The bill is aimed at raising awareness for the many options available to a family whose child cannot stay home.
Gillia Robinson has been taking care of her grandchildren for many years. ” I was planning another life and to move out of this state and to get married but then my daughter got killed and that changed everything for me,” explained Robinson.
Robinson’s daughter was killed in a car accident, but taking in her 5 grandchildren wasn’t an easy transition.
Lawmakers are reviewing a bill to help families like the Robinsons provide for children that may be placed in their home. A kinship care provider is a relative who takes in another relative’s child, but different from a foster parent, they’re unpaid.
The kinship care bill would require the Department of Social Services to talk with a family about becoming a licensed foster care provider, which would allow them to get a monthly stipend to cover extra costs.
Sisters of Charity Foundation helps families in these situations. Chynna Phillips explained, “What we often see is that on a fixed income, small income now they have to take care of as little as 1 or 2 or as many as 6 children so you can only imagine what kind of struggles that would bring because of that they face unfortunate circumstances and poverty.”
Supporters of the bill say it helps families take care of the children by connecting them with that stipend, but it also benefits the child by keeping them close to home.
“They’re with people they know, who know them, people who cannot connect them to their culture, religion activities, to family gatherings, so it keeps them connected so they feel like they belong,” said Dr. Kimberly Janha, who has been helping Gillia Robinson with her 5 grandchildren.
The bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and House.
Right now foster care providers are paid between $300 and $500 a month per child.