If you are interested in becoming an OP guardian for a child you currently care for, there are a number of things to consider.
When thinking about becoming an OPG carer, it is crucial to think long-term.
Consider the following and how they may impact on your ability to provide guardianship into the future.
Your age and the age of the children
- How old will you and the child be in 5, 10, or 15 years time?
- Are you prepared and able to continue to care for the child in the future?
- What is you are faced with significant health or mobility issues?
Transitioning to adulthood
- Are you prepared to actively identify and provide information to the child as they head into their teenage years?
- Are you prepared to help them find services and support available to help them make an effective transition to adulthood?
Support the child beyond 18
Not all young people will become fully independent upon turning 18, and may continue to require practical and emotional support from their guardian.
- What if the child does not have the skills or financial resources to live independently at 18?
- What if they indicate they are not ready to leave the family home?
- What if the child is unlikely to ever be able to live independently due to significant disabilities?
- Would you be able to care for the child following on from their 18th birthday?
While it's always preferable to have birth parents give their consent for an OPG application, it can progress to court without consent if it's in the child's best interests.
Most concerns from birth families are usually about a fear of losing contact and connection.
All concerns from the birth parents will be discussed as part of the care planning process before the application is presented to the Youth Court.
The department tries very hard to have a plan that everybody agrees with.
Once the order is granted, casework and case management from the department will stop.
The department does recognise that there are some parenting challenges for children who have suffered trauma. There is a limited range of support offered via an external provider including:
- support for access with birth parents
- cultural support and advice
- responding to queries and concerns.
To start the OPG journey, you will first need to speak with your DCP caseworker.
They can provide you with the information needed to submit an expression of interest.
You can also download the OPG FAQs (PDF 484KB).