Permanent Transfer of Custody of a Child to Someone Familiar in BC
With a temporary placement, parents maintain their guardianship role and work towards the goal of having their child return home. If this is not possible, an alternate, more permanent plan is created for long‐term stability, which could include transferring custody to the caregiver by adoption or a court order.
The permanent transfer of custody and guardianship is done only with the consent of:
- The proposed guardian
- The child or teen (if they are 12 years of age or older)
- The parents (under an Extended Family Program agreement)
Everyone involved is advised to consult with legal counsel before consenting to permanent kinship care.
Conditions: Unless an exception is made in the child's best interests, they must have been living with the proposed guardian for at least six consecutive months under an Extended Family Program agreement, or an out-of-care court order prior to making application for permanent kinship care.
Before the court can grant permanent kinship care, the proposed guardian must have completed the assessment process to the satisfaction of a social worker and a supervisor – including up-to-date prior contact and criminal record checks on themselves and everyone living in the home who are 18 years of age or older.
Guardian’s responsibilities: When permanent kinship care is granted, the legal guardian has “parental responsibilities” and is expected to care for and raise the child in the way that is expected of all responsible parents – making sure they have the following needs met:
- Safety and security
- Emotional support
- Proper food, nutrition and clothing
- Medical attention
- Support with their education/schooling
- Cultural and spiritual guidance
- Legal and financial protection
Financial support: The provincial government will provide monthly financial support for the child or teen’s care.
Age 11 and under
$994.82 per child
Age 12 – 19
$1,099.12 per child
The guardian assumes responsibility for the child’s medical, dental and optical coverage and care. Low income families can get help with cost of basic dental care and prescription eyewear for their children. Eligible clients include dependent children under 19 years of age who receive Medical Services Plan premium assistance.
Estates, inheritance, status and rights: The transfer of custody also includes guardianship of the child or teen’s estate – it does not affect the child’s pre-existing inheritance or succession to property rights. Aboriginal rights or privileges will not be impacted.
Being a guardian does not have the same legal impact for estate purposes as an adopted child. This means that a child or teen will not automatically have any claim to their guardian’s estate, unless they were specifically named as a beneficiary in a will. Guardians also do not have any claim to the child or teen’s estate if they were to die – their natural or adoptive parents would have legal entitlement to the estate.
Access orders and future legal matters: Any existing access orders end when permanent kinship care is granted. New access orders may be applied for by parents, grandparents and others when the permanent transfer of custody is applied for or under at a later date. Once custody has been transferred, any future legal matters related to guardianship fall under the Family Law Act.