Relative Caregiver Program – Tennessee
Omni Visions is honored to be able to collaborate with the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) in providing Relative Caregiver services in the following DCS regions of Tennessee:
East Tennessee region*
Smoky Mountain region**
Mission and Goals of the Relative Caregiver Program
The mission and primary goal of the Relative Caregiver Program is to provide a comprehensive regional support network to promote family stability for children who are at risk of (or have been the victim of) abuse and neglect, by ensuring their continued successful development in the care of relative caregivers.
A secondary goal is to create a separate support network, one which exists outside the formal child welfare system of foster care for relative children not in state custody.
Description of the Relative Caregiver Program
The program recognizes that relative caregivers are a natural resource for caring for many children requiring out-of-home care and can help keep children from entering (or re-entering) the formal child welfare system. Relative caregivers also help children maintain familial and cultural connections within their own family system.
Omni provides direct services and collaborates with other agencies and local stakeholders to enable an inter-connected safety net of needed services, one which complements existing supports.
The Relative Caregiver Program provides the following services within the relative caregiver’s home and local community:
1. Assessment of needs
2. Home and community-based services
3. Relative caregiver support groups
4. Activity and support groups for children and teens in relative placements
5.Education and workshops for children, teens, parents and relative caregivers
6.Respite and enrichment opportunities
7. Family advocacy (including short-term case management with the caregiver(s), child(ren) and birth parent(s)
8. Outreach assistance
9. One-time emergency and/or start-up assistance
Eligibility for the Relative Caregiver Program
Eligibility is determined by existing and published DCS guidelines:
1. The relative caregiver may have a legal relationship with the child through custody or guardianship, or be raising the child informally
2. The caregiver must be related to the child by blood, marriage or adoption
3. The relative caregiver must be able to provide a safe home and be committed to providing the home as long as is necessary and appropriate
4. The relative caregiver must be willing to take part in an in-home assessment
5. The relative caregiver must agree to accept supportive services
All Omni services, including the Relative Caregiver Program, are voluntary. Relative caregivers are empowered to make informed and self-determined decisions regarding their interest in receiving services and support.
Emergency and Start-Up Financial Assistance
Emergency Financial and/or Start-Up Assistance may be available—assistance that allows for one-time direct financial payments for items such as:
1. Basic needs items for children coming into a relative caregiver’s home
2. Transitional child-care assistance
3.The purchase of furniture to adapt to care of the child
In order to receive one-time emergency financial or start-up assistance from the program, the family must not be receiving any type of kinship payment or subsidy and household income cannot exceed twice the Federal Poverty Guideline.
For additional information or to make a referral, call Omni toll-free at (877) 258-8795.
*The East Tennessee region includes the counties of Monroe, Loudon, Roane, Morgan, Anderson, Scott, Campbell and Union.
**The Smoky Mountain region includes the counties of Grainger, Hamblen, Sevier, Blount, Jefferson, Claiborne and Cocke.
*** The Northeast region includes the counties of Hancock, Hawkins, Washington, Greene, Johnson, Carter, Sullivan and Unicoi.
All families served through the Relative Caregiver Program must physically and legally reside within Knox County or one of the aforementioned regions.