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Kentucky residents who foster relatives not entitled to benefits

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | blog, family law | 0 comments

A federal appeals court ruled that Kentucky families who foster the children of relatives are not entitled to maintenance payments. This ruling backed a federal judge’s dismissal of a class action lawsuit filed by a group of Kentucky foster children and caregivers.

What does this mean for Kentucky foster families?

Which families are eligible for maintenance payments?

Kentucky caregivers may only receive maintenance payments when fostering children that a court has committed to the custody of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Receiving services from the Cabinet is not enough to qualify caregivers to receive maintenance payments.

Why don’t family members qualify for maintenance payments?

The court determined that the state does not have placement responsibility for children it places with a family member. Additionally, the judge decided that because legislators passed the Child Welfare Act under the U.S. Constitution’s spending clause, the government must notify states about any additional payments they must make when participating in the foster-care program. Because of this, the judge concluded that the state was reasonable in its belief that the Child Welfare Act only applies when the cabinet has final placement authority.

While children placed with family members may not be eligible for maintenance payments from the state, they may still be eligible to receive various services from the Cabinet. These benefits may include assistance with health care, food assistance, cash assistance and childcare assistance. The Department for Community Based Services can assist families with information about any benefits programs they may be eligible for to assist with caring for the children of relatives.

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