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Ordering a Juvenile Guardianship (MCR 3.979; MCL 712A.19a(7)(c); and 712A.19c(2))

A juvenile guardianship is a permanency option that provides a child with a secure attachment to an appropriate caregiver.  Juvenile Guardianships may be considered at pre-termination or post-termination permanency planning hearings.  Generally, a guardianship is an appropriate consideration in a case where the court determines that the child should not be returned home, and parental rights should not be terminated.  If an application for guardianship assistance is to be completed, the parties should ensure that the record contains evidence that adoption and reunification have been appropriately ruled out.  Only DHS can approve guardianship assistance and part of the review includes assessing whether adoption and reunification have been ruled out.   


Juvenile Guardianship Pre-Termination of Parental Rights

Prior to appointing a juvenile guardian, DHS must investigate the guardian and the residents of the guardian’s home and file a report with the court.  The court must order DHS to perform a criminal history check and central registry clearance within seven days and a home study report must be filed within 30 days.  A new home study report is not required where a home study was performed within the last 365 days and that home study has been submitted to the court.  If the child has not already been placed with the proposed juvenile guardian, the child remains in foster care until the above steps are completed. Note that guardianship assistance is not available unless the child has been living with the guardian for six months. MCR 3.979(A)(2).  Before approving a juvenile guardianship, the court must find that doing so is in the child’s best interests.  Specifically, within seven days of receiving the information above the court either schedules a hearing on the appointment of the juvenile guardian, or signs an Order Appointing Guardians SCAO JC 91.  If there is more than one child, the court should complete a separate order for each child.
After the appointment of a juvenile guardian, the court schedules a dispositional review hearing within 91 days of the permanency planning hearing if within one year of the child’s removal, or within 182 days if more than one year has passed since the date of the last removal.  The juvenile guardian must complete and file an Acceptance of Appointment (SCAO JC 92) and the court will subsequently issue Letters of Authority (SCAO JC 93). 
A juvenile guardianship is filed under a JG case code, separate from the NA file.  However, the court’s jurisdiction under MCL 712A.2(b) continues until the final review hearing is complete.  The court terminates jurisdiction of the NA file when the appointment and review hearing have been completed. A juvenile guardian has all of the powers and duties of an EPIC guardian.  Any restrictions on powers of the juvenile guardian must be included in the letters of authority.  Annual guardianship reviews are required and additional reviews may be ordered as the court considers necessary.

Revoking a Juvenile Guardianship

A juvenile guardianship continues until the child is emancipated or until it is revoked. The court may hold a hearing to determine whether a guardianship should be revoked on its own motion, on petition from DHS, or on a petition from the child’s L-GAL.  The court must hold a hearing on the petition to revoke guardianship within 28 days from the date the petition is filed.  The court shall order DHS to investigate and file a report within seven days prior to the revocation hearing SCAO JC 99.  MCR 3.979(F)(3) prescribes the contents of the report.
After the hearing on the petition to revoke the juvenile guardianship, the court enters the JC 101.  The court may order the guardianship to continue, or revoke the guardianship and place the child with DHS for care and supervision, reinstate the NA case, and close the juvenile guardianship case.  MCR 3.979(F)(5). 
The juvenile guardian can file a petition to terminate the guardianship and may include a request for a successor guardian.  After receiving an investigative report from DHS, the court conducts a hearing.  The court shall continue the guardianship if it finds that it is in the child’s best interest to do so.  If the court finds that termination of the appointment is in the child’s best interests and there is no successor, the court shall proceed in the same manner as revoking the juvenile guardianship.  If the court finds that termination of the guardianship is in the child’s best interest and there is a successor, the court shall terminate the juvenile guardian‘s appointment and proceed to investigate and appoint the successor in the same manner prescribed in MCR 3.979(F)(6)(b).  SCAO JC 100 and JC 91.

Juvenile Guardianship post-termination of parental rights

If a child is an MCI ward, the MCI Superintendent must provide written consent of the proposed juvenile guardianship. If the MCI Superintendent withholds consent, the prospective juvenile guardian may file a motion which lists the steps taken to obtain required consent, and the results, if any, along with a list of the specific reasons why the person believes the decision to withhold consent was arbitrary and capricious.  The motion must be filed within 56 days of receipt of the decision to deny consent.  If a motion is filed, the court must set a hearing date and provide notice to all parties entitled to notice under MCR 3.921, as well as the foster parents.  If after the hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the decision to withhold consent was arbitrary and capricious, the court may approve the guardianship without the MCI superintendent’s consent. 
Alternatively, if the MCI Superintendent grants consent to the juvenile guardianship, the procedure continues from the point of receiving consent the same as it would in a case where the child was not an MCI ward (e.g., same home study and background check requirements).

 Toolkit Information

Notice (procedural issue)
Appointing a Juvenile Guardian (procedural issue)
Duties and Authority of Guardian (procedural issue)
Court Jurisdiction (procedural issue)
Revocation of Juvenile Guardianship (procedural issue)
Termination of Juvenile Guardianship (procedural issue)
MJI Child Protective Proceedings Benchbook-Juvenile Guardianship
Benchcard -- Judicial

 Publications and Administrative Memos

Parents Attorney Protocol
Absent Parent Protocol
Livingston County Parent Handbook
Foster Care/Permanency Planning Laws (2008 update) (memo)
Entire Library

 Court Forms

Order Appointing Juvenile Guardian (JC91)
Acceptance of Appointment (JC92)
Letters of Juvenile Guardianship (JC93)
Annual Report of Juvenile Guardian on Condition of Child (JC94)
Order Appointing Person to Investigate Juvenile Guardianship (JC95)
Report After Investigation of Juvenile Guardianship (JC96)
Order Following Investigation and Report on Juvenile Guardianship (JC97)
Petition to Terminate Appointment of Juvenile Guardian, Notice of Hearing, and Order for Investigation (JC98)
Petition to Revoke Juvenile Guardianship, Notice of Hearing, and Order for Investigation (JC99)
Order Regarding Revocation of Juvenile Guardianship (JC10)
Order Discharging Juvenile Guardian (JC104)

 Training Information

Juvenile Guardianships FAQs (video)
Juvenile Guardianship Court Rules and Forms (video)
Guardianship Assistance Programs (video)
EPIC Minor Guardianships and Juvenile Guardianships (video)
Archived Materials and Upcoming Programs