The Kinship Care Subsidy Program provides financial assistance to certain people caring for their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or other children. A caregiver may be eligible for the program if she has cared for the child for at least the last 12 months. In order to apply for the subsidy program, the caregiver must file a petition and ask the court to appoint him or her as a “kinship legal guardian.”

When a caregiver is appointed as the kinship legal guardian for a child, he or she assumes most of the responsibility for the child. While the parents can still have contact with the child, they lose their custody rights and it may be difficult to regain custody. The caregiver must notify the child’s parents and all other people who have legal visitation rights that she is applying for kinship legal guardianship and provide a summons with a court date. Then the notified parties can oppose the caregiver’s petition if they wish. You should go to court on the appointed date and let the court know your position if you are a notified party. If you do not respond or appear, then the court can issue a default judgment which means that your position will not be considered.

If you have been notified that your child’s caregiver is applying for kinship legal guardianship, there are several considerations. First you have to decide whether to consent to or oppose the petition. Next you have to decide whether you would like to regain custody of a child. If the parties do not agree and the matter goes to court, there will be a hearing. If you want to oppose the petition, you will need to show that you are able to care for your child, or that the petitioner is unfit to care for the child. If you require assistance in opposing a guardianship petition, consult with an experienced family law attorney.

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