Kinship Care

What is Kinship Care?

Kinship Care is when an individual takes on the role as a full-time caregiver for a relative child. These situations are rarely planned, and in many situations, caregivers struggle with being able to financially support the child(ren) in their care. Kinship Care is a program designed to assist with the financial support of children residing outside of their home with a relative. Some benefits of Kinship Care are increased stability and safety as well as the ability to maintain family connections and cultural traditions. The program supports the concept of children residing with a relative to alleviate family stress or temporary familial issues, rather than being placed in foster care or other types of out-of-home placement.

The three basic eligibility requirements for Kinship Care are:

  • the basic needs of the child can be better met with the relative than with the parent;
  • the placement is in the best interests of the child;
  • and, the child currently or would potentially meet the requirements for court jurisdiction as being in need of protection or services if the child were to remain with his or her parent(s).

Other Program Requirements:

  • a criminal background check on the relative caretaker;
  • cooperation with the agency by the relative caretaker;
  • the relative caretaker must apply for other public assistance or benefits for which the child might be eligible;
  • The relative caretaker must cooperate with referral of the parents to child support, unless the relative caretaker requests and is granted a good cause exemption from cooperating with the referral to child support.
  • Kinship living arrangements must be reviewed no less frequently than every 12 months to determine if the eligibility requirements continue to be met.

To discuss eligibility or apply for Kinship Care in Columbia County, please contact Kinship Care Coordinator Ashley Pikalek at        (608) 742-9283 or

If inquiring about applying for Kinship Care, be prepared to provide the following:

  • Child's name and date of birth.
  • If there is a court order in place for the child such as guardianship.
  • Names and dates of birth of anyone residing in the household with the child.
  • Address and phone number for the caregiver of the child.


Kinship Care Application

Chapter 58:  Wisconsin Legislature:  Chapter DCF 58

Wisconsin Kinship Navigator

Wisconsin Kinship Navigator is a resource for relative caregivers of children to access necessary information and resources to support the children in their home.