How to become a legal guardian of a child in need

How to become a legal guardian of a child in need

Are you considering becoming a legal guardian to a child in need? A legal guardian is defined as a person who has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of a child – meaning you’ll take on responsibility for their care and wellbeing. This may include making decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, or welfare.

Legal guardianship is often granted in situations where a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for them. Becoming a legal guardian can be a complex process, but it can be incredibly rewarding to provide stability and support to a child in need.

Who is classed as a legal guardian?

Generally, a legal guardian is someone who has been granted legal custody of a child. This may be because the child’s parents are unable to care for them due to illness, disability, or other circumstances.

Legal guardianship may also be granted in situations where the child has been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. In these cases, the legal guardian is responsible for ensuring that the child is safe and that their needs are met.

Who can be a legal guardian in the UK?

The requirements for becoming a legal guardian vary depending on the situation. In general, anyone who is over the age of 18 and is able to provide a safe and stable home for the child may be considered. This may include relatives, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles, as well as family friends or other trusted individuals.

It’s important to note that becoming a legal guardian is a significant responsibility, and it’s vital to carefully consider whether you are able to provide the support and care that the child needs.

Do you get paid for being a legal guardian?

The answer to this is that it depends on the circumstances. In some cases, the local authority may provide financial support to help cover the costs of caring for the child. Financial support may include a regular allowance to cover expenses such as food and clothing. However, this is not always the case, and you should be prepared to cover the costs of caring for the child yourself.

What are the different types of guardians?

There are several different types of guardianship arrangements that may be considered, depending on the child’s needs and circumstances. These include:

  1. Full guardianship: This is the most comprehensive type of guardianship, and it grants the guardian full legal custody of the child. This means that the guardian has the right to make all decisions about the child’s upbringing.
  2. Kinship care: Kinship care refers to situations where a child is placed with a relative or family friend. In these cases, the individual may be granted legal guardianship, or they may be able to care for the child under a kinship care arrangement.
  3. Special guardianship: Special guardianship is a legal arrangement that is similar to full guardianship, but it allows the child to maintain a relationship with their birth parents. This type of guardianship is appropriate in situations where the child’s parents are unable to care for them, but it is not in the child’s best interests to sever all ties with their family.
  4. Emergency guardianship: In some cases, a child may need to be placed with a guardian on an emergency basis if the child’s parents are suddenly unable to care for them, or if the child is at immediate risk of harm.

If you are interested in becoming a legal guardian, there are several steps that you will need to take. The first step is to contact your local authority to express your interest. They will be able to provide you with information about the different types of guardianship arrangements, as well as the requirements for becoming a guardian. You may also want to consider speaking with a family law solicitor, who can provide advice and guidance on the legal aspects of the process.

Once you have expressed your interest in becoming a legal guardian, you will likely need to undergo an assessment process. An assessment may include a home visit, interviews with social workers and other professionals, and background checks. This process is designed to ensure that you are able to provide a safe and stable home for the child, and that you have the skills and resources required to meet their needs.

If you are approved as a legal guardian, you will be given a legal order that grants you custody of the child. The order will outline your rights and responsibilities as a guardian, including your authority to make decisions on behalf of the child. It’s important to carefully review and understand the terms of the order, as it will be legally binding.

If you’d like more information about becoming a legal guardian, please contact our family law team.

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Shaoli has been a solicitor at NLS for over two years, transitioning from a background in criminal law to full-time family law. Her experience as a Criminal Duty Solicitor has equipped her with unique skills that are invaluable in her current role.
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