Grandparents and other relatives care for millions of children in foster care and outside the formal child welfare system. Both non-relative and relative foster parents must go through a foster care agency to legally become a foster family and to receive foster care payment reimbursements. Although foster families are increasingly comprised of extended family members, relatives have no legal obligation to become a child’s caregiver. Relative caregivers and foster parents often do not know that they may be able to claim the children they take care of for the EITC or the CTC.
- Foster care agencies and child welfare agencies
- Family counseling and crisis intervention programs
- Grandparent and foster parent support groups
- Programs for seniors
1. Highlight the eligibility of foster parents and relative caregivers in outreach materials.
Campaign materials that refer only to a parent’s eligibility will miss many families that may qualify.
2. Work with public foster care agencies.
State agencies, such as child welfare agencies and agencies that administer TANF programs, may interact on a regular basis with foster parents and relative caregivers. Encourage them to incorporate information on claiming the EITC and the CTC in any training they provide for families. They also can send information about the tax credits with foster care payments and cash assistance payments and talk about the credits during home visits.
3. Reach out to community-based programs.
Find programs that support foster parents or grandparents raising grandchildren with services such as family counseling and crisis intervention. Some organizations also offer help with school supplies and clothes.
4. Involve associations and support groups.
Ask your state foster care association to share tax credit information with local groups or contact area grandparents raising grandchildren support groups. Outreach Campaigns can offer to arrange a speaker for local meetings or write an article for association newsletters. To locate your state and local foster care associations, visit the National Foster Parent Association website at www.nfpainc.org.
5. Work with organizations that share information with seniors.
Ensure that Area Agencies on Aging, senior employment programs and programs that recruit seniors as volunteers — such as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) — share information about the tax credits with seniors who are raising children. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), sponsored by the IRS, provides seniors and lower-income families with free tax filing assistance. AARP is the largest TCE participant, providing services through its Tax-Aide Program. To find the nearest Tax-Aide Program, contact AARP at 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669). During tax time, locations are available on the AARP website.