Fostering Connections Resource Center

Montana's Guardianship Assistance Program

Montana's previous subsidized guardianship waiver program, which ended in 2008, paved the way for its recently approved GAP program. A total of 96 children covered by the waiver program are grandfathered into GAP. The program features a broad definition of kin, intended to promote permanency for children of the seven tribes with which the state is negotiating contracts.

Although Montana's new GAP features many similarities to the waiver program, in addition it extends assistance to siblings of Title IV-E eligible children, eliminates special needs criteria previously required of children in guardianships in the waiver, pays for non-recurring costs, and includes referrals to post-guardianship services. It also requires full licensure of the caregiver six months prior to guardianship, updated background checks for guardians, and educational enrollment of all participating children.

Children receiving GAP are automatically eligible for Medicaid coverage under Fostering Connections. The Montana public child welfare agency is working to implement a smooth Medicaid enrollment process for children in guardianship, so they will be treated the same as children in adoption and foster care. Currently, guardians must enroll children in Medicaid at the Office of Public Assistance field offices. The state's goal is to facilitate a process through legislative or administrative rule revisions to centralize the enrollment process for children in guardianship. Updated policies, administrative rules, and forms are also being finalized.


Foster Care Program Manager
(406) 841-2402

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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