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Kinship Care

Kinship Care is a program to help support a child who lives outside of his or her home with the relative.   The child may be living temporarily or for the long term with a relative such as:

  • An adult brother or sister

  • A first cousin

  • A nephew or niece

  • An uncle or aunt or a grandparent

  • Others by blood or marriage (see Ch. DCF 58.03(18) Administrative code for the definition of Relative)

Kinship care helps a family support a child in the home of a relative that might be under stress or when the child has experienced abuse or neglect.

With this support, placing a child in a foster home or another out-of-home care setting may be avoided. For children in the child welfare system who cannot continue living at home with his or her parents, Kinship Care may be another placement option.


Kinship Care Eligibility Requirements and Other Program Requirements

The eligibility and program requirements for Kinship Care are set forth in Wisconsin Chapter DCF 58 Administrative Code.

There are three basic eligibility requirements for Kinship Care:

  • the basic needs of the child can be better met with the relative than with the parent

  • the placement is in the best interests of the child

  • the child currently or might meet the requirements to be in need of protection or services if the child were to remain with his or her parent(s)

Other requirements include:

  • A criminal background check on the relative caretaker and all adult household members;

    • Kinship Care Barred Offenses – Caregiver Background Checks provides a list of barred offenses that result in initial denial of the kinship application. All kinship applicants initially denied based on background check results can request a Director Review, which allows the local agency discretion to approve the application or redetermination. 

  • Cooperation with the agency by the relative caretaker.

  • The relative caretaker must apply for other public assistance or benefits the child might be eligible for.

  • The relative caretaker must cooperate with referring the parents to child support, unless the relative caretaker is granted an exemption.

  • Kinship living arrangements and eligibility must be reviewed every 12 months.

If you are interested in more information about Kinship Care for a child you are caring for, contact the Kinship Care Coordinator in your county or tribe . The Kinship Care Coordinator can answer your questions about becoming a Kinship Care Provider and having a child placed in your home.

Other Resources

Here are some links that may be helpful for additional resources:

  • Food Share is a program that helps low-income families and individuals buy nutritious food.  For more information, visit FoodShare Wisconsin-A Recipe for Good Health.

  • Medical Assistance or Medicaid Coverage may be available for you or the child you are caring for.

  • Wisconsin Works (W-2) provides employment preparation services, case management, and cash assistance to eligible families.

  • Child Support helps parents get court orders for financial and medical support for their children.

  • Learn more about available Child Care resources.

  • The Kinship Navigator Portal assists relative caregivers in navigating the Child Welfare system and locating important resources.

Information taken from Wisconsin Department of Children and Families at
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