If your child is under the guardianship of the minister until 18 years of age, your child may be considered for a Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) arrangement.
Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) means the carers of your child become their legal guardians. Your child is no longer in 'state care', but in the care of people who can provide ongoing support and a life-long home for them.
Under a Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) arrangement, your child's carer will be allowed to make day-to-day decisions without having to talk with the department.
See What is Long Term Guardianship? for more about how these arrangements work.
As birth parents, you will retain some decision-making rights. These include things like:
- funeral arrangements
- providing permissions for organ donation.
Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) process
If the department believes a Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) arrangement is in the best interest of your child, they will recommend this to the Youth Court.
As birth parents, you will be involved in the court process, along with the recommended guardians.
Certain conditions must be met for guardianship to transfer to the carers - see Long Term Guardianship process for more details.
Having your say
Before a Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) arrangement goes before the Youth Court, a DCP worker will talk to you about your views.
They will talk with you about any concerns and will look at ways to deal with them.
If you agree, you can give your consent for the application to the Youth Court to go ahead.
If you do not agree, the application can still go ahead if it is in the best interest of your child.
A care plan will be written for the court that covers your child's needs now and into the future. This includes:
- contact you will be having with your child
- maintaining connections to community and culture
- what help (if any) the department may need to provide.
The department tries very hard to have a plan that everyone agrees with.
Even if you do not agree with the plan, it can still go ahead if it is in the best interest for your child.
Where to go for help
If you are unhappy about the plan, you can talk to:
- a DCP supervisor or the manager of your local DCP office
- the DCP Complaints Unit
- the Health and Community Services Complaints Commission.
You may also wish to consult with a lawyer through the Legal Services Commission.
Family contact after Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person)
A Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) arrangement still recognises your child as part of your family and community.
Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) supports children staying in contact with their birth family and relatives - where it is safe to do so, and where your child also agrees.
Your child will be supported to maintain and strengthen their connection with you as their parent, as well as build relationships with their community and learn about their culture.
Contact your Department for Child Protection caseworker for more information about Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person).
You can also download the Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) brochure (PDF, 2.5 MB).