What is Kinship Care?

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Office for Children and Families describes Kinship Care as a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or any non-relative adult who has a long-standing relationship or bond with the child and/or family, has taken over the full-time, substitute care of a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so. Kinship Care includes those relationships established through an informal arrangement, legal custody or guardianship order, a relative foster care placement or kinship adoption. Regardless of the type of kinship care arrangement, the kinship caregivers’ voluntary commitment to devote their lives to the children in their care is a courageous, life-changing decision.

Kinship care represents the most desirable out-of-home placement option for children who cannot live with their parents. It offers the greatest level of stability by allowing children to maintain their sense of belonging and enhances their ability to identify with their family’s culture and traditions.

Kinship Permanency Incentive Program

The Kinship Permanency Incentive Program is designed to support kinship caregivers in their decision to make permanent commitments by helping defray some of the costs of caring for children. Eligible caregivers receive a one-time payment to reduce the costs of the initial placement. They may receive up to seven subsequent payments every six months to support the stability of the child’s placement in the home. Participation in this program does not prevent families from also receiving child-only Ohio Works First cash assistance. To be eligible, a kinship caregiver must have: • Legal custody or guardianship of the child on or after July 1, 2005. • A gross family income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.