Advocate News


01.31.2013

Posted in:

Advocacy Tip: Kinship Benefits

GENERAL KINSHIP INFORMATION

Approximately 40% of children in CPS care are in relative placements.  At any given time, this totals about 1,300 kinship placements.  In Bexar County, there are about 17 kinship workers for all of these cases.  The removing worker is responsible for sending a referral form to kinship within seven days of placement, and the legal worker should follow through with this when they receive the case.  After receiving the referral, there should be a staffing at which the kinship worker is assigned.  The kinship worker’s name is documented in IMPACT (the computer database system used by CPS) and CASA volunteers are able to ask the caseworker to look up the name of the kinship worker in this system.  CASA can also contact a kinship supervisor and make a referral themselves if it hasn’t already been done.       

FINANCIAL BENEFITS

In addition to general services, kinship provides two different types of funds for relative placements: 1) integration funds; and, 2) flexible reimbursement funds.  Integration funds are a one-time $1,000 payment intended to help with the initial costs of placement of the children, such as clothing, cribs, etc.  It can only be provided once (even if the children move to more than one relative placement) and should be dispersed within 90 days of placement.  Flexible reimbursement funds include a $500 payment per child annually.  Children in PMC care can qualify for this for up to three years.  To qualify for these kinship funds, relative placements must have an approved home study on file.  CASA volunteers can best impact a case by making sure the kinship referral is made in a timely manner.  Many legal cases finish without the referral being made, and then the children and families don’t receive the financial benefits associated with the program.  In addition, if a home study is denied, volunteers should determine the cause and see if it is possible for CPS to do an addendum once the problem is fixed (ex: no fire extinguishers in the home).  Last but not least, CASA volunteers need to remember that the kinship services can change based on CPS staffing needs and overall budgeting restraints.    

Training Questions:

  1. What percentage of children in CPS care live with relatives? 
  2. What is the difference between integration and flexible reimbursement funds?
  3. How can CASA volunteers most impact their case to ensure kinship funds are received by the family?

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Elisabeth Reise at ereise@casa-satx.org.