Finances and Basic Needs

Raising a child is a very costly undertaking. Caregivers often find themselves with an increased financial burden when raising a relative child through Kinship care. This burden can appear to be very overwhelming at times, with seemingly few options and resources to assist these individuals. Programs and resources exist in order to provide financial assistance to caregivers.



In many Michigan communities you can dial "2-1-1" on your phone to connect to an information and referral service through the United Way. A local operator can help you find resources that are specific to your area. Please see for more information specific to your area.


Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has numerous locations throughout the state of Michigan and helps provide clothing, furniture, Utility Assistance, and Emergency Assistance Programs. Visit the Salvation Army’s website to learn more about how they can help and to search for locations in your community.


Assistance through MDHHS

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has multiple assistance programs that exist to help individuals in need. MDHHS provides cash assistance, food assistance, child care assistance, and medical assistance to eligible individuals. Eligibility is based upon need/income level for the majority of these programs. More information about these programs can be found in the paragraphs below and at MI Bridges. As MDHHS has a vast number programs and services they offer, visit our Working with the Michigan DHHS page to learn some tips about making your experience with MDHHS a useful and successful one.

Child Only Grant

While most of the assistance programs available through the MDHHS are based upon a caregiver’s (as head-of-household) income, the Child Only Grant is not. The Child Only Grant (also referred to as an Ineligible Grantee Award) is available for children who are being raised by a relative who is not a biological parent. This financial assistance is based upon the child’s income and assets; not the caregiver’s. to apply for the Child Only Grant, go to MDHHS and apply using the "Cash Assistance" button.  Make sure to note on the application that you are a Relative Caregiver applying on behalf of the child in your care. Contact the KCRC at 800-535-1218 if you have other questions.

Cash Assistance

Temporary cash assistance is available for eligible pregnant women and low-income individuals with children as well as for individuals who are disabled or who care for a disabled individual. In general, MDHHS will take into consideration your assets, income, and residency to determine what—if any—benefits you may be eligible for. More information about MDHHS’ cash assistance program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply can be found by visiting the MDHHS website.

Food Assistance

Individuals who are eligible can receive temporary food assistance. Eligibility is based upon the financial situation of all household members. Your income, assets, and residency are taken into account when determining eligibility. Eligible individuals are given a Bridge Care to purchase certain food items. More information about MDHHS’ food assistance program, eligibility requirements, and application process can be found on the MDHHS website.

Child Care Assistance

Financial assistance is available to low-income individuals that cannot afford to pay for child care and that fit income eligibility requirements. For most families, MDHHS pays less than the full cost of child care. Families are expected to pay the difference between the MDHHS payment & the provider’s actual charge. More information about child care assistance, eligibility requirements, and how to apply can be found by visiting the MDHHS website.

Medical Assistance

Health care coverage is available to individuals who otherwise cannot afford it; covering children, families, and adults who meet eligibility requirements. The programs differ and eligibility requirements vary between each program. To learn more about the programs that you may qualify for, visit the MI Bridges website.


Tax Information

Free assistance with preparing tax returns is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA for people who make roughly $54,000 or less. There are hundreds of VITA sites across Michigan where you can have your state, federal and city income taxes prepared and filed by a highly-trained IRS-certified volunteer preparer for free.

Also, Money Back in Michigan is a guide from the Michigan League for Public Policy to help low- and moderate-income Michigan families put hundreds or even thousands of dollars back into their household budgets by using free tax-filing help and making sure they file for all available credits and deductions. Money Back in Michigan explains these credits in an easy-to-read format.