If a child’s parents are unable to care for him or her, a family member or close family friend may step forward and petition the court to become a kinship legal guardian. When the DCPP (Division of Child Protection and Permanency) places a child with relatives instead of a foster family, a kinship legal guardian will assume legal custody of the child, while the parents retain limited rights. If you are interested in kinship legal guardianship, reach out to one of our knowledgeable attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC.
Becoming a kinship legal guardian in Short Hills is a separate and somewhat complicated process, and there are many requirements that the person must meet before the court can make a decision.
To be granted kinship legal guardianship, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Once you meet these eligibility criteria, you can ask the court to appoint you as the child’s kinship legal guardian. If granted, you could have many of the legal rights as the parent, but the parents would still retain limited parental rights.
Some of the legal rights of a kinship legal guardian include:
In Short Hils, kinship legal guardians have many responsibilities, as well. On a daily basis, they must ensure the child is safe and that his or her needs are met. Accordingly, they must take steps to become a licensed resource family (i.e. foster family) in the State of New Jersey, which involves a home inspection and background checks on all adults in the household. If the child is involved in a child welfare case, the DCPP should take steps to help the family become a licensed resource family within five days of the child being placed in the home. Once a kinship legal guardian obtains this license, he or she is eligible for a kinship care subsidy that provides a monthly stipend for expenses like room, board, and health insurance.
It is important to remember that kinship legal guardians do not have complete authority over the child. For instance, they do not have the right to consent to an adoption of the child, nor can they change the child’s name. Kinship legal guardians also do not have the right to withhold the child from seeing his or her parents unless there is a court order.
Do you have questions about kinship care? If you are a family member or close family friend and are seeking guardianship of a child, the attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC can help you become a licensed resource family and apply for kinship legal guardianship in Short Hills so you can provide proper care for the child in question. These types of court actions can be complicated, especially if the Division of Child Protection and Permanency is involved. But an attorney can help you do what it takes to ensure the child in question has a safe and loving home in which to stay.