The bipartisan resolution directs the Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families to explore participating in the federal title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program.
DOVER, DE – On Thursday, August 31, 2023, Governor John Carney signed Senate Joint Resolution 1 with Senate Amendment 1 (SJR 1). The bipartisan joint resolution, authored by Senator Eric Buckson (R-Dover) and Representative Kim Williams (D-Stanton), directs the Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families (DSCYF) to explore participating in the federal title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program.
As of this writing, Delaware is one of 9 states that does not participate in the program. Many of these states do, however, provide state assistance to relative guardians of children.
“To me, providing assistance and encouraging relative guardianship is a win for both the child and the state of Delaware,” Senator Buckson said in a statement. “Children thrive in a permanent, healthy family environment, and the federal Guardianship Assistance Program supports this.
“The funds are there, so we should, at the very least, explore how to acquire and utilize the money.”
Should DSCYF opt to participate in the federal Guardianship Assistance Program, relative guardians who are the permanent caregivers of children would be eligible to receive federal assistance.
“Opening the doors to federal funding for guardianship assistance payments isn’t just a wise policy, it’s the right thing to do for Delaware families,” said Rep. Kim Williams. “The payments would provide a lifeline for so many devoted relatives who are providing stable, loving homes for children who’ve experienced the foster care system. The funds would also bridge critical gaps in our child welfare system, expediting the journey towards permanent, nurturing homes for children in foster care.”
SJR 1 went into effect on August 31, 2023, immediately upon receiving Governor Carney’s signature. It requires DSCYF to provide a report to the General Assembly by November 30, 2023 describing its findings and recommendations.
A signed joint resolution carries the weight of law until the final day of the General Assembly in which it was signed. The effect of this resolution would expire following June 30, 2024, which is the last day of the 152nd General Assembly.