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Other Person Guardianship (OPG) process

The OPG process can take up to 6 months. This is due to the detailed assessments and legal processes the department need to complete. 

Identifying prospective guardians

Potential OPG carers can be identified by case managers, or carers can put forward an expression of interest to become an OPG carer. 

Complete the OPG expression of interest form (Word, 90KB) and submit it to opgeoi [at] sa.gov.au (subject: OPG%20Expression%20of%20Interest) .

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

Speak with your caseworker if you're interested. 

Case conferences

A case conference brings the potential carers and the department together to review how carers meet the eligibility criteria. 

Eligibility criteria

Carers must meet the following criteria:

  • you and the child have a close, positive relationship
  • you are approved by the department and your DCSI child-related employment screening 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

Formal OPG assessments

If the criteria has been met, the case will go to the OPG team for a formal assessment. 

See the Step by Step Carer Competencies (PDF 219KB) for more details about what will be assessed. 

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

OPG care plans

An OPG 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.

OPG panel outcome

In order to ensure an OPG application is in the best interest of the child and in circumstances where there is dispute about the proposed OPG application, the Other Person Guardianship Panel will review the OPG assessment and care plan. 

Legal proceedings

The first hearing will take place where: 

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

Second hearing

The second hearing will take place where:

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

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


Contact your Department for Child Protection caseworker for more information on OPG. 

You can also download the OPG brochure (PDF 878KB)