A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

State providing financial assistance to family foster caregivers; relatives, fictive kin could get payments

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has begun financial assistance payments to eligible relative and fictive kin caregivers with children placed in their home by CHFS.

An October 2017 federal court ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case D.O. v. Glisson requires that Kentucky must pay relatives who serve as foster parents in the same manner it pays adults who are licensed as foster parents and are paid a daily rate. The ruling also includes fictive kin — close family friends — who provide foster care for children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Payment amounts vary depending on a child’s needs but will average about $750 a month per child.

Fictive Kin is a term used to refer to individuals that are unrelated by either birth or marriage, but have an emotionally significant relationship with another individual that would take on the characteristics of a family relationship.

Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, issued the following statement regarding the CHFS announcement:

Brooks

“The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is moving forward with plans to make financial assistance payments to eligible relative and fictive kin caregivers of children placed in their home by the Cabinet after the October 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. This announcement is profoundly good news for Kentucky kids and families. It certainly is aligned with Governor Matt Bevin’s broader positive budget focus on front-end supports for families, such as kinship care and family preservation. Given the urgency of kinship families’ needs, the specificity of the Sixth Circuit Court decision, and the rash of inquiries we at Kentucky Youth Advocates have received since the court’s original decision in April 2017, it is incumbent on the Cabinet to be vigilant in outreach and clear in communication with affected families. We appreciate the Cabinet providing instruction in their statement to families who may be eligible.”

CHFS began making payments to the original plaintiffs in the ruling in early December. Beginning later this month, CHFS will issue payments to approximately 15 other relative and fictive kin caregivers who have already inquired about payments and whose eligibility was determined under the ruling.

The CHFS Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) estimates that in state fiscal year 2019 — July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019 — D.O. v. Glisson will affect approximately 1,590 children whose relative or fictive caregivers will receive about $14.3 million in funding assistance. In state fiscal year 2020 — July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 –the ruling will affect approximately 1,700 children, whose relative/fictive caregivers will receive about $15.3 million.

Specialists have been assigned to review cases to determine eligibility. Per the ruling, relative and fictive kin caregivers are treated like foster parents if the DCBS places the child with the relative and has conducted a home study and background checks, and if CHFS either retains custody or has transferred the child from CHFS’ custody to the temporary custody of the relative or fictive kin. Under the ruling, these relative and fictive kin caregivers qualify for a foster care per diem – or daily payment — for the care of the child.

Families and caregivers who think they may be eligible for the relative or fictive kin payment can contact the CHFS Kinship Support Hotline at 877-565-5608 or email DCBSChildProtection@ky.gov.

Relatives and fictive kin may also be eligible for other support services.

From Cabinet for Health and Family Services

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