A Long-term Guardianship (Specified Person) order transfers the guardianship of a child or young person from the Chief Executive, to suitable approved carer(s) for the responsibility, care and safety of a child or young person until they turn 18.

Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) provides children with a loving and stable care environment – where their current carer becomes their legal guardian.

Under legislation, the Youth Court can appoint up to 2 people to become the legal guardians of a child.

What's different?

When children are under a guardianship order, carers usually have to ask the department for permission before making a lot of basic decisions.

Under a Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) arrangement, carers become the child's legal guardian and have day-to-day parenting responsibilities.

This means carers can make more decisions without having to ask the department, including decisions about the child's:

  • health
  • education
  • holidays
  • emotional, social and cultural needs.

While guardians can make most decisions, birth parents do keep some decision-making responsibilities.

Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person)

To note, Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) is not adoption. 

Adoption permanently changes the legal status of the child and severs all rights of the birth parent as they are no longer recognised as the child's parents.

Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) sees the child maintain a connection with their birth family. As a guardian, you are responsible for the child maintaining that connection.

Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) is not a pathway to adoption either - those interested in adopting must follow a different process.

Who can be a Long Term Guardian?

If you have had a child in your care for 2 consecutive years and are committed and willing to care for them for the long term, you may be eligible to become a guardian.

There are a number of eligibility criteria you must also meet - see Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) process for more details.

Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) is not appropriate?

Sometimes a Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) arrangement may not be the best option for the child right now, but may be into the future.

Long Term Guardianship (Specified Person) is only appropriate when the interest of the child, the carer and the birth parents have been thoroughly considered and the eligibility criteria have been met.


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

Should you require further information you may wish to contact the Department for Child Protection Long-term Guardianship team on 1800 974 980.

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