As kids across the Commonwealth head back to school this month, we must remember the 53,000 children being raised by grandparents and other relatives and the unique challenges they face. Kinship caregivers often have informal arrangements and do not have legal custody or guardianship of the children in their care. The informality of care can make it difficult for kin to enroll children in school or access educational or healthcare services.
In 2014, the Kentucky General Assembly recognized the temporary nature of most informal kinship arrangements and the need for caregivers to have the power to authorize school enrollment, health care treatment, and educational services. Subsequently, SB 176 was passed into law. The new law broke down barriers for caregivers by allowing a relative to complete a form, called an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, stating that they are the primary caregiver of the child. The form provides space for a parent to sign off or for an explanation of attempts to contact the parent, if they are unavailable.
In partnership with the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky and AppalRed, Kentucky Youth Advocates worked to create a model affidavit for kinship caregivers. The Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit serves as a template for caregivers without legal custody to get the authorization needed to address the educational and medical needs of the children they are caring for. The form was created in order to help relative caregivers easily create an affidavit on their own, without having to consult an attorney.
Let’s help all Kentucky kids get back to school healthy, safe, and ready to learn!