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New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual

 

Manual:

CP&P

Child Protection & Permanency

Effective Date:

Volume:

IV

Out of Home Placement

Chapter:

D

Kinship Legal Guardianship

 

10-24-2011

Subchapter:

1

General

Issuance:

100

Overview of Services to Children Placed with Relatives by the Division

 

Relative and Family Friend Preference                                                              12-27-2004

First Resource for Placement - As part of the Division‘s commitment to improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of children under its care, the Division always considers relatives and family friends as the first resource for a child who needs placement.  This includes both emergency and permanent placements.  When a child is removed from his home due to safety or risk of harm issues, or abuse or neglect, relatives and family friends can be the most fundamental resource available to meet the child’s needs.

Child’s well-being - Placing a child with a relative or family friend can promote the child’s well-being.  A child will often benefit from living with someone who already knows, loves, and cares for him.  It can also help the child maintain a sense of identity, continuity, and belonging to his family, while he is separated from his parents, and possibly his siblings.

A placement near home - A relative or family friend often lives in the neighborhood or area where the child lived before placement, allowing the child to:

•      Maintain relationships with friends and other family members;

•      Stay in the same school, pre-school or daycare; and

•      Use the same health care providers.

Temporary or permanent placement with a relative or family friend - A relative or family friend can often provide a safe, temporary home for the child during an emergency removal.  This temporary placement can be an effective short-term solution to a family crisis.  It allows people who know the child or know the child’s family to work with the Division, and the child’s parents, to remedy the conditions which jeopardized the child’s safety or health.  Likewise, if a child is unable to return to his own home, relatives or family friends may be able to foster the child’s well-being and provide a safe and suitable permanent home via adoption or kinship legal guardianship.

No absolute requirement - The bottom line in determining a placement for a child is the “child’s best interest.”  Always consider relatives and family friends as the first placement option.  However, there is no absolute requirement that a child be placed with a relative or family friend if, in the professional judgment of the Worker, Supervisor and Casework Supervisor, a different placement is in the child’s best interest.  Use Family Team Meetings to help guide and drive the decision-making process.


Identify, Search, and Contact Relatives and Family Friends                       12-27-2004

The law - Whenever the Division accepts a child into its care and custody, State law requires the Division to initiate a search for relatives who may be willing and able to assist the child’s family.

 

Worker

Talk to the birth family early about relatives who may be able to serve as a placement resource.

Identify both maternal and paternal relatives as placement resources even before the need for placement is definite.  Use CP&P Form 26-82, Relative Identification Chart.  Also, see policy at CP&P-III-C-4-100, section entitled Search for Relatives and Family Friends.

Best practice - Although not required by law, the Division requires you to explore the interest and ability of family friends to assist the child.

Family Team Meetings - Strongly encourage relatives and family friends to participate in Family Team Meetings.  Relatives and family friends can be valuable to the team in developing case plans, case goals, and service plans for the child.


Child Already in Resource Care When Potential Relatives or Family Friends are Identified
                                                                                                                                      12-27-2004

A difficult situation arises when a child is already placed in a resource home and a potential relative or family friend placement is subsequently identified.

Do not automatically change the child’s placement - When a child is in resource care and a relative or family friend is identified as a placement resource, the Division does not automatically move the child simply because the relative or family friend is willing and meets the standards of our program.  See Factors to Guide Decision-Making Process, below.


FACTORS TO GUIDE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS                                    9-29-2006

Best interest of the child - Family engagement provides an opportunity to encourage family members, the child’s worker, providers, and family friends to discuss which placement is in the child’s best interest.  We strongly encourage family engagement.  If, despite our best efforts, a family is not engaged, the Worker, Supervisor, and Casework Supervisor conference the case and make the determination jointly.  Some factors to consider that may help guide the decision-making process include:

Worker, Supervisor, Casework Supervisor and/or Family Members and Support Group

Safety of the child - This cannot be over-emphasized.  As Division staff deal with a child who has been abused or neglected, the most damaging thing of all is to put the child into another situation where he or she continues to be maltreated.  We must consider which placement is most likely to ensure the child is safe from abuse and neglect.

