Foster Care Frequently Asked Question #4

Publication Date: September 16, 2012



I need help to care for my niece while her parents are in jail or unable to provide for her care due to other circumstances.  Is help available?


If you are a relative or an adult friend of a child or children whose parents are incarcerated or unable to care for them due to other circumstances, and you plan to care for them, you may be eligible to receive benefits on their behalf if this is a formal, legal arrangement such as guardianship or if you are participating in a kinship or foster care program. These benefits may include financial assistance, food stamps, medical services, and social services. The public welfare departments in each State provide these services based on eligibility requirements. You should apply for help at your State or local welfare office. (Contact information is available for State offices at Visit disclaimer page). For more information about your State’s program, you may wish to contact your State Administrator. Contact information is available online at

Also, you may want to learn more about the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center, a collaboration between Casey Family Programs, the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, and Generations United. The Center ( Visit disclaimer page) provides information on Kinship Navigator Programs which are State initiatives that provide information, referral, and follow-up services to grandparents and other relatives raising children and it links them to the benefits and services that they or the children may need. For more information and a listing of participating States, please see NAVIGATOR PROGRAMS Visit disclaimer page.

If you would like to learn about foster and/or kinship care in your State, please see the listing of State Foster Care Information Websites at Visit disclaimer page.

Current as of: