HELP LINE: Help is available to kin raising others’ children

IF YOU, OR someone you care about, is raising some other relative’s child (or children), this could do you some serious good.

We all know there are any number of reasons why someone ends up raising another relative’s children, and most of them wouldn’t be characterized as “happy,” so I won’t go into a long, depressing list here.

The fact is, here you are. Maybe you’re “older” (“grandparents raising grandchildren”), maybe you’re not.

Maybe they are your children’s children, or your sister’s children or your cousin’s children, etc.

It doesn’t really matter, because here you are.

What are you going to do? Not take them in?

Right. That’s not going to happen, so you do what you have to do.

And most of the time, we weren’t planning for this particular event, which means that we weren’t budgeting for it, which means that things could be anywhere from “tight” to “desperate.”

This might help you.

This being the Kinship Caregiver Support Program (KCSP).

It simply allows for a one-time-per-year financial intervention to help with some of the costs of taking on the unexpected kid(s).

You know, frivolous little things such as a bed, bedding, clothes, food, school-related supplies or fees, transition counseling, etc.

It’s a pretty long list.

Just think about what do we need/what does this child need to have day-to-day life be as OK as it can possibly be under the circumstances?

Do you have to qualify for this KCSP help?

Of course, but it isn’t that tough:

• You have to be a relative, of any age, providing primary care to one or more children who are 18 or younger;

• You have to live in the same place;

• You can’t be a licensed foster parent and the child/children can’t have an open case with DSHS, Child Welfare Services or Child Protective Services;

• And the household income (including any income the child might have) can’t exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Which means, exactly, what?

Well, for a household of four (such as you, your spouse and two children), the annual income can’t be more than $50,200 per year.

For a household of two, it’s $32,920 per year and for a household of six, it’s $67,480 per year.

You get the drift.

Is this beginning to sound like you, to you?

Good.

What do you do now?

Well, if you live anywhere in the West End, you call Susie Brandelius at 360-374-9496 (888-571-6559). She’s a genuinely nice gal, and the call will go well.

If you’re in the general vicinity of Port Angeles or Sequim, you call Fran Koski at 360-417-8549 (800-801-0070). It will go well, and Koski will take it from there.

If you’re in East Jefferson/Port Townsend, call Jan Svien at 360-344-3013 (800-801-0050). It’ll be easy.

For reasons that you don’t even want to hear about, I happen to know that it would be very smart if you made this call before June 30 because after June 30 the money will be much tighter so please do this ASAP.

Look: What you’re doing for these kids isn’t easy.

That doesn’t mean that there can’t be joy and laughter and love, but it might mean that, after they’ve gone to sleep (safe), you’re lying awake trying to figure out how to make ends meet.

Will this little KCSP program make everything better, and we’ll all live happily, ever after?

Probably not.

Will it help? Yes, and here’s how I know that: Love finds a way.

________

Mark Harvey is director of Clallam/Jefferson Senior Information & Assistance, which operates through the Olympic Area Agency on Aging. He is also a member of the Community Advocates for Rural Elders partnership. He can be reached at 360-452-3221 (Port Angeles-Sequim), 360-385-2552 (Jefferson County) or 360-374-9496 (West End), or by emailing [email protected].

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