On Their Own Terms: Supporting Kinship Care Outside of TANF and Foster Care. Funding Sources

09/01/2001

Alternative kinship care programs receive funding from of a variety of sources including the TANF block grant, child welfare funding (federal, state and local), and funding dedicated to aging services (Table 2). Foundations and other private entities also provide financial support for kinship care activities. Ten of the subsidized guardianship programs identified are funded through TANF while 14 rely on state funds and one relies on funds from the federal Social Services Block Grant. Of the 23 other programs identified, 4 receive TANF funds, 1 receives other federal funds, 13 receive state funds, 8 receive local funds, and 10 receive private financial support.

Table 2:
Funding Sources, by Study Program
Program Funding Source
Child Welfare TANF Other
A Second Chance, Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA) X   X
Grandparents and Kinship Program (Denver County, CO)   X  
Relative Caregiver Program (Florida)   X  
The Kentucky Kinship Care Program (child welfare)   X  
The Kentucky KinCare Project (support groups)     X
The Kinship Support Network (San Francisco, CA) X * X
Oklahoma     X
*Although TANF funds are not used for general operating expenses, etc., the Kinship Support Network does receive TANF funding for a small initiative to work with probation officers to identify kinship families.
Officials from Kentucky's support group program noted that they have avoided securing TANF funding for several rea-sons. They feel that some kinship caregivers do not want to be involved with the TANF system because of the stigma associated with welfare and receiving a "hand-out."

TANF. The TANF block grant is a flexible funding source that can be used to fund alternative kinship care programs, even if the participants are not receiving TANF cash assistance. In fact, three of the programs visited are entirely TANF-funded (Florida's Relative Caretaker Program, Denver's Grandparents and Kinship Program and Kentucky's child welfare alternative program). Of these, only Denver's program is designed to serve TANF families. Two programs--A Second Chance in Pittsburgh and Edgewood's Kinship Support Network in San Francisco expressed interest in securing TANF funding but noted that attempts to do so were unsuccessful.

Not all programs, however, view TANF as a desirable funding source. For example, Officials from Kentucky's support group program noted that they have avoided securing TANF funding for several reasons. They feel that some kinship caregivers do not want to be involved with the TANF system because of the stigma associated with welfare and receiving a "hand-out." Other families, according to staff, simply do not want the government involved in their lives. Additionally, the state's support group program is a grassroots effort; many administrators feel that adding TANF funding would take the control away from them.

Child welfare. Among our study sites, only two programs receive child welfare funding. A Second Chance in Pittsburgh and the Kinship Support Network in San Francisco--both community-based programs--receive substantial funding from the local social services agency responsible for child welfare services.

Multiple funding sources. Several kinship care programs visited rely on a mix of public and private funding. For example, A Second Chance in Pittsburgh has relied on support from several local foundations (e.g., the Pittsburgh Foundation) to supplement the funding it receives through its contract with the local child welfare agency. Oklahoma relies on a grant from the Brookdale Foundation to fund its kin caregiver support groups, and the Aging Services Division within the Department of Human Services allocates funding from its budget to support respite care payments for older caregivers and an annual conference for grandparent caregivers. The Brookdale Foundation also provided the original funding for Kentucky's support group program. The Kinship Support Network in San Francisco is supported through child welfare funding from the local department of social services, matching funds provided by its parent organization (i.e., Edgewood Center for Children and Families), and foundation support.

IV-E waivers. Although none of the programs visited received title IV-E waivers to implement their alternative programs, a number of states are supporting kinship caregivers under waivers received by HHS under title IV-E. Seven states (Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon) use waivers to implement subsidized guardianship programs. In addition, under its IV-E waiver, the District of Columbia is testing a community-based service delivery model to improve outcomes for kinship care families. Administrators in both Florida and Kentucky's child welfare alternative program reported they had considered applying for a IV-E waiver when developing their statewide alternative kinship care programs but opted against it. They noted that HHS expressed a desire to approve waiver requests that tested new service delivery models rather than multiple waivers of the same model and several other states had already received waivers for kinship care related programs. They were also weary of the waiver evaluation requirements.