Foster Parents, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Other Relative Caregivers 2013


According to the 2010 Census, 1.7 million grandparents raising grandchildren were in the labor force.

Millions of children are currently in foster care or are being cared for by a grandparent or other relative outside the formal child welfare system. These families often do not know that they may be able to claim such children for the EIC or the CTC.

  • Develop outreach materials that draw attention to the eligibility of foster parents and relative caregivers. Campaign materials that refer only to a parent’s eligibility will miss many families that may qualify.
  • Work with public foster care agencies. State agencies, such as child welfare agencies and agencies that administer TANF programs, may interact on a regular basis with foster parents and relative caregivers. Encourage them to incorporate information on claiming the EIC and the CTC in any training they provide for families. They also can send information about the tax credits with foster care payments and cash assistance payments and talk about the credits during home visits.
  • Reach out to community-based programs that support foster parents with services such as family counseling and crisis intervention. Some organizations also offer help with school supplies and clothes.
  • Involve foster parent associations and support groups. Ask your state foster care association to share tax credit information with local groups. Outreach Campaigns can offer to arrange a speaker for local meetings or write an article for association newsletters. To locate your state and local foster care associations, visit the National Foster Parent Association website at
  • Ensure that Area Agencies on Aging, senior employment programs and programs that recruit seniors as volunteers — such as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) — share information about the tax credits with seniors who are raising children. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), sponsored by the IRS, provides seniors and low-income families with free tax filing assistance. AARP is the largest TCE participant, providing services through its Tax-Aide Program. To find the nearest Tax-Aide Program, contact AARP at 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669). During tax time, locations are available on the AARP website at Find information about the tax credit and other resources for grandparents at
Tax Credit Outreach IN ACTION

Child Care Council of Nassau, Inc. (CCCN) in Franklin Square, New York, informs parents and relative caregivers about child care options and financial resources. As a member of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, CCCN participates in an annual meeting for partner agencies to explore how to raise public awareness about tax credits and free tax preparation services.

CCCN also incorporates information on the EIC, CTC, and free tax filing assistance in its childcare referral services. Through flyers, blog posts, and e-newsletters, CCCN informs caretakers about the tax credits, which help to meet various child care needs. In 2012, CCCN distributed 2,500 tax credit flyers in English and Spanish to parents and guardians who used their child care information services.

Contact: Arlene Labenson, CCCN, (516) 358-9288,

Glad You Asked That!

Q: Rules for claiming foster children for the tax credits have changed in recent years. What do foster parents need to know?

A: Under current IRS rules, children who lived with a foster parent for six months or longer can be claimed for the EIC and CTC. (In the past, foster children had to live with the foster parent for the full 12 months of the year to qualify for these tax credits.) While this has made it a little easier to claim a foster child, another rule has made it more difficult: In order to claim a foster child, the child has to have been placed with the foster family by an authorized government or private placement agency.