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Family law: Proposed law may increase grants for kinship care

Many Texas families take care of the children of relatives for various reasons. However, these families typically suffer financially because current family law does not allow the same financial support to them -- often grandparents -- like the support provided to foster families. While foster care allowances are about $700 per child per month, kinship care provides for only $500 per child per year. A proposed bill aims to set that right.

One of the supporters of the proposed bill unexpectedly became the caretaking 62-year-old grandmother of her five grandchildren when the youngest was only 3 months old. Along with many other problems, she could not afford to buy a car seat for the infant, and beds for all of them presented another financial problem. She had to retire to raise the children and reported that others in the same position sometimes reduce their medications to save money to provide for grandchildren.

Reportedly, another problem with the system is that, in many cases, children are just left on the doorsteps of their grandparents. Those who become kinship care providers without going through Child Protective Services do not qualify for any financial assistance. Child Advocates San Antonio -- an organization that works to place children with relatives rather than foster parents -- seeks to change that. An executive of CASA said she is working to secure financial assistance for those families who had no opportunity to make arrangements through CPS.

Texas grandparents facing these issues may not be aware that a proposed law might make their lives easier in the near future. For this reason, it may be wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can advise them of their current rights and advocate for them going forward. While current allowances may be minimal, kinship care parents will be able to seek larger grants if the proposed law is enacted.

Source: news4sanantonio.com, "Bill would increase financial help to families who adopt relatives", Erin Nichols, Feb. 22, 2017

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