Court guardianship is a special form of guardianship in which the Family Court or High Court becomes the child's guardian and displaces the parents (or other guardians) from that role. (It used to be called "wardship".) The court usually appoints the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services to play the role of guardian as the court's agent.
The central principle behind court guardianship is the protection of the child. In some cases it is the only effective legal response to a new and unforeseen problem.
Placing a child under court guardianship does not deprive natural parents of guardianship, but rather makes their rights and powers subject to the authority of the court.
Court guardianship is governed by the CARE OF CHILDREN ACT 2004, which came into force on 1 July 2005, replacing the GUARDIANSHIP ACT 1968.
The following people may apply to the Family or High Court for a child to be placed under the court's guardianship -
Placing a child under court guardianship is a measure of last resort, and the power should be exercised only where it is necessary in the interests of the child and any aspects of the wider public interest. In all cases involving the guardianship or care of children the court will treat the child's welfare and best interests as the first and most important concern.
The court's guardianship powers have been exercised in a variety of situations. The reasons for making an order could include the following â€“
An application for court guardianship cannot be made if the person who would be the subject of the application is -
The court's powers are subject to these restrictions â€“
Unless the court makes some earlier order, the court's guardianship automatically ends when
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