Kinship Guardianship as a Permanency Option - American Samoa

Date: July 2018


Kinship guardianship is not defined in the statutes reviewed.

Purpose of Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code § 45.0103(18)

The court may transfer legal custody from a parent to a guardian. The term 'legal custody' means the right to the care, custody, and control of a child and the duty to provide food, clothing, shelter, ordinary medical care, education, and discipline for a child and, in an emergency, to authorize surgery or other extraordinary care. Legal custody may be taken from a parent only by court action.

A Guardian's Rights and Responsibilities

Citation: Ann. Code § 45.0103(16)

The term 'guardianship of the person' means the duty and authority vested by court action to make major decisions affecting a child, including, but not limited to:

  • The authority to consent to marriage, to enlistment in the armed forces, and to medical or surgical treatment
  • The authority to represent a child in legal actions and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child
  • The authority to consent to the adoption of a child when parental rights have been terminated by judicial decree
  • The rights and responsibilities of legal custody when legal custody has not been vested in another person, agency, or institution

Qualifying the Guardian

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Procedures for Establishing Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code § 45.0432(a)

Notwithstanding any other section of law, in appropriate cases serving the best interests of a child, the court may appoint a qualified person as the child's guardian with such powers and custodial duties as set forth under § 45.0103 (16) and (18), or either, as the court may order.

Contents of a Guardianship Order

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Modification/Revocation of Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code § 45.0432(a), (c)

Guardianships established under this section continue until either the child reaches the age of majority or earlier termination by the court after a hearing conducted with due notice to all interested parties. An interested party may at any time, with cause, petition the court to terminate the guardianship.

The court may conduct periodic hearings on its own motion to review and monitor a guardianship authorized under this section.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Links to Agency Policies

Kinship guardianship is not addressed in the regulations reviewed.