May 15, 2009, Newsletter Issue #139: The Guardianship Alternative

Tip of the Week

Children whose parents are unwilling or unable to raise them deserve safe homes where they can receive love and care without sacrificing their identities. Legal guardianship allows both extended family members and compassionate strangers to take custody of a child in need. Unlike adoption, guardianship has no provisions for altering the child's original name or birth certificate; caregivers are not the legal equivalent of parents, though they are able to make decisions on the child's behalf. Guardians can be required to maintain contact between the child and his or her natural family whenever possible, and the arrangement can be re-evaluated if those involved feel that it no longer suits the child's best interests. The legal process for guardianship is much less expensive than adoption.

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