When children cannot remain safely with their parents, grandparents, other relatives, and close family friends often step up to help raise them. There have been a lot of changes over the last few months in Kentucky around services and supports related to relatives and close family friends raising children, also known as kinship care and fictive kin care.

To learn more, check out the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ new KY FACES website.

If you recently began caring for a child as a result of Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) intervention, click here for additional information related to services and supports that may be available to you.

Here are the biggest recent changes:

  • A new option for relative foster care
  • Expanded services for relative and fictive kin caregivers

A New Option for Relative Foster Care

On April 1, 2019, DCBS began a new foster care type called a Child Specific Foster Home, which gives new relative and fictive kin caregivers the option to pursue approval as a foster parent. Important details of note:

  • The new approval type reduces requirements for relative and fictive kin caregivers to become licensed foster parents.
  • If the caregiver chooses foster parenting, the child must come into DCBS custody from the home of removal.
  • If the family is pursuing foster parenting and the child is in DCBS custody, the caregiver is eligible for a $6.00 per diem with the appropriate paperwork.
  • If the relative/fictive kin caregiver chooses to pursue becoming a foster parent, DCBS staff will explain the different requirements and fostering options of either of a Child Specific Foster Home or a DCBS Basic Foster Home to the relative/fictive kin caregiver.
  • The $6.00 per diem will continue until the relative/fictive kin caregiver is approved as a foster home, at which time the per diem will increase based on their approval type.

(Source: DCBS SOPs—Relative/Fictive Kin Service Array Tip Sheet)

Expanded Services for Relative and Fictive Kin Caregivers

This service array, as DCBS calls it, includes a comprehensive list of services and supports available to caregivers. It also offers them a choice about what kind of caregiver they want to be classified as, which impacts the types of assistance they can receive.

Under the new service plan, as soon as DCBS caseworkers connect with a relative or fictive kin caregiver, they will share all custodial options, related services, and permanency options for the family. Caregivers will make their selections from the menu of options based on their own preferences and the known and anticipated needs of the child. This service menu is responsive to all families and incorporates services and benefit programs, including:

  • Cash assistance
  • Medicaid/health insurance
  • Respite care
  • Child care
  • Foster care
  • Placement supports, and
  • Post-permanency supports.

Relative and kin caregivers who do not want any of the “strings” that come along with public funds and do not seek government intrusion any further in their lives can choose not to select assistance. Conversely, relative and fictive kin caregivers can choose to become a foster parent, as explained above, if that option best meets their preferences and the child’s actual or anticipated needs.

(Source: https://chfs.ky.gov/News/Documents/caywoodeditorial.pdf)

If you have questions about this information, please contact DCBS at (877) 565-5608 or via e-mail relative.supports@ky.gov.

Learn more about kinship care in Kentucky in this infographic.