IM-115 08/26/99 IMPLEMENTATION OF SUBSIDIZED GUARDIANSHIP
|IMPLEMENTATION OF SUBSIDIZED GUARDIANSHIP
AND EXPANSION OF THE GRANDPARENTS AS FOSTER PARENTS PROGRAM
1) SUBSIDIZED GUARDIANSHIP PROGRAM
Introduction of Subsidized Guardianship Application (CS-LG-1), Subsidized Guardianship Plan (CS-LG-1A), Subsidized Guardianship Agreement (CS-LG-2), Subsidized Guardianship Agreement Attachment (CS-LG-2 Att.), and their respective instructions; and revision of the Table of Contents in the Children's Services Forms Manual
2) GRANDPARENTS AS FOSTER PARENTS PROGRAM
(Formerly, Grandparents as Guardians Program)
|The purpose of this memorandum is to introduce
two bills, Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) and Senate Bill 387 (SB 387), that were
signed into law during the 1999 legislative session to lend support to
grandparents and other relatives who are meeting the permanency needs of
their related children.
SB 1 creates a subsidized guardianship program that provides eligible relatives with the same services that adoptive parents would receive under the Missouri Adoption Subsidy Program. Relatives who qualify for this type of subsidy are grandparents, aunts, uncles and adult siblings who have legal guardianship of a minor child.
SB 387 makes several changes to expand the Grandparents as Foster Parents Program, formerly known as the Grandparents as Guardians Program (GAGP). In addition to the eligibility changes listed below, the name of the program is being changed to the "Grandparents as Foster Parents" (GAFP) program.
The changes to GAFP program are as follows:
o The minimum age limit for all grandparents has been lowered to age 50.
o The eligibility requirement of legal guardianship has been expanded to also include legal custody.
o GAFP payments will begin upon application for individuals who meet eligibility requirements. At the time of application the IM caseworker will refer the applicant to Children's Services for foster parent training. (The GAFP program previously required the applicant to complete training before receiving the GAFP payment.)
NOTE: GAFP applicants have six months to complete the training requirements with up to a three-month extension given for extenuating circumstances. These caretakers are required to participate in foster parent training but are not required to complete the assessment portion unless they wish to become licensed foster parents.
o When no grandparent is willing or able to participate in GAFP, other relatives who have either legal guardianship or legal custody and meet similar requirements, including the age requirement, may participate in the GAFP program.
o Grandparents/other relatives may also apply for GAFP when they have documentation that a petition has been filed in the appropriate court requesting legal guardianship or legal custody. (The GAFP program previously required the applicant to already have legal guardianship of the child(ren).
NOTE: GAFP applicants have six months to complete the legal process to obtain legal guardianship or legal custody, with up to a three-month extension given for extenuating circumstances.
o Grandparents who are either under age 50, or age 50 or over and refuse to attend foster parent training, may receive assistance through GAFP; however, some benefits are reduced and there is a five-year time limit on all assistance.
We have developed a table that categorizes the options created by these two laws. The table is intended as a quick reference for staff when assisting families in choosing the program that best meets their needs and needs of the child. The table is being included in the Resource Development Handbook as Procedure E-2, Attachment K, and in the Alternative Care Handbook as Procedure D-5, Attachment L.
The term "grandparent" for GAFP and Subsidized Guardianship will also include persons of preceding generations as denoted by prefixes of "great" or "great-great". A step-grandparent would also meet the relationship requirement in some situations. For example, the spouse of a child's biological grandparent is an eligible relationship; the parent of a child's stepparent is not.
The term "other relative" for the GAFP program will include the same persons (other than a parent or grandparent) who meet the definition of relatives for the purposes of the Temporary Assistance program.
