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A guardian can be a relative or kinship carer, a family friend or an authorised carer who has an established and positive relationship with the child or young person. There is no legal definition of who may be a suitable person.

As a guide, this could include a family friend or an authorised carer who has an established and positive relationship with the child and young person and who is willing and able to take care of the child or young person until they are at least 18 years of age.

Aboriginal guardians

For Aboriginal children and young people, guardians who are not relatives or kin should be Aboriginal people in order to be considered ‘suitable persons’. For example, Aboriginal guardians assessed as ‘suitable persons’ may include a member of the Aboriginal community to which the child or young person belongs. Guardians must be able to demonstrate their ability to keep children connected to family, culture and country.

Who can express interest in becoming a guardian?

The request could come from:

  • a relative or kinship carer who has been assessed for an emergency placement, authorised as a carer and has had the child or young person in their care for significant period of time
  • an authorised Department of Family and Community Services or out-of home care agency carer who has had the child or young person in their care for a significant period of time and is interested in exploring the option of becoming a guardian
  • a person who has an established and positive relationship with the child or young person, but who has not previously been assessed as a carer.
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