Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since August 1, 2019, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.


R512. Human Services, Child and Family Services.

Rule R512-308. Out-of-Home Services, Guardianship Services and Placements.

As in effect on August 1, 2019

Table of Contents

R512-308-1. Purpose and Authority.

(1) The purpose of this rule is to define guardianship services and placements. Guardianship services and placements provide a permanent, safe living arrangement for a child in the court-ordered custody of Child and Family Services or Department of Human Services when it is not appropriate for the child to return home, adoption has been ruled out as a permanency goal, and continuing agency custody is not in the child's best interest.

(2) Guardianship services are authorized by Section 62A-4a-105.

(3) This rule is authorized by Section 62A-4a-102.

R512-308-2. Definitions.

(1) "Child and Family Services" means the Division of Child and Family Services.

(2) "Child and Family Team" has the same meaning as defined in Rule R512-301.

(3) "Guardianship" has the same meaning as defined in Section 78A-6-105.

R512-308-3. General Guardianship Qualifying Factors.

(1) Guardianship services refer to services provided to both relatives and non-relatives who are seeking legal guardianship. All of the following factors must be met in order to qualify for guardianship services.

(a) The child cannot safely return home. This requirement is met if the court determines that reunification with the child's parents is not possible or appropriate and the Child and Family Team and regional screening committee agree that adoption is not an appropriate plan for the child.

(b) The parent and child have a significant bond but the parent is unable to provide ongoing care for the child, such as an emotional, mental, or physical disability, and the child's current caregiver has committed to raising the child to the age of majority and to facilitate visitation with the parent.

(c) The prospective guardian must:

(i) Be able to maintain a stable relationship with the child;

(ii) Have a strong commitment to providing a safe and stable home for the child on a long-term basis;

(iii) Have a means of financial support;

(iv) Have connections to community resources to assist with the care of the child; and

(v) Be able to care for the child without Child and Family Services supervision.

(d) The child has no ongoing care or financial needs beyond basic maintenance and does not require the services of a case manager.

(e) There are compelling reasons why the child cannot be adopted, such as when the child's tribe has exclusive jurisdiction or the tribe has chosen to intervene in the adoption proceedings. Under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 USC Section 1911, a tribe has the right to determine the child's permanency. For this reason, the tribe has the authority to approve guardianship with the current caregiver.

R512-308-4. Non-Relative Qualifying Factors.

(1) In addition to general qualifying factors in R512-308-3, all of the following factors apply to non-relatives who are seeking legal guardianship. In order for guardianship to be awarded:

(a) The prospective guardian is a licensed out-of-home care provider.

(b) The child has lived for at least six months in the home of the prospective guardian. The region director or designee may waive the six-month placement requirement for sibling groups if at least one sibling has been in the home for six months and meets all other eligibility criteria.

(c) A Child and Family Team has reviewed the home study and assessed the placement and found that continuation with the caregiver is in the child's best interest and supports the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child.

(d) Child and Family Services has no concerns with the care the child has received in the home.

(e) Child and Family Services has observed that the child has a stable and positive relationship with the prospective guardian.

R512-308-5. Relative Qualifying Factors.

(1) In addition to general qualifying factors found in R512-308-3, all of the following factors apply for relatives to seek legal guardianship:

(a) The child's prospective guardian is a relative to the child who meets the relationship requirements of the Department of Workforce Services Specified Relative Program, as outlined in R986-200-214, which currently includes:

(i) Grandparents;

(ii) Brothers and sisters;

(iii) Stepbrothers and stepsisters;

(iv) Aunts and uncles;

(v) First cousins;

(vi) First cousins once removed;

(vii) Nephews and nieces;

(viii) People of prior generations as designated by the prefix grand, great, great-great, or great-great-great;

(ix) Brothers and sisters by legal adoption;

(x) The spouse of any person listed above;

(xi) The former spouse of any person listed above;

(xii) Individuals who can prove they met one of the above-mentioned relationships via a blood relationship even though the legal relationship has been terminated;

(xiii) Former stepparents;

(xiv) A Native American adult who has a Native American child placed in or living in that adult's home, and both the child and the adult are members of, or eligible for membership in, a federally-recognized tribe; and

(xv) An adult of the same ethnicity, culture, country of origin, religion, language, and/or nationality as the refugee/asylee child in his or her care.

(b) The child's needs may be met without continued Child and Family Services funding.

R512-308-6. Guardianship Subsidy Availability, Scope, Duration.

(1) Guardianship subsidies are available to meet the needs for children in out-of-home care:

(a) For whom guardianship has been determined as the most appropriate primary goal.

(b) Who do not otherwise have adequate resources available for his or her care and maintenance.

(c) Who meet the qualifying factors described in R512-308-3 and also either R512-308-4 or R512-308-5.

