Most people in Tennessee would like to think that when a child is born into a family, that child will enjoy all of the love and support they need from their parents throughout their life. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Many situations may leave a child in need of care outside of their family home and this care may include that provided by another relative. In these cases, people may be able to apply to participate in a program run by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

The program is called the Relative Caregiver Program and it allows those persons who take responsibility for a minor relative to get some assistance while they raise the child. Before applying to be part of the Relative Caregiver Program, a person must be willing to accept program help such as respite care and participation in support groups. The person must also either be the child’s legal guardian or custodian or have been granted authority to raise the child by some agreement made within the family.

Only a person who is related to the child may apply for the Relative Caregiver Program. This relation may be via adoption, marriage or blood. No financial assistance is provided to people who participate in this program. 

If you would like to learn more about the state’s Relative Caregiver Program and when it may be appropriate for you or your family, please feel free to visit the care for a minor relative’s page of our Tennessee family law website.