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

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) and adoption

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 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 an 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.


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, 7.5 MB).