Relative caregivers can assume legal guardianship of a child for whom they are caring for while foster parents. Guardianship promotes a sense of belonging, increases stability, helps a child stay connected to family and their culture and allows relatives to provide a permanent home for the child without terminating parental rights.
Guardianship assistance is intended to help prevent a child from remaining in foster care when reunification with parents and adoption are not appropriate permanency options. Guardianship assistance supports relatives assuming legal guardianship by providing financial and medical assistance to guardians who are not able to meet their child’s needs without assistance.
Guardianship Assistance Eligibility
A child in the care or custody of the Department or participating tribe is eligible for Title IV-E guardianship assistance payments when all the following requirements are met:
- The child must have been removed from the home pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement or as a result of a judicial determination to the effect that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child.
- The child is eligible for Title IV-E foster care payments.
- The child is a United States citizen or qualified alien and is placed in the United States or a possession thereof.
- The child is placed with a potential guardian who is considered a relative as defined by the Department.
- The child must have resided in the home of the potential guardian for a period of at least six consecutive months during which the potential guardian was fully licensed, certified or approved by the state or a participating Tribe.
- The Department determined that returning home or adoption are not appropriate permanency options for the child.
- The child demonstrates a strong attachment to the potential relative guardian.
- The child has special needs or is placed with a potential guardian who indicates an economic need to care for the child.
A child who is ineligible for Title IV-E guardianship assistance payments may be eligible for state funded guardianship assistance payments when requirements 3 through 8 above are met and the child is in the care or custody of the Department.
Duties of a Guardian
When an individual is appointed by the Court as a guardian of a child, the Court will review information regarding the child’s placement and care to ensure the child’s needs are being met. After the Court appoints a guardian, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) will no longer be involved in the care, supervision or legal custody of the child.
For more information, read the Duties of a Guardian summary.
To comply with the duties required under Oregon law and by the Court, a guardian appointed by the Court must submit a written report every year within 30 days after each anniversary date of the appointment of guardianship. If you do not have a blank copy of the annual report form or did not receive the form, please contact the court directly to request a report form.
The requirements for a guardian appointed under a Tribal Court may differ according to the Tribal Court Requirements. Please contact the Tribe if further information is needed.
When to contact the Guardianship Assistance Program
Please remember to tell your guardianship assistance coordinator when a change happens. Some changes you should report right away are:
- Your child is no longer living in your home.
- Your child married, enlisted in the military, was adopted or emancipated.
- Your child or a guardian is deceased.
- You are no longer legally responsible for your child.
- You are no longer providing financial support to your child.
- Your address or phone number has changed.
- The court has vacated the guardianship.
- The court has appointed a different guardian.
- You wish to add, change or remove a successor guardian to your guardianship assistance agreement.
Timely notification of a change in a child’s living situation or legal status will help prevent an overpayment AND make sure the child will have medical coverage in their new area of residence. If you have any questions regarding your guardianship assistance or changes to report, please contact your guardianship assistance coordinator.
Please visit the Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Program information web page Contact Information section for a list of contacts.
Children who are Title IV-E eligible are also categorically eligible for Medicaid benefits from the state in which the child resides. For example, a child residing in Washington would receive Medicaid benefits directly from that state. The Oregon Guardianship Assistance Program will send required information to the state in order to establish Medicaid benefits.
Children determined ineligible for Title IV-E guardianship assistance may be eligible for Medicaid benefits from the state in which the child resides. Children who reside in Oregon are eligible for Medicaid benefits. If the child does not reside in Oregon, the guardian will need to apply for Medicaid in the state the child resides. Not all states provide Medicaid benefits to a child ineligible for Title IV-E guardianship assistance. However, if your child is not eligible for medical coverage in the state where he or she lives, your child will remain eligible for Oregon Medicaid benefits. You will need to locate providers in your state of residence willing to accept Medicaid benefits and payment from Oregon.
Laws and Rules
Oregon Revised Statute
418.005, 418.330, 418.335, 418.340
Oregon Administrative Rules
413-070-0900 – 413-070-0974