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Kinship Navigator Program

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FAQ:

What is the Kinship Navigator Program?
The Kinship Navigator Program benefits kinship families raising grandchildren, nieces, or nephews in Tarrant, Parker, Palo Pinto, Johnson, and Hill Counties. Provides a one on one navigator to help with, counseling, education, and other resource services.

What is the Resource Guide?
The resource guide provides a comprehensive list of partners within our community that provide resources for families, including but not limited to Kinship families access to Legal assistance, clothing, food, child care, respite, therapies, and more. 

What is the What To Expect When You Weren’t Expecting Guide?
This guide is unique to Kinship caregivers to provide an all around access point to start when you don’t know where to start. This guide is packed full of things ranging from how to enroll in school and what documents are needed, training on parenting and how to stay up to date on technology, and licensure and adoption resources and so much more.

Do I need to be licensed to receive services?
No, we work with every type of kinship family!

How can you help?
Through the Kinship Navigator Program we can connect you to resources and services, case management, and more.

What if the state placed the kids with me?
That makes you a formal placement, and we can help you.

What if the state has never been involved?
That makes you an informal placement, and we can help you.

Will CPS get involved if you help me?
We are not CPS. This program is focused on keeping families together and keeping kids in places where relationships exist. It is our goal to help your family stay together and thrive.

What is conservatorship and can I get it?
In Texas, custody is called “conservatorship.” Conservatorship is used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent.
womenslaw.org

You must have “standing” to file for conservatorship with the court.

If you are not the parent, you have standing to file an initial custody case only if:

  • you have had actual care, control and possession of the child for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file your case and you are not a foster parent; or
  • you have lived with the child and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the SAPCR, and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator has died; or
  • you are the foster parent of a child placed by the Department of Family & Protective Services who has been in your home for at least a year ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the SAPCR; or
  • you are the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew and:
    • both parents are dead, or
    • both parents, the surviving parent or managing conservator agree that you can file the case, or 
    • the child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.

You can find an overview of the process, instructions, and necessary forms by clicking here.

What are other options for legal authority if I don’t have conservatorship?

  • Ask the Parent to Sign an Authorization for Non-parent Care of a Child– Under certain circumstances, a parent (or both parents) may sign an Authorization Agreement for Non-parent Relative or Voluntary Caregiver form to authorize a relative or voluntary caregiver to care for and make decisions for a child. Unlike a custody order, a non-parent authorization agreement can be revoked (taken back) by the parent at any time. 
  • Ask the parent for Power of Attorney (POA). This can permit a nonparent to care for a child, but the parent can revoke the POA or a temporary authorization to care for a child at any time and take the child back. With a POA the guardian/caretaker is authorized to consent for the child’s health care (e.g., medical, dental, psychological, surgical, etc.), school enrollment, extracurricular activities, learner’s permit and driving license matters, and employment.

The law changed on September 1, 2017. The new law allows any adult caregiver to be authorized to provide temporary care for a child using an Authorization Agreement form. Authorization Agreement for Nonparent care of a child. More information can be found by clicking here.
texaslawhelp.org

Why do some kinship families get State services and some do not?
Formal placements may qualify for state services, but the KNP is working hard to provide services for all kinship families regardless of DFPS involvement.

Are there other state services  I can qualify for?
Support Programs Kinship Families may be eligible for:

  • SNAP (HHSC)
  • TANF – One Time Grandparent Grant (HHSC)
  • TANF – Monthly Cash Assistance (HHSC)
  • TANF – Child Only (HHSC)*
  • WIC (DSHS)
  • Subsidized school meals (Texas Department of Agriculture)
  • Childcare Subsidies (TWC)
  • Housing Assistance (Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs)
  • Childrens Medicaid (HHSC)*

*While a minor does not live with their legal parents, they are considered independent and caregiver income does not count toward eligibility status
everytexan.org

How do I apply for state services?
We’ve created a How-To video guide on applying for state services through YourTexasBenefits.com, click here to view our how-to page and frequently asked questions regarding state benefits.

Can I claim my kinship kids on my taxes?
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps working people with children. It is available to grandparents and other relatives if they work and have at least one “qualifying child” living with them. To qualify, the relative and child must live in the same home in the United States for more than six months of the year.
dfps.state.tx.us

Will someone try and take my kinship kids from me if the state finds out I have them and mom or dad is not around?
We are not CPS and our goal is to keep your family together.

What are Some Other Names for Kinship Care?
Families and individuals who are raising their relative’s children are called “grandfamilies,” “second-time parents,” and “relative’s as parents.” “Kin care,” “kinship foster care,” and “kinship care” are some terms for the arrangement.

Why is Kinship Care important?
By maintaining family, cultural or community ties, Kinship Care helps the child through the experience of being out of the parental home. It is the oldest form of family preservation and an important safety net for children whose parents are either unable or unwilling to care for them.

Why Would a Child be in Kinship Care?
Reasons for kinship care can include parental incarceration, death, mental or physical illness, substance abuse, and neglect and abuse of children by parents. In addition, recent increases in kinship care may be attributed to the recession as parents turn to grandparent’s homes because of losing a job and/or financial resources (Strozier, 2011).

Definitions and Common Acronyms:

Kinship:
Kinship is the relationship between members of the same family.
dictionary.cambridge.org

Fictive Kin:
A fictive kin relationship is one that a child has with an individual who is not related by birth, adoption, or marriage to a child, but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child.
Childwelfare.gov

Formal Placement:
The child welfare system places the child with the caregiver and the child welfare system maintains custody of the child. The resources available to formal kinship families include those offered to traditional foster parents, if the kinship family chooses to get licensed. Formal kinship caregivers may also choose to remain unlicensed.
Fosterkinship.org

Informal Placement:
Arrangements made by parents and other family members without any involvement from a child welfare agency or court.
Childwelfare.gov

KNP:
Kinship Navigator Program

CPS:
Child Protective Services

PMC:
Permanent managing conservatorship, or “PMC,” is a legal term in Texas used in child custody cases. It means that a judge appoints a person to be legally responsible for a child without adopting the child. The court can give PMC to someone other than a parent, including DFPS, a relative, a close family friend, or a foster parent. Permanent managing conservatorship continues until the child turns 18 or is emancipated (has his or her minority status removed), unless changed by a court order.
dfps.state.tx.us

TMC: 
Temporary Managing Conservatorship is a court-ordered temporary relationship between a child and a managing conservator (in IMPACT this always refers to DFPS). It is obtained when a Judge signs a temporary order giving the agency conservatorship, which
may be at an ex-parte hearing, an adversary hearing, or a show cause hearing. Temporary means that there has not been a final trial and one or both of the parents.
dfps.state.tx.us

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