Fostering Connections Resource Center

Tennessee's Guardianship Assistance Program

In 2009, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services received approval from the federal government for its state plan amendment for the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP). Tennessee had been conducting a Title IV-E waiver demonstration for guardianship and was eager to convert to the federal program to sustain efforts to achieve permanency for children in foster care statewide. Approval to run a GAP program beginning April 1, 2009 will allow Tennessee to make further gains in timeliness to permanency while sharing the cost with the federal government.

Tennessee was one of three states whose state plan amendment was approved in the first half of 2009. The state will cover the cost of guardianship subsidies for children who are not Title IV-E eligible. Tennessee's program as approved by the federal government has a broad definition of relative to include kin who already have an attachment to the child, including godparents and close family friends. It will not allow them to cover guardianship subsidies for resource families who do not have a pre-existing relationship to the child, as was previously the case for children 14 and over in the waiver program. The state also received clarification about the meaning of the words six consecutive months to describe the length of time a child has to be in the caregiver's home before establishing guardianship. This was clarified in Tennessee so that any break in the care-giving arrangement has to be more than 14 days.

Read Tennesse's policy here.


The Fostering Connections Resource Center gratefully acknowledges the Children's Defense Fund and ChildFocus for providing this and other summaries of state approaches related to the kinship or guardianship provisions.

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