • The child must have lived in the home for 6 months, and an application must be completed.
Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program Connections to Twenty-One
  • Provides kinship guardianship assistance payments for young adults aged 18 but not yet 21;
  • Who were committed to the legal custody of a kinship caregiver at the age of 16 or 17;
  • Who received KGAP payments through a Federal KGAP Agreement finalized at the age of 16 or 17;
  • Who meet education, employment or disability criteria.
Adoption Assistance
  • If the children services agency has permanent custody of the child, the relative may be eligible to adopt.
  • Adoption subsidies are available for children with special needs. The benefits may include financial assistance and/or a Medical card.
  • To find out more about becoming an adoptive parent and available subsidies, speak with your local children services agency.

If the local children services agency has not taken custody of the child, and the child lives with a relative, kinship caregivers may have the following options:

Ohio Works First Child-Only Assistance
  • Financial support for kinship caregivers, including legal custodians and guardians.
  • Application for benefits is available at the county department of job and family services.
Kinship Permanency Incentive Program
  • Provides up to eight payments to kinship caregivers, who are legal custodians and guardians.
  • Caregivers income must be below 300% of the federal poverty level.
  • Application is available at the local children services agency.
kinship opportunities

Ready to learn more about Kinship?

Contact Mercer County Foster Care for more information about Kinship Opportunities