Kinship Care refers to the temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or non-relative
adult, who has a relationship with a child, has taken over the full-time care of that child. Kinship
care often occurs through an informal arrangement between family members, but may also happen
through a legal custody order or a relative foster care placement or a kinship placement through
Children Services. Regardless of the type of kinship care arrangement, the kinship caregivers’ voluntary
commitment to devote their lives to the children in their care is a courageous, life-changing decision.
According to the Ohio Department of Aging, grandparents are filling the role of primary parents to their
grandchildren in 10% of all Ohio households with children. According to the Public Children Services
Association of Ohio, 91,513 Ohio children were living with their grandparents in 2009. Statistics are not
available for the other types of kinship caregivers, but we know the number of other family members
and non-family members who commit to the care of children in need continues to grow each year.
Kinship caregivers often face many obstacles and hardships once the decision is made to open their
home to a child. These may include:
1. Increased household expenses. Your budget may not stretch to include the increased cost of
feeding, clothing and caring for the children. You can apply for public assistance through the
county’s Department of Job and Family Services. If you have legal custody, child support can be
accessed through the county child support enforcement agency, which in Ashtabula County, is
also through DJFS.
2. Providing medical care for the children. An application for medical coverage can be made
through the county’s Department of Job and Family Services but there are certain requirements
that must be followed.
3. School enrollment. Public school districts require legal paperwork to allow enrollment. They
also have the right to limit enrollment to residents in their districts. If the children’s status in
your home is unclear, they may be denied school entry.
4. Behavioral issues. The children may act out feelings of anger, fear and sadness due to issues that
occurred in their parent’s home. You may need to find counseling and professional guidance for
No matter which issues you are facing, Ashtabula County Children Services Kinship Caseworkers can
assist you by making referrals and pointing you in the right direction.
Although, Kinship caseworkers cannot give legal advice, they can provide information about how you
can file for custody of the child in your care. There are different ways to obtain custody; you may
contact an attorney to file a motion for custody, you may file Pro Se (meaning you will be your own
attorney) and pay the $100 court filing fee, or you may be awarded custody if the child has been placed
with you through a Children Services custody case. Regardless of how you plan to obtain custody of the
child in your home, ACCSB Kinship Caseworkers can assist you in navigating the system and walk you
through the court process.