Can I get guardianship of my two nieces? 19 Answers as of August 15, 2011

I am 20 yrs old and my nieces are 15 and 11. Can I get Guardianship over them if they have been in foster care for about a year? I just found out when they got a hold of me through email. How can I pursue this?

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Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
To be a guardian, you need to have the fianncial ability to support them as well as the place for them to comfortably live. DCF will have to vet you after you apply and this will all go on through the court that placed them in foster care.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/11/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes, you can ask for guardianship. There are two ways you can go about this. First the least expensive manner, contact the local agency that handles foster children, advise you are an adult relative that just learned your nieces are in foster care and you desire to have placement. The State is looking for ways to cut cost and this would be an easy expense cut and family placement is preferred - so you have two major points in your favor. If this does not work, you can file a petition in the Court and try to get "custody" but that is a little of an uphill battle - you have to first show you have legal standing to bring the suit. Which is a lot easier if there is a suit already filed - are the children in custody of CPS at this time? If so, then contact CPS and ask for a home study and family placement. But, do this knowing you are inviting CPS into your life, it is a major pain but this is for the children. If CPS is involved and there is a termination proceeding, you can intervene (this is your legal right to get involved) and the "standing" issue is much relaxed. Think of it this way, the right to get involved in a fight that is already started when you are only doing so to protect the children is more acceptable than you starting a fight where you are trying to take children away from the parents.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/11/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You should contact DSHS to get the "ball rolling".
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Apply to your local probate court.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/3/2011
ROWE LAW FIRM
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
You may be able to approach Child Protective Services or the Office of Child Services regarding a "relative placement" of your nieces. If the children are in foster care, they have been placed there by the State. You will have to meet the specific qualifications of the State in order to obtain the placement of your nieces with you, but often the State will prefer those placements as long as there is an agreement to keep the children from any relatives who have harmed or neglected them in the past.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/3/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You must file a petition in the Juvenile Court that entered the order to place the girls in foster care. The local department of DHR will do a home evaluation to determine if you can properly care for the girls.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It is possible. The answer depends on the circumstances that resulted in their placement in foster care, your relationship with them historically and what a court may view is in the children's best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Possibly. Or you may be assigned as their permanent custodian. Please seek out a local domestic relations attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    Contact an attorney right away to start your guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You gave us no information about the parents or what has already happened in court, so there's no way to answer you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    You should immediately consult qualified counsel. Meantime, see http://www.willicklawgroup.com/guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    First, you should apply to be a foster parent through the local DHS office. Then, once you qualify as a foster parent, the children should be placed with family. That may be you if there are no other suitable family members available. In the meantime, you should schedule visits with your nieces.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You cannot be appointed as legal guardian until you are at least 21 years of age. Given the minimal difference in age from your nieces, it is possible that a judge will have some questions about your ability to function as a parent for a couple of teenagers. But, that is a question to be decided on all the facts and circumstances. If they have are now in foster care, that suggests that there is a Dependency & Neglect case ongoing in the Juvenile Court. That means that the State of Colorado is actively involved and probably has legal custody over them and for you to acquire any responsibility or authority the court will have to decide if they should be removed from foster care and placed in your custody. You will have to pursue any desire to take responsibility through that court case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Talk to the DHR worker that has contacted you, or if it was not a DHR worker that found you, talk to DHR in the county where they are residing. If you have an acceptable home place, then I would anticipate DHR would love to place them with you as they are obligated to try to place the children with a "relative resource." You may fit the bill. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You would need to speak with a Florida Family law attorney about this. If you would like, call Kelly Ryan Lee in our office at 904-685-1200 to see what can be done and if you qualify.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    To get guardianship you will need the consent of both parents. Custody is a different situation. Your question cannot be answered by email; you must consult with a family law attorney to discuss the difference between guardianship, custody, and what you might be able to do. Given that they have been in foster care, there are obviously previous court orders and maybe DFCS involvement that also must be taken into consideration. This is a complicated situation that must be researched by an experienced attorney after you discuss all of the details that you know about the case with them.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    IF there is a child dependency case going on you cannot obtain a guardianship but need to contact their social worker and ask to be given temporary custody. IF there is no dependency case going on you can file for guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/2/2011
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