Caregivers

If your child is living with someone other than a parent, and you want that person to be able to make medical and educational decisions for the child, consider naming a Caregiver for the child, instead of a Guardian. This process does not take away any of the parent’s rights to make decisions, but allows the caregiver to make educational and medical decisions without talking to the parent first. This is a much simpler process, and no forms need to be filed in court.  The permission is good for up to 2 years. You will need a new one every 2 years.

Guardians

If you are caring for a child and need to make more than just educational and medical decisions for the child, you must be named guardian.  A guardian is a person chosen to make all decisions for a child, just as a parent would.  You can be named guardian of a child if the child’s parents are unable or unavailable to care for him. If the parents do not agree to the guardianship, you can only become guardian if the court decides that the parents are unfit to care for the child.

A guardian is different from a caregiver, because when a child has a caregiver, either the caregiver OR the parent can make decisions for the child. When a child has a guardian, ONLY the guardian and NOT the parent can make decisions.