NEW LEXINGTON — Perry County Job and Family Services (PCJFS) is collaborating with Perry County Children Services to provide limited financial assistance for families who have been given kinship custody of a child. Advocates Servicing Kinship (ASK) Caregiver Program is designed to help kinship families stabilize after bringing new members into their households.

Staggeringly, 227,862 children in Ohio under the age of 18 live in homes with grandparents or other relatives. Kinship Care refers to a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or any non-relative adult who has a long-standing relationship or bond with the child and/or family, has taken over the full-time, substitute care of a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so. Kinship Care includes those relationships established through an informal arrangement, legal custody or guardianship order, a relative foster care placement or kinship adoption.

Regardless of the type of kinship care arrangement, the kinship caregivers’ voluntary commitment to devote their lives to the children in their care is a courageous, life-changing decision. Kinship care represents the most desirable out-of-home placement option for children who cannot live with their parents.

As a result of Kinship care, there has been improved outcomes for children. However, families providing kinship care may experience many hardships, especially after the initial placement of a child(ren) in their care.

“Every child deserves a safe and loving home, and caregivers may need assistance, so they will be able to provide for a child(ren) that are now in their care,” said Cheryl Boley, Director of PCJFS.

“People may not realize that a bed or properly working appliance is essential to a household in order to prepare for a child entering a new home. These households may not have or even had children in them for years,” says PCJFS Social Services Supervisor Ben Taylor.

The ASK Program is available when a child cannot live with his or her parents. Based on need, various forms of assistance are available for kinship caregivers that take over the full-time responsibility of caring for that child, providing ongoing stability, support and guidance. Kinship caregivers must apply within four months of custody or placement.

If you or someone you know is in need of kinship caregiver stabilization services, call or visit PCJFS at 740-721-0671, 212 South Main Street, New Lexington, Ohio 43764 OR PCSA at 740-342-3836, 526 Mill Street, New Lexington, Ohio 43764.

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