Questions & Answers: Challenges
for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Many issues arise when caring for children. With this FAQ section, a caregiver
can feel confident that the information needed to answer even the most difficult
questions us available.
- What financial assistance is available for grandparents
- Is my income counted to determine my grandchild's
eligibility for services?
- I am a grandparent over 60 years old raising my
grandchild. Where can I go for services for seniors?
- I have a notarized statement
from the parent to act as the temporary guardian for the grandchild. Can
this statement be used as a legal document when seeking services for the
- Is there any low income legal
assistance to help me with issues such as custody, power of attorney, or
- Can child support payments be
transferred to me now that my grandchildren are living with me?
- Can I get help to pay for
childcare for my grandchildren?
- Does the childcare services
include the Head Start program?
- If I qualify for assistance to
pay for childcare, can I choose the provider?
- What should I look for when
choosing a child care facility?
- What does it mean to be a
Licensed or Registered childcare provider?
- I cannot afford medical
insurance for my grandchild. What is available?
- What other medical insurance is
- How do the grandchildren
qualify for Medicaid and/or CHIP health insurances?
- Can I authorize medical care
for my grandchildren even though I do not have legal custody?
- Where can I get affordable
low-income housing for myself and my grandchildren?
Q. What financial assistance is available for grandparents
A. Texas Department of Health and Human Services provides financial assistance
to families with dependent children. To determine eligibility for services
contact your local office.
For more information, contact the Texas Department of Health & Human
Services at 1-877-236-6500. Services are:
Other Financial Assistance:
Q. Is my income counted to determine my grandchild's eligibility for
A. Yes and no. For most services, eligibility for programs funded by federal,
state, or local programs is usually based on family income (example: Food
Stamps). However, other programs (example: Child Only Grant) is for the child
and based only on the child's income. Any income you have from working, Social
Security benefits, child support, and/or a pension, will generally count
whether you have legal custody or guardianship of the grandchild.
Note: We advise grandparents to apply for all services because there may be
unknown exceptions that will help them qualify for the services.
Q. I am a grandparent over 60 years old raising my grandchild. Where can I
go for services for seniors?
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Q. As I seek assistance, what documents should I take with me to
A. It is best to call ahead to verify which documents are needed for the
assistance you are seeking. Here are some documents that might be required:
- Birth certificate of
- Picture ID
- (Formal) legal document
identifying your custody of the grandchildren/(Informal) notarized
parental consent statement
- Proof of residency
- Income-check stubs for the past
six (6) months
How and where do I obtain birth certificates?
A. Each county is responsible for registering all birth certificates and can
provide certified copies for $23.00. Contact the Brazoria County Clerk's Office at 979-864-1355. The
following information is needed:
- Valid Identification
- Full name of the grandchild
- Date of birth
- Mother's full name (maiden)
- Father's full name
- Place of birth (Hospital and City)
Note: If the father is not listed on the birth certificate and the paternal
grandparent is the one filing for the birth certificate, that grandparent will
not be able to receive the birth certificate, unless legal documentation can be
presented for custody of the grandchild.
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Q. I have a notarized statement from the parent to act as the
temporary guardian for the grandchild. Can this statement be used as a legal
document when seeking services for the grandchild?
A. Yes, but not for all services. The notarized statement is utilized at
hospitals and school systems. However, some child care services do not accept
the notarized statement but may grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Grandparents can petition for an exception by contacting the child care agency
to appeal their decision to deny services.
Q. Is there any low income legal assistance to help me with
issues such as custody, power of attorney, or adoption?
A. Yes. Some free legal assistance and/or discounted fees are available from
volunteer attorneys. Also, some private law firms have attorneys who will take
cases on a "pro bono" (no charge) basis. Many of these free services
are based on a low income requirement.
Q. Can child support payments be transferred to me now that
my grandchildren are living with me?
A. Yes. You will need to make an application with the Office of the Attorney
General. They can help you decide what is possible in your situation. For further
information contact: Office of the Attorney General at 800-252-8014.
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Q. Can I get help to pay for childcare for my grandchildren?
A. Yes, depending on your family income. A requirement for childcare is that
the grandparent or kinship caregiver must be working and/or attending an
approved training program. The program pays a portion of childcare expenses,
you will have a co-pay.
Q. Does the childcare services include the Head Start
A. Yes. Head Start is a child development program for preschool children ages 3
to 5 years. It provides activities for children to help them grow physically,
socially, emotionally and mentally. You must income qualify for Head Start
services. For more information call 979-849-1881 visit them on-line at www.headstartbc.org. Additionally, some Early Head Start
programs are available for children birth to three years of age.
Q. If I qualify for assistance to pay for childcare, can I
choose the provider?
A. Yes. You can choose the provider you want but they must have space for your
grandchildren and be willing to take the amount of money that you can pay for
Q. What should I look for when choosing a child care
A. It is important to visit several different facilities before you make a
decision. At each facility speak with the staff who will care for your
grandchild and talk with other families who use the provider. Pay attention to
how clean the facility is, if staff supervise the children at all times how the
children spend their time and if the program is regulated. Count the number of
children and the number of adults in each classroom. Ask yourself if you would
like to spend 8-10 hours every day in the program.
Q. What does it mean to be a Licensed or Registered
A. In the state of Texas child care facilities are regulated by the Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Child Care Licensing
Division and they must comply with "Minimum Standards." To view the
minimum standards and check for compliance please visit www.dfps.state.tx.us or contact the
agency by phone at 979-864-1428. If you see anything distressing when visiting
programs please report it to the number listed above.
Q. I cannot afford medical insurance for my grandchild. What is
A. Medicaid is health insurance for low income children which cover health care
costs, including doctor's visits and eye care. Medicaid eligibility is based on
the child's income, not the grandparent's.
Q. What other medical insurance is available?
A. CHIP (Child Health Insurance Program) provides affordable and comprehensive
health insurance. It covers children in working families that earn too much
income to qualify for Medicaid but not able to afford regular health insurance.
Q. How do the grandchildren qualify for Medicaid and/or CHIP
A. Medicaid eligibility is based on the child's income status not the
grandparent's. To qualify for CHIP, eligibility depends on the family's income.
Q. Can I authorize medical care for my grandchildren even
though I do not have legal custody?
A. Yes. A "Consent for Medical Treatment by a Non-parent" form can be
provided by the grandparent seeking medical treatment for the grandchild. The
form, signed by the parent, gives parental permission to the grandparent to
obtain medical treatment for the grandchild. To obtain a medical consent form
and further information, contact the Texas Legal Services Center: A free legal
service for Texans at 1-800-622-2520 or log on to www.tlsc.org.
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Q. Where can I get affordable low-income housing for myself and my
A. Housing is available through local housing authorities, neighborhood housing
development programs and housing coalitions. Eligibility is determined by the
individual housing agency.
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