Do you know the difference between kinship care and foster care?

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – You’ve likely heard of both, but in terms of resources and services available, kinship care and foster care are very different.

This informational series is brought to you by Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services

Kinship care is a term used for the raising of children by grandparents, other extended family members, and adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship such as godparents and close family friends because biological parents are unable to do so.

Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent” or with a family member approved by the state. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency.

Kinship  Foster Care
Kinship caregivers undergo a “home assessment” and “approval” process. Foster parents undergo a more detailed “homestudy” and “licensure” process.
As part of the home assessment process, at least one home visit is conducted prior to approval – basic safety issues are checked and the kinship caregiver’s willingness and ability to care for the child are explored. As part of the foster care licensure process, the following requirements are completed:

  • Home visits and interviews are conducted
  • Safety audit of the home is completed
  • Fire inspection completed
  • Well inspection completed (if applicable)
  • Medical statements completed by a physician
  • At least 3 references are received
  • Adult children of the applicant are interviewed
  • Your income and assets will need to be documented
  • Criminal background checks are completed
  • Child abuse and Neglect checks are completed
There are no training requirements for kinship caregivers. Kinship Caregivers are able to attend trainings after the approval process, if they want to learn more about caring for the special needs of their kin child. Foster caregivers are required to complete 36 hours of preservice training prior to licensure. They are required to complete 40-60 hours every two years to maintain their license, depending on the type of license they hold.
It can take 30 days or more for the completion of the approval process. In emergency situations children can be placed with a relative quickly prior to the official approval process as long as there are no safely concerns. The foster care licensure process generally takes 3-6 months depending on agency workload and training schedules.
The kinship caregiver may need to pay for required Ohio BCI and FBI background checks (about $50 total) – otherwise, there are no costs for being assessed and approved as a kinship caregiver Applicants are sometimes required to pay for their BCI and FBI background checks, fire inspection, well water test, and the amount their doctor requires (if any) to complete the medical statement for all household members.
Kinship caregivers may be eligible for Ohio Works First “child-only” monthly benefits for the child. Child-only benefits are approximately $300 a month for the first child and reduced amounts for each additional child. EG. 1 child is $297, 2 children is $406, 3 children is $497, etc. Foster parents receive a daily per diem rate for each foster child placed in the home. Daily rates vary by county and agency based on the age and special needs of the child.
Children who are in the custody of a PCSA and placed in a kinship home receive Medicaid. Children who receive OWF child-only benefits are also eligible for Medicaid. Children who are in the custody of a PCSA and placed in licensed foster homes receive Medicaid.
A kinship home is assessed and approved for a specific child. If a kinship caregiver is approved for one child, and another child is placed at a later date, the PCSA is required to complete another home assessment that takes the new child into consideration. Foster parents receive a license to accept placement of a range of children. After the initial licensure of a foster parent, the licensing agency is required to recertify the home every two years and complete amendments whenever there is a significant change, such as a relocation or new household member.

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