Relative Caregiver Program
Administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families
(Effective October 1, 1998)
Who is eligible?
You are caring for a child who is within the 5thdegree of relationship to you
The child has been adjudicated dependent
You have a juvenile court order placing the child with you under protective supervision or under temporary custody
A home study has been completed to approve your home by the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
You reside in the State of Florida.
How do you apply?
For new cases, apply through your Economic Self-Sufficiency Services office, DCF. They should help you get the necessary court orders.
For current dependency cases, through your Family Services counselor. (You should be receiving a letter telling you about the program.)
For interim cases (after detention, before adjudication), through your Family Services counselor for interim status. You will receive a WAGES child only grant until the necessary legal steps are finished. Your WAGES grant will "role over" to a Relative Caregiver grant.
How much is the payment?
Child cannot receive WAGES or SSI at same time.
Can you get any services?
You are eligible for Medicaid, child care, flexible funds, family preservation and support services, and other available services a foster parent might get.
What does the home study look for?
An interview to assess commitment and child caring ability
Criminal records check
Physical environment and financial security
Child caring arrangements for working caregivers
Is the placement safe, stable, and in the child’s best interests
It is not designed to take children away from relatives or to discourage relatives from applying. A child is at risk of removal from a relative’s home only in rare cases of abuse, neglect or abandonment. A judge makes the final decision.
What if you are having problems with the program?
Be patient. All new programs have start up bugs. Discuss the problem with your DCF worker..
Seek legal advice at legal aid or legal services offices.
Discuss problems with your Grandparent Support Group.
You have the right to a fair hearing if you believe DCF made the wrong decision about your eligibility.
For further information, please contact the Kinship Care Warmline, a statewide, listening line for relative caregivers seeking emotional support or information and referral services at 1-800-640-6444.
Children First Project, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, 3305 College Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 33314
Retrieved on World Wide Web: http://www.nsulaw.nova.edu/