Arizona Bill Aims to Close the Guardianship Gap

A new bill in Arizona would speed up the process for caregivers to begin receiving subsidies for the children in their care before a permanent guardianship has been finalized.

The bill also allows guardians who subsequently adopt to apply for adoption subsidies, which they currently cannot do. This would be similar to how subsidies are granted to adoptive families, and would help prospective guardians plan and budget in advance.

Beth Rosenberg of Children’s Action Alliance told the Arizona Republic that the change will eliminate months of waiting for a subsidy after a child has already been placed with a permanent guardian.

That delay “creates a gap in support for permanent guardianship families that can hurt the children in their care,” according to a fact sheet circulated by the Alliance.

According to Darren DaRonco, spokesperson for Arizona’s Department of Child Safety, an impact analysis showed that if every permanent guardianship transitioned into adoption, which is unlikely, it could cost the state $9.5 million in new money, assuming the lowest subsidy available.

Senate Bill 1166 is sponsored by Republican Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, who championed legislation last year that allows juvenile court to establish permanent guardianship for a minor before it has been determined that adoption or family reunification are not viable options.

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