In the past, many relative caregivers in need of financial assistance for children accessed AFDC/TANF or foster care funds. In order to receive payment as a foster parent, the state takes legal custody of the child, which has legal implications for family decision-making. In addition, foster care has more stringent licensing and other requirements, such as training.(16) In most instances, these alternative programs offer higher payments than TANF (but sometimes lower payments than foster care) with more relaxed licensing requirements than foster care. Some of these alternative programs offer services not offered in the state TANF programs. Currently, several states are creating alternative programs for relative caregivers.
Some states are classifying these cases as TANF, while others are not, depending in part on the funding source. Three state programs are discussed in Chapter 2.