Kinship Care is the full-time care, nurturing and protection of children by relatives, members of their tribes or clans, godparents, stepparents, or any adult who has a kinship bond with a child. The purpose of the Kinship Navigator Program is to bring awareness to and further expand support to families providing kinship care.
- Resources and referrals for relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and friends) raising relatives’ children
- Short-term case management
- Connections to community services and resources @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
About the Program
In August 2018, the Norfolk Department of Human Services entered into a Public-Private Collaborative with the Chesapeake Department of Human Services, Portsmouth Social Services Department, Suffolk Department of Social Services, Virginia Beach Department of Human Services, Newfound Families Virginia, and Kin and Kids Consulting. The Collaborative received grant funding from the Virginia Department of Social Services to implement the Kinship Navigator Program. The Collaborative seeks to maximize resources, provide seamless integrated services, and provide accessible information for prospective kinship families and current kin caretakers. The Kinship Navigator program is housed within the Housing Resource Center under the umbrella of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services.
Are you a kinship caregiver who needs help navigating the system of support available to you? Our Kinship Navigator Program can help! Download our referral form and/or contact your local Kinship Navigator. Additionally, there is a toll-free support services hotline that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call (888) 593-1972 to receive information and referrals for your family’s needs.
What is the Kinship Navigator Program?
More than 2.5 million children currently are being raised by their grandparents and other relatives, both formally through the child welfare system and informally through private family arrangements. When these caregivers take on this responsibility, they often receive little to no financial support or advice regarding how to navigate the many systems they might need to access to meet the needs of the children in their care. Kinship Navigator programs help fill that gap by providing caregivers with information, education, and referrals to a wide range of services and supports. The Navigator’s goal is to maximize the caregivers’ ability to provide safety and stability and, if needed, permanency for the children placed in their home. (The Casey Foundation)
Why was this program implemented?
Children may be unable to live with their parents because of...
- Parental substance abuse
- Financial hardships
- Death of a parent
- Domestic violence
- Mental Health Issues
- Military Deployment
- Protect Children and Strengthen Families
*Adapted from CWLA New Generation PRIDE
What Do Kinship Navigator Programs Provide?
- Resources and referrals for relatives, grandparents, kin, foster parents, and adoptive families.
- Short term case management
- Linkage to community services and resources
If I am a kinship caregiver am I eligible for SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps)?
Depending on your eligibility status, yes. SNAP has a 45-day application process. You must demonstrate financial eligibility and your household must qualify to receive the benefit.
If I am a Kinship caregiver am I eligible for Medicaid for the relative minor I am caring for?
Since Medicaid benefits eligibility is determined at a state level, you must review the Virginia Medicaid requirements that pertain to you, as a patient and a resident of the state. Medicaid eligibility requirements must be met prior to enrolling in the state's government-sponsored medical assistance program.
Can I get TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) for the relative minor I am caring for?
The TANF program provides eligible families with a monthly cash payment to meet their basic needs. For a child to be eligible he must be:
- Under age 18, or if 18, will graduate from high school before age 18
- Going to school regularly if he is between the ages of five and 18
- Living with a parent or other relative
- A U.S. citizen or an eligible immigrant
Additional assistance is available to families who are providing relative care to children to avoid placement into foster care.
I received a call from Child Protective Service (CPS) to pick up my grandchildren/relatives to keep them from going into care. What does that mean?
Care is another word for foster care or placed in the custody of the agency.
I was asked if I could take my grandchildren/relatives temporarily and I said yes. The CPS worker gave me a safety plan, is this considered custody?
No, a safety plan is a written statement of the safety needs of your grandchild/relative and what you agree to ensure. This can be used as verification the children are in your home, but this is not a legal document.
Can HSD/CPS assist with custody or guardianship?
HSD/CPS is not able to assist with guardianship or custody, however, your Kinship Navigator may be able to provide you contact information for your local Court.
Do I have to obtain custody and guardianship to receive Kinship Navigator services?
No, you do not have to have custody or guardianship to receive assistance from the Kinship Navigator Program. However, other services may require legal documentation.
How can I get my grandchildren/relative tested for special education services?
You can talk with your grandchild/relative's teacher or school principal about your concerns.
Will the Kinship Navigator complete a mental health assessment for my grandchild/relative?
No, the kinship navigator will not complete a mental health assessment but may give you recommendations for a referral
Can I apply for child support services without having to come into a local child support office?
Yes, an application for services can be made by clicking the following link online. https://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/dcse/applying.cgi
How would I find a Kinship Support group?
GrandFamilies Relatives As Parents and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support groups are available through Kin and Kid's Consulting.(attached flyer)
I have been working with a kinship navigator, am I still able to work with other community agencies?
Yes, Kinship Navigators encourage caregivers to access and utilize all available resources and support services.
Does the Kinship Navigator Program provide childcare assistance?
If seeking childcare assistance, you must apply thru https://www.commonhelp.virginia.gov/ Additionally, you may come into the agency, speak with a Family Services Specialist to help complete the application process.