Kinship Care

K.I.N.–K.A.N. Vermont (KIN-KAN) is a coalition of community based efforts provided by trained kinship navigators who value peer-peer support for families involved in kinship care.  We are a peer-run initiative that values family driven, person centered practice. KIN-KAN’s mission is to ensure that multigenerational families involved in kinship care are aware of – and are able to access – the supports and services they are entitled to. Learn more about KIN-KAN here.
Services Available to Children in Kinship Care:
  • Reach Up Child Only: Financial assistance to care for minor children who have little or no income. The amount varies depending on the child’s circumstances, cost of housing and county of residence. This program requires cooperation with the Office of Child Support; refusal
    to cooperate results in a grant that may be reduced by 25%.
  • Medicaid / Dr. Dynasaur: Benefits include doctor visits, prescription coverage, dental care,
    vision, & hospital visits.
  • Childcare Subsidy: Financial assistance to offset childcare costs for children (under age 13) regardless of their kinship caregiver’s income as long as the caregiver has an accepted reason for childcare (working, looking for work, student, health related).
  • WIC: A child receiving Medicaid or a Reach Up Child Only grant are eligible for bimonthly food deliveries of items such as milk, juice, eggs, cereal and peanut butter. A small cash benefit is paid monthly that allows for the purchase of fruits and vegetables
  • Free / Reduced-Price / Summer Meals: Schools participating in the Federal meal programs (breakfast, lunch or summer) provide them at no cost to children receiving a Reach Up – Child Only grant.
  • Child Support – An additional $50 per month is added to a Reach Up – Child Only grant when child support obligations are met
  • Medicaid Mileage Reimbursement – Mileage to all medically necessary appointments and
    pharmacies is reimbursable to adult caregivers who transport children.
  • VSAC: College / Post-Secondary assistance
  • Respite

K. I. N. (Kinship Information & Navigation): Each county based K.I.N. network has access to Kinship Navigators who have:

  • Lived experience in Kinship Care
  • Specialized training in a variety of areas that intersect with kinship care
  • Expertise in the dynamics that impact all 3 generations (parents, children, caregivers) of kinship families created in a variety of ways: custodial minor guardianship, conditional custody, kinship foster care, private (in state, out of state) arrangements
  • Information about agencies, organizations, and community partners providing assistance

K. A. N. (Kinship Advocacy Network): Federal and state laws impacting kinship care have changed over the past 5 years.  Relatives must now be considered when an out-of-home placement occurs or a child is “at risk” of being placed in out-of-home care. Advocacy concerns are referred to the K.A.N. by:

  • Kinship navigators
  • Families
  • Service Providers

Advocacy occurs not only in the emerging field of kinship care but also in disciplines that intersect with multigenerational family care (mental health, substance abuse, corrections, education, senior/elder care, etc. Our goal is to strengthen the voice of kinship families to ensure that “no decisions about us are made without us” and to reduce the unintended consequences that can affect one generation when making changes to supports and services for another.

What is Kinship Care? When a child cannot live with a parent and must stay with another family member or adult that they have a close connection to, that relationship is known as kinship care. There are many routes to kinship care. The majority of Vermont’s kinship families are created through a voluntary minor guardianship process in Probate Court. There are, however, other routes to kinship care:

  • Some relatives become licensed DCF kinship foster parents for related children in DCF state custody.
  • Some adults accept conditional custody when there has been involvement with a state agency and/or court, but no state custody of the child occurs.
  • Relatives enter into a private arrangement with the child’s parents; these may not include any court or state agency.

There are pros and cons to each route; benefits and supports are different in each type of kinship care.  When benefits are accessed for a child in kinship care, there may be an impact on services available to his parents.  Kinship navigators are available statewide to explore what family member’s believe would benefit their family and circumstance and help them access it.
K.I.N. Networks Offer Group & 1:1 Kinship Peer Support including:

  • Intake and Needs Assessment
  • Hot Line Support
  • Warm Line Support
  • Court Support
  • Meeting Support
  • Specialized Information
  • Training Opportunities
  • Navigation to Services
  • Parent/Child Contact
  • Advocacy and Referral

Kinship Support Groups Offer Opportunities to:

  • Meet other kinship families
  • Share kinship experiences
  • Ask questions
  • Learn from others

Contact a Kinship Peer Navigator at: (802 578 9518)

Partners and Resources: