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Can I get financial help for parenting my grandchild?

There are many scenarios in which grandparents in Indiana become primary caregivers or “parents” of their grandchildren. Parental health problems, addiction, abuse and myriad other issues may prompt either an official or unofficial removal of children from parental care in favor of placement with grandparents or other relatives. If this describes your family situation, you should know that you may qualify for financial assistance as a relative caregiver.

According to Indiana’s Department of Child Services, you can obtain a license to provide foster care for your grandchild, which entitles you to receive a daily payment, or per diem, of nearly $19. This payment amounts to more than $500 each month and is intended to cover the cost of food, clothing and shelter. It is also meant to cover the cost of travel for visitation and school, personal sundries such as toothpaste and school supplies.

  • There are also some extra payments for which you may qualify, including:
  • Monthly travel expenses for those who must travel more than 162 miles each month
  • An initial clothing payment of as much as $200 when the child is first placed
  • Annual allowance up to $300 for specific items such as baby equipment and school fees
  • A special occasion payment of up to $50 for holiday and birthday use

If you prefer not to obtain a foster parent license, you will not be eligible for the per diem. However, you do qualify to receive the initial clothing, personal annual and special occasion allowance. You will also receive assistance for travel expenses to schools, doctors, court and visitation dates, as well as a child-care benefit of up to $90 a week for each child and a bedding allowance of up to $400. Your DCS case manager can also help ensure you can take advantage of free or reduced-price school lunches and book fees and Medicaid for health care services.

In addition to these resources, DCS is an excellent resource for information on federal programs that include food stamps and Women, Infant and Children program vouchers. To get more information about DCS programs and assistance, reach out to the agency online or by phone at 888-631-9510.

This article contains general information that should not be considered legal advice.