Benefits for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children
The Family Law in British Columbia website provides an excellent resource page on Benefits for grandparents and other relatives raising children. The page gives an overview of benefits that those raising a relative’s child may be entitled to, depending on whether one has a guardianship, custody, or an adoption order; are informally caring for a child; or are a foster parent (where the child has been place with you by MCFD).
The site stresses the importance of speaking to a lawyer or qualified community advocate before making decisions about what legal status to take on in caring for a child, and consulting with the responsible child protection worker for guidance if MCFD is providing services for the child.
The site provides links to:
- The Canada Revenue Agency website for general information about federal benefits
- The BC Federation of Foster Parents’ website, which lists a telephone support line and contains information about providing foster care
- The Parent Support Services Society (PSS) website, which provides information and advocacy services, as well as a variety of publications, including an updated online brochure Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Legal Issues and Resources, the 200-page online guide Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Legal Guide, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Resource Book, and The New Family Law and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. [PSS also provides regional supports for grandparents raising grandkids (GRG), including a monthly Vancouver Island Grand Connection newsletter, a GRG Support Line, and GRG Support Circles in partnership with community agencies in the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley, in Victoria and mid/northern Vancouver Island, and in Prince George.]
The Family Law site also provides an easy-to-read grid outline to assist in determining who is eligible for benefits, listing some of the benefits that may be available to people who are caring for a relative’s child, and when one may be able to receive them, bearing in mind that there are financial and other eligibility requirements for some of the benefits.
A second table lists the benefits available and gives the appropriate link for finding out more general information on each of the listed benefits: including MCFD Extended Family Program; CPP Children’s Benefits; CRA Child Disability Benefit, Child Tax Benefit and Universal Child Care Benefit (for children under 6); EI Family Supplement; MCFD-recommended low income Child Care Subsidy, Regular Income Assistance Benefits (including PPMB and PWD benefits) and Foster Parent payments and benefits; maintenance (child support) from biological parents; BC’s Adoption Expense Tax Credit; and BC’s Children’s Education Fund.
This site provides a useful starting point for those considering taking on the care of a relative’s child, and for those working in a community setting with families facing this decision.
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