Rhode Island's state plan amendment for guardianship approved
Following the passage of the Fostering Connections Act, Rhode Island was the first state to receive an approved state plan amendment for the federal guardianship assistance program (GAP). The state had a program dating back to 1994, but had been recently working to revise its state policy to promote greater use of the guardianship option statewide. When the Fostering Connections Act became law, here was statewide agreement that opting into the federal program made sense given the increased emphasis on permanency, particularly for older youth.
The state program had been funded with state dollars for non relatives and with the TANF child only subsidy for relatives. The state can now claim Title IV-E for all eligible children beginning January 2009. An important issue for Rhode Island consideration was the definition of kin. The state has a kinship policy that broadly defines kin to include any individual, such as a godparent, caretaker, close family friend, neighbor, clergy or other adult who has a close and caring relationship with the child. Thus, the State wanted to be sure the federal program would be consistent with this definition. The state plan amendment was approved with the broader definition of kin that the state was seeking.
Contact: Dorothy Hultine,
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.