Subsidized Guardianship Worker FAQ

Subsidized Guardianship (SG) is a way for children in foster care to reach permanence. When reunification and adoption are not the best options for the child, relatives or like-kin caregivers may be eligible for SG.

Do I have to “rule out” adoption in order to qualify for Subsidized Guardianship?

NO. The agency needs to determine guardianship is in the child’s best interest based on the circumstances of the case. The agency does not need to rule out adoption for a child and prospective guardian to be eligible for Subsidized Guardianship.

Does a child need to be placed with a foster parent for 2 years in order to qualify as “Like-Kin"?

NO. The child needs to have a relationship with the foster parent for at least 2 years to qualify as “like-kin.” The relationship can begin prior to placement or can begin the day of placement in the home.

Do guardians need to be licensed for 6 months prior to the guardianship order?

YES. To be eligible, the provider must be licensed and receiving payment for the child for 6 months prior to a court ordering the guardianship. Duration of a child’s placement in an unlicensed home during the licensing process does not fulfill this requirement.

If a Level 1 provider becomes licensed as a Level 2 provider, does the 6 month timeline for Subsidized Guardianship start over?

NO. The months the provider was licensed as a Level 1 foster parent count toward the six month eligibility requirement. The timeline would continue after the level of care certification is increased to Level 2 or above.

Does the court need to terminate the CHIPS/JIPS or Tribal Court Order when guardianship is established?

YES. The court order should be terminated when the transfer of guardianship occurs. If the court leaves the order open for a set period of time to allow for transfer of services, you do not need to worry. However, if the order remains open for a lengthy period of time, the Subsidized Guardianship Agreement may become invalid.

If the Subsidized Guardianship Agreement is terminated, is the guardianship also terminated?

NO. The Subsidized Guardianship Agreement is a provision within the Guardianship Order and can be terminated without affecting the guardian’s legal authority over the child. This means, the payment and associated benefits will be terminated, but the legal guardianship will remain.

Can a guardian request a change to their monthly rate?

YES. The guardians having a level of care certification 2 or higher can request an amendment to the monthly payment. Level 1 providers are not eligible to request amendments.

The guardian cannot request an amendment until 12 months after the initial agreement or 12 months after another amendment decision.

Monthly payments cannot exceed $2,000. This means guardians who are already receiving $2,000/month are ineligible to receive an increase to their monthly payment.

Guardians become ineligible for amendments if they are substantiated for abuse or neglect of the child listed in the Subsidized Guardianship Agreement.

Are Level 1 foster parents eligible for Subsidized Guardianship?

YES. All foster parents are eligible, regardless of their level of care certification. It is important to note, however, that Level 1 providers are not eligible to receive any supplemental or exceptional payments, so they will only receive a Level 1 payment. This also means they will be ineligible to request an amendment to their monthly payment after the guardianship is established.

Is the guardian responsible for contact with the parents?

YES. After the guardianship is ordered, the guardian is responsible for monitoring the child’s contact with their parents. The guardian can set certain parameters on contact between the parent and child, unless a court orders specific contact requirements as part of the guardianship.

Can the guardian add the child to their private health insurance?

YES. If the guardian chooses to add the child to their private health insurance, the private insurance would become the primary payer and would be billed first. Foster Care Medical Assistance would then be considered secondary insurance and is billed afterward for services not covered by the family’s private health insurance.

Can the guardian move out of state?

YES. Even if the guardian moves out of state, they continue to receive payment. They will need to give your agency notice in order to update contact information to ensure payment is routed to their new address.

However, the child may or may not continue to be eligible for medical assistance in the new state of residence depending on the new state’s reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin. Your agency should work with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Interstate Compact for Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) representative to determine the extent of the medical coverage in the new state of residence.

Medicaid Coverage Information outlines interstate medical coverage and lists contact information for the DCF ICAMA representative.

Will the biological parents be required to pay child support?

YES. If the agency enters into a Subsidized Guardianship Agreement for the child, the parents will continue to pay to support the child. The agency may use child support payments to offset the monthly subsidy for the provider.

Can the guardian later adopt the child?

YES. The family remains eligible for Adoption Assistance if they later decide to adopt. However, it is important to inform the guardian that they may or may not receive assistance with a Termination of Parental Rights.

Will eligibility for Wisconsin Shares (Childcare Assistance) change under a Subsidized Guardianship?

NO. Eligibility for Wisconsin Shares is based on the child’s parent’s income rather than the guardian’s income under a Subsidized Guardianship. Eligibility will be determined based on if the child’s parent’s income falls at or below the threshold set by the Wisconsin Shares program. However, it is important to remind proposed guardians, they must participate in an “approved activity” to be eligible. Children in Subsidized Guardianships are not categorically eligible for Wisconsin Shares.

Helpful Resources

For Workers

Medicaid Coverage Information will answer questions regarding medical assistance for a child under a Subsidized Guardianship Agreement.

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) Worker Information provides a process overview and ICPC contact information for workers who are placing children in other states.

For Families

Subsidized Guardianship in Wisconsin is the family information about SG including helpful resources. 

Medicaid Coverage Information will answer questions regarding medical assistance for a child under a Subsidized Guardianship Agreement.

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) provides helpful information for families with children in other states.

Contact Information

Program & Policy Analyst
Bureau of Permanence and Out-of-Home Care
Division of Safety and Permanence
Telephone: (608) 422-6751
Fax: (608) 422-7157