Probate Judge David Baram reminds court-appointed guardians to apply for grants for school supplies. Probate Courts have been awarding grants from the state Kinship Fund and Respite Fund to court-appointed guardians for more than a decade. Eligibility for the grants was expanded beyond relatives serving as guardians to all those appointed by the Probate Courts who meet low-income guidelines.
A guardianship case typically arises in the Tobacco Valley Probate Court when parents are unable to care for their children due to mental illness, substance abuse or incarceration. Probate Courts appoint a grandparent or other relative to care for the children. While foster parents receive funds from the state, court-appointed guardians do not. Guardians who meet eligibility requirements can receive some assistance through the Kinship and Respite Fund grants.
“Grandparents, aunts and uncles and neighbors who keep children in their familiar environments instead of going to foster care save the state tens of millions of dollars. In many cases, the guardians don’t really have extra money to spend on a child’s basic needs,” said Judge David Baram. “Kinship and Respite Grants are there to help bridge the gap and make a huge difference to the households who apply for and receive them. I hope that court appointed guardians living in Bloomfield, Windsor Locks, East Granby and Suffield will take advantage of this program.”
The Kinship Fund assists guardians in paying for necessities such as school supplies, clothing, and sports fees. Kinship grants are capped at $500 per child or $2000 per family per year. The Respite Fund helps guardians with the cost of child care, housing, transportation and food.
Guardians who meet income requirements can apply to both funds. Previous recipients must reapply. Applications are posted at ctprobate.gov under the Children’s Matters tab.
Judge David Baram presides over the Tobacco Valley Probate Court with jurisdiction for the towns of Bloomfield, Windsor Locks, East Granby and Suffield.