submitted by Sarah Hedden, Esq.
Child Protective Service (CPS) is tasked with investigating reports of child maltreatment, and with keeping children safe. When a CPS caseworker finds a situation where a child is unsafe, they often work with the family to create a plan to keep the child(ren) safe while the parent works on the issues that are affecting safety. These can include such circumstances as untreated mental health or substance use issues, domestic violence, non-suitable housing, or other like circumstances.
If you or your family are caring for a child that was placed with you under a safety plan, it is important to know that the plans are not legally binding. Only a court order issued by a judge can affect custody and placement of a child.
When caring for a child who is not yours, you may ask the parent to sign a “parental designation form” so that you have the authority to make urgent medical and educational decisions for the child while they are in your care. The parent is not required to sign this form. You may also have the right to receive support during this time. You may apply for a non-parent caregiver TANF grant from your local department of social services. Note that they only count the child’s income. Once approved, you may receive a monthly cash grant to assist you in caring for the child.
If you are caring for a child who is not yours under a CPS sanctioned safety plan and have questions, please call our Kinship Unit at (716) 878-9297.
The above is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.