Guardianship Assistance

To provide Federal financial participation (FFP) to states, Indian tribes, tribal organizations and tribal consortia (tribes) who opt to provide guardianship assistance payments for the care of children by relatives who have assumed legal guardianship of eligible children for whom they previously cared
as foster parents.

This assistance is intended to prevent inappropriately long stays in foster care and to promote the healthy development of children through increased safety, permanency, and well-being.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Contact the Regional Child Welfare Program Manager, Administration for Children and Families, HHS, in the appropriate Regional Office.

(See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a list of addresses of the Regional Offices.).

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Pascua Yaqui Tribe $ 35,035   2021-10-012022-09-30
Department Of Social Services $ 111,001   2021-10-012022-09-30
Family & Protective Services, Texas Department Of $ 14,664,971   2021-10-012022-09-30
Human Services, Pennsylvania Department Of $ 15,612,383   2021-10-012022-09-30
Massachusetts Department Of Children And Families $ 11,174,178   2021-10-012022-09-30
Human Services, Minnesota Department Of $ 19,551,479   2021-10-012022-09-30
Social Services, California Department Of $ 96,698,028   2021-10-012022-09-30
Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians $ 315,825   2021-10-012022-09-30
Public Health And Human Services, Montana Department Of $ 2,756,210   2021-10-012022-09-30
Children, Youth And Families, New Mexico Department Of $ 1,584,209   2021-10-012022-09-30

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: 31 states (including the District of Columba) and 2 tribes received grant awards in FY 2016. Fiscal Year 2017: It is anticipated that 31 states (including the District of Columbia) and 6 tribes will receive grant awards in FY 2017. Fiscal Year 2018: It is anticipated that 31 states (including the District of Columbia) and 6 tribes will receive grant awards in FY 2018.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Federal assistance may be used only in support of the care of children who meet the eligibility requirements and their siblings under certain situations as specified in the statute.

All relatives assuming guardianship of such children are eligible for the nonrecurring expenses associated with obtaining legal guardianship up to $2,000.

A state or tribe may receive FFP only if its title IV-E plan has been approved by the Secretary.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Funds are available to states (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa) and to tribes with approved title IV-E plans.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Beneficiaries are children who meet the following requirements: (1) the child has been eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments while residing for at least six consecutive months in the home of the prospective relative guardian; (2) the state or tribe has determined that the permanency options of being returned home or adoption are not appropriate for the child; (3) the child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective relative guardian and the prospective guardian is committed to caring permanently for the child; and (4) for children who have attained the age of 14, the child has been consulted regarding the kinship guardianship arrangement. Beneficiaries may also be siblings of eligible children placed in the same kinship guardianship arrangement. FFP is available to states and tribes for payments made to a relative guardian in accordance with a kinship guardianship agreement that is in writing, negotiated, and binding. The program was amended (through Public Law 13-183) effective September 29, 2014 to allow continuation of title IV-E kinship guardianship assistance payments if the relative guardian dies or is incapacitated and a successor legal guardian is named in the agreement (or in any amendments to the agreement.).


Costs are to be determined in accordance with 45 CFR Part 75. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. 091-Consultation is available to states and tribes from ACF Regional Offices. 092-Applications are made in the form of a title IV-E Plan, prepared in the format provided by the ACF Children's Bureau. Title IV-E plans and amendments must be submitted to the ACF Regional Child Welfare Program Manager for approval.

Award Procedures

Quarterly awards are made on the basis of estimated expenditures, which are later revised to include only actual allowable claimed expenditures. Next quarter estimates are due on July 30, October 30, January 30 and April 30 each year. Final decisions and awards are made by the Headquarters Office.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Social Security Act, Title IV, Part E, Section 473.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Health and Human Services (HHS) will approve/disapprove applications (title IV-E plans or amendments to them) within 45 days of receipt by HHS.


Appeals are processed in accordance with HHS regulations in 45 CFR Part 16.


Awards remain effective without plan renewal but title IV-E plans may be amended as necessary.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Funding is provided on an open-ended basis in accordance with sec. 474(a) of the Social Security Act. Formula Grant Funding Level: FFP is equal to the applicable Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate (as defined by sec.1905(b) (sec. 479B(d) for tribes) of the Social Security Act (i.e. from 50% to 83%, depending on the state or tribe and the fiscal year) for the total expended for kinship guardianship assistance payments; 75% of staff training costs; and 50% of other administrative costs. Short term training provided to kinship guardians was subject to a special FFP rate that varied by fiscal year from FY 2009 through FY 2012, but which was set at 75% for FY 2013 and thereafter. Matching Requirements: The non-Federal share of program costs (difference between total cost and FFP) in each funding category constitutes the required match to be met by the title IV-E agency. Matching funds from state agencies must be appropriated monies raised from non-Federal revenue sources. Matching funds from tribal agencies must also be appropriated monies, but may at the option of the tribe include Federal funds specifically authorized by Federal statutes to be used as match for other Federal programs. Additionally, in accordance with 45 CFR 1356.68, for administration and training cost only, tribal matching funds may include in-kind expenditures (or contributions) from allowable third party sources. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

FFP is available to a state or tribe operating under an approved title IV-E plan. The title IV-E agency may implement and claim allowable guardianship assistance program costs beginning on the first day of the quarter in which an approvable title IV-E plan amendment is submitted to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to implement the guardianship assistance program. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Assistance is awarded/released quarterly, through a letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements


Title IV-E agencies must report on the children assisted.

as required by the Secretary.

No progress reports are required.

A report of estimated expenditures, actual expenditures, and number of children assisted (Form CB-496) is required 30 days after the end of each quarter.

Other reports may be necessary as required by the Secretary.

No performance monitoring is required.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Audits are conducted in accordance with the requirements in 45 CFR 75 Subpart F.


States and tribes must maintain all financial and programmatic records necessary for the proper and efficient operation of the program, including records of applications, determinations of eligibility, utilization of awarded grants and other funds for the provision of financial assistance and allocated indirect and direct administrative and training costs in accordance with requirements in Health and Human Services regulations at 45 CFR 75, and written guidance from ACF.

Financial Information

Account Identification

75-1545-0-1-609 - ARRA grants: 75-1545-0-1-609.


(Formula Grants) FY 16 $122,631,572; FY 17 est $151,000,000; and FY 18 est $181,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

FY 2016: Grants to states and tribes ranged from $17,178 to $45,805,380 with an average of $3,888,407. The program became available as an option for states as of October 7, 2008, and for tribes as of October 1, 2009. Title IV-E agencies began separate financial reporting of program costs for quarters commencing in FY 2011. A number of states and tribes may still be in the process of submitting FY 2016 title IV-E claims for these costs. Therefore, complete data on the range and average of financial assistance is not yet available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

See program guidance in ACYF-CB-PI-10-01 which can be found at Additional program guidance can be found in ACYF-PI-10-11 at Also see the Health and Human Services (HHS) Grants Policy Statement found online at:

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. Contact the Regional Child Welfare Program Manager, Administration for Children and Families, HHS, in the appropriate Regional Office. (See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a list of addresses of the Regional Offices.).

Headquarters Office

Liliana Hernandez 330 C Street SW, Room 3507A, Washington, District of Columbia 20201 Email: Phone: (202) 205-8086

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

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