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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

A state by state guide to standby guardianship

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Standby guardianship is the transfer of legal guardianship of a child to a specifically designated person under certain circumstances and conditions. The original laws were designed to enable parents with disabilities or terminal medical conditions to provide a plan for their children upon their death or inability to provide care.

In most cases, in a standby guardianship provision, the parent's rights are not terminated, nor does the parent relinquish all of their legal authority over the child or children in the case of a parent whose transfer of guardianship is due to a disabling condition. However, there are a few states in which a standby guardian is given full authority.

For a helpful guide on standby guardianship, the Child Welfare Information Gateway has published a guide. You can read the full guide on the Child Welfare Information Gateway webpage or download a copy of the guide here

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