Office of the
Probate Court Administrator
October 11, 2018
Contact: Vincent J. Russo
Manager of Communications
& Intergovernmental Relations
(860) 231-2442, ext. 332
Respite Grant Eligibility Extended
Hartford) The Connecticut Probate Court
Administrator announced today that a recent change in state law now allows more
guardians of children to apply for grants from the state Kinship Fund and
Respite Fund. Probate Courts have awarded grants to court-appointed guardians from
the two funds for more than a decade, but guardians were eligible prior to
October 1 only if related to the children.
Courts handle several different types of cases involving children, including
guardianships and adoptions. A guardianship case typically arises when parents
are unable to care for their children due to addiction, mental illness or
incarceration. In most cases, Probate Courts appoint a grandparent or other
relative to care for the children. In some cases, courts will appoint a close
family friend who has a long-standing relationship with the child.
grants are a real difference-maker in helping a child stay in a familiar
environment instead of going into the foster care system,” said Probate Court
Administrator Paul J. Knierim. “This program saves the state tens of millions of
dollars because it helps low-income guardians pay for basic needs of the
children in their care. Without this support, many more children would be in
Kinship Fund assists guardians in paying for necessities such as eyeglasses,
clothing, school supplies, school trips and sports fees. Often such expenses
are paid directly to the providers. Kinship grants are capped at $500 per child
or $2000 per family per year.
Respite Fund helps guardians with the cost of child care, housing,
transportation and food. These grants are capped at $2000 per year.
Guardians can apply to both funds, but must meet income
requirements to qualify. Local probate judges determine the amounts that are awarded.
FY 2018, which ended June 30, Probate Courts awarded $1,175,000 in Family
Respite grants to 2,086 children in the care of 1,508 families and $657,394 in Kinship
Fund grants to assist 1,922 children in the care of 1,370 guardians.
their inception, the grants were funded through the Children’s Trust Fund, then
through legislative appropriation. In recent years, budget cuts have required the
Probate Courts subsidize the program with revenue from probate fees.
Applications can be found at ctprobate.gov under the Children’s Matters