Kinship Care Resources

Kinship Care Resources

Kinship care not only requires family members to provide the emotional support to help children displaced from their homes, but also to bear the responsibility for providing a good home, healthcare, food, clothing and more.

Various programs are available to help kinship caregivers meet the needs of their growing families.

The following is a list of resources available to kinship caregivers in Summit County.

Maintaining a family can be economically difficult. With the unplanned addition of one or more children, finances can become increasingly strained. There are several governmental programs that may be able lessen your financial burden.

Ohio Works First (OWF)

Kinship caregivers and the children in their care are eligible to receive OWF, a monthly cash assistance program. This assistance is available until the child reaches 18 years of age, or 21 years of age if the child is in school. There are two types of assistance to choose from. The first type of assistance is provided for the child only. Child-Only benefits can be received regardless of the caregivers’ income. Child-Only benefits consist of monetary assistance, and a medical card/insurance. The second type of assistance is provided on behalf of the caregiver and the child. The assistance can include monetary assistance, as well as food stamps, and a medical card/insurance. This type of assistance is dependent upon the caregiver’s income. If the caregiver and the child do not have a blood relationship, the caregiver may be eligible for Disability benefits, which includes monetary assistance. This type of assistance is not based on income.

To access this program, contact:

Summit County Department of Job and Family Services
1180 S Main St #102
Akron, OH 44301
PHONE: 844-640-OHIO (6446)
HOURS: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI provides monthly cash assistance to children and adults who have mental and/or physical disabilities. Recipients get a monthly check to use toward medical needs and other living expenses. The amount of the benefits depends on the individual’s disability and financial need. In order to get SSI benefits for yourself or a child for whom you care, you must first show that you or the child under your care is disabled.

Eligibility is also based on financial need. The family income level determines the amount of the monthly SSI check. The higher the income, the smaller the SSI check. Maximum income and resource levels vary depending on whether the applicant is a child or an adult. Your SSI caseworker can help you understand these income and resource guidelines.

To receive SSI, you must be living in the U.S. or the Northern Mariana Islands and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Blind
  • Disabled


Child Support

Kinship caregivers who are financially strained, can request child support from the child’s parents.

The Ohio Child Support Program provides services that help to ensure children receive the financial and medical support they are legally entitled to and deserve. In order to be eligible for child support, a caregiver must have physical custody of the child. This means that the child must live with and be cared for full-time by the caregiver. The amount of child support that the child’s parents will be ordered to pay depends on both their ability to pay and the needs of the child. If the caregiver is already receiving Ohio Works First for the child, child support will be paid directly to the county department of job and family services.

Every county has a child support enforcement agency (CSEA) that provides services to obtain and maintain child support. A CSEA can help order child support wage withholding from a parent’s paycheck, intercept tax returns, help to locate an absent parent and/or establish paternity.


Help Me Grow

Help Me Grow is a program designed for all Ohioans to:

  • Help pregnant women get earlier prenatal care
  • Help parents and caretakers keep their children healthy
  • Help parents and caretakers find health information
  • Help families find information about early child growth
  • Help make sure children get all of their shots, or immunizations, by age two

Help Me Grow provides services such as:

  • The “Help Me Grow Wellness Guide,” which offers health tips and coupons valued at over $500
  • The Help Me Grow Helpline which helps you find low cost health care, referrals to social service agencies, food and nutrition, child care, car seats and immunizations

Help Me Grow also provides free information regarding:

  • Foster Care and Adoption
  • Child Safety
  • Positive Parenting

Contact Help Me Grow at:

Helpline: (800) 755-GROW (4769)

Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH)

The Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH) is a tax-supported, state-administered program in the Ohio Department of Health. The mission of BCMH is to assure children with special healthcare needs and their families obtain comprehensive care and services.

BCMH has three programs to serve children with special health care needs and their families.

  • The Service Coordination Program helps families locate and coordinate services for their child.
  • The Diagnostic and Treatment Programs link families with quality care providers and help pay for the medical care of eligible children with medical handicaps.
  • BCMH also has a Premium Payment Assistance Program. This program assists qualified families with the payment of their high-cost insurance premiums, including COBRA premiums. This prevents the loss of a family’s private health insurance.

Many kinship caregivers require childcare. Due to the high cost of childcare, financial assistance is also often needed. Please refer to the following programs, which may provide some relief to your childcare needs.

Summit County Department of Job and Family Services’ (SCDJFS) Title XX Childcare Program

Childcare services are provided to children of eligible parents and caregivers in order to support their work, school, and training efforts and assist families toward self-sufficiency. Childcare services are provided to children in certified homes or licensed centers. Families with income falling below 185% of the federal poverty level can receive payment for all or part of monthly childcare expenses that are provided by a certified or licensed childcare provider. The provider receives payment from SCDJFS for approved periods of childcare.