(i) For prospective guardians who are also relatives of the child, the caseworker must be provided with a copy of a denial letter or other written proof obtained from the Department of Workforce Services verifying that the prospective guardian does not meet the requirements for the Specified Relative Grant.

(d) In order to be considered for a guardianship subsidy, the prospective guardian must be a licensed out-of-home care provider and demonstrate that they cannot qualify for a Specified Relative Grant through the Department of Workforce Services as outlined in R512-308-6.

(2) The request for the guardianship subsidy shall be reviewed by the regional guardianship screening committee and regional administration. The regional guardianship subsidy screening committee shall determine if the request is approved or denied.

(3) A prospective guardian shall not receive both the Specified Relative Grant and the guardianship subsidy. If a prospective guardian is found to be receiving both a Specified Relative Grant and guardianship subsidy for the same child, the caseworker will notify the Department of Workforce Services and appropriate actions may be taken by the Department of Workforce Services for repayment.

(4) Guardianship subsidies are available through the month in which the child reaches age 18 years.

(5) Each region may establish a limit to the number of eligible children who may receive guardianship subsidies.

(6) Guardianship subsidies are subject to the availability of state funds designated for this purpose.

R512-308-7. Regional Guardianship Subsidy Screening Committee.

(1) Each region shall establish at least one regional guardianship subsidy screening committee. This committee may be combined with another appropriate committee, such as the adoption subsidy committee or placement committee.

(2) The regional guardianship subsidy screening committee shall be comprised of at least five members. A minimum of three members must be present for making decisions regarding a guardianship subsidy. Decisions shall be made by consensus.

(3) The regional guardianship subsidy screening committee is responsible to:

(a) Verify that a child qualifies for a guardianship subsidy.

(b) Approve the level of need and amount of monthly subsidy for initial requests, changes, and renewals.

(c) Document the committee's decisions.

(d) Inform guardians of available supportive services to prevent disruptions and preserve permanency.

R512-308-8. Determining Guardianship Subsidy Amounts.

(1) The regional guardianship subsidy screening committee will determine the subsidy amount by considering the special needs of the child and the circumstances of the guardian family. The subsidy amount shall not exceed the amounts specified in this section. The caseworker presents to the committee information regarding the special needs of the child, the guardian family's income and expenses, and/or the guardian family's special circumstances.

(2) All of the following factors must be considered when determining the amount of the monthly subsidy to be granted:

(a) All sources of financial support for the child, including Supplemental Security Income, Social Security benefits, and other benefits. The regional guardianship subsidy committee may require verification of financial support.

(i) If a child is receiving benefit income and the income can continue after guardianship is granted, this amount will be deducted from the guardianship subsidy amount.

(ii) The guardianship subsidy should not replace other available income, such as Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Benefits.

(3) A guardianship subsidy will not exceed the amounts indicated below, and may be less based upon the ongoing needs of the child and the needs of the guardian family.

(a) Guardianship I: Guardianship I is for a child who may have mild to moderate medical needs, psychological, emotional, or behavioral problems, and who requires parental supervision and care. The amount of guardianship subsidy for a child whose needs are within Guardianship I may be any amount up to the lowest Foster Care Level 1 (FC1) rate that was in effect at the time the child exited custody. The age of the child is not considered when determining the amount of the guardianship subsidy.

(b) Guardianship II: Guardianship II is for a child who may be physically disabled, developmentally delayed, medically needy or medically fragile, or have a serious emotional disorder. The amount of the guardianship II subsidy may range from the lowest FC1 rate to the lowest Foster Care Level 2 (FC2) rate that was in effect at the time the child exited custody. The age of the child is not considered when determining the amount of the guardianship subsidy.

(4) Children who were placed in Foster Care Level II or higher (FC3, group homes, residential facilities, etc.) at the time of exit are considered for the Guardianship II rate.

(5) Guardianship subsidies may not exceed the Guardianship II rate.

(6) Funds for guardianship subsidies are funded with state general funds. A region has the discretion to limit the number of guardianship subsidies or reduce guardianship subsidy rates based on the availability of funds.

(7) The process for changing the amount of the guardianship subsidy is as follows:

(a) The amount of a guardianship subsidy awarded does not automatically increase when there is an out-of-home care rate change or as the child ages.

(b) A guardian may request a guardianship subsidy review when seeking an increase in the guardianship subsidy amount, not to exceed the maximum amount allowable for the child's level of need. The guardian must complete the form designated by Child and Family Services and provide documentation to justify the request.

(c) The request must be reviewed and approved by the regional guardianship subsidy screening committee. If approved, a new Guardian Subsidy Agreement will be completed.

(d) Child and Family Services may reduce a guardianship subsidy rate due to inadequate state general funds. Child and Family Services must provide written notice of agency action by certified mail at least 30 days in advance if a guardianship subsidy rate is going to be reduced.

