Designation of a Standby Guardian: Avoid Uncertainty and Foster Care
So, what happens if the parents are both sick and no standby guardian has been named? There is a very real risk your child will be placed in foster care temporarily. DCP cautions:
“In the event a child is without a caregiver due to a parent’s illness or incapacitation, DCF’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) may be called to take custody. The Division works to identify appropriate and willing family, friends or neighbors that can provide short-term guardianship, but these efforts can take time and a child could be placed in foster care while details and arrangements are made.”
Foster care is obviously undesirable for many reasons, the chief among those being trauma to the child and loss of control over the living environment/decision makers for your children.
It is important to have an emergency plan. Just as you would stock up on food and other necessities, it is important to address your family plan, including designating a standby guardian and establishing or updating your Estate Plan.
We counsel or Estate Planning clients to prepare an “emergency folder” with all their important information in one place to facilitate easy access by their designated agents. DCF echoes these sentiments by encouraging families to have a COVID-19 Kit, including important documents, and “a “go” bag with any essentials children may need during their time with a designated caregiver.” If your child has special medical or other needs, it is important to include specific instructions.
The Designation of a Standby Guardian can be accomplished using a Power of Attorney form that appoints an appropriate and responsible adult, selected by YOU, to at as a temporary guardian for your minor (or incapacitated) children. You can amend or revoke it at any time. You can execute this document using virtual technology with our office. We are ready to guide you and your family in this process. Together, we will make it through.