Grants Available to Guardians

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With so many Connecticut families needing funds, Westport-Weston Probate Judge Lisa Wexler reminds guardians caring for children that they may be eligible for thousands of dollars in grants to help with housing, food and transportation, as well as summer camp and other enrichment activities.

A guardianship case typically comes before the Westport-Weston Probate Court when persons other than natural parents become guardians of children. In most cases, Probate Courts appoint a grandparent or other relative to care for the children. In some cases, courts will appoint a close family friend who has a long-standing relationship with the child.

Appointing kinship guardians saves Connecticut an estimated $72 million a year by keeping thousands of children out of foster care. However, unlike foster parents, Probate Court-appointed guardians receive no financial support for taking on this incredibly important — and often unexpected — responsibility.

For more than a decade, local Probate Courts have annually awarded $2 million in grants from the state Kinship Fund and Respite Fund to guardians of children who meet low-income guidelines.

The Kinship Fund awards grants of up to $550 a child — or $2,200 a family — a year to help pay for necessities such as eyeglasses and clothing, or for enrichment activities such as summer camp, art supplies or creative books. The Respite Fund helps guardians with the cost of child care, rent, transportation and food. These grants are capped at $2,200 a year.

“The guardians often struggle to support these children,” said Judge Wexler. “These grants can help with that, as well as to help ensure that extras like summer camp aren’t impossible. We’re so pleased this money exists to help guardians and the children in their care.”

Guardians can apply for both funds, though a separate application for each is required. Amounts awarded to local residents are determined by the Westport-Weston Probate Court.

Applications can be found at under the Children’s Matters tab, or by contacting the Westport-Weston Probate Court at (203) 341-1100.

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