What is Kinship Care?

For generations, families have temporarily stepped in for parents under stress to make sure the children have a familiar and loving environment. Kinship care is families caring for their own. When children enter foster care with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services and are placed in the home of a relative or specific family known well to the youth, this is also called kinship care.

Kinship caregivers include relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings, cousins etc) and non-relatives who have a close connection to the youth (godparents, neighbors, teachers, domestic partners, biological parents of a child’s sibling, church members/spiritual teachers), sometimes called “fictive kin”.

Become a Restricted Resource Provider (Foster Parent)

Kin caregivers can become approved BCDSS Resource Providers. We can answer your questions and support you through this process. To learn  more about the foster parent requirements, call the BCDSS Welcome Line 410-685-8231 or visit http://www.bmorefostercare.com.

Benefits of Becoming a Restricted Resource Provider

There are many benefits to becoming an approved foster parent, including:

  • Financial help to assist with the child’s unmet needs
  • A dedicated home worker will provide additional support
  • Peer supports through the Maryland Resource Parent Association

For kinship caregivers who do not become approved foster parents, BCDSS can help you access other
DSS benefits and supports:

  • Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) “Child only” Grant is available to eligible children and their
    relative caregivers (no adult is included in the grant).
  • SNAP (aka Food Stamps): Provides nutrition benefits to supplement the family’s food budget.
    Apply for TCA and SNAP online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us, or in person at BCDSS, or call
    1(800) 332-6347.

Other benefits you may be eligible for include:

Child Care – Eligibility is based on the caregiver’s income. Child Care Subsidies. Apply online at https://maryland.mendixcloud.com, or call 1 (866) 243-8796

Social Security Survivors Benefits or Social Security Income – Certain children may be eligible for Social
Security Survivor’s Benefits or Supplemental Security Income SSI. Apply online at
www.socialsecurity.gov, or call 1 (800) 772-1213.

How do we Support Kinship Caregivers?

Placement with someone who the child already knows is less stressful for the child, so BCDSS prefers to place children with relatives when possible and works to support the families who step up to care for their own. However you’re not on your own. We have resources and people to help.

Relative caregivers are encouraged to reach out to the kinship navigators when you have questions or need guidance about processes or services.