65C-44.003. Determination of Guardianship Assistance Payments  

Effective on Tuesday, July 23, 2019
  • 1(1) The purpose of the guardianship assistance payment is to make financial assistance available to permanent guardians to enable them to provide care for a qualifying child. Every permanent guardian must be advised of the availability of a guardianship assistance payment and the purpose for which it was intended.

    50(2) An application to participate in the Guardianship Assistance Program must be made on the “Application for Guardianship Assistance Program” form, CF-FSP 5442, June 2019, which is incorporated by reference and available at 83http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-1080585.

    86(a) Presumptive eligibility must be completed prior to execution of the Guardianship Assistance Agreement.

    100(b) For families that have submitted an application for the guardianship assistance program, the child welfare professional shall begin the presumptive eligibility determination process once a goal change to permanent guardianship has occurred or a concurrent goal of permanent guardianship has been added. Presumptive eligibility shall be completed on the guardianship assistance page in the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN.)

    160(c) To be deemed presumptively eligible, the following must have occurred:

    1711. A primary goal change to permanent guardianship; or

    1802. A concurrent goal added for permanent guardianship; and

    1893. A permanency hearing has been held and permanent guardianship was determined to be in the child’s best interest; and

    2094. A caregiver has received a foster care board payment for at least six (6) consecutive months.

    226(3) The child’s and family’s need for guardianship assistance payment must be determined prior to the court case closing in permanent guardianship. Guardianship assistance payments shall not be made prior to all parties signing the “Guardianship Assistance Agreement,” CF-FSP 5437, incorporated in rule 65C-44.004, F.A.C.

    272(4) If the Department or community-based care lead agency (CBC) has responsibility for placement and care of the child, the CBC in the county where the court has jurisdiction is responsible for entering into the Guardianship Assistance Agreement and paying guardianship assistance payments.

    315(5) When the need for guardianship assistance payments is not determined prior to case closure and the permanent guardians believe they have been wrongly denied guardianship assistance payments on behalf of a child, they have the right to appeal the denial in accordance with the rules and procedures of the state’s fair hearing and appeal process.  If it is found that the guardianship assistance payment was wrongly denied, retroactive payment will be made dating back to the date the permanent guardian requested guardianship assistance payments in writing. Retroactive payment dating back to the date of placement will not be approved.

    415(6) Medical or mental health evaluations shall be required to document the need for any guardianship assistance payment that exceeds the statewide standard foster care board rate. Evaluations must be completed within the last 12 months of initial guardianship assistance payment determination.

    457(7) The CBC or subcontracted agency child welfare professional shall inform the caregiver that the guardianship assistance payments, unlike the foster care board rate payments, are not intended to cover the complete cost of the child’s care. The guardianship assistance payment is intended to assist the permanent guardian in supporting the extra cost associated with providing care for a child.

    517(8) The initial determination of the monthly guardianship assistance payment shall be based on the needs of the child at the time of negotiation and the projected future needs of the child based on the family and medical history of the child and birth family, or for cases that meet guardianship assistance program requirements and are closed in permanent guardianship on or after, July 1, 2019, as stated in section 39.6225, F.S. Negotiations for the initial guardianship assistance payment shall begin at $333 monthly.

    601(9) A guardianship assistance payment may be negotiated up to 100% of the statewide foster care board rate. A payment may exceed 100% of the statewide foster care board rate 631based on a family’s level of licensure pursuant to section 641409.175(5) F.S., 643when an exception is granted by the Department’s regional managing director or designee and documented on the “Guardianship Assistance Payment Approval” form CF-FSP 5440, June 2019, incorporated by reference and available 674at 675http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-10804677. Requests for exceptions must be in writing. 685In determining whether to grant an exception, the regional managing director or designee shall consider the medical, behavioral, and therapeutic needs of the child at the time of the negotiation, as well as the projected future needs of the child based on the family and medical history of the child and birth family. In no case shall the guardianship assistance payment exceed 747the foster care maintenance payment for which the child is or would be eligible if the child had been placed in a family foster home. Guardianship assistance payments are not intended to cover services which can be obtained through family insurance, Medicaid, Children’s Medical Services, or through special education plans provided by the public school district.

    803(10) The effective date of the agreement is the date that all requirements for the Guardianship Assistance Program have been met. Payments may not be made for any months in which there is no Guardianship Assistance Agreement in place.

    842(11) The permanent guardian must be advised by the child welfare professional that it is their responsibility to notify the Department or CBC lead agency of any change in circumstances, including moving out of state, no later than 48 hours after the change.

    885(12) The Guardianship Assistance Agreement shall be terminated:

    893(a) Upon the death or incapacity of the guardian(s) if no successor legal guardian is named.

    909(b) Upon the death of the child.

    916(c) When it is determined that the child is no longer the legal responsibility of the guardian(s).

    933(d) When it is determined that the child is no longer receiving support from the guardian(s).

    949(e) Upon request of the guardian(s).

    955(13) Permanent guardians may request an increase in the guardianship assistance payments after the initial Guardianship Assistance Agreement was approved due to increased needs related to conditions of the child that were identified as current or future needs of the child prior to the permanent guardianship placement or the circumstances of the family have changed to meet the increased needs of the child.

    1018(a) If the increase request is approved, retroactive payment will be made dating back to the date the permanent guardian officially requested the increased guardianship assistance payment in writing.

    1047(b) If the increase request is denied, the designated Department staff shall send a denial letter with notification of the permanent guardian’s right to appeal in accordance with the rules and procedures of the state’s fair hearing and appeal process. If it is found that the increase was wrongfully denied, the effective date of the new payment will be the date the increase request was received.

    1113(c) A new Guardianship Assistance Agreement must be signed by all parties with the new approved amount documented.

    1131(14) No child will have his or her guardianship assistance payment reduced based on application of this rule.

    1149(15) No change shall be made to a guardianship assistance payment without concurrence of the permanent guardian except as provided by the federal regulation or state law. The Guardianship Assistance Agreement is not transferable but should include a successor guardian.

    1189Rulemaking Authority 39.6225(11) FS. Law Implemented 39.6225 FS. History–New 7-23-19.