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Current Issues in Family Law
Kinship Care Versus Foster Care
Differences in requirements for Kinship Vs. Foster Care
Kinship caregivers are able to apply to become foster parents and complete the homestudy process.
Kinship Foster Care
Kinship caregivers undergo a “home assessment” and “approval” process. Foster parents undergo a more detailed “homestudy” and “licensure” process.
As part of the home assessment process, at least one home visit is conducted prior to approval – basic safety issues are checked and the kinship caregiver’s willingness and ability to care for the child are explored. As part of the foster care licensure process, the following requirements are completed:
There are no training requirements for kinship caregivers. Kinship Caregivers are able to attend trainings after the approval process, if they want to learn more about caring for the special needs of their kin child. Foster caregivers are required to complete 36 hours of preservice training prior to licensure. They are required to complete 40-60 hours every two years to maintain their license, depending on the type of license they hold.
It can take 30 days or more for the completion of the approval process. In emergency situations children can be placed with a relative quickly prior to the official approval process as long as there are no safely concerns. The foster care licensure process generally takes 3-6 months depending on agency workload and training schedules.
The kinship caregiver may need to pay for required Ohio BCI and FBI background checks (about $50 total) – otherwise, there are no costs for being assessed and approved as a kinship caregiver Applicants are sometimes required to pay for their BCI and FBI background checks, fire inspection, well water test, and the amount their doctor requires (if any) to complete the medical statement for all household members.
Kinship caregivers may be eligible for Ohio Works First “child-only” monthly benefits for the child. Child-only benefits are approximately $300 a month for the first child and reduced amounts for each additional child. EG. 1 child is $297, 2 children is $406, 3 children is $497, etc. Foster parents receive a daily per diem rate for each foster child placed in the home. Daily rates vary by county and agency based on the age and special needs of the child.
Children who are in the custody of a PCSA and placed in a kinship home receive Medicaid. Children who receive OWF child-only benefits are also eligible for Medicaid. Children who are in the custody of a PCSA and placed in licensed foster homes receive Medicaid.
A kinship home is assessed and approved for a specific child. If a kinship caregiver is approved for one child, and another child is placed at a later date, the PCSA is required to complete another home assessment that takes the new child into consideration. Foster parents receive a license to accept placement of a range of children. After the initial licensure of a foster parent, the licensing agency is required to recertify the home every two years and complete amendments whenever there is a significant change, such as a relocation or new household member.
Kimberly Thomas, Family Law Attorney.