Accomplishing long-term goal - If the long term goal is reunification, consider which placement is more likely to work with the birth family to achieve the goal.  In this situation, concurrent planning is required, and a secondary (concurrent) case goal must be selected.  Concurrent planning is a case practice in which reunification efforts and alternative permanency planning occur simultaneously.  See CP&P-III-B-2-300.  Consider which placement source is more likely to adopt the child if reunification does not occur.  If reunification is not the long term goal, consider which placement is more likely to commit to adoption or kinship legal guardianship. 

Neighborhood based care - In most situations, consider placing a child with a family in his or her own neighborhood, if it can be done safely.  This is a serious consideration for a school-aged child so he or she does not have to unnecessarily change schools, make new friends, or become accustomed to a different neighborhood.  This also facilitates continued contact/frequent visitation with the family of origin.

Age of child and length of time in resource care - These two issues generally go together.  Bonding is an important issue in determining whether or not to move the child.  A young infant (i.e., three week old) is less likely to be disrupted and/or traumatized by a move than a school-aged child who is adjusting to his or her new home.  The length of time the child has been in placement with the family also requires thorough consideration - the Division should not move a child in an established placement simply because a relative or family friend has been identified.  Consider these factors together in the decision-making process.

Siblings - We strongly prefer keeping sibling groups together.  A relative, family friend, or resource home willing to accept all siblings is generally preferable to placing the children in different homes.  However, an exception may be considered when the children reside with two or more relatives, family friends, or resource parents who live close to each other and see each other often.  This type of arrangement may work out to be the best plan for all the children.

Does the child know the relative or family friend - Consider the duration of the child’s relationship with the relative or family friend and the quality of their interactions.  It is very different to move a ten year old child to a relative or family friend he knows and trusts, as opposed to moving the child to a relative or family friend he or she has not seen since he was ten months old.

Child’s preference - If the child is school-aged or above, ask the child.  An older child deserves to have input about his or her placement.  Getting the child’s input does not mean the child has the final decision - but the child’s preferences should be considered.

Parents’ preference - The child’s parents may express a preference for the child to be placed with a specific relative, family friend or resource home.  Certainly, consider the parents’ preferences.  However, more importantly, the circumstances surrounding the child’s need for placement must also be addressed.  Safety of the child is always paramount.  You must ensure that the relative, family friend, or resource parent that the parent prefers, is able to protect the child from the parent, if necessary.

Special needs of the child - Assess which placement option is best able to meet any special needs the child may have.  This includes, but is not limited to the child’s:

•        Physical needs

•        Emotional needs

•        Educational needs

Consider all of these factors when making a determination to continue with the current placement or make a new placement.  Child safety is always our primary concern.  Other factors may be weighted differently depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Note: These factors are the same factors we should take into account in making the initial placement.  The better the initial placement, the better the permanency outcomes with less disruption to the child.

History of Placements and Financial Assistance                                  3-3-2003

A relative can receive resource care benefits from the Division for a child placed by the Division if there is compliance with resource home licensing standards.  Historically, however, many relatives, who could provide a safe home for the child, have been unwilling or unable to comply with the stringent resource home licensing requirements.  Children placed by the Division with such relatives, but not with family friends, are eligible for assistance through Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) which provides financial assistance that is much less than resource care payments.  Children placed with family friends are not eligible for assistance through WFNJ-TANF unless the family friend has obtained legal guardianship of the child.

CP&P Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program                                        4-1-2009

The CP&P Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program provides benefits to a child placed permanently by the Division with a relative or family friend who obtains kinship legal guardianship because neither return home nor adoption is likely or feasible for the child.  See CP&P-IV-D-2 and CP&P-IV-A-11-100.

Programs/Resources                                                                                    3-3-2003

With the establishment of these programs, there is a continuum of programs providing financial assistance to children placed temporarily or permanently by the Division with relatives or family friends.  These programs are available through CP&P and other non-CP&P resources.

CP&P Programs                                                                                           12-27-2004

Financial assistance programs available through CP&P for relatives or family friends include:

•     CP&P Resource Care Program.  See CP&P-IV-B, Resource Care Services;

•     CP&P Adoption Subsidy Program.  See CP&P-IV-C-8 and CP&P-IV-C-1-1100; and

•     CP&P Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program.  See CP&P-IV-D-2 and CP&P-IV-A-11-100.

