Guardianship administration is the appointing of a third party as the legal guardian of a child. The parents’ rights may or may not be terminated when another person is appointed as a child’s guardian.
Who is Involved:
The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services is not involved in the guardianship process. The Court, though, retains jurisdiction until the child reaches the age of 18. In order to be named the guardian of a child, other options, such as adoption or returning home to the parents, must be eliminated first. A child’s parents may either give consent for the guardianship or object in court if they are against it. If the parents’ rights have been terminated, they may not object to the guardianship in court.
How Guardians are Selected:
A guardianship must, first and foremost, be in the best interests of the child. If the child is 14 or older, his or her wishes are also considered in any guardianship. The potential guardian’s relationship with the child, along with the potential guardian’s mental and physical health, are carefully considered. A criminal background check is conducted with the Department of Child and Family Services along with a home study.
Need for Stability:
The child’s adjustment to his or her present living situation is carefully considered as is the child’s adjustment to school and community. Stability is of primary concern in appointing the right guardian for a child in need.
Exhausting Other Options Prior to Guardianship:
Licensed relatives, who have been caring for children who have been living in their home for six months or longer, can be considered for guardianship. Adoption and return home must be eliminated as options before guardianship can be seriously considered.
Siblings Can Be Considered:
Guardianship administration is normally only considered in cases where both the guardian and child have a strong attachment to each other. Siblings may also be considered under the same guardianship as long as there is one sibling in the potential guardian’s care.
A guardian may receive a subsidy from the state. This financial assistance includes payment for non-recurring expenses as well as monthly payments that can be up to the current rate of a licensed foster family, depending upon the potential guardianship’s circumstances and need.
Other Subsidized Expenses:
A Medicaid card will be issued to a child under a guardianship as well as payment for health needs that don’t fall under those covered by Medicaid, daycare expenses related to a guardian’s employment and therapeutic daycare for qualified children.
Duration of Guardianship Subsidy:
The guardianship subsidy continues in force and effect until the child reaches the age of 18. If the child is still in high school, the subsidy doesn’t stop until either graduation or the child’s 19th birthday. The subsidy also stops if the child enlists in the military, gets married, is emancipated as a minor or passes away.
When considering a guardianship, potential guardians are wise to consult with an attorney prior to entering the guardianship process.