Immigrants fearing detention or deportation may be worried about what would happen to their children in such a situation.
You can appoint a guardian to look after your children in case you are detained and are unable to care for them yourself.
There are 4 types of guardianship for a child:
- Permanent legal guardian
- Guardian ad litem (GAL)
- Standby guardian
- Short-term guardian
Learn more about the types of guardianship. Below is specific information on how the types can help a parent creating a safety plan.
Permanent legal guardian: This is not recommended as a safety plan for parents fearing detention or deportation. In a permanent guardianship, the child lives with the guardian, not the parents.
Guardian ad litem (GAL): This is a way for a judge to have someone represent a child in court. It is not available to parents with children trying to create a safety plan.
Standby guardian: This is a useful safety plan for undocumented immigrants. But standby guardians must meet the same rules as regular guardians. That means that some courts require they have legal immigration status. Also, a standby guardianship cannot be used to avoid another parent getting parental responsibilities (custody).
Short-term guardian: This can be done on very short notice. It is an easy and effective safety plan for immigrants who fear detention or deportation.
- Drawbacks: Although the law requires that health care workers, schools, and all other people treat the short-term guardianship like a court ordered guardianship, that may not happen. Short-term guardians have problems enrolling children in school, getting public benefits or medical care.
Questions about Guardianship? Call the Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors at (312) 603-0135 or Chicago Volunteer Legal Services at (312) 332-1624.
Updated: November 2017