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Introduction

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Relatives, often grandparents, are frequently called upon by family circumstances to step in as caregivers for children.

Many of these arrangements are informal, with the relative(s) providing kinship care; however, informal care gives the caregiver no legal standing with courts, schools, state agencies, doctors, hospitals, and others, and can tie their hands when decisions need to be made on the child's behalf.

This series of articles will present the legal options generally available when it becomes important for the caregiver to have legal standing in order to provide the best environment for the child. Options available depend on state law. Each state has its own laws and its own court system.

Options for Relative Caregivers

  1. Adoption (in all states)
  2. Guardianship (in all states)
  3. Legal Custody (in all states)
  4. Open Adoption with Agreements (in some states)
  5. De Facto Custodian (in some states)
  6. Permanent Guardianship (in some states)
  7. Standby Guardianship (in some states)
  8. Subsidized Guardianship (in some states)
  9. Medical & Educational Consent (in some states)
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