Are you caring for your grandchildren or another relative’s children? If you answered yes, then you are a kinship caregiver. A kinship caregiver is an adult relative or person who has a significant relationship with a child who is in the Department of Child Safety’s custody.
HCS can assist and support you through the Kinship process. To find out more about Kinship Services, please contact us at 623.848.8863. To attend an informational session or learn more about training click here.
The Department of Child Safety has a Q & A guide to provide kinship caregivers with information. WVCCC has provided some information here for easy access. To obtain the full guide go to: https://www.azdes.gov/InternetFiles/Pamphlets/pdf/ACY-1081APAMPD.pdf
What happens when DCS is involved?
DCS has filed papers with the court and followed court processes to make the children “dependent wards” of an Arizona court under the care, custody and control of DCS. DCS and the court become very involved in making decisions about the children. If you want to provide a temporary home for the children, the court must give you permission to have the children “placed” with you. DCS and private agencies complete home studies and make recommendations regarding whether or not the children should be placed with you. This court and DCS involvement is what sets kinship foster care apart from informal kinship care. Also, DCS offers supports to relatives caring for their related children in an open DCS case.
What should I consider when thinking about becoming a licensed kinship foster parent?
Most relatives start out as unlicensed kinship foster caregivers and then make a decision either to become licensed kinship foster caregivers or remain unlicensed kinship foster caregivers. There are many additional supports available for licensed kinship foster caregivers but licensure may not be the best plan for everyone.
If I am approved to be a kinship foster caregiver, what kind of financial support can I expect?
Kinship foster caregivers get some financial assistance to provide for the needs of the children placed into their care. The amount of financial help depends upon if you are a licensed kinship foster caregiver or if the children are placed with you as an unlicensed kinship foster caregiver.
Is medical and dental care available for the children?
Children placed with you by DCS are covered under the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP). CMDP serves as the AHCCCS health plan for Arizona foster children.
What other kinds of support are available?
There are a number of services that can be provided to both licensed and unlicensed relatives depending on your situation. These services are not automatically available. They must be needed and requested either by you or the DCS Specialist.