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                                                         STATE OF CONNECTICUT


                                                                      Office of the

                                                         Probate Court Administrator




October 11, 2018

                                                                                                                                                 Contact: Vincent J. Russo

Manager of Communications

& Intergovernmental Relations

                (860) 231-2442, ext. 332



Kinship & Respite Grant Eligibility Extended

to Non-Relative Guardians


(West 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.


Probate 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.


“The 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 foster care.”


The 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.


The 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. 


In 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.


At 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 under the Children’s Matters tab.