Non-CP&P Resources                                                                                  3-3-2003

If neither the child, the relative, nor the family friend is eligible for benefits from the programs listed in CP&P Programs, above, the caregiver can seek financial assistance from other sources as follows:

•     Support from the child’s parents;

•     Federal Social Security Administration;

•     County Welfare Agency (CWA); and/or

•     Community agencies.

Temporary Money to Support Relatives and Family Friends          12-27-2004

Flex funds - In addition to the monthly resource family board rate and clothing allowance, flex funds are available to relatives and family friends to meet unique needs.  Flex funds are a temporary means to fulfill an exceptional service need, used in a short-term capacity, to allow time to develop a sustained source of family or child service.  Flex funds may be used to stabilize a child’s placement.  See CP&P-IX-F-1-400, The Flexible Fund.

            Legal Authority for Temporary Division Placement                             9-8-2009

Before a child is placed by the Division, the Division must have legal authority for placement of the child.  Legal authority for placement is required whether the Division is placing a child with a relative, family friend, resource parent, or in another out-of-home setting.  This legal authority permits the Division to remove the child from a situation where there is imminent danger to the child or the child is at risk of injury or death, and the danger or risk cannot be alleviated by any resources currently available to CP&P or the family.  This legal authority further authorizes the Division to make decisions regarding necessary services and medical care while the child is in placement.  See CP&P-II-C-2-700.

Resource Care Program                                                                              3-3-2003

A relative or family friend can receive resource care benefits on a child’s behalf if the home meets resource home licensing standards and a license is issued from the Office of Licensing (OOL).  See CP&P-IV-B-2-125, CP&P-IV-B-2-150, CP&P-IV-B-2-235 and the Level of Care Rate Table.  The Division’s resource care program provides a monthly maintenance payment based on the child’s age and level of care rate, a clothing allowance, and services specified in the child’s case plan.  The program also ensures that the child has health care coverage.  The standards are the same for a relative or family friend as for a non-related person seeking to become a licensed resource parent.

Placement with Relatives (Not Family Friends) Who Are Licensed Resource Parents                                                                                                                            3-3-2003

United States Supreme Court Decision Requirements Regarding Relatives (Not Family Friends)                                                                                                            3-3-2003

On February 22, 1979, in the case of Miller vs. Youakim, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in part, that:

“When a child has been removed from his home by judicial determination and is placed in foster care under the various conditions specified in Section 408 of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 233, 110, the foster care rate of payment prevails regardless of whether or not the foster home is that of a relative.”

Based on this court case/decision, CP&P must pay the same resource care board rate and provide the same clothing allowance for children placed with a relative resource parent as with a non-relative resource parent, regardless of the relative’s financial need or eligibility for WFNJ-TANF, when all of the following criteria are met:

•     CP&P placed the child in the home of the relative, or a child is placed in the home of the relative as a result of litigation initiated by CP&P;

•     The child was a WFNJ-TANF recipient or eligible for WFNJ-TANF at the time of placement in the home from which he or she was removed; and

•     The relative is a resource parent licensed in New Jersey.

Note:  From January 1, 2002 forward, CP&P must have made the placement with the relative, in order for the placement to subsequently become a resource placement with a relative resource parent.

When Relatives Are Not Eligible for Resource Care Payments         3-3-2003

Relatives who are awarded legal custody of a child as a result of a court order stemming from litigation not initiated by CP&P are not eligible for payment under the Division’s resource care program.

All relatives requesting maintenance for children living with them but not meeting the criteria listed above are referred to the appropriate CWA for determination of eligibility for WFNJ-TANF and/or to the county probation department to file for child support from the parents.

Duplicate Payments Prohibited                                                               11-22-2004

A relative who is a licensed resource parent is not entitled to payments and benefits through other CP&P programs for the same child for the same time period.  These programs include the Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program.

