PM 03-05-01: Caretaker Relative

WAG 03-05-01

A caretaker relative must be related to the child by blood, adoption, or marriage. Relatives by blood or adoption must be within the 5th degree of kinship. See WAG 03-05-01-e for specific kinship definitions (e.g., first cousin once removed) and a list of items to prove relative status. A person who is or was married to a relative within the 5th degree of kinship can be a caretaker relative. A step-sibling can be a caretaker relative.

new textFor Family Health Plans, a child can qualify for All Kids benefits through age 18. However, to meet the definition of 'caretaker relative', the relative must live with a 'dependent child'. A dependent child is defined as a child less than 18 years old. For example, a parent whose only child is 18 years old would not qualify for the FamilyCare program as a parent/caretaker relative. Rather, that parent may qualify for the ACA Adult program.

A caretaker relative must be one of these:

  • Blood Relatives
    • first degree
      • Father or Mother
      • Co-parent
    • 2nd degree
      • Brother or Sister
      • Grandfather or Grandmother
    • 3rd degree
      • Aunt or Uncle
      • Nephew or Niece
      • Great Grandfather or Great Grandmother
    • 4th degree
      • Great Aunt or Great Uncle
      • First Cousin
      • Great Great Grandfather or Great Great Grandmother
    • 5th degree
      • Great Great Aunt or Great Great Uncle
      • First Cousin once removed
      • Great Great Great Grandfather or Great Great Great Grandmother
  • Step Relatives
    • Stepfather or Stepmother
    • Stepbrother or Stepsister
  • Adoptive Relatives

    Adopted children are related to their adoptive parents and their relatives. The degree of kinship for adoptive parents and relatives is the same as blood relatives. A biological relative of an adopted child can be a caretaker relative. Filing unit policy applies only to the adoptive parents and siblings of the child. 

  • Spouse of Relative

    The spouse of a blood, step, or adoptive relative is the same degree of kinship as the relative. The spouse can be a caretaker relative even if the marriage has ended by death or divorce. 

  • Civil Union Partner of Relative (TANF)
    For TANF, the civil union partner of a blood, step, or adoptive relative is the same degree of kinship as the relative. The partner can be a caretaker relative even if the civil union has ended. 
  • Definition of a Co-Parent 
    A person listed as a co-parent on a child's birth certificate is related to the first degree.  
  • Definition of a Father

    To count a man as a child's father, he must be the legal father. He is the legal father if he was married to the child's mother, or in a civil union with the child's other parent when the child was conceived or born, unless there is a court order saying he is not the father. 

    If the mother was unmarried or not in a civil union when the child was conceived and born, the man is not the legal father unless one of the following things has happened: 

    • the man said in court that he is the father, or
    • he married the child's mother after the birth and his name is on the official birth record, or
    • there is a court order saying he is the father, or
    • the mother and father have both signed a statement that he is the father and it has been filed with the State.

    Once a man becomes a child's legal father, his relatives are the child's blood relatives. Their degree of kinship is the same as other blood relatives.

    If the alleged father of a child applies for TANF and the mother is not in the home, the case may be presumed eligible while the legal relationship (paternity) is being established.

    The alleged father must cooperate with the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) in establishing paternity. If he fails to cooperate, his status as the child's father can no longer be presumed, and he and the child are ineligible.

    As long as the alleged father is cooperating with DCSE, there is no time limit on how long the case can stay in presumed status.

    Policy used to say that a man could be considered a father if he signed a statement saying that he was the father of the child. Since March 4, 1991, this is no longer true. But if a man has continuously been in an AFDC/TANF case since before March 4, 1991, by signing a statement, he still qualifies. If he becomes ineligible for AFDC/TANF for another reason, the alleged father can only apply for TANF on a presumed basis and must cooperate with DCSE in establishing paternity. 

  • An Alleged Father's Relatives

    When a child has no legal father, a relative of the alleged father may qualify as the child's caretaker relative if the alleged father is not in the home. The alleged father's relative must show that they are related to him. They also must show that he is more than likely the natural father by one of the following:

    • a written statement signed by the alleged father or the child's mother saying he is the child's father; or
    • one of the items listed in WAG 03-05-01 with his name shown as father; or
    • other evidence that shows the relationship.

    See WAG 03-05-01-c  for more about how the alleged father's relatives can show they are related to the child.