FAQ Categories

General

RAPP (the Relatives as Parents Program) provides resources to families through support groups, referrals, as well as through supportive projects like the back to school and holiday items project. Grandparents and other family members who have become full-time primary caregivers for another relative’s child or children can often also be called kinship caregivers.
Relatives may step into provide care for many reasons. There are five general reasons seen most often:neglect, major illness, substance issues, incarceration, or death. Sometimes within a family, an illness or the absence of a parent(s) means that a grandparent or another relative takes the parental role in raising the child without being contacted by social services.  We call this an “informal kinship” arrangement. Sometimes Social Services is involved if there has been alleged abuse or neglect of a child. In some scenarios the child is placed with relatives for safety reasons, and continues to have connections to the family. We call this a “formal kinship” arrangement.
RAPP helps families in many ways.  Often when a child comes to a relative’s home in an informal way there has been little time to prepare, so we can help families find resources to assure basic needs such as a bed, weather appropriate clothing, etc.  Older relatives may need help getting children enrolled for school, or have questions about home-work help for the child.

Some families who have taken in children without involvement by DSS may want more formal custody, so we can refer them to Legal Aid’s custody clinic where they can learn how to file for temporary custody. 

We offer monthly support groups in order to help teach families about topics of interest.  Our services and groups are free and open to any caregiver, and the support group topics are driven by results of the annual survey sent to our kinship caregivers.  For example, grandparents may need updates on how to best help their children be successful in school.  We often have educators or school staff come to the support groups to share with kinship families. And for caregivers who may feel isolated, or feel that no one else can understand what they are going through, the support groups offer a chance to meet others who have had – or are having – similar experiences. Group members often provide both valuable information and emotional support to each other.

We provide a monthly newsletter that shares tips on resources in an easy to read and easy to understand way.  We include information that crosses all social and economic levels like filing taxes, relieving stress, or helping families understand appropriate discipline options for children. 

We work by collaborating with community partners to offset the high cost of caring for a child unexpectedly.  Our two special projects, back-to-school supplies, and our holiday gift project, were crafted to support kinship care families who may be struggling financially.
"Informal kinship" arrangements mean that the kinship caregiver may be eligible for the Work First Child Only Assistance Payment.  Payment is only for those who are immediate family members to the child, which includes grandparents, aunts, uncles or siblings. Any child who does not have immediate family caring for them is ineligible for this assistance.  Payments are $181 for one child, $236 for two children, and $278 for three children – that is total and not per child.  

RAPP supports any family who is giving primary care to a relative’s child.  We support families that receive the Work First payment as well as those that are ineligible. We will confirm that the child primarily lives with you as caregiver.
RAPP grew out of the insightfulness of a Supervisor at the Department of Social Services who noticed a local trend of increased numbers of relative caregivers. Evelyn Hardy, now retired from Social Services, then sought out a grant from the Brookdale Foundation to fund support groups to serve these increasing numbers of kinship families.  Our agency received the seed grant and RAPP was created in 2003.  Our special projects have been in place since 2006 and grew out of another RAPP Coordinator creatively deciding to help families offset two high expense times: back to school and the holidays.
If you are a kinship caregiver, simply complete the Contact Us link at this site. We can add you to our mailing list, and you will begin receiving information about the program and our resources.  If you have immediate questions, just call us at the number provided.

If you are interested in supporting our program in some way, please let us know that through the Contact Us link as well.  We will get back to you to talk about how you might be able to begin supporting kinship families in our program.