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Guardianship and Open Adoptions

Guardianship plays an important role in permanency planning placement principles for children and young people in care.

Guardianship orders aim to provide greater stability for children and young people when the Children’s Court makes a decision that they cannot live with their birth parents. 

Under a guardianship order, the child in your care is not in foster care or out-of-home care but in your independent care as their guardian. However, a Guardianship Order does cut legal ties to their birth parents of the child/young persons in your care. 

As a guardian you will play an important role in caring for the child/young person by providing a safe, stable and caring home until s/he is at least 18 years of age. 

A guardian has full care and legal responsibility for the child/young person including making decisions about his/her health, education and managing contact with family and significant people in their life. 

A guardian ensures the child’s emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs are met until they become an adult as outlined in their care or case plan.

A guardian can be a relative or kinship carer, or other suitable person. 

There is no legal definition of who may be a suitable person to become a guardian. As a guide this could include a family member, friend or an authorised carer who has an established and positive relationship with the child/young person and who is willing and able to take care of the child or young person independently.

Guardianship orders can only be made on a final and long-term basis. The only other orders that can be made in conjunction with a guardianship order are an order for contact and an order prohibiting action. However, a contact order cannot be made if the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) or an agency is required to co-ordinate or provide supervision of contact with birth parents or other relatives.

Your CatholicCare caseworker can assist you to become the guardian for the child or young person in your care. Please contact a member of the CatholicCare team to find out more.