This includes children living with the following:
1. Any blood relative including those of half-blood, and including first cousins, first cousins of parents, nephews, or nieces. Relationships to persons of preceding generations as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, or great-great, are within this definition;
2. Stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, stepsister;
3 Persons legally adopting a child or adopting the parent of a child, and other relatives by adoption meeting the criteria established for blood relatives (biological relatives of an adopted child remain eligible payees); and
4. Spouses of any persons named above (consider such relatives within the scope of this provision even though death or divorce terminates the marriage).
The term "legal guardianship" for this program refers to the legal guardianship established by a probate court under the provision of the probate court code of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Proof of legal guardianship is to be shown by a court document signed by a commissioner or a judge.
The term "legal custody" for this program refers to a person being granted legal custody of a child via a court order by a court of competent jurisdiction, such as the juvenile court or a family court.
SUBSIDIZED GUARDIANSHIP PROGRAM
Children's Services staff will determine eligibility for the Subsidized Guardianship Program. Because families may first come to Income Maintenance staff to apply for the GAFP program or other services, all staff should familiarize themselves with this program. The following eligibility requirements apply to all applicants of this program:
1. The applicant must be a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or adult sibling of the child.
2. The applicant must have obtained legal guardianship of the child.
3. The child must have previously been in the legal custody of the Division of Family Services, Division of Youth Services, Department of Mental Health, or a private child-caring or child-placing agency. (This requirement could have been met at any time during the child's life and, therefore, is not necessary to have happened immediately preceding the guardianship.)
4. The child must meet the requirements for special needs children as listed in section IV, subsection D of D-16, Attachment A in the Alternative Care Handbook. Note: All children who have previously been in the custody of the Division of Family Services are considered special needs children.
SUBSIDY AGREEMENT PROCESS:
Subsidy agreements shall be developed utilizing the existing procedures outlined in Chapter D-16, Attachment A of the Alternative Care Handbook. Staff should work collaboratively with the relative in designing a subsidy plan that will best meet the needs of the child.
The basic subsidy package will be available to children, in which legal guardianship has occurred with an eligible relative. Children who are eligible will receive standard maintenance, Medicaid and day care. Additional payments/services should be negotiated based upon the child's needs.
A formal subsidy application, Subsidized Guardianship Application (CS-LG-1) and agreement, Subsidized Guardianship Agreement (CS-LG-2) will need to be completed with the family using the attached forms. The completed application and agreement must be sent through the same supervisory channels as an adoption subsidy agreement. The Director of the Division of Family Services will approve and sign all completed agreements.
Note: As with adoption subsidy agreements, services and/or payments for this program will not begin until the Director has signed the agreement.
The Division of Data Processing is currently working with us to make the changes that will be necessary to make payments and provide all services through the automated system. A memorandum will be sent when those changes are complete.
In the interim, please use the following temporary procedures to provide services to the family:
INITIAL PAYMENT PROCEDURE:
When the subsidized guardianship agreement has been negotiated, the following items must be assembled in one packet and forwarded through supervisory lines to Christine White, Program Development Specialist, in Central Office.
1. The original completed Subsidized Guardianship Application (CS-LG-1);
2. The original completed Subsidized Guardianship Plan (CS-LG-1A);
3. The original completed Subsidized Guardianship Agreement (CS-LG-2);
4. A completed SS-60 requesting that the relative caretaker be opened as an unclassified (UN) vendor in the automated system. All fields must be completed except the Vendor Number, which will be assigned in Central Office;
5. A copy of the court order or other document awarding legal guardianship;
6. A CS-65 with the following fields completed:
a. Vendor Name;
7. For children currently in the custody of the Division of Family Services:
a. The SS-61 should remain open to
provide Medicaid for the child;
ONGOING PAYMENT PROCEDURE:
1. Each month send a new CS-65 with the following fields completed to Christine White, Program Development Specialist, in Central Office:
a. Vendor Name;
GRANDPARENTS AS FOSTER PARENTS PROGRAM
Eligibility will continue to be determined in the Income Maintenance unit following the procedures established by CS97-56/IM-#126.
