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The Sixth Circuit Court Ruling: What Does it Mean for Relative Caregivers?

By |2017-05-10T13:01:32+00:00May 10th, 2017|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety|

Every kid needs a family and a safe place to call home. On January 27, 2017, the Sixth Circuit Court ruled that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (Cabinet) must provide foster care maintenance payments to “approved” relatives caring for children placed by the Cabinet, affirming that core belief in the importance of family. When kids can’t live safely with their parents, the next best alternative is to live with a family member. Placement with relatives and close family friends reduces the trauma of separation and sets kids up for a brighter future.

1) What does this ruling mean?

This ruling means that Kentucky must support approved relatives (those who have had a Relative Home Evaluation and background checks) just like it supports approved foster parents caring for children in foster care. Relatives who are approved by the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) as relative placements by passing standard home evaluations and criminal background checks are eligible for foster care maintenance payments. These approved relative foster caregivers do not need to be licensed as non-relative foster care providers must be. Approved relative foster care providers are eligible for these payments until the relative is granted official permanent custody of the child at a permanent custody hearing.

2) Who does this ruling apply to?

This ruling applies to approved relative caregivers for children who are in the legal custody of DCBS.  If a court has granted permanent custody of the child to a relative, and ended DCBS’s legal custody of the child, the payments stop.  There are no retroactive payments.

3) Who does this ruling not apply to?

This ruling does not apply to situations where children are with a relative caregiver informally, which means DCBS did not remove the child from the parent and place the child with the relative. The ruling also does not apply to situations where a kinship caregiver has permanent custody of a relative child.

4) How does the ruling affect the Kentucky Kinship Care Program?

This ruling does not directly affect the Kentucky Kinship Care Program. If you are part of that program and were “approved” by DCBS to care for a relative child who is in the legal custody of DCBS, you should be eligible for a foster care maintenance payment to help cover the costs of the child’s living expenses.

5)  I am taking care of my relative child who was placed with me by DCBS. What do I do?

If you are looking for other supports and are caring for a relative child, please call the Kinship Support Hotline at 877-565-5608.

6) How much per day does a foster parent receive for a child in his or her care?

Currently the rates for foster care vary depending on the type of placement and needs of the child. Daily rates for foster care in Kentucky range from around $20/day to $139/day for a child with the most significant needs.

7) Does this decision impact kinship families in other states?

Decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit also apply to Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.  If you know families like yours in those states, you should let them know about this decision and tell them to contact their local child welfare agency.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has decided to appeal the Sixth Circuit Court’s January ruling. Read our statement on upholding the ruling in the Supreme Court here.

14 Comments

  1. Mary preciado May 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    When dose this go in effect

    • Kentucky Youth Advocates May 24, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Hello Mary, please call the kinship support hotline at 877-565-5608 to see if you’re eligible for supports based on this ruling, as well as additional supports.

  2. Audrey May 11, 2017 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    I’m now receiving Kinship care for my 2grandkids who DCBS AND THE COURT gave me full permanent custody, so how does this effect me in Kentucky?

    • Kentucky Youth Advocates May 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Audrey, thank you for stepping up to care for your grandchildren. This ruling should not affect your benefits, as you have permanent custody of the children. If you experience an interruption in supports, please contact the Kinship Care Hotline at 877-565-5608.

  3. Eva Lambert May 11, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Finally I think this is great!! I think it should care on after the custody is granted grandparents cant always afford it but don’t want to loose grandkids.

  4. Lisa Smith June 17, 2017 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    This article is misleading. It reads as if the ruling is in effect immediately. It seems clear the appeal means that families won’t receive these payments/supports for months or years to come.

    • Kentucky Youth Advocates July 20, 2017 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      We apologize for the confusion. Please call the kinship support hotline at 877-565-5608 to see if you’re eligible for supports based on this ruling, as well as additional supports.

  5. Angela M Thompson March 4, 2018 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    I have permanent custody placed w me by DCBS however I only receive ktap, am I eligible?

    • Kentucky Youth Advocates March 5, 2018 at 4:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Angela,

      Thanks for reaching out and for stepping up to care for your family member. We suggest contacting the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Kinship Support Hotline 877-565-5608 or email DCBSChildProtection@ky.gov to see what your family is eligible for.

  6. Gena hockman May 18, 2018 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    My name is Gena, I have temporary custody of my niece but DCBS say I’m not Eligible for foster care because my niece was placed in my home by her mother only for educational purpose only. They never gave my niece up. While Lacy was living with me she decided she wanted CPS CALLED on her parents because they are severe alcoholics and they weren’t trying to help themselves . We did call CPS and from then on out CPS placed lacy in my home until the court date witch now I have temporary custody.

    • Kentucky Youth Advocates June 5, 2018 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Hello Gena, thank you for stepping up to care for your niece. Please call the kinship support hotline at 877-565-5608 to see if you’re eligible for supports based on this ruling, as well as additional supports.

  7. Brandy October 1, 2018 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    I have “permanent” custody of my niece and nephew – we have had them since the baby was 2 days old. We had a few hour notice to come and get the kids. We stepped up so the babies didn’t have to go into foster care. We contacted Kinship – they said since the children were not in foster care first we have no option for help. The state stopped our daycare assistance the end of July. Our daycare costs went from $250.00 a month to $1100.00 a month. My husband and I both work. I have raised two kids and have a granddaughter. Sure didn’t plan to raise two more kids. We are really struggling with this and keep being told we are not eligible for aid. What are we supposed to do – have these two babies handed over to foster care? Quit my job?

  8. Patricia December 6, 2018 at 10:38 am - Reply

    I have permanent custody of my two grandchildren. Does having permanent custody mean I’m not eligible?

    • Mara Powell December 19, 2018 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Hi Patricia,

      Thanks for reaching out and for stepping up to care for your grandchildren. We suggest contacting the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Kinship Support Hotline 877-565-5608 or email DCBSChildProtection@ky.gov to see what your family is eligible for. Thank you.

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