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The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(1) There exists in this state a number of children who cannot reside with their parents, legal guardians, or legal custodians because of such parents', legal guardians', or custodians' incapacity or inability to perform the regular and expected functions of care and support of the children and family care and who thereby come to the attention of juvenile court and into the care and custody of the Department of Human Resources.
(2) An increasing number of relatives, including grandparents, find themselves wanting to provide care to related foster children on a long-term basis to prevent the children from remaining in foster care with unrelated caregivers yet these relatives are either unable or unwilling to seek termination of the legal relationships between the parent and the child, particularly when it is the caregiver's own child or sibling who is the parent.
(3) It is in the public interest to support legal guardianship assistance that addresses the needs of the children and caregivers in long-term kinship relationships by providing financial assistance to help relatives bear the long-term costs of child care and support for children outside the foster care system.
(4) It is in the public interest to create a new type of legal guardianship that addresses the needs of children in the legal custody of the Department of Human Resources and to establish long-term legal relationships with relatives and place children out of the foster care system.
(5) The purposes of kinship guardianships include the following:
a. Establish procedures to effect a legal relationship between a child in the legal custody of the Department of Human Resources and a kinship guardian when the child is not residing with either parent, a legal guardian, or a legal custodian and to terminate legal custody with the department.
b. Provide a child in the legal custody of the Department of Human Resources with a stable and consistent long-term relationship with a kinship guardian that will enable the child to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally to the maximum extent possible when the parents, legal guardians, or legal custodians of the child are not willing or able to do so.
c. Establish a permanent placement alternative to a child remaining in the legal custody of the Department of Human Resources under juvenile court supervision in situations where the child cannot be reunited with the parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian, and other persons are not interested in pursuing adoption.
d. Establish a new legal relationship which is permanent during the minority of the child and not subject to modification or revocation merely for a material change in circumstances which has occurred since the order granting the kinship guardianship was entered, but also that the change would materially promote the child's best interest and welfare, and that the positive good brought about by the change would more than offset the inherently disruptive effect caused by uprooting the child.
e. Establish a kinship guardianship subsidy program to help kinship guardians bear the cost of providing care for their relatives' children outside the foster care system with available federal funds and funds made available from other sources.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Alabama Code Title 38. Public Welfare § 38-12-31 - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-38-public-welfare/al-code-sect-38-12-31/
FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.
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