In addition, the relative who is a licensed resource parent is not eligible to receive payments and benefits for the child from other government sources while the child is in placement under the Resource Care Program.  These other government sources include:

•  WFNJ-TANF including Medicaid

•       SSI including Medicaid

•  Medicaid Only

•       Veterans Administration (VA)

•       Retirement, Survivors, Disability and Hospital Insurance (RSDHI)

•       Railroad Retirement (RR)

Any relative who has been receiving WFNJ-TANF for a child must have the child removed from the grant or have the child’s WFNJ-TANF case closed effective the date CP&P board payments begin.  If duplicate payments have been received, failure to return the money to the County Board of Social Services (CBSS) makes the relative subject to procedures for recovery and penalty.

While the relative who is a licensed resource parent is not eligible to receive SSI, VA, or RSDHI while the child is in resource care, CP&P is eligible to receive payments and benefits from these sources on behalf of the foster child to offset the cost of placement.

Determining if Child Receives WFNJ-TANF or SSI Benefits Including Medicaid                                                         11-22-2004

When a child enters CP&P Resource Care with a relative who is a licensed resource parent, the Worker informs the Clerk to do a computer look-up, using the Medicaid Eligibility screen, to determine whether or not the child receives WFNJ-TANF or SSI benefits including Medicaid.

Child Receives WFNJ-TANF Payments and/or WFNJ-TANF Medicaid at Time of Placement                                                                                                      11-22-2004

If the Clerk finds a match for WFNJ-TANF payments and/or WFNJ-TANF Medicaid, the Clerk notifies the CBSS Liaison by electronic mail, and the Health Benefits Coordinator (HBC) by telephone at 1-800-701-0710, of the date the child enters the placement.  Update NJS as appropriate.

Child Receives SSI Payments and/or SSI Medicaid at Time of Placement         11-22-2004

If the Clerk finds a match for SSI payments and/or SSI Medicaid, the Clerk notifies the Administrator, Title IV-E Eligibility and Determination Unit, and the HBC at 1-800-701-0710, of the date the child enters placement.  Update NJS as appropriate.

Relatives Receiving WFNJ-TANF and Food Stamps                           3-3-2003

If the relative is a WFNJ-TANF recipient for himself or herself or for his or her family, the monies received on behalf of the foster child, including step increases to the base board rate and difficulty of care payments, are not considered income to the relative in determining eligibility for WFNJ-TANF.  The foster child is not considered as a member of the WFNJ-TANF eligible unit if CP&P is paying board for him or her in accordance with the Division of Family Development’s Work First New Jersey Program, N.J.A.C. 10:90-1 et seq.

If the relative receives or applies for food stamps, he or she must decide whether to include the foster child in the food stamp grant.  The foster child’s board and clothing allowance are considered as income to the family in determining eligibility for the food stamp program when the foster child is to be included in the food stamp grant.  If the applicant elects not to receive food stamps for the foster child, the foster child’s board is not considered as income to the family with respect to the food stamp program.

Discontinuance of Payment                                                                     10-24-2011

CP&P resource care board payments to a relative are discontinued immediately when:

•      The child is returned home;

•      The child is moved to another placement;

•      Legal custody or legal guardianship for the child is awarded to the relative as a result of litigation not initiated by CP&P;

•      The relative adopts the child; or

•      The relative obtains kinship legal guardianship as a result of litigation initiated by CP&P.

Supervision                                                                                                     3-3-2003

All policies and procedures relevant to the resource care program, such as the Child Placement Review Act, Title IV-E FC eligibility determination, Medicaid, clothing allowance, and permanency planning, are applicable to resource home placements with relatives.

In situations in which CP&P and the CWA are both providing services, the CP&P Worker coordinates the services, ensuring that they are effective and unduplicated.

A child’s Title IV-E FC eligibility is not affected by a move from a relative resource home to a regular resource home, if all other eligibility requirements for Title IV-E FC remain the same.

Return Home                                                                                                   3-3-2003

When CP&P determines that the child can be returned to his or her home, the return is arranged in the same manner as for any other child returning from resource care.

If the parent, on his or her own, subsequently arranges for the child to return to the same relative’s care, CP&P payments are not reinstated because the situation does not meet the criterion that CP&P made the placement.

