Grandparents and other kin in Arizona who stepped up earlier this year to help the children of relatives who were unable to care for them are getting one-time pandemic relief funds to help defray their additional costs.
Unlicensed kinship caregivers are receiving $1,800 this month for each child the state placed with them for at least 80 days between April 1 and July 31, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
The money is being distributed by the state’s Department of Economic Security but originated with the federal government under the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund, a modest part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that Congress narrowly passed in March without Republican support. Those kinship caregivers who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, are ineligible for the $1,800.
“Extended family members play a crucial role in the foster care system by stepping up when a family member is in crisis. But sometimes they can’t afford to raise another child,” Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said. “By offering this stipend, we have made it easier for them to continue caring for their relatives and maintaining vital family connections.”
The state said the $9 million it is distributing will support more than 5,000 children and 3,000 families. Eligible families will receive a letter notifying them about the details of their stipend payment before they receive it.
Although the payment is only a one-shot deal, Child Safety Director Mike Faust said the state remains “committed to improving available resources to Arizona’s kinship families in the months and years ahead.”