Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–2399. Permanent guardianship subsidy.

(a) To the extent that appropriated funds are available, the Mayor may make subsidy payments to a permanent guardian, irrespective of the permanent guardian’s state of residence, as needed on behalf of a child with special needs where the permanent guardian has the capability of providing the permanent family relationships needed by such child in all areas except financial, as determined by the Mayor. For the purposes of this section a “child with special needs” includes any child who is difficult to place in adoption because of age, race, ethnic background, physical or mental condition, or membership in a sibling group which should be placed together, or a child who, in all likelihood, would go without another permanent placement arrangement except for the acceptance of the child as a member of the permanent guardian’s family.

(b) For a permanent guardian to be eligible for subsidy payments under this section:

(1) The child must be adjudicated neglected pursuant to section 16-2317;

(2) The child must be committed to the legal custody of the Child and Family Services Agency;

(3) Repealed; and

(4) A subsidy payment agreement must be entered into by the Child and Family Services Agency and the permanent guardian.

(c) Subsidy payments allowed under this section may be paid, subject to the availability of appropriated funds necessary to carry out the provisions of this section, on a long-term basis to help a permanent guardian whose income is limited and likely to remain so, or on a time-limited basis to help a permanent guardian meet the cost of integrating a child into the family over a specified period of time.

(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, eligibility for subsidy payments under this section may continue during the period of the guardianship order until the child reaches 18 years of age.

(2) For guardianships that are finalized on or after May 7, 2010, eligibility for subsidy payments under this section shall continue during the period of the guardianship order until the child reaches 21 years of age.

(e) No subsidy payment to a permanent guardian shall be made on behalf of any child with respect to whom a guardianship order has been entered by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, pursuant to this subchapter, before October 1, 2000.

(f) Once during each calendar year and at other times during the year when changed conditions and costs are deemed by the Mayor to warrant review, the Mayor shall review the need for continuing each permanent guardianship subsidy. A permanent guardian who is subject to a subsidy agreement under this section may request, in writing, at any time, for reasons set forth in the request, a review of the amount of the payment or the level of continuing payments. Such review shall begin not later than 30 days from the receipt of the request by the Mayor. At the time of a review, appropriate adjustments in payment shall be made based upon changes in the needs of the child. Any adjustment may be made retroactive to the date a request for review was received by the Mayor. If a request for review is not acted on within 30 days after it has been received by the Mayor, or if the Mayor modifies or terminates an agreement without the concurrence of all parties, any party to the agreement shall be entitled to a hearing under the applicable provisions of subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(g) The Mayor shall disseminate information to prospective permanent guardians as to eligibility for subsidy under this section.

(h) The Mayor shall keep such records as are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of permanent guardianship subsidies as a means of encouraging and promoting the placement of children with special needs with permanent guardians. The Mayor shall make an annual progress report which shall be open to public inspection. The report shall include the number of children placed with permanent guardians under subsidy payment agreements during the year preceding the annual report and the major characteristics of the children placed.

(i) Permanent guardianship subsidies shall be subject to the availability of appropriations. Nothing in this section shall be construed to create an entitlement to a permanent guardianship subsidy for any person.

(j) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, may issues rules to implement the provisions of this section.