Understanding the AFDC/TANF Child-Only Caseload: Policies, Composition, and Characteristics in Three States. Key Differences Between TANF, Foster Care, and Other Programs for Relatives


As discussed above, non-parental caregivers may seek assistance from other programs rather than apply for TANF assistance. These programs available for relative and non-relative caretakers of children, generally offer higher levels of benefits, impose additional requirements, and offer additional services. The extent to which caregivers see these other programs as substitutes for TANF has an impact on child-only caseloads.

Exhibit 2.5
Alternative Programs Available in Three States
California Florida Missouri
  • Foster Care
  • Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program : To be implemented January 2000, this program will provide Kin-GAP assistance to a relative who is also a legal guardian of a dependent child who has been in foster care for at least 12 months.
  • Foster Care
  • Relative Caregiver Program: This TANF funded program offers assistance for a child placed with a relative who is taking care of a child under court supervision or who has temporary legal custody.
  • Foster Care
  • Grandparents as Foster Parents program: This program, which is funded primarily with state MOE dollars, offers cash assistance to grandparents or relatives age 50 and over who are legal guardians or have legal custody. The payments are equal to the foster care payments.

This section discusses some of the characteristics of four of these programs - the federal foster care program, California's Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) Program (not yet implemented), Florida's Relative Caregiver Program, and Missouri's Grandparents as Foster Parents program. It outlines some of the differences in program goals, services and requirements, benefit levels, program funding, and caseloads.Exhibit 2.5 gives an overview of the programs.

Briefly, California plans on implementing the Kin-GAP Program statewide in January 2000 for relative providers who become legal guardians; Florida implemented the Relative Caregiver program in October 1998 for relative caregivers who have legal custody or are caring for children under court supervision; and Missouri implemented the Grandparents as Foster Parents program in August 1997, restricted to grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren (in August 1999, the program was expanded to include relatives other than grandparents).