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A grandmother and her teenage grandson sit on the couch with coffee mugs. The grandson smiles at the grandmother, who is laughing with her head on his shoulder. Both individuals are Black.

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Relative Caregiver Supports in Tennessee

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The Tennessee Relative Caregiver Program

The Tennessee Relative Caregiver Program (RCP) is an option available for relatives to care for non-custodial children who require care outside of their biological parents. Through the RCP program, children and relative caregivers receive supportive services geared toward prevention and maintaining the child to stay within the family instead of entering foster care.
The family has access to several opportunities to support them, and potentially a monthly stipend for those who qualify.

Who is eligible for RCP services?: The relative caregiver must be related to the child by blood, marriage or adoption. The relative caregiver must have primary care and control of the child through informal family arrangements or through legal custody or guardianship. The birth parent(s) must not reside in the caregiver’s home. The relative caregiver shall not
have a total adjusted household income that exceeds twice the current Federal Poverty Guideline based on the size of the family unit Once RCP and the caregiver meet, there will also be financial eligibility determined to be enrolled to the program.

In addition to the standard RCP eligibility criteria, additional criteria applies to qualify for a monthly Stipend, a final custody order of the court, Caregiver is 21 years of age or older, and the relative caregiver agrees to seek the establishment and enforcement of child support.

RCP agencies deliver the following core services:

  • Information and Referral – for counseling or any other local services needed
  • Support Groups – to give caregivers a space to grow as a relative caregiver, for children seeking an outlet
  • Education and Informational Workshops
  • Respite & Enrichment Services – such as games and events that are no cost to the caregiver
  • Family Advocacy – Case Management with caregiver, child, birth parent
  • Financial and/or Start-up Assistance – such as replacement mattresses, clothing, assistance with buying school supplies, infant needs, etc.
  • Information about applying for TANF, SNAP, Child Only Grant
  • Supporting in locating birth certificates, social security cards, and insurance cards

Download this resource flyer, which includes contact information for each region.

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