R512-308-9. Guardianship Subsidy Agreement.

(1) A Guardianship Subsidy Agreement specifies the terms for financial support for the child's basic needs and may be for a duration of no longer than three years.

(2) A guardianship subsidy worker will complete the Guardianship Subsidy Agreement.

(3) The effective date of the initial agreement is the date of the court order granting guardianship.

(4) A Guardianship Subsidy Agreement must:

(a) Be signed by the guardian and a Child and Family Services designee prior to any payments being made;

(b) Identify the reason a subsidy is needed;

(c) List the amount of the monthly payment;

(d) Identify dates the agreement is in effect;

(e) Identify responsibilities of the guardian;

(f) Identify under what circumstances the agreement may be amended or terminated and the time period for reviews;

(g) Include a provision for a reduction or termination in the amount of the guardianship subsidy in the event a legislative or executive branch action affects Child and Family Services' budget or expenditure authority, making it necessary for Child and Family Services to reduce or terminate guardianship subsidies, or if a regional office determines that reduction is necessary due to regional budget constraints;

(h) Include a provision for assignment of benefits to the Office of Recovery Services in accordance with the Office of Recovery Services requirements; and

(i) Include a provision for correction of any under or overpayment that was made in error or that was incorrectly paid to the guardian by the Department of Human Services or Child and Family Services.

R512-308-10. Notification Regarding Changes.

(1) The Guardianship Subsidy Agreement shall also include provisions for the guardian to notify Child and Family Services if:

(a) There is no longer a need for a guardianship subsidy.

(b) The guardian is no longer legally responsible for the support of the child.

(c) The guardian is no longer providing any financial support for the child or is providing reduced financial support for the child.

(d) The child no longer resides with the guardian.

(e) The guardian has a change in address.

(f) The child has run away.

(g) The guardian is planning to move out of the state of Utah.

R512-308-11. Reviews and Renewals.

(1) Reviews:

(a) A guardianship subsidy worker will review each Guardianship Subsidy Agreement annually. The family situation, child's needs, and amount of the guardianship subsidy payment may be considered.

(b) Prior to review, the guardian must complete the form designated by Child and Family Services for Guardianship Subsidy Recertification in order to verify that the guardian continues to support the child. If the form is not received after adequate notice, the guardianship subsidy may be delayed or terminated.

(2) Renewals:

(a) In order for guardianship assistance payments to continue, this agreement shall be renewed at intervals of up to three years until the child's 18th birthday.

(b) Written notification of the need to renew the agreement shall be provided to the guardians no less than 60 days prior to the next renewal date. Child and Family Services shall supply the guardian with the appropriate forms for renewal.

(c) Child and Family Services and the guardian may negotiate the terms of a new agreement at any time. In order to be effective, all new agreements shall be in writing, on a form designated by Child and Family Services, and signed by the parties. Oral modifications or agreements shall neither bind the Department of Human Services or Child and Family Services nor the guardian.

R512-308-12. Appeals/Fair Hearings.

(1) When a decision is made to deny, reduce, or terminate a guardianship subsidy, Child and Family Services shall send by certified mail a written Notice of Agency Action. The notice shall also include information about how to request a fair hearing.

R512-308-13. Termination.

(1) A Guardianship Subsidy Agreement will be terminated if any of the following circumstances occur:

(a) The terms of the agreement are concluded.

(b) The guardian requests termination.

(c) The child reaches age 18 years.

(d) The child dies.

(e) The guardian parent dies or, in a two-parent family, if both guardian parents die.

(f) The guardian parents' legal responsibility for the child ceases.

(g) Child and Family Services determines that the child is no longer receiving financial support from the guardian parent.

(h) The child marries.

(i) The child enters the military.

(j) The child is adopted.

(k) The child is placed in out-of-home care.

(2) The Department of Human Services or Child and Family Services determines that funding restrictions prevent continuation of subsidies for all guardians.

(3) A Guardianship Subsidy Agreement will be suspended and reviewed for possible termination if any of the following circumstances occur:

(a) The child is incarcerated for more than 30 days.

(b) The child is out of the home for more than a 30-day period or is no longer living in the home.

(c) The guardian fails to complete the renewed Guardianship Subsidy Agreement within five working days of the renewal date.

(d) There is a supported finding of child abuse or neglect against the guardian.

(4) The decision to terminate or suspend a guardianship subsidy payment shall be made by the regional guardianship subsidy screening committee.

KEY

out-of-home care, guardianship

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

December 8, 2017

Notice of Continuation

July 22, 2015

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

62A-4a-102; 62A-4a-105; 78A-6-105


Additional Information

Contact

For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R512, please contact the promulgating agency (Human Services, Child and Family Services). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.