On Their Own Terms: Supporting Kinship Care Outside of TANF and Foster Care. Other Federal Programs

09/01/2001

In spite of their eligibility, many kin do not receive this wide range of supports

In addition to TANF, kinship caregivers and relative children may be eligible for a wide range of federal and state programs. For example, almost all foster children are eligible for Medicaid,(10) and children cared for by kin who are outside the child welfare system and receive a TANF child-only payment are eligible for Medicaid. Kin are also eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for any related child who meets the disability guidelines of the program. Kin who are income-eligible for food stamps are eligible to receive additional food stamp benefits for related children. Depending upon the state, kin may also be eligible to receive housing assistance, subsidized child care, or emergency financial assistance. But in spite of their eligibility, many kin do not receive this wide range of supports. For example, only 60 percent of kin who are income eligible receive food stamps and only 54 percent receive Medicaid for their related child (Ehrle et al., 2001). In comparison, 78 percent of all food stamp eligible children participate in the program (U.S. DHHS, 2000b). Of all children eligible for both TANF and Medicaid, about 65 percent receive Medicaid benefits (Dubay, Kenney, and Haley 2001).