Kinship Legal Guardianship
Children who are taken from their home by the DCP&P can be placed with relatives instead of a foster family. In New Jersey, however, a relative who takes a child must take steps to become a licensed foster family, which involves a home inspection and background checks on all adults in the household. Relatives can also petition the court to be appointed the child’s kinship legal guardian if they meet certain requirements.
If the child is involved in a child welfare case with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), the DCP&P should take steps to help the family become a licensed resource family within five days of the child being placed in the home. Becoming a kinship legal guardian 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:
- You must have lived with the child for at least the last 12 months or more
- The child’s parents must be incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for the child
- You must be a relative of the child or a family friend
- You must show the court that it is in the child’s best interest to stay with you
- You must be financially eligible to care for the child
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 retain their parental rights.
Kinship legal guardians may be eligible for a kinship care subsidy through the State of New Jersey. Through this program, kinship legal guardians can receive financial assistance to care for the child.
Filing for guardianship or custody of a child who is not your own can be a difficult process. Becoming a child’s guardian is a significant responsibility and one the courts take very seriously. Therefore, you should work with an experienced New Jersey child welfare and child custody attorney if you are seeking kinship legal guardianship. An attorney can help you understand the rights and responsibilities as a kinship guardian and walk you through the process step by step.
Do you have questions about kinship care? The attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC can help you become a licensed resource family and apply for kinship legal guardianship so you can provide proper care for the child in question. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation so you can work with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.