With adults already thinking back-to-school, Probate Judge Beverly K. Streit-Kefalas reminds court-appointed guardians to apply for grants for school supplies. Probate courts have been awarding grants from the state Kinship Fund and Respite Fund to court-appointed guardians for more than a decade. As of last October, eligibility for the grants was expanded beyond relatives serving as guardians to all those appointed by the probate courts who meet low-income guidelines.
A guardianship case typically arises in the Milford-Orange Probate Court when parents are unable to care for their children due to mental illness, substance abuse or incarceration. In most cases, probate courts appoint a grandparent or other relative to care for the children. In some cases, courts appoint a close family friend who has a long-standing relationship with the child. While foster parents receive funds from the state, court-appointed guardians do not receive such benefits. Guardians who meet eligibility requirements can receive some assistance through the Kinship and Respite Fund grants.