Immigrants fearing detention or deportation may appoint a guardian to look after their children in case they are detained and are unable to care for them themselves.
There are 4 types of guardianship for a child:
- Permanent legal guardian
- Guardian ad litem (GAL)
- Standby guardian
- Short-term guardian
Permanent legal guardian: Not recommended as a safety plan for those fearing detention or deportation because child should be living with guardian and not parents.
Guardian ad litem (GAL): not useful in these cases.
Standby guardian: this is a useful safety plan for undocumented immigrants, but standby guardians must meet same rules as regular guardians. That means that some courts require they have legal immigration status. A standby guardianship cannot be used to avoid another parent getting custody.
Short-term guardian: Can be done on very short notice. 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? Feel free to call the Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors at (312) 603-0135 or Chicago Volunteer Legal Services at (312) 332-1624.