KINSHIP CARE LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM

Keeping Children With Family
Our Kinship Care unit provides free legal representation to relative caregivers of all ages in Erie and Niagara counties. Our clients are often seeking temporary or permanent custody of relative children (nieces, nephews, siblings, grandchildren) because the parents are unable to continue parenting. By placing children with a relative, they can avoid foster care.
If you are a Pro Se Litigant (you are filing family court documents without an attorney,) you can click here for our helpful tutorial.

In New York, it is estimated that there are 120,000-218,000 kinship families. Legal counsel is often needed to assist with custody petitions, court appearances and applications for financial assistance and benefits. CELJ attorneys can provide representation in these matters. Income guidelines may apply for those under age 55. To find out if you qualify for assistance, you can contact our intake line at 716-853-3087. Download our Informational Card here. 

En Espanol: Aqui.

This program is made possible in part by a grant from The New York Bar Foundation.

SELF-HELP RESOURCES

Form for Appointing a Standby Guardian 

Guide for completing the non-parent caregiver grant TANF application

Application for TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, and Child Care assistance:

English

Spanish

Parental Designation Form

  • This is used by parents to give authority to another adult to make medical and educational decisions for their child(ren).
  • This form can be valid for up to 30 days with a signature, or up to 12 months with a notarized signature.

Guide to appeal an indicated CPS report

 

BS Project Sayve Flyer 3-211024_1

KEEPING CHILDREN OUT OF NON-RELATIVE FOSTER CARE

QUALITY REPRESENTATION

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

FREE ASSISTANCE

FAQs

It can be difficult to know what to expect in Family Court. Generally, the Family Court staff cannot provide you with legal advice. Therefore, it is important to have an attorney to help you understand your options, and assist with petitions and court appearances. For a petition, you should be prepared to provide as much information as possible, including the names and addresses of the other parties, and the names and birth dates of the children. For court appearances, the court will want to know why the parents are unable to provide the children with care, and sometimes a hearing before a judge is necessary to resolve these issues.

The New York Kinship Care Navigator website is a great resource for kinship care families.

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