Alternative plans may include adoption, guardianship and lifelong connections to a caring adult(s). Placement with relatives is almost always preferred to placement with non-relatives.
Adoption is a process that creates a new parent-child relationship by legally terminating the birth parents' rights and transferring those rights and responsibilities to adoptive parents. Children over the age of 12 must consent to the adoption.
- Legal Guardianship
This is a permanent placement that results in dismissal of court dependency when an adult caregiver assumes legal responsibility for a child.
- Lifelong Connections to a Caring Adult(s)
Family and Children's Services continues to work toward adoption or legal guardianship when reunification is not possible. If adoption or legal guardianship is not achieved, permanency options with kin or NREFMs (Non-Relative Extended Family Members) must be explored for all children regardless of disabilities, ethnicity, sibling group size, age or special needs. A lifelong connection to a caring adult(s) provides children and youth with permanent, supportive relationships.