Guardianship is a permanency option for children for whom reunification or adoption is not feasible. In Missouri orders of guardianship are entered by the Probate Court. Guardianship requires the caretaker to assume a high level of responsibility and authority over the child. Once guardianship is awarded by the probate court, the Division’s legal responsibility for case management services is terminated. However, with the passage of H.R. 6893: Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, youth who enter guardianship after the age of 16 are eligible for Chafee Foster Care Independence Program Services and these services must be monitored.
Related Subject: Section 4 Chapter 21.3 Older Youth Program (OYP)
This plan has limited application, and should be selected under the following circumstances:
- The Family Support Team has determined that family reunification is not likely in the foreseeable future and termination of parental rights is deemed inappropriate;
- Adoption is not an option;
- Current placement provider is able to meet the needs of the child including financial;
- Current placement is stable;
- The child’s caretaker family is willing to pursue guardianship;
- The child, if over 14 years of age, consents;
- The juvenile court having jurisdiction supports guardianship as an option and is willing to terminate its jurisdiction when such is granted; and
- The child’s Family Support Team is supportive of plan for guardianship.
The Division’s legal relationship, as well as services and foster are payments to the child/family, would terminate once guardianship is established. However, support services may continue as needed/desired and available.
Adult Guardianships and Conservatorships are not the same as these types of guardianships and are considered for child between 18 and 21 who have a permanency goal of APPLA.