When children cannot safely remain in their own homes, the preferred option for placement is with a relative or non-relative. Non-relatives are often willing and able to care for children but may be concerned about the additional financial burden they will incur. Non-relative caregivers may apply to receive Non-Relative Caregiver Funds.
Non-Relative Caregiver Funds can only be applied for if there is a dependency court case, the children have been adjudicated dependent and the caregiver attests there is a need for assistance. This generally occurs at the beginning of the case, but there are occasionally delays that can hold up these applications from being submitted. Your Family Care Counselor (FCC) can give you additional information and help you apply for these funds, which can be received for each child and are based on a sliding scale correlated with the children’s age. The completed application must be sent to the Office of Child Welfare by your case manager. A reassessment is required at least yearly and requires the caregiver to complete the application for non-relative caregiver assistance, which can be found at: https://eds.myflfamilies.com/DCFFormsInternet/Search/DCFFormSearch.aspx
Additionally, children in out-of-home care qualify for Medicaid, although you will need to submit the paperwork to have yourself listed as the caregiver. Your FCC can also help with this process. You may also be eligible to receive reduced-fee daycare services.
There are many programs available to assist you in caring for children, so be sure to keep open communication with your FCC about your needs and concerns. It is also important to attend court hearings so you know how the case is progressing and can express your feelings to the judge.