Differences between Kinship Guardianship and Adoption

I get a lot of questions about Kinship Legal Guardianship (KLG) vs Adoption. This entry is to try and explain the pros and cons of both.

KLG is custody of child you are related to or a legal relationship (i.e. step parent). This came about back in 2002, when a lot of relatives were providing long term care of a children in care, and there was a lot of pressure to reduce the amount of time kids are in foster care. DCPP may or may not be involved, most likely they were involved at one point, even if it was for a short time. KLG gives you custody of a child but it doesn’t terminate a parent’s rights. A parent still has the obligation to pay child support (although you have to go to court to get it), and they have a right to visit the child. KLG does not give you the right to change a child’s name, and you can’t choose where the child goes if something happens to you. If you get KLG through DCPP there are clothing stipends. If you don’t have current DCPP involvement like I don’t there is a kinship wrap around program that will give you $500 a year for helping with clothing costs. You can find more about this in my resources page. KLG gives you the right to make all medical, and educational decisions. It also gives you the right to help the child apply for college, a drivers licence, and any other services a child might need. In order to get KLG the child has to be living with you for a year. They do background checks, a home inspection, and meet with you and the child. You have to get background checks and fingerprinted. It can be an overwhelming process but if you get your paperwork in it goes relatively quickly. It was about 5 months from start to being awarded KLG for me. Also, to apply for KLG it is free, look in my resources page for more details. KLG is great for a lot of families. Most judges will award it because it’s about providing a stable home for the child, and the parental rights aren’t being terminated. It is a lot easier to get than adoption.

Adoption is exactly what you know the term already as. It terminates all rights of a parent and gives those rights to you. This means you can change the child’s name, name a guardian if something were to happen to you, make all medical and education decisions. While in my case we are applying for adoption and I’d agree to keep visitation the same. This isn’t usually the case, also once adoption happens it isn’t enforceable. Meaning if you agree to do visitation with the birth parents but don’t keep your word, there is nothing the parent can do legally about it. There is a home inspection, doctors checks for you and the child, they interview you and the child, and you have to get fingerprinted and police checked. There is a lot of paperwork the packet alone was 40 pages.

I think that about does it. I hope this helps!

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