Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual





Table of Contents


Relationship must be verified before Families First benefits can be approved.  Once the relationship is verified, it is not necessary to verify relationship again unless the information becomes questionable.  Verification is primarily the responsibility of the caretaker except when the information is already known to the Department or when it is more reasonable for the caseworker to obtain the needed information.


The following documents can be used to verify relationship whether legal or alleged.  When any document other than a birth certificate or birth data obtained through Tennessee Clearinghouse is used to establish relationship, more than one document is required:


·        Birth certificates, copies of birth certificates or Tennessee Clearinghouse which establish relationship of the child to his/her parent; (In instances where the caretaker relative is not the parent, these documents can be used to verify the relationship of the caretaker relative to the child’s parent.  This is a preferred form of verification, but is not required.)


·        Adoption and legitimation orders that establish the relationship of the child to his/her parent.


·        Hospital birth records.


·        Family Bible or other family records which are in ink and have not been altered.


·        Trust documents and other such instruments and/or records if relationship is specified in the document.


·        Wills and deeds to property if the individuals and relationships are specified.


·        Census Bureau records that list the child belonging to a particular family and showing relationships.


·        Written statements of physicians or midwives who attended the births and remember the names of the people involved.


·        Old DHS records which consistently specify the degree of relationship of the applicant/recipient to the child.


·        Juvenile Court, other court and hospital records which show relationship.


·        Copies of income tax returns listing the child as a specific relative.


·        School records which specify relationship.


·        An award letter or other acceptable evidence from SSA that RSDI payments have been awarded to a child based on his/her parent’s account.


·        Military or veterans records which specify relationships.


·        INS records, Indian Agency records, other government or local agency records.


·        Newspaper records, and local histories which specify relationship.


·        An Acknowledgement of Paternity properly completed by an alleged natural father of a child is sufficient substantiation of blood relationship; (This document is then routed to the IV-D agency so that they may initiate procedures to have paternity judicially determined to offer the child protections for purposes other Families First eligibility.)




·        Written materials of other kinds may be used as cumulative evidence of relationship when names and relationship are specified.  Such materials include church, daycare and school records, letter and other such written materials.


In the absence of any documentary proof of relationship, the caretaker relative’s statement is acceptable as long as it contains the following information:


·        The reason there is no proof of relationship.


·        His/her detailed statement as to how he/she is related to the child.


·        As least one notarized statement from a person in a position to know the facts of the situation in which he/she describes the relationship and how he/she knows it to be true.


The notarized statement that is used may be either written by the individuals providing the information or DHS staff can write out the statement and have the individuals’ signature notarized.  These affidavits may be used to fill in gaps in the information verified by documentary evidence or in lieu of documentary evidence if none exists. 


An affidavit tracing relationship must be made by a person other than the applicant/recipient.  This person may be related or not related to the AR, but he/she must be a person who is in a position to know the facts of the situation.  More than one affidavit may be required in order to completely trace relationship.



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