Apply in person, mail application or apply on the SCDJFS website:

Summit County Department of Job & Family Services
Childcare Unit 1180 S Main St #102 Akron, OH 44301
PHONE: 844-640-OHIO (6446)
HOURS: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA)

The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) is a public agency chartered by the State of Ohio, which provides subsidized housing to eligible citizens of Summit County. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to apply. Any applicant who has an outstanding monetary balance with AMHA cannot apply for AMHA housing until the balance is paid in full. Applicants who have been convicted of a felony should contact AMHA prior to applying, in order to check eligibility for housing assistance. Various housing programs offered by AMHA are as follows:


Subsidized Housing

Subsidized housing is housing based on your income. Depending on the amount of income you may be receiving (including employment wages, unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, veteran’s benefits, SSI, social security, OWF benefits, child support, etc.), you may be eligible to have a portion of your monthly rent paid in the form of a government subsidy. When residing in subsidized housing units, residents are usually required to re-sign a lease (if they choose to remain in the housing) and provide current income information on a yearly basis. Throughout the year, applicants are required to inform the unit’s financial department of any change in income.

  • Conventional Housing: Housing for families, seniors and singles that is managed and maintained by AMHA. AMHA does not provide emergency housing. The offer for housing will be based on family size and may be anywhere in Summit County.
  • Section 8 Voucher programs: This program consists of housing privately owned and operated by individual landlords. The client will be contacted by the Section 8 department when his or her application comes to the top of the waiting list. All pertinent information will be provided at the briefing.
  • Rosemary Square: Located near S. Arlington Street and Waterloo Road. This program consists of 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom units owned by AMHA and managed by Summit Management.
  • Modern Rehab: This program consists of 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom units operated by the Section 8 department. Private landlords will contact you when a vacancy is available.
  • Single Room Occupancy (SRO): Located at the Midtown Apartments on East Market Street. This program offers efficiency apartments only. The person who is applying must be single and homeless. Applications are taken at Midtown Apartments on a monthly basis and the waiting list is based on vacancy.

Food, clothing, furniture, and appliances are basic needs, but obtaining them can be difficult when finances are strained. The following programs can help meet a variety of needs:

Prevention, Retention, and Contingency (PRC)

The PRC program provides low-income families with temporary financial help and support services for emergency situations. PRC benefits help families stay self-sufficient by meeting urgent needs.

Services include:


  • Car repair and insurance
  • Clothing
  • Employment expenses, such as tools or uniforms
  • Education training
  • Home repairs and appliances
  • Legal services
  • Rent and utility payments
  • Transportation
  • Counseling services, including parenting classes
  • Pregnancy prevention
  • Financial planning

Summit County Department of Job and Family Services
1180 S Main St #102
Akron, OH 44301
PHONE: 844-640-OHIO (6446)
HOURS: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Summit County residents who are pregnant, breastfeeding, suffering from postpartum depression and have infants/children under five (5) years of age who are at nutritional risk and qualify under the income guidelines may be eligible for this program.

WIC provides:

  • Nutrition education and breastfeeding support
  • Immunization screening and referral
  • Referral for maternal, prenatal and pediatric health care
  • Coupons to shop at local grocery stores for infant formula, milk, juice, cereal, eggs, cheese, beans, and peanut butter
  • Voter registration


Summit County Public Health
1867 W. Market Street
Akron, OH 44313
PHONE: 330.375.2142
HOURS: M, W, Th, F 8am – 4pm; Tu 11am – 7pm

Good Neighbors

Services provided:

  • Clothing for the family
  • Special School Clothing Project
  • Emergency food
  • Christmas Project
  • Layettes
  • Small household items and linens

Referrals must be made from the following organizations:

  • Greenleaf Family Center
  • Public Health Nurses
  • Area Churches and Synagogues
  • Info Line
  • Area Hospitals
  • Summit County Children Services
  • Summit County Department of Jobs & Family Services
  • Community Support Services, Inc.
  • School Counselors and Teachers
  • Akron-Summit Community Action, Inc.
  • Akron Urban League
  • Battered Women’s Shelter
  • United Services for All

*Eligibility: Low income families


The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army provides for basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. The Salvation Army also invests its time in the human spirit by offering counseling, education programs, recovery/support programs, and spiritual support for those willing to accept it.


The kinship caregiver role requires much love, patience, and persistence, but one important aspect of maintaining a kinship family is support. Supportive services have a significant influence on the success of kinship placements, and all kinship caregivers are urged to take advantage of supportive services as much as possible. Please review the following information regarding the supportive services that are available to meet your specific needs.

Ohio Dept. of Job & Family Services

The Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS) has developed a booklet for kinship caregivers. It has information and ideas about:

  • Meeting the child’s needs
  • Services that can help
  • Applying for cash benefits
  • Common problems
  • Making decisions about legal issues
  • Services for children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned

Download the ODJFS Resource Guide for Relatives Caring for Children

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