Subsidized Guardianship in Wisconsin

Subsidized Guardianship (SG) is a permanent placement option for children placed in foster care.  Subsidized Guardianship is a positive option when adoption and reunification are not the best choices. Eligible caregivers can become the legal guardian and receive a subsidy. Guardians are able to consent for the child’s every day events

  • School activities
  • Health care needs
  • Family vacations

Though the guardian becomes responsible, family dynamics and relationships remain intact.

What are the benefits of a Subsidized Guardianship?

Under a Subsidized Guardianship, the guardian receives a monthly payment. The payment amount is based on the Foster Care Rate Setting Policy. The Subsidized Guardianship rate can be the same or less than the final foster care payment for the child, but it cannot be more.

Rate Information

The child also continues to receive medical coverage through Title XIX Medicaid.

Medical Information

Am I eligible for Subsidized Guardianship?

To be eligible for Subsidized Guardianship, both the child and the prospective guardian(s) must fulfill specific requirements.

The child must:

  • Be placed in foster 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
  • Agree 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

The prospective guardian must:

  • 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 the following:
      • The foster parent 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 at least 6 months
  • 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 requirements:

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

How do I obtain a Subsidized Guardianship?

If you think you are eligible for Subsidized Guardianship, you should work with your county or tribal Department of Human/Social Services. The agency can assist you in determining eligibility and completing the process.

To find out if they can receive Subsidized Guardianship, providers can ask the agency to make an eligibility determination. They should write a letter or e-mail to make the request. The agency has 30 days to respond with a written decision about eligibility.

Providers have the ability to appeal the eligibility 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.

How do I request an amendment to my Subsidized Guardianship rate?

You can request an amendment to the Subsidized Guardianship rate under certain circumstances.

  • If the initial rate determination was more than 12 months ago
  • The most recent rate determination was more than 12 months ago

Contact the county or tribal agency with your Subsidized Guardianship Agreement to begin the process.

Helpful Resources

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.

Coalition for Children Youth and Families offers assistance, support and guidance to agencies and families to help Wisconsin children find and maintain permanent, stable families.

AARP Grandparent Information Center provides information that supports grandparents who are seeking information on how to have a positive role in their grandchildren’s lives.

Grandparenting Today is a cooperative through the University of Wisconsin-Extension that provides resources for grandparents in various situations.

Generations United helps to improve the lives of children, youth and older people through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs for the benefit of all.

The Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) through the Brookdale Foundation Group provides information and services to individuals who are in a parenting role with their child relatives.