PERMANENCY AND THE CASE PLAN                                                 12-22-2008

Legal requirements -- A child placed with a relative or family friend by the Division is subject to the placement-related requirements of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-50 et seq., N.J.A.C. 3A:12-1, 3A:13-3, CP&P-III-B-4-400, CP&P-III-B-1-100, CP&P-IV-A-3-200, and CP&P-III-B-2-100, unless the child is adopted or until kinship legal guardianship is awarded.  Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4C-11.1, the Division is responsible for providing reasonable efforts to prevent placement, to reunify children with their parents, and to achieve a permanent plan for the child.

Permanency plan required -- The Worker develops a permanent plan, as indicated by the case goal.  The permanent plan is most often reunification.  See CP&P-III-B-4-400.  Whenever the primary case goal is reunification, the Worker is required to also select a secondary (concurrent) case goal and begin to immediately develop a concurrent permanent plan for the child.

Concurrent planning required -- Concurrent planning starts at the very first moment of placement.  While the Worker makes diligent efforts to achieve reunification, he or she begins simultaneously to develop a back-up plan in case permanency with the birth family cannot be achieved within the legally prescribed time frames.  See CP&P-III-B-2-200.  Adoption is the first choice for a secondary case goal, as it provides the child with the highest level of legal and emotional security.  See CP&P-III-B-4-400.  Under exceptional circumstances, if neither reunification nor adoption is appropriate, an alternative permanent plan can be achieved when the court awards kinship legal guardianship or custody to the caregiver or to another individual able to provide a safe permanent home for the child.

New case plan required at time of placement -- When a child enters out-of-home placement, the Worker develops a case plan with the child (when appropriate), his or her parents, and the caregiver within 30 days of placement.  The case plan identifies the services that will be provided by the Division.  It specifies behavioral changes and/or activities the parents must complete to remedy the conditions which required the child’s removal, so that the child can return home safely.  These activities may include partnering with the birth family, as appropriate.  If reunification is not possible, the child’s parents are encouraged to participate in the development of an alternate permanency plan for the child.

The case plan also includes the responsibility of the caregiver to provide a safe home, including any restrictions on contact between the child and family members or other persons who may jeopardize the child’s safety or health.  It includes activities to address the child’s educational, medical, or behavioral problems.  It also requires cooperation with placement-related requirements and permanency planning, including, if necessary, assisting the child’s adjustment to leaving the home when a permanent plan is implemented.

The Division provides services toward stabilizing the placement and enabling the caregiver to meet the needs of the child, recognizing the unique aspects of caring for a child whose family members pose a risk of harm to the child.  The Worker ensures that the relative or family friend is aware of Division policy and procedures which affect the child and the caregiver.  In addition, the Worker provides support to the caregiver in dealing with various agencies, including the child’s school, medical and service providers, the court, the Child Placement Review Board, and the Office of Licensing.

Legal Authority When Child Returned Home                                         3-3-2003

If permanency is achieved through the child’s return home, the child’s parents resume the legal authority to make all decisions regarding the child’s care, unless otherwise restricted by the court.

Legal Authority When Child Adopted                                                       3-3-2003

When it is not possible for a child to return home, the most appropriate permanent plan is usually adoption by the relative or family friend caring for the child or by an individual selected by the Division.  If permanency is achieved through adoption, the court grants the adoptive parent the legal authority to make all decisions regarding the child’s care (N.J.S.A. 9:3-38 et seq.).  The court order for adoption permanently assigns to the adoptive parent all of the parental rights and responsibilities toward the child, until the child reaches adulthood.  If approved by the Division, a relative or family friend caring for a child placed by the Division can adopt the child.  See CP&P-IV-C-1-800.

Legal Authority Under Kinship Legal Guardianship                            3-3-2003

When return home and adoption are not feasible or likely for a child, the most appropriate permanent plan may be designation of a legal guardian for the child.  Through the Kinship Legal Guardianship Act, the court grants the legal guardian certain parental rights and responsibilities and the legal authority to make certain decisions regarding the child’s care with the understanding that the guardian will provide care until the child reaches adulthood, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 3B:12A-4.  The legal authority of the legal guardian includes consenting to routine and emergency medical and mental health needs, arranging and consenting to educational plans, applying for financial assistance and social services, applying for a motor vehicle license, and applying for admission to college.

