Can an approved carer become the long-term guardian of a child or young person in their own right?
An approved carer who has had the care of a child or young person (who is under the custody or guardianship of the Chief Executive) for at least 2 years may apply to the Chief Executive to become the child or young person’s long-term guardian [Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA) s 89(1)]. As soon as possible thereafter the Department must undertake an assessment of the suitability of the proposed long-term guardian [s 89(3)] and if suitable, prepare a long-term care plan for the child or young person [s 90(1)]. An approved carer who is not assessed as suitable may wish to seek a review of the Chief Executive's decision [ss 157 and 158]. See Can the Chief Executive's decisions be reviewed?
A long-term care plan must include the following:
- a cultural maintenance plan
- details of any contact arrangements with the family of the child or young person or other significant people in their life
- information about how the educational, health and disability needs (if any) of the child or young person will be met
- details of any financial or other support will be provided to the approved carer/s
- details of any compensation paid or payable to the child or young person as a victim or crime
- details of any dispute resolution process (including mediation) to be followed in the event of dispute about the care of the child or young person
- information about the most recent review of the long-term care plan
See Children and Young People (Safety) Regulations 2017 (SA) reg 22
As long as no new information has presented itself suggesting the proposed long-term guardian is not suitable, then once the long-term care plan is complete, the Chief Executive must apply for the appropriate orders from the Youth Court to place the child or young person under their long-term guardianship without undue delay [s 91 and reg 23]. A copy of the long-term care plan must be provided to the Court.
A declaration of the name by which the child or young person will be known can also be made at this time [s 53(1b)].
The views of the following people (if known) should be set out in the application [reg 23(1)]:
- the child or young person
- the proposed guardian/s
- the birth family of the child or young person
- the Department
- the person or body representing the culture or community of the child or young person
If the birth family objects to the proposed long-term guardian or the child or young person’s change of name, they must prove why the order should not be made [s 59]. See How is a Care and Protection application different from other court proceedings? If the order is made, it will revoke the previous order placing the child or young person in the Chief Executive’s guardianship.
For more information, see the Department's brochure Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person).
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.