Subsidized Guardianship Child Welfare Professional Information

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Guardianship is a legal permanency option for children placed in out of home care through the child welfare system. A caregiver who is appointed guardian of a child by the court has the duty and authority to make important legal decisions for the child without severing the child’s legal relationship to their parents and other family members. 

Subsidized guardianship supports the legal permanence option of guardianship and allows the guardian to continue receiving a monthly payment to offset the costs of caring for the child.

What are the benefits of subsidized guardianship?

Under a subsidized guardianship, the guardian receives a monthly payment to offset the costs of caring for the child. The monthly payment amount is based on the Foster Care Rate Setting Policy and cannot exceed the amount of the child’s foster care rate received before guardianship was established. 

The child also continues to be eligible for Title XIX (19) Foster Care Medicaid coverage in Wisconsin for the duration that the subsidized guardianship agreement is in effect. 

How does subsidized guardianship differ from guardianship without a subsidy or guardianship with long-term kinship care?

Pursuant to Wisconsin Admin. Code § 55.04(1), agencies are required to explain to each relative or like-kin foster parent of their eligibility for services and the expectations involved with the permanency options for the child. 

The document below explains the differences between subsidized guardianship, guardianship with long-term kinship care, and guardianship without a subsidy. This document should be reviewed with caregiver(s) when determining what permanency option is in the child’s best interests. 

What are the eligibility requirements for subsidized guardianship?

To be eligible for subsidized guardianship, the child welfare agency must determine that both the child and the prospective guardian(s) meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • The child has been removed from their home under a voluntary placement agreement or a Wisconsin court order or a substantially similar tribal court order containing a finding that continued placement of the child in their home would be contrary to the welfare of the child.
  • The child has been residing in the home of the prospective guardian for at least six consecutive months immediately before the guardianship is established.
  • Reunification and adoption are not in the best interests of the child.
  • The child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective guardian.
  • If the child is age 14 or older, the child has been consulted regarding the guardianship agreement.
  • The prospective guardian is a relative of the child or has a like-kin relationship with the child.
    • Like-kin is defined as a person who had a significant relationship with the child or child’s family before the child’s placement in out of home care, OR
    • A person who developed a significant relationship with the child or the child’s family during the child’s placement in out of home care and all the following apply:
      • The person is a foster parent who has had a relationship with the child for at least two years;
      • The child is 14 years of age or older;
      • The child has been placed in out-of-home care for 15 out of the last 22 months; and
    • The agency or court determines that placement with a fit and willing relative is not in the child’s best interest.
  • The prospective guardian has been licensed as a foster parent for at least six months before being named as the guardian of the child and the prospective guardian and all non-client residents in their home have met the background check requirements
  • The prospective guardian has a strong commitment to permanently caring for the child. 
  • Before being named guardian of the child, the prospective guardian entered into a subsidized guardianship agreement with the child welfare agency.

Once the prospective guardian is appointed legal guardian of the eligible child under Wisconsin Stat. § 48.977 or a substantially similar tribal court order that originated in Wisconsin, the underlying voluntary placement agreement or court order containing a finding that continued placement of the child outside of their home must be dismissed or terminated.     

Policy Guidance and Training Resources

Wisconsin Administrative Code, Statutes, and Standards

Administrative Code



Subsidized Guardianship Forms and eWiSACWIS Resources

DCF Forms Search

eWiSACWIS Form Templates

  • Forms related to subsidized guardianship are located under Agreements & Notices tab and Eligibility tab 

eWiSACWIS Knowledge Web Subsidized Guardianship User Guides

Tribal Subsidized Guardianship Resources

Subsidized Guardianship Policy Contact

Program & Policy Analyst    
Bureau of Permanence and Out-of-Home Care    
Division of Safety and Permanence    
Telephone: (262) 666-4070