As families, we often come together to help each other out in bad situations. One time when family can be especially helpful is when a parent cannot take care of his or her child. This could happen for a variety of reasons, but if it happens in your family, you may be able to become a part of the relative caregiver program.

The Department of Children’s Services explains this program allows relatives to assume the care of children who are related to them by blood or through marriage or adoption. It provides support services as well. If you are part of the program, you can take in a child whose parent may have died, become incarcerated or have been abused or abandoned. It makes it easier on you to be able to take in a child to whom you are related.

Of course, there are still requirements you must meet since the state is ultimately responsible for the well-being of the child. You must complete an in-home assessment and agree to accept the provided support services. There also must be in place some type of agreement for you to take custody of the child. In addition, the child must be under the age of 18 or under the age of 20 if he or she is still in school. You must provide a safe home where you will also live with the child.

While the program does not provide financial help specifically, you may qualify for emergency funding. You may also get payments through the DCS or child support if the parents are able to pay. The program runs through private providers in each county with the Knoxville contact being Omni Community Health. This information is for education and is not legal advice.