Child Welfare Policy Manual

April 20, 2014

8.5  Guardianship Assistance Program

1. Question: Are children that are receiving title IV-E guardianship assistance payments eligible for Medicaid?

Answer: Children who receive title IV-E kinship guardianship assistance payments are categorically eligible for title XIX pursuant to section 473(b)(3)(C) in the State where such child resides.

2. Question: Do the fair hearing requirements in section 471(a)(12) and 45 CFR 205.10 apply to the title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP)?

Answer: Yes. The title IV-E agency must provide an opportunity for a fair hearing to any individual whose claim for kinship guardianship assistance available under title IV-E is denied or is not acted upon with reasonable promptness per regulations in 45 CFR 205.10.

3. Question: Describe the case plan requirements for children who have a permanency plan of relative guardianship.

Answer: Section 475(1)(F) of the Social Security Act requires the title IV-E agency to include specific information in the case plan for each child with a permanency plan of placement with a relative guardian and receipt of kinship guardian assistance payments. The case plan must describe the following: 1) how the child meets the eligibility requirements; 2) the steps the agency has taken to determine that return to the home or adoption is not appropriate; 3) the efforts the agency has made to discuss adoption with the child's relative foster parent and the reasons why adoption is not an option; 4) the efforts the agency has made to discuss kinship guardianship with the child's parent or parents or the reasons why efforts were not made; 5) the reason why a permanent placement with a prospective relative guardian and receipt of a kinship guardian assistance payment is in the child's best interests; and 6) the reasons for any separation of siblings during placement. If the child's placement with the prospective relative guardian does not include siblings, the case plan must also include a description of the reasons why the child is separated from siblings during placement.

  • Source/Date: 08/12/09
  • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act section 475(1)(F)
4. Question: Which title IV-E plan requirements apply to the guardianship assistance program?

Answer: The title IV-E plan requirements that are not specifically limited to the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment or adoption assistance programs also apply to the guardianship assistance program under title IV-E. These requirements are in sections 471(a)(2) through 471(a)(9); 471(a)(12), 471(a)(13), 471(a)(20)(C), 471(a)(25), 471(a)(26), and 471(a)(30) through (a)(32) of the Social Security Act, and address topics such as agency organization and program administration, program audits and monitoring, confidentiality of information, fair hearings, interstate placements, school attendance and sibling placement. Further, Departmental regulations at 45 CFR 1355.30 apply to the title IV-E guardianship assistance program to the same extent that they apply to the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments and adoption assistance programs.

  • Source/Date: 08/12/09
  • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act sections 471(a)(2) (9), 471(a)(12) (13), 471(a)(20)(C), 471(a)(25) (26), 471(a)(30) (32); 45 CFR 1355.30
5. Question: May a title IV-E agency that is operating a title IV-E guardianship assistance program (GAP) claim allowable administration and training costs?

Answer: A title IV-E agency that is operating a title IV-E GAP may claim allowable administrative and training costs for the proper and efficient administration of the guardianship assistance program.

  • Source/Date: 08/12/09
  • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act section 474(a)(3)
6. Question: Is a title IV-E agency obligated to reimburse the non-recurring expenses (NREs) (e.g., legal fees) if the legal guardianship is never finalized?

Answer: Yes. A title IV-E agency is obligated to reimburse NREs incurred pursuing legal guardianship, even if the guardianship is never finalized, pursuant to section 473(d)(1)(B)(iv) of the Social Security Act (the Act). A kinship guardianship assistance agreement must be in place with a prospective relative guardian prior to the establishment of the legal guardianship and must specify, among other things, that the title IV-E agency will pay the total cost of NREs associated with obtaining legal guardianship of the child, to the extent the total cost does not exceed $2,000 (section 473(d)(1)(B)(iv) of the Act). A title IV-E agency may claim Federal financial participation at the 50 percent rate for NREs incurred pursing legal guardianship per section 474(a)(5) of the Act.

  • Source/Date: 10/14/2011
  • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act sections 473(d)(1)(B)(iv) and 474(a)(5)