The Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) process can take up to 12 months. This is due to the detailed assessments and legal processes the department need to complete.

Identifying prospective guardians

Potential guardians can be identified by case managers, or approved carers can make an application to the Chief Executive to undergo an assessment to become a guardian.

Complete the   Application to the Chief Executive to seek a Long-term Guardianship (Specified Person) order (DOCX, 79.1 KB) and submit it to

Non-government organisations can also refer a carer to complete the expression of interest form.

Speak with your caseworker if you're interested.

Phase 1 Assessment

A meeting brings the potential guardians and the department together to consider if the applicant meets the Phase 1 Assessment criteria.

Phase 1 Assessment criteria

Approved carers must meet the following criteria to proceed to Phase 2 of the assessment:

  • you and the child have a close, positive relationship
  • you are approved by the department and your DHS working with children check is current
  • you have verbally stated your long-term commitment to the child
  • you are willing to support the child maintain their connection with their birth family, culture and community into the future.

Phase 2 Assessment

If the Phase 1 criteria has been met, the case will be referred to the Long Term Guardianship Assessment Team for a Phase 2 assessment.

See the Step by Step Carer Competencies (PDF, 218.9 KB) for more details about what will be assessed.

The assessor will also put together a care plan in consultation with the carer, birth family and caseworker.

Long term care plans

A long term care plan covers the child's care and future needs.

The plan will cover:

  • how the child's health, educational, social and special needs (if relevant) will be met
  • how the child will maintain connection to their family of origins, community and culture
  • how the child will have regular family access visits
  • whether financial support is required and how payments will be reviewed
  • what support and services are required and how will they be delivered and reviewed
  • how any future disputes between parties will be resolved.

Legal proceedings

The first hearing will take place where:

  • the carer becomes a party of the proceedings
  • the birth parents' views are sought
  • the Youth Court schedules a date for the second hearing.

Second hearing

The second hearing will take place where:

  • the child's views are heard (where applicable)
  • the views of the carers are heard
  • the judge will make a decision.

Where a decision cannot be made, further hearings will be scheduled until a final decision is made.

Internal Review

In circumstances where there is a dispute about the proposed long term guardianship (specified person) application, any person aggrieved by the decision can seek a review of the decision.

See internal reviews for more details.


In the first instance, contact your Department for Child Protection caseworker for more information on Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person).

You can also download the Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) brochure (PDF, 7.5 MB).