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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 by relative caregivers who wish to provide a permanent home for the child and maintain relationships with extended family members.

Guardianship Resources

  • Expanding Permanency Options for Children: A Guide to Subsidized Guardianship
    Since the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) in 1997, state and child welfare systems have redoubled their efforts to secure permanent, loving families for abused and neglected children who cannot safely return home. To this end, states are exploring a range of creative, new ways to expedite adoptive and other permanent placements for children in foster care and to strengthen these familes with vital pre- and post-permanency supports.
  • Preventive Subsidized Guardianship Programs: An Emerging Option for Permanent Kinship Care
    Increasingly, subsidized guardianship is being used as a way to help children exit foster care. At the same time, agencies and advocates are looking for ways to prevent children from entering foster care in the first place. Subsidized guardianship programs that promote permanent homes for children with relatives, before they enter foster care, are an emerging option that can avoid the emotional trauma and disruption of foster care.
  • Generations United Fact Sheet - Grandfamiles: Subsidized Guardianship Programs
    Subsidized guardianship is an increasingly popular permenancy option that provides an ongoing financial subsidy to eligible children who exit the child welfare system into the permanent care of a legal guardian, often a grandparent or other relative.

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