Caregivers can assume legal guardianship of a child in out-of-home care without termination of parental rights, as is required for an adoption. Legal guardianship is more durable but more complex than transfer of custody to caregivers. Guardianship is most frequently used when relative caregivers wish to provide a permanent home for the child and maintain relationships with extended family members but there is not a termination of parental rights.a permanent home for the child and maintain relationships with extended family members.
The resources below discuss guardianship as an option for children in out-of-home care, including including State and local examples.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau
Offers information on the Children's Bureau's support of States and Tribes that have been approved to operate a Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance program and provides additional resources on guardianship and kinship care.
Guardianship and Youth Permanence
In Achieving Permanence for Older Children and Youth in Foster Care
Reviews research on kinship care in relation to well-being, permanency, and safety of foster youth. The chapter examines efforts to make kin guardianship a viable permanency option for many children in foster care and to enhance permanency options for older foster care youth.
Bridging Refugee Youth & Children's Services
Provides resources for relative and nonrelative caregivers, including a searchable directory for guardianship procedures by State.
Let's Help Caregivers and Children in Informal Kinship Care: De Facto Custodian Legislation
Gibson & Singh
Child Welfare, 89(3), 2010
Introduces the significance of the de facto concept and provides detailed information on its components and limitations. Recommendations are for social education and practice are included.
Paths to Permanence: Kin Guardianship and Adoption (PDF - 660 KB)
Adoption Advocate, 59
Discusses recommendations for both practice and policy that can decrease a child's time in temporary care and improve the overall well-being of kinship care families. Issues relative caregivers encounter are also provided.
Strengthening Families Through Guardianship (PDF - 514 KB)
Pew Charitable Trusts & Kids Are Waiting: Fix Foster Care Now (2008)
Reviews the benefits of supported legal guardianship with a relative or another caring adult for children in foster care. The brief explains legal rights of guardianship and advocates for a Federal subsidized guardianship program.
Adoption and Guardianship Preparation Training for Alaska's Resource Families: Self-Study Workbook (PDF - 1,280 KB)
Alaska Center for Resource Families
Teaches families about the adoption and guardianship process for children who are in the custody of the State of Alaska due to child abuse and neglect.
The Guardianship Book for California: How to Become a Child's Legal Guardian
Brown & Doskow (2011)
Provides forms and instructions for adults in California that can be used to obtain guardianship of a minor without the help of a lawyer.
Kinship Guardianship Assistance: A Permanency Option for New York State (PDF - 675 KB)
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (2010)
Describes the newly authorized Kinship Guardianship Assistance program as a way to support permanency for older youth in care.
Pursuing Permanence for Children in Foster Care: Issues and Options for Establishing a Federal Guardianship Assistance Program in New York State (PDF - 387 KB)
Testa & Cohen (2010)
Discusses the backlog of children in long-term foster care in New York State, the benefits of kinship care, and the promise of subsidized guardianship.