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Resources For Guardians

Each year, thousands of individuals decide to become a legal guardian to provide a permanent home for a child who can't return to their birth parents. Guardianship is mostly used when relative or other caregivers wish to obtain custody of a child who is in such a situation, while maintaining a relationship with the child’s birth parents and extended family. Unlike adoption, one can assume legal guardianship of a child in out-of-home care without terminating the birth parent’s parental rights. Becoming a legal guardian can be a complex process. These resources help define legal guardianship, standby guardianship, and legal custody and outline where relatives can go to find support for legal, financial, and emotional needs. Additional resources help to guide guardians on important issues such as managing a change in family dynamics, understanding government eligibility requirements, and overall parenting tips on how to parent a child who is placed in your home from foster care.

What is guardianship?

Grandfamilies: Legal Issues
Generations United
Explores the legal relationship options that can apply to kinship caregivers.

Guardianship Information by State
Bridging Refugee Youth & Children’s Services (BRYCS)
Explains the relevant terminology, court, website, and forms required to obtain legal guardianship in each State.

Paths to Permanence: Kin Guardianship and Adoption (PDF - 392 KB)
Rowe (2013)
Adoption Advocate, 59
Examines the benefits of kin guardianship and adoption for children in care.

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Financial considerations and support

Grandfamilies: Financial
Generations United
Identif\iesthe benefits available to kin guardians, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and foster care payments.

Supporting Relative Caregivers of Children
National Conference of State Legislatures (2017)
Explores how child welfare agencies work with and rely on kin caregivers. This resource includes legal definitions and changes to the definition of relative caregivers, licensure requirements, and relative placement preference.

Federal Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program State Policies and Laws (PDF - 295 KB)
Grandfamilies.org
Identifies the guardianship assistance available in each State.

Insure Kids Now
Explores healthcare coverage options available to children in care, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Benefits.gov: Your Path to Government Benefits
Provides information about government benefits available to legal guardians and the children in their care.

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Guides and additional information

Guardianship Toolkits
Bridging Refugee Youth & Children’s Services (BRYCS)
Provides information for those working with immigrant and refugee foster and kinship families.

Duties of a Guardian
California Courts
Outlines the role and responsibilities of legal guardians, including financial and personal obligations.

Raising Children of the Opioid Epidemic (PDF - 2,580 KB)
Generations United (2016)
Provides information on the social, financial, physical, and mental health challenges that arise in families impacted by when substance use.

Grand Resources: A Grandparent's and Other Relative's Guide to Raising Children with Disabilities (PDF - 2,162 KB)
Generations United
Answers questions commonly asked by grandparents raising children with disabilities, including obtaining diagnoses and health insurance considerations.

Kinship Caregivers Guide: A Guide for Adults Who Are Caring for the Children of Relatives or Family Friends (PDF - 1,249 KB)
Vermont Agency of Human Services, Department for Children and Families (2017)
Provides information about the financial and personal assistance available to kinship caregivers in Vermont.

Handbook for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children (PDF - 5,755 KB)
San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Defines the status and role of relative caregivers in California. This resource also points to available resources to help relatives raising children in their care.

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