A relative or family friend caring for a child placed by the Division may be eligible to become the child’s legal guardian through the Kinship Legal Guardianship Act.  See CP&P-IV-D-2 and CP&P-IV-A-11-100.

            Legal Authority Under Legal Custody                                                      3-3-2003

When return home, adoption, and kinship legal guardianship are not appropriate or feasible for a child, permanency may be achieved by the court granting custody to the caregiver or to another individual who seeks custody of the child.  A custody order specifies with whom the child will reside and grants legal authority to make certain decisions regarding the child’s care and property, such as the ability to consent to medical care and to enroll the child in school.  The custody order remains in effect until the child reaches adulthood, unless it is modified or terminated by the court.  After legal custody is awarded, CP&P can provide non-financial services as CP&P determines necessary for the child’s safety and health, but CP&P does not continue to provide support payments or health care coverage.

Division Financial Support When Permanent Plan Achieved          12-27-2004

Relatives or family friends interested in providing a permanent home for a child placed by the Division can decide whether to apply for Division benefits for the child or to seek other sources of financial assistance, if unable or unwilling to meet the child’s expenses through their own resources.  If a child placed permanently by the Division with a relative or family friend is not eligible for benefits through the CP&P Adoption Subsidy Program, or CP&P Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program, the Division does not provide financial support to the child.

Adoption Subsidy                                                                                          3-3-2003

A child can receive benefits from the CP&P Adoption Subsidy Program if the child is adopted through CP&P and the child has special needs.  See CP&P-IV-C-8 and CP&P-IV-C-1-1100.  The CP&P Adoption Subsidy Program provides a monthly maintenance payment and ensures that the child has health care coverage.  The standards for adoption are the same for a relative as for a non-related person seeking to adopt a child.  The program does not provide non-financial services or supervision from the Division, but requires an annual redetermination of eligibility.  When a child is adopted, the child is no longer subject to review by the Child Placement Review Board.

CP&P Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program                                        3-3-2003

A child can receive benefits from the CP&P Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program if a relative or family friend obtains guardianship through the Kinship Legal Guardianship Act and there is compliance with program standards and income eligibility for the child.  See CP&P-IV-D-2 and CP&P-IV-A-11-100.  The CP&P Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program provides a monthly subsidy payment and ensures that the child has health care coverage.  The program does not provide non-financial services or supervision from the Division, but requires an annual redetermination of eligibility.  After a court grants kinship legal guardianship, the child is no longer subject to review by the Child Placement Review Board.

Parental Support                                                                                            3-3-2003

When a child is living with a relative or family friend, the child’s parents are financially responsible for the child’s support unless the child has been adopted.  If the child is receiving benefits from the Division or the County Welfare Agency, the parents are evaluated for their financial ability to contribute toward the child’s expenses.  If neither the Division nor the County Welfare Agency is providing financial benefits for the child, the caregiver can seek a court order for financial support and health care coverage from the child’s parents.

Work First New Jersey (WFNJ)/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)     3-3-2003

A child, who is not receiving financial assistance from the Division, may be eligible for WFNJ-TANF (formerly Aid to Families with Dependent Children) through the County Welfare Agency if he or she lives with a relative or family friend.  A child residing with a family friend can be eligible for WFNJ-TANF only if the family friend has obtained legal guardianship of the child.  The child may receive benefits as part of the caregiver’s WFNJ-TANF assistance unit; or the child may receive WFNJ-TANF benefits as a “child only” case if the caregiver’s family does not receive WFNJ-TANF assistance.

Other Public Assistance                                                                               3-3-2003

A child may be eligible for programs through the County Welfare Agency, which provide child care, Medicaid, Food Stamps, or energy assistance.  If the child’s parents are retired, disabled, veterans or deceased, the child may be eligible for benefits from the Federal Social Security Administration.  If the child is disabled, the child may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.  The child may also be eligible for community programs providing assistance such as child care, housing, or other services.

