Guardianship

Children in foster care can achieve permanency through guardianship, which is also known as legal guardianship or permanent guardianship. In a guardianship, a caregiver can assume legal custody of a child in out-of-home placement without termination of parental rights (TPR) as is required for an adoption. Guardianship is often sought by family relative care givers who want to provide a permanent home for the child and maintain relationships with extended family members. Guardianships may also be appropriate for older youth in foster care who object to being adopted and having their parents’ rights terminated, yet want to remain with their current caregiver.

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 created a new plan option for States and Tribes to provide kinship guardianship assistance payments under title IV-E on behalf of children who have been in a foster care placement in which a relative has assumed legal guardianship. These subsidized guardianships, similar to adoption subsidies, provide financial assistance to caregivers who assume legal guardianship of a child in out-of-home care. A number of States are exploring subsidized guardianship as a means to achieving permanency for children and youth who are not being adopted or reunified with family.