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Support for kin families, by the numbers

Cost of raising children and available government support

Yesterday, Sarah wrote about the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s new report, Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families. The report tells of the growing number of children who live with relatives or other closely-connected families as an alternative to traditional foster care.

About a quarter of Nebraska kids who are in out-of-home care are placed with relatives.  In most cases, these kin placements are best for kids because of the safety and comfort they provide. Unfortunately, caregivers may struggle financially.

In Nebraska, financial assistance available to kinship caregivers is far less than the costs of raising a child. An estimated $990 a month is needed to care for a child. By contrast, a TANF payment for one child is only $222, and the minimum foster care payment for a single child is $246. The chart at right illustrates the gap between benefits available and the cost of care.

Nebraska is middle-of-the pack when it comes to single-child TANF payment rates, ranking 24th in the nation (with first being highest). We do far, far worse with our minimum foster care payment – only Wisconsin’s is lower. The chart below provides a comparison.

Minimum foster care benefits

 

What do you think? Are the TANF and foster care payments enough for kinship caregivers?

To read the full report, visit www.aecf.org/kinship.

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