What is Kinship Legal Guardianship?

what is klg?

Many prospective guardians may want to consider earning caregiver status for a child as a Kinship Legal Guardian. Here are the questions that the embrella staff receives most frequently regarding Kinship Legal Guardianship (KLG), including what is KLG?

What is KLG?

Kinship Legal Guardianship, or KLG, is a court-ordered plan for placing a child permanently in the care of a someone with close ties to his/her biological family when the child’s birth parents are unable to provide proper care. KLG status can be granted to relatives, family friends, teachers or an unrelated resource family in which the child has been placed for at least one year. The kinship legal guardian has similar rights and responsibilities as the child’s birth parent, including making decisions about the child’s care, consenting to medical treatment, making plans for the child’s education, applying for services for the child and general responsibility for ensuring the child’s safety and well-being. When KLG status is granted to an individual, birth parents no longer have legal custody of the child, however, their parental rights are not terminated. This means biological parents have the right to visit the child (as determined by court) and the obligation to pay child support.

Am I eligible for KLG?

Eligible caregivers must be tied to the child biologically or emotionally and be committed to raising the child until they are 18 years old. According to the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P), KLG caregivers must meet requirements that screen for age, income and family size. If the prospective KLG caregiver is a resource parent, the child must have lived in the resource home for the last 12 months. CP&P has two other requirements: 1) reasonable efforts have been made but failed to reunify the child with his or her birth parents, and 2) adoption of the child is not feasible or likely.

What services are available to KLG families?

Families may also contact their local county welfare agency to see if they qualify for state services and programs. There is additional assistance available through resources like the New Jersey Guardianship Resource Clearing House (aka KinKonnect). You can learn more about KinKonnect by visiting www.kinkonnect.org or by calling 877.KLG.LINE (877.554.5463). If the CP&P case is closed, you may be eligible for Kinship Navigator Program services.

If I am granted KLG status, do the child’s biological parents remain involved?

Biological parents maintain the right to visit their child as determined by the court, to pay child support and to consent to adoption or a name change. They can also petition the court to seek to vacate a KLG. If I am granted KLG status, do I receive a stipend or board rate? Many KLG cases are eligible for participation in the CP&P KLG Subsidy Program. The rate paid in subsidy is mutually agreed upon based on the level of care the child needs. This is finalized by the KLG provider and CP&P before the court grants KLG. KLG providers continue to receive board rates until the child turns 18 years old or until the child graduates high school.

How do I dissolve my KLG status?

A KLG caregiver or birth parent may request that a KLG court order be vacated, however, KLG status can only be dissolved in court by a judge or when the child turns 18. embrella recommends that anyone looking to dissolve KLG should contact their local family court.

Author: Lloyd Nelson, FAFS Digital Media Manager

Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at lnelson@fafsonline.org.

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