Subsidized Guardianship Worker Information

Subsidized Guardianship (SG) is a way for children in foster care to reach permanence. When adoption and reunification with the child’s parents are not the best options, it may be possible for a relative, a person who is like-kin, or a foster parent (in certain circumstances) to become the legal guardian and receive a subsidy. Guardians are legally able to consent to the child’s school activities, health care, and everyday events, while the family dynamics and relationships remain.

The Subsidized Guardianship Desk Guide is a resource for caseworkers outlining eligibility requirements and processes specific to Subsidized Guardianship.

Milwaukee County Subsidized Guardianship provides additional information. Contact Milwaukee offers a list of contacts for county questions.


In order to be eligible for Subsidized Guardianship, both the child and the prospective guardian(s) must fulfill eligibility requirements.

Child Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be placed in out-of-home care under a Voluntary Placement Agreement, CHIPS, JIPS, or similar tribal court order
  • Have lived in the current home for 6 or more months
  • Be emotionally attached to the guardian
  • Be in agreement with the guardianship (if 14 years old or older)
  • The agency must determine that reunification with parents and adoption are not in the child’s best interest

Prospective Guardian(s) Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a relative of the child or have a “like-kin” relationship with the child
    • “Like-kin” is someone who had a significant relationship with the child before the child entered out-of-home care (examples; family friends, godparents, coaches, etc.)
    • "Like-kin” is also when a foster parent and child meet all of the following:
      • Had a relationship with the child for at least 2 years before the guardianship
      • The child is 14 years old or older
      • The child has been in foster care for 15 out of the last 22 months
      • The agency determines that placement with a relative is not in the child’s best interest
  • Be licensed as a foster parent for six months prior to the guardianship
  • Be approved for Guardianship
  • Have a strong commitment to the child
  • Have placement of the child for 6 or more months prior to the guardianship

Other General Eligibility Requirements

  • The guardianship must be filed under Wisconsin Statutes 48.977 or similar tribal court order.
  • The CHIPS, JIPS, or tribal court order must be closed after the guardianship is put in place.

Benefits of Subsidized Guardianship

Rate Information

Under a Subsidized Guardianship, the guardian receives a monthly payment. The payment amount is based on the Foster Care Rate Setting Policy. When calculating the amount, the child’s age, their score on the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment, and other eligible expenses are taken into consideration.

Medical Information

The child also continues to receive medical coverage through Title XIX Medicaid under a Subsidized Guardianship.

Funding Information

Counties use existing funds provided through the Children and Families Community Aids allocation to fund Subsidized Guardianship payments. High Cost Pool funds may cover tribal children in certain situations.

Informing Prospective Guardians

The agency must discuss the following permanency options with all foster parents who are a relative or like-kin providers to the child:

Workers should use the Permanency Options in Brief (DCF-F-CFS2797) form when having these discussions.

Annual Review

The agency that has a Subsidized Guardianship Agreement with the provider must review the guardian’s eligibility each year. Changes in any of the following circumstances would affect eligibility:

  • The guardian has changed
  • The child has entered the military
  • The child is married
  • The child no longer lives with the guardian
  • The child is deceased
  • The child has graduated, completed, or dropped out of school
  • The guardian is no longer financially supporting the child
  • The guardianship was ended in court
  • The child was placed in out-of-home care

Agencies should use eWiSACWIS form DCF-F-2736-E, Subsidized Guardianship Request for Information to Determine Continued Eligibility on an annual basis to assess if the guardian and child are still eligible for Subsidized Guardianship.

Amendments to Monthly Payment

Subsidized Guardians can request an amendment to their monthly payment. Requests can only be made 12 months after the initial guardianship order or another amendment decision. The following forms outline the information the agency needs to make their decision.

  • Amendments to Subsidized Guardianship Agreements entered prior to July 1, 2011 should use the “Amendment Request, Pre-CANS” documents.

  • All Subsidized Guardianship Agreements entered after July 1, 2011 should use the Amendment Requests Age Birth to 5 or Amendment Requests Age 5-17 corresponding to the child's current age.

Amendment Requests, Pre-CANS

Subsidized Guardianship Amendment Request (DCF-F-2813-E)

Subsidized Guardianship Amendment Request - Confirmation of Needs

Amendment Requests Age Birth to 5

Amendment Requests Age 5-17

Amendment Decision Appeal

Guardians have the ability to appeal the amendment decision by sending an appeal request to Division of Hearing and Appeals:

P.O. Box 7875
Madison, WI 53707
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705

Appeals can also be sent via fax to (608) 264-9885

The appeal request must be sent within 45 days of the original decision date.

Statutes, Administrative Rules and Standards


Administrative Rules


  • Wisconsin Ongoing Services Standards provides a framework for the ongoing case process and focuses on safety, permanence, and well-being for children and their families served under Wisconsin Statute Chapter 48 and Chapter 938.

  • Subsidized Guardianship Policy provides an overview of the process to file and enter into Subsidized Guardianship under Chapter DCF 55. This policy details real-life case examples in order to provide a framework that ensures Subsidized Guardianship is appropriately and consistently used statewide.


The eWiSACWIS Knowledge Web provides caseworkers with User Guides available for reference at a number of points through the process of creating, amending or terminating a Subsidized Guardianship case in eWiSACWIS.

Subsidized Guardianship Checklist provides caseworkers with step by step instructions for creating a new Subsidized Guardianship case in eWiSACWIS.

Additional eWiSACWIS forms

The Subsidized Guardianship Agreement and Advanced Notice of Termination of Subsidized Guardianship at Age 18 forms are documented in eWiSACWIS in English. Spanish and Hmong translations can be found here:

Subsidized Guardianship Agreement

Subsidized Guardianship Checklist provides caseworkers with step by step instructions for creating a new Subsidized Guardianship case in eWiSACWIS.

Advance Notice of Termination of Subsidized Guardianship at Age 18

Additional Resources

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a division of the United States Department of Health & Human Services. ACF promotes the economic and social well-being of children and families with funding, guidance, and technical assistance.

American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) supports state and local human services agencies to drive innovative, integrated, and efficient solutions in policy and practice.

Child Welfare Information Gateway connects both child welfare professionals and the public to information, resources and tools covering topics related to child welfare practice.

Child Welfare League of America  (CWLA) leads a network of agencies to advance policies, best practices, and collaborative strategies that result in better outcomes for children, youth and families.

Kinship Care is a program designed to help support a child who lives outside of their own home, either temporarily or for the long term, with a relative.

The National Resource Center for Foster Care and Permanency Planning  is an organization dedicated to help strengthen the capacity of publicly administered child welfare agencies.

Subsidized Guardianship Policy Contact

Program & Policy Analyst
Bureau of Permanence and Out-of-Home Care
Division of Safety and Permanence
Telephone: (262) 666-4070
Fax: (608) 422-7157

Training Resources