THERE ARE TWO GROUPS OF ELIGIBLE PERSONS:
GROUP 1 FOR GRANDPARENTS OR OTHER RELATIVES, AGE 50 AND OVER, THE FOLLOWING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS MUST BE MET:
NOTE: FOR OTHER RELATIVES TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE GAFP PROGRAM, THERE MUST BE NO GRANDPARENT WILLING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM.
a. The grandparent or relative must have been granted legal guardianship or legal custody of the minor grandchild (or show proof that a petition has been filed in court to obtain legal custody or legal guardianship);
b. Grandparents or relatives are eligible to begin receiving GAFP benefits upon making application if they have legal guardianship or have filed a petition for legal guardianship. However, within six (6) months both grandparents are required to complete foster parent training unless one grandparent is prohibited from attending due to a hardship; and
c. The child must meet a needs and income test. (The need, income and resources of the relative caretakers are not considered unless they are also receiving public assistance.)
d. Complete the process of obtaining legal custody or legal guardianship within six (6) months.
GROUP 2 FOR GRANDPARENTS WHO ARE EITHER UNDER 50 YEARS OF AGE, OR GRANDPARENTS 50 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER WHO REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN FOSTER PARENT TRAINING, THE FOLLOWING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS MUST BE MET AND THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS APPLY:
a. The grandparent must have been granted legal guardianship or legal custody of the minor child (or show proof that a petition has been filed in court to obtain legal custody or legal guardianship);
b. Grandparents are eligible to begin receiving GAFP benefits upon making application if they have legal guardianship or have filed a petition for legal guardianship. However, within six (6) months both grandparents are required to complete foster parent training unless one grandparent is prohibited from attending due to a hardship; and
c. The child must meet a needs and income test; (The need, income and resources of the grandparents are not considered unless they are also receiving public assistance.)
d. Persons in this eligibility group will receive the same benefits as all other groups except that the following items will not be available:
o Respite care;
e. The TANF five-year limit for benefits will apply to this group. (NOTE: If the grandparent reaches the age of 50 during the five-year TANF time limit and attends the required training, he/she will continue to be eligible for GAFP benefits, and will also be eligible for Respite Care, Clothing Allowance and Transportation); and
f. Participation in a mandatory work/training component is required. The receipt of the required foster parent training may be considered towards meeting the mandatory work requirement.
STEPS TO BE TAKEN WHEN EXPLAINING OPTIONS TO RELATIVE APPLICANTS WHO ARE NOT ACTIVE WITH CHILDRENS SERVICES
1) IM Staff should explain the GAFP program
and the Non-Parent Caretaker Relative(NPCR) program to applicants.
IM Staff should assist the applicant in determining which program would
best meet the needs of the child and the family.
For grandparents/other relatives in Group 1, full benefits (same benefits given to foster parents) will be available at the time application is made. They will be allowed six (6) months to complete the training and legal processes before action will be taken to reduce benefits. For grandparents this will mean that they will revert to the Group 2 level of benefits. To accommodate extenuating circumstances, an extension of up to three months may be given before action is taken to reduce benefits. Other relatives (excluding grandparents), who do not meet eligibility requirements for the GAFP program, may still be eligible for the Non-parent Caretaker Relative benefit.
NOTE: No grandparent or other relative is eligible for payments under GAFP if a parent of the child lives in the home. This applies to both groups listed above.
INCOME MAINTENANCE SYSTEM ENTRIES:
Continue to identify these GAFP families in the system by entering an "F" in field 13F for the child. Continue to use a "C" level of care for the payee and a "T" level of care for the child. Request payment by completing a case action "35" and entering a retroactive payment in the appropriate amount each month.
TABLE OF GAFP GRANTS:
Age of Child Monthly Grant Amount
0 - 24 months $266.00
2 years, 1 month-5 years $216.00
6 - 12 years $264.00
13 and over $292.00
IM Distribution #6
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