News release

Support for Family Members Caring for Children Separated from Parents

A new program is supporting grandparents and other family members who care for children separated from their parents.

Alternative Family Care helps prevent children from coming into the care of the province by providing financial assistance to extended family members and other caregivers to support the children’s needs. The goal is to keep a familiar connection until the children are able to be reunited with their parents.

“The best scenario when children are separated from their parents is to stay in a loving home with people they are familiar with – and within their home communities,” said Community Services Minister Kelly Regan. “We heard from Nova Scotians – especially grandparents – that they have loving homes to provide, but they needed a little bit of financial assistance to cover expenses like food, clothing and the costs of having children stay with them. This program is providing the support grandparents or other close family members need.”

Under Alternative Family Care, the caregiver receives a start-up amount of $500 for the first child, and $250 per additional child, up to a maximum of $1,000 in the first month. They will then receive $250 per month, per child.

“I have been working in family resources for the last 27 years and have seen the many sacrifices families make to support the children in their family,” said Heather Johnstone, executive director, Parents and Children Together Resource Centre. “I believe that when children are not able to stay in the care of their parents, then the best place for them is in a safe familiar home.

“The Alternative Family Care program will enable this to become more of a reality for many families who would otherwise not be in a position to care for these children.”

Income through Alternative Family Care is not taxable and it does not affect the Guaranteed Income Supplement and does not impact the child or caregiver’s eligibility for other social programs such as Income Assistance, the Caregiver Benefit and the Child Care Subsidy.

Alternative Family Care is now available to families through their current protection worker. Community Services anticipates about 400 children, who are involved with child protection, will benefit from the program annually.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A new program is supporting grandparents and other family members who care for children separated from their parents.

Alternative Family Care helps prevent children from coming into the care of the province by providing financial assistance to extended family members and other caregivers to support the children’s needs. The goal is to keep a familiar connection until the children are able to be reunited with their parents.

The caregiver, such as grandparents or other family members, receives a start-up amount of 500-dollars for the first child, and 250-dollars per additional child, up to a maximum of 1,000-dollars in the first month. They then receive 250-dollars per month, per child, thereafter.

Alternative Family Care is now available to families through their current protection worker. Community Services anticipates about 400 children, who are involved with child protection, will benefit from the program annually.

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Shannon Kerr
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