Are you a family member raising your relative's children? You've come to the right place for help!
Kinship caregivers are special people who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their relatives' children. These children might be the caregiver’s siblings, nieces, nephews, or, most often, grandchildren.
The children may be eligible for monthly payments through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as well as Medicaid health insurance.
By dialing 2-1-1, eligible Kinship caregivers can get help addressing immediate problems, and they will also be referred to a local Kinship agency which will work with caregivers to access additional services.
The local Kinship agencies serve three functions. First, staff from the agencies helps caregivers “navigate” other forms of government assistance. Secondly, Kinship agencies determine if the caregiver’s family is eligible for Kinship Navigator program benefits such as help with short-term expenses for the relative child, such as furniture, moving expenses and clothing. Finally, the Kinship agencies provide technical support and guide the family through the process of Kinship Legal Guardianship if the caregiver wishes to make a legal commitment to the child.
The telephone numbers of the four Kinship agencies and the counties they serve are listed below:
- CarePlus, NJ - (201) 797-2660 or (201) 398-9110, serving Bergen, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren Counties
- The Salvation Army - (973) 375-5933 or (973)-373-5045, serving Essex County.
- Children’s Home Society - 1-800-396-4518 serving Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Union Counties
- Family Service Association, 1-877-569-0350 serving Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties
The Kinship agency is there to help caregivers to access services.
Support services, available through numerous government and private agencies, include:
- referrals to grandparenting and family support groups
- help with getting medical coverage and services
- assistance with child support collection
- housing assistance
- help with paying for legal services/fees
- help to pay for furniture (for example, a bed, a computer, computer supplies for the child)
- tutoring services for the children in your care
- help with paying for summer camp for the child
- financial services
The Wrap Around Program provides caregivers with vouchers to pay for necessities that are not available through existing programs.
- clothing for the child
- furniture for the child
- moving costs
- housing and legal fees
- summer camp costs
See our fact sheet on Wrap Around Services.
This service assists caregivers who want to make a legal commitment to the child/children in their care. For more information, call toll-free: 2-1-1
To obtain legal guardianship, the caregivers must have been:
a.) caring for a child for at least one year;
b.) willing to be responsible for the child until age 18 (21 if the child is disabled).
Caregivers who have legal guardianship may also be eligible for a subsidy.
Note: The Kinship Navigator Program differs from the services provided by DCP&P which formally places a child with a relative for care. If you are caring for a relative who was placed with you by DCP&P and the case is active, contact your DCP&P caseworker to find out what services might be available. However, if your DCP&P case is closed, you may be eligible for Kinship Navigator services.