What is a legal guardianship?
A legal guardianship is a decision by a judge that a responsible person over the age of 18 will have custody of a child under 18 who needs a safe place to live. A guardianship does not terminate the rights of parents, but it does suspend the parents’ ability to make decisions about their child’s life.
How can LSC help you?
LSC may be able to assist you with the guardianship process if you live in the counties of San Francisco and Alameda, are over the age of 12, and are not able to live with your parents or current guardians. If you are under 12, click here for other service providers.
If you need help or have more questions about the guardianship process, call LSC’s Warmline at (415) 863-3762. You can also find more information about guardianship under Frequently Asked Questions.
What does a guardian do?
A guardian is someone who cares for a youth and makes decisions that a parent would usually make, which means a guardian is in charge of things like:
- Providing a child with a safe place to live
- Providing a child food and clothes
- Supporting a child’s academic goals and helping with anything related to school
- Taking a child to see a doctor when the child is sick or hurt and for annual physicals
- Helping a child make life decisions
- Helping a child learn real world skills
Can I live with another adult without a guardianship but with the permission of a parent?
Yes, but it may be harder for that adult to meet your needs because they don’t have the legal authority to do so. Click here for examples of things that are harder without a guardianship.
Good to Know… Even without a guardianship, the adult you live with can sometimes take care of your needs with a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit. Contact LSC if you want help figuring out if the Affidavit will work for you.
Do you live outside of San Francisco and Alameda Counties?
Go to Find My Court for a list of California’s Superior Courts. Look for the court in your area and contact them for information about their guardianship process and legal assistance.
Emancipation… is it an option?
Emancipation is an option for some youth between the ages of 14-17. To qualify, a child must meet certain requirements. Click here for more information about the emancipation process.