2220 Living With a Caretaker - A child must be living in a home with a caretaker. A person must have one of the following relationships to the child in order to be a caretaker under this provision:


  1. Any blood relative (or one of half-blood) who is within the fifth degree of kinship to the dependent child. An appropriate relative is therefore a parent, (biological or adoptive) grandparent, sibling, great-grandparent, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, great-great grandparent, great uncle or aunt, first cousin, great-great-great grandparent, great-great uncle or aunt, or a first cousin once removed.


    An example of a great uncle would be the brother of the grandparent of the dependent child. An example of the great-great uncle would be the brother of the great grandparent of the dependent child. An example of a first cousin once removed who would qualify as a caretaker would be an adult child of a first cousin of the dependent child. Another example of first cousins once removed would be in the relationship between a dependent child and the first cousin of that child's parent. Second cousins are not within the allowable degree of relationship. An example of second cousins would be two persons whose parents are first cousins. See the Relationship Chart in the Tables/Charts portion of the Appendix Section for illustrations of allowable relationships.

  2. A relative who is within the fifth degree of kinship to the dependent child by marriage.
  3. Legally adoptive parents and other relatives of adoptive parents as designated in groups (1) and (2).

  4. A person who is court-appointed to be:

    • a guardian;

    • a conservator; or

    • the legal custodian.

  5. The spouses or former spouses (after marriage is terminated by death or divorce) of any persons named in the above groups.

When a person in the home with a child is considered the father based on statements from the client(s) or other documentation as appropriate, he shall be treated as the father for purposes of the provision. However, a referral to CSS for a voluntary paternity acknowledgement is required. If he chooses not to sign necessary documents because he questions paternity, he will continue to be considered part of the mandatory filing unit as per 4100 and his income and resources will be considered in the eligibility and benefit determination.

Verification of relationship or status to the child is required in all non-parental situations (i.e., grandparents, aunts, uncles, conservators, etc.). Applicants will be allowed up to 90 days from the date of the application to provide verification of relationship as long as a bona fide effort is being made. Failure to do so will result in ineligibility for the child. Also see 1322.1 (10).


As long as the caretaker has day to day responsibilities for the care and control of the child, eligibility continues even though the child is under the jurisdiction of a court for probation or protective supervision, or legal custody is held by an agency that does not have physical possession of the child.


NOTE: There are situations in which the rule that a child must be living with a caretaker will conflict with the mandatory filing unit rule. For example, John applies for TANF for himself and his two sons. Also living in his home is Scott, his children’s half-brother, who has the same mother but a different father. The boys’ mother and John were never married, even by common law; therefore, there is no caretaker relationship between John and Scott. The three boys are a mandatory filing unit, however, due to their blood relationship. The father is also part of this mandatory filing unit because he is legally responsible for his two sons. In this and similar situations, the mandatory filing unit rules will take precedence over the caretaker relative rules. The assistance plan must include John and all three boys.


2221 Joint Custody Situations - In situations of joint custody where a child resides with each parent within a calendar month, and both parents are applying for benefits, the parent who has the primary responsibility for exercising parental control, may apply and receive assistance for that child if otherwise eligible. Eligibility for assistance for the child or children in joint custody cannot be split between the separate parents and, therefore, both parents cannot receive benefits for the same child for the same month.

If neither parent can be shown to be the parent with whom the child resides a majority of the time (over 50%) and no other factor shows that one parent has the primary responsibility for the child, then the parents must designate which household will include the child. If the parents will not designate which household will include the child, then the parent who applied for assistance first will receive benefits for the child. If only one parent is applying for assistance benefits, then the child(ren) are to be included in the assistance household with that parent. No additional statements from either of the parents regarding the living arrangements of the children should be requested as they are not needed to provide assistance to the children in a joint custody situation when only one parent is requesting assistance.


2222 Minor Parent Not Living with Caretaker - A minor parent (including a minor expectant mother or father) who is not able to act in own behalf per 2110 and not living with a caretaker as defined in this section may qualify for assistance provided an adult in the family group is applying for or receiving assistance on the minor parent's behalf. Examples: A minor father living with his child and the child's grandmother (not the minor father's parent) can be eligible even though the grandmother does not qualify as a caretaker to the minor father. A pregnant minor not able to act in own behalf living with her unborn's adult father can be eligible even though the father does not qualify as a caretaker to the minor mother.


NOTE: Anytime a minor's health or safety is judged to be at risk, a referral to Prevention and Protection Services would be appropriate.


2223 Temporary Absence of A Child or Caretaker - A child or caretaker who remains a part of the household, but is, or is expected to be, out of the home for 180 consecutive days or less, shall, if otherwise eligible, qualify to receive assistance. In addition, a caretaker who is out of the home for employment or to fulfill a work requirement shall also qualify as a part of the household regardless of the length of time away. A child who is out of the home for a temporary visit with the noncustodial parent and who is expected to return within 180 days shall remain on the custodial parent's TANF case and CSS shall be notified of the absence. A child out of the home attending school or in Job Corps remains a part of the household as long as he/she intends to return to the household, regardless of the expected length of absence. The determining factor in the case of a temporarily absent child shall be the caretaker's continued responsibility for the care and control of the absent child. The determining factor in the case of a temporarily absent caretaker shall be the caretaker's continued responsibility for the care and control of the children remaining in the home. If the anticipated stay lasts longer than the 180 consecutive days, the individual should be removed, or in the case of a single child on the case, closed, at the end of the 180 day period.




  1. For applicants and recipients, whether adult or child, who are temporarily absent due to hospitalization, assistance may be approved and/or continued only if the hospital stay is not expected to exceed the month of admission and the two following months. (See 2223.)
  2. An adult or child who is in jail or prison or a juvenile detention or correctional facility shall not be eligible for assistance while incarcerated. (See 4141.)
  3. If a child's needs are being met through foster care payments, the child may not receive a TANF payment. [See 4113 (3)]. However, the caretaker and other children may remain eligible.

NOTE: If the person who cares for the TANF children during a parent's or caretaker's temporary absence is employed and needs child care, see 4420 (2).