Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
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Relatives Caring for Kids

Financial Assistance for Relatives

A relative may be able to receive one of two types of government financial assistance while the child is placed in the home of a relative:

  1. TANF - Temporary Assistance for Non-Needy Families
  2. Foster care payments, if licensed

The relative may not receive both types of assistance at the same time.

Other assistance and support for relatives that may be available:

  • Relative Support Services Fund - Relatives caring for children who are in the custody of the state may be eligible for Relative Care Support Funds to help with some expenses for the child. This link will provide you with information that was sent to state social workers about the funds.
  • Medical care. Call 1-800-547-3109 to obtain more information on free medical care through the Foster Care Medicaid Unit. Non-licensed relatives should contact the local DSHS Community Service Office (CSO) or the DSHS Medical Eligibility Determination Services office at 1-800-204-2469.
  • Clothing Vouchers. If the child comes into foster care or a relative placement with little or no clothing, Child and Family Services (CFS) may purchase limited clothing for the child. A clothing voucher is a one-time payment per child.
  • Transportation Costs. CFS may pay relatives for mileage when they drive the child to activities that are part of the child's service plan. Mileage reimbursement may be claimed for trips made only for the benefit of the child. Mileage forms can be obtained from the child's social worker and must be submitted to CFS for payment on a monthly basis.
  • Child Specific Care Plans. This is available only to relatives who are licensed foster parents. Some children have medical conditions that require special care; CFS may authorize support and financial assistance for children above the basic foster care rate.
  • Respite Care. In some cases CFS may allow the child to stay with another caregiver for brief periods of time, such as a weekend, in order to give relatives a break from demanding parenting responsibilities.
  • Child Care. Child care services are available to relatives who work. CFS will work with caregivers to make child care arrangements. CFS may also pay for child care to reduce the stress of providing daily care for several children or for a child who has severe behavioral or developmental problems. Child care is funded through TANF.
  • Assistance with Physical Care. If the child's physical and personal care needs are assessed to be extremely high, you will be referred to Medicaid Personal Care.
  • Counseling. Children with serious emotional problems often receive mental health services from agencies that accept Medicaid. The child's social worker can help a relative locate a local mental health agency that accepts Medicaid. In some cases, DCFS may pay for counseling if the chosen counselor does not accept Medicaid. These decisions are made as part of the child's service plan.
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