Kinship Navigator Program                                                                        3-3-2003

A child living with a person who has obtained guardianship through the Kinship Legal Guardianship Act may be eligible for assistance from the Kinship Care Subsidy Program through the Office of the Kinship Navigator.  This program is primarily intended to serve children placed by their parents and is not available to children placed by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency within a year prior to the filing of the petition for kinship legal guardianship.  The program provides a monthly maintenance payment and health care coverage.

Duplicate Government Payments and Benefits                                  11-22-2004

A relative receiving benefits under the Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program is not allowed to receive payments and benefits from two or more CP&P Programs for the same child for the same time period.  For example, a relative can receive payments on behalf of a child from only one of the following CP&P Programs at a time: 

•     Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program

•     CP&P Resource Care

The relative who is a resource parent is also not eligible to receive payments and benefits for the child from other government sources while the child is in placement.  These other government sources include:

•     WFNJ-TANF including WFNJ-TANF Medicaid

•     Veterans Administration (VA)

•     Retirement, Survivors, Disability and Hospital Insurance (RSDHI)

•     Railroad Retirement (RR)

•     SSI Payments - not SSI Medicaid

While the relative who is a resource parent is not eligible to receive SSI, VA, or RSDHI while the child is in placement, CP&P is eligible to receive payments and benefits from these sources on behalf of the child to offset the cost of the placement.

The relative who becomes a child’s legal guardian under the Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program is also not eligible to receive WFNJ-TANF payments including WFNJ-TANF Medicaid while the child is in placement.  However, the relative may be eligible for a portion of any SSI, VA, or RSDHI payments on behalf of the child.  It is the responsibility of the relative to contact the government agencies that provide these benefits to determine such eligibility.

A child receiving SSI Medicaid who enters the Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program continues to be eligible for SSI Medicaid.  Therefore, the child continues to receive SSI Medicaid, rather than CP&P Medicaid, while in placement under these two Programs.  See Child Receives SSI Payments and/or SSI Medicaid at Time of Placement, below.

When a relative begins to receive payment from a new CP&P program, the relative must notify any previous program not funded by CP&P of the effective date of the new CP&P program.  It is the Worker’s/ responsibility to inform the Clerk to close the payment lines of service for any program for which a child is no longer eligible.

Determining if Child Receives WFNJ-TANF or SSI Benefits Including Medicaid         11-22-2004

When a child enters a CP&P paid placement, the Worker informs the Clerk to do a computer look-up, to determine whether or not the child receives WFNJ-TANF or SSI benefits including Medicaid.

Child Receives WFNJ-TANF Payments and/or WFNJ-TANF Medicaid at Time of Placement                                                                                                      10-24-2011

If the Clerk finds a match for WFNJ-TANF payments and/or WFNJ-TANF Medicaid, the Clerk notifies the County Board of Social Services (CBSS) Liaison by electronic mail, and the Health Benefits Coordinator (HBC) by telephone at 1-800-701-0710, of the date the child entered placement.

Child Receives SSI Payments and/or SSI Medicaid at Time of Placement         10-24-2011

If the Clerk finds a match for SSI payments, the Clerk notifies the Administrator, Title IV-E Eligibility and Determination Unit, by electronic mail, of the date the child entered placement.  The child continues to be eligible for, and receive, SSI Medicaid (not CP&P Medicaid).

Investigation of Child Abuse or Neglect Allegations                           3-16-2009

The Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit (IAIU) investigates allegations of child abuse or neglect of a child by a relative or family friend with whom the Division has placed a child or by any other member of the household or any individual with routine, day-to-day care and supervision of the child.  A copy of the IAIU investigation finding determination notification letter is filed in the child’s case record.

The Local Office investigates allegations of abuse or neglect of the birth children of the relative or family friend, or other children in the household who were not placed by CP&P. 

HIGHER EDUCATION                                                                                              4-18-2005

Worker/

Relative

Assist the child -- in exploring all resources when the child wishes to attend college or vocational/technical school beyond high school.

Child

Apply for -- appropriate scholarships and other forms of financial aid when financial assistance is required for higher education.  See CP&P-VII-A-1-300, CP&P and Other Scholarship Programs.