In Texas, “Kincare” is a situation where a child is not living under the control of either of his or her parents. Instead, the child is being cared for by an older sibling, an aunt or uncle, a grandmother or grandfather, a great-grandparent, or another family member.
Occasionally, the mother or father is living in the same household as the child; however, in most cases neither parent is living in the home. “Why would a child be cared for by a relative?” There are a variety of reasons why a non-parent would need to raise a grandchild, a sibling, a niece or nephew, or a great-grandchild. Common examples include the death of both parents, or both parents are absent from the child’s life due to:
- Child abuse
- Child neglect
- Serious illness
- Mental illness
- A natural disaster
- The parent is a victim of a violent crime
- The parent is deployed in the military
As one can imagine, there are many reasons why a relative may decide to carry out the very important role of parent when a child’s biological parents are unable to do so.
Services Available to Kincare Families
According to the Texas’ Area Agencies on Aging, there are around 600,000 children who are cared for by a non-parent relative at least part of the year. Contrary to popular belief, most of these children are not being supervised by Child Protective Services (CPS), an agency that investigates allegations of child neglect and abuse.
Some Kincare families take advantage of public services, such as CHIP, Medicaid, food stamps, childcare, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. However, many public services, including those listed above, are only available to individuals with a low income.
If you are caring for a child who is not your own, you have taken on a lot of responsibility, which is admirable. If you decide to apply for public services, you oftentimes will need the following documents for the child: birth certificate, Social Security card, immunization record, report cards, court orders pertaining to child custody, and health insurance cards.
If you are taking care of someone else’s child and are in need of legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact a Katy lawyer at Hunt Law Firm, PLLC.