the country, more than six million children -- approximately
1 in 12 children -- are living in households headed by grandparents
or other relatives. The District of Columbia has
more than 113,000 children living in households headed by grandparents
or other relatives. In many of these households, grandparents
and other relatives are the primary caregivers (“kinship caregivers”)
for children whose parents cannot or will not care for them
due to substance abuse, illness and death, abuse and neglect,
economic hardship, incarceration, divorce, domestic violence,
and other family and community crises.
at the Numbers: Kinship Care in Montana
The data below
show the numbers of grandparents who are living in households
with at least one grandchild under the age of 18, as well
as the numbers of grandparents who are the primary caregivers
for these grandchildren. These numbers were reported by the
2000 U.S. Census and are available for every place (as defined
by the U.S. Census Bureau) in the country, including cities,
towns, villages, and boroughs, on the U.S. Census website.*
Living in Households with One or More Own Grandchildren
Responsible for Meeting the Basic Needs of Grandchildren
are taken from the U.S. Census Bureau Table DP-2. Profile
Selected Social Characteristics: 2000.
Care Initiatives in Montanaa
public and private agencies and grassroots coalitions of grandparents
and other relative caregivers have begun working together
to expand the services available to kinship caregivers who
are caring for children outside of the foster care system.
the major kinship care programs and supports are listed below.
Additional support groups can be found through the AARP Grandparent
Information Center Database. Call 1-800-424-3410, e-mail information
requests to email@example.com, or search AARP’s online kinship
care support group database at http://www.aarp.org/grandparents/searchsupport/.
state and national kinship care resources and supports
are available on the Generations United website at http://www.gu.org,
and GrandsPlace at http://www.grandsplace.org and
Grandparent Again at http://www.grandparentagain.com,
two websites coordinated by grandparents raising grandchildren.
for Senior Kinship Caregivers: The Montana Department
of Health and Human Services, Senior and Long-Term Care Division
administers Medicaid personal assistance services for eligible
elderly and disabled individuals. Through this program, individuals
can receive assistance with daily living activities, including
those associated with child-rearing, based on a review of
the age and needs of the child and caregiver (e.g., help supervising
a grandchild while they bathe). Contact: Barbara Smith,
Program Manager, Community Services Bureau, at (406) 444-4064
Care and Montana’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Montana, the
Department of Health and Human Services, Children and Family
Services Division reports:
of children in kinship foster placements: During the period
from July through March 2000, there were 2,063 children in
out-of-home placements. Of these children, 492 (23.8%) were
in kinship foster placements.
for kinship placements: By statute, the Department is
required to place a child with the child’s extended family
whenever it is in the best interests of the child, and the
Department approves the home of the extended family member,
which include members of the child’s tribe and others with
whom “the child has had a significant emotional tie.”
for kinship foster parents: There is no separate licensing
program for kinship foster parents. Kin have to meet
the same licensing standards and training requirements and
receive the same foster care payment rate as non-kin foster
parents. Exceptions to specific requirements that do not compromise
the safety of the child or children to be placed with kin
may be waived. Training is required for kin but may also be
waived on a case-by-case basis.
Guardianship: In addition to foster care payments and
other benefits available to kin raising children in the foster
care system, some states also have subsidized guardianship
programs. Montana has two subsidized guardianship programs
for children. There is a state-funded subsidized guardianship
program for children who are not eligible for federal funding.
(Mont. Code Ann. § 41-3-444). This program is offered
when a child in the foster care system is diagnosed with a
physical, mental, or emotional disability; is a member of
a minority group 6 years old or older; or is a member of a
sibling group for whom guardianship will be established with
the same guardian. Montana also operates a subsidized
guardianship program as a Child Welfare Demonstration Project
for children who are 12 years old or older (or part of a sibling
group of which one child is 12 years-old or older) and placed
with the same guardian and eligible for federal foster care
funding, including eligible children under tribal court custody.
Contact: Betsy Stimatz, Foster Care Program Officer, Department
of Health and Human Services, Children and Family Services
Division, at (406) 444-1675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
care contact: Questions about kinship foster care placements
should be directed to Betsy Stimatz, Foster Care Program Officer,
Department of Health and Human Services, Children and Family
Services Division, at (406) 444-1675 or email@example.com.
for Montana Kinship Care Families
by kinship caregivers are often eligible for a range of state
and federal programs. In most cases, kinship caregivers may
apply for these programs on a child’s behalf even though they
are not the child’s parents or legal guardians. Some
examples of these programs include:
Cash assistance may be available to children and their grandparents
and other relative caregivers through Montana’s Families Achieving
Independence in Montana (FAIM). Kinship care families may
also be eligible for food stamps to help meet their children’s
food and nutrition needs. For more information about
food stamps, call 1-800-332-2272. For more information
about the FAIM program, call (406) 444-1788. For information
about both these programs, log on to http://www.dphhs.state.mt.us/.
insurance: Grandparents and other relative caregivers
may apply for free or low-cost health insurance on behalf
of the children they are raising through Montana’s Medicaid
and Child Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) programs. In some cases,
caregivers may also be eligible for free health coverage under
Medicaid. For more information about how to apply to
these programs, call 1-877-KIDS-NOW or log on to http://www.dphhs.state.mt.us/hpsd/.
does not have any additional state laws in effect specifically
directed at kinship care families.