A guardianship establishes a legal relationship between a child and an adult, but it does not end the legal relationship between the child and his or her legal parents. With a guardianship, the guardian can enroll a child in school, make medical decisions and, often, include the child on the guardian’s health insurance plan. A guardianship does not, however, take away a legal parent’s ability to also do those things for their child.
A guardianship can give parents support when they need help from another adult in caring for their child. The parent might be unavailable due to illness, travel, legal problems or circumstances beyond his or her control. A guardianship is a way for other adults to help the child as well as the parent.
Deciding whether to seek a guardianship or protective placement of an older adult can be one of the most difficult decisions a family member can face. When older adults lose the ability to care for themselves, make decisions, or protect themselves or their property, it is sometimes necessary for an alternate decision-maker – usually a family member – to become guardian. Sometimes, an older adult may need to be placed in a protective environment.
We are sensitive to the delicate balance between an individual’s need for autonomy and a family’s concerns for their loved one’s safety and well-being. We help family members who are seeking guardianships and protective placements, while preserving the independence and dignity of the individual in every way possible.