Kinship Permanency Incentive Program

If you are a kinship caregiver, you may qualify for financial help. Learn more about getting financial help from the Kinship Care Permanency Incentive Program.

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Understanding the Basics

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A kinship caregiver is an adult who cares for a child full-time when the parents cannot. In Ohio, a kinship caregiver can be any relative or nonrelative with a long-term relationship to the child or child’s family.

The Kinship Permanency Incentive (KPI) program gives money to eligible caregivers to care for kin children. The first payment is $525 per child. The caregiver may apply for additional payments every 6 months. The additional payments are $300 per child. There is a limit of 8 total payments per child.

Eligibility for the KPI program

To be eligible for the KPI program, you must meet these requirements:

  • Legal custody or guardianship. The kinship caregiver must have legal custody or guardianship of the kin child. The kin child must be under 18 years old. If the kin child is enrolled full-time in high school benefits may last until the child is 19 years old.
  • Approved home assessment. The local Childrens Services agency must complete and approve a home assessment. 
  • Fingerprints. All household adults ages 18 to 21 must be fingerprinted.
  • Background checks. All household members aged 18 or older must have background checks.
  • Income eligibility. The kinship caregiver’s household income must be at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. Here is a chart of the income maximum for each family size.
  • Ohio residency. To be eligible, you must be an Ohio resident.
  • Reported income. The caregiver must report all income and show proof of all reported income.

Applying for the KPI program

To apply for the KPI program:

  • Gather proof of income. You must have proof of all your household income.
  • Have a copy of the court order granting you legal custody or guardianship. If you don't have a copy of the order, ask the clerk of courts at the court that handled your custody or guardianship case for a copy. If don't have a court order for legal custody or guardianship, you are not eligible for the KPI program. Learn more about getting legal custody.
  • Complete the application. The application is available on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website.
  • Submit the application. Submit the completed application plus proof of custody or guardianship and proof of income to your local Childrens Services office.

Other benefits for kinship caregivers

OhioKAN helps kinship and post-adoptive families find resources and support for placement. OhioKAN does not give money directly to families, but it can help you find resources and can help you apply for benefits. 

The Kinship Support Program program gives temporary support to kinship caregivers for up to 6 months. Participating in KSP does not affect your eligibility for KPI if you end up getting legal custody of the kin child. Learn more about KSP.

Kinship caregivers who qualify can apply for SNAP (“food stamps”) and Medicaid. All children in Childrens Services custody have Medicaid automatically, but the kinship caregiver and their other household members do not.

Eligibility for SNAP and Medicaid benefits is based on your household size and your income. You can choose if you include your kinship child as a "household" member for eligibility purposes.

  • Household size. The number of people in your household impacts the maximum income allowed to receive benefits. Bigger households can have higher household income and receive benefits. The number of people in your household determines your SNAP benefit’s amount. Bigger households are eligible for bigger benefits. You may choose to include or exclude your kin child from the household size count.
  • Total household income. Your total household income includes every household member’s income. There are two types of income: earned income and unearned income. Earned income includes wages earned through a job or trade. Unearned income includes income you didn't get from working, including child support, spousal support, need-based cash assistance, and cash benefits like Social Security or Workers Compensation. If you include your kin child in the household count, then their KSP payments count as unearned income for your household. If the KSP moves your income above the eligibility threshold, your household becomes ineligible for SNAP and Medicaid.

The Ohio Works First (OWF) “Child-only” program provides cash payments to help support the kinship child. OWF “Child-only” eligibility is based on the child’s placement status, not the caregiver’s income. Kinship caregivers are ineligible to receive both OWF “Child-only” benefits and KSP benefits for the same child at the same time. When your KSP payments end, you may apply for OWF “Child-only” benefits.

The Kinship Caregiver Program may provide child care support and other necessities, like cribs. For information about the Kinship Caregiver Program, contact your county Department of Job and Family Services. You can find their contact information on this page under "Local Government and Community Resources."

Learn more about Ohio benefits programs.

More information about KPI

To get more information about KPI, contact your local Childrens Services Office.

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