Guardianship is a permanency option for those children where neither family reunification nor adoption is feasible/desirable and the caretaker family is willing to assume a greater level of responsibility and authority over the child. This goal is to be used when a caregiver plans to become the guardian of a child under the age of 18. If a child’s plan is to have an adult guardianship after the age of 18, the child’s case plan must be APPLA (and the child must be 16 years of age or older).
A priority should be made to place siblings together, whenever possible. CD must make reasonable efforts to place siblings in the same placement unless doing so would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings.
Related Subject: Section 4 Chapter 7 Attachment D Sibling Placement Guidelines
Persons interested in serving as a child’s guardian must file a petition in probate court in accordance with chapter 475, RSMo. If the court makes a determination that the child is a minor or incapable of caring for himself and managing his affairs, a guardian is appointed. The guardian becomes legally responsible and obligated to take care of the child. The guardian must make all necessary decisions regarding the child’s affairs including medical care, education and finances. Also, the guardian is under a duty to provide the child with necessary food, clothing and shelter. The guardian is directly supervised by and answerable to the court which granted the petitioner’s request for guardianship.
Children who are 16 years of age or older at the time of the guardianship are eligible for Chafee older youth services, even after the Guardianship is completed. These services shall be monitored by the family subsidy worker.
There are two forms of guardianship available to caretakers interested in this permanency option for children. The first is guardianship by a qualified relative or a qualified close nonrelated person in accordance with 453.072 RSMo. Qualified individuals achieving guardianship may be eligible for guardianship subsidy through the Children’s Division. The second form of guardianship is guardianship – no subsidy. Staff are encouraged to discuss these options with caretakers interested in legal guardianship and to explain the eligibility criteria for subsidy benefits. Staff will also have the responsibility for entering information into FACES appropriately as there will be two options available for guardianship in the placement section of FACES. These two options include guardianship-subsidy and guardianship-no subsidy.
As used in this section and defined by 453.072 RSMo: Relative means any grandparent, aunt, uncle, adult sibling of the child or adult first cousin of the child, or any other person related to the child by blood or affinity; Close nonrelated person means any nonrelated person whose life is so intermingled with the child such that the relationship is similar to a family relationship.