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Relatives and others close may seek custody when needed

There are few guarantees in life, and the perfect, ideal family rarely exists. However, when a child is loved and cared for, even those who are not related by blood, but have a close relationship to a child in need, may seek custody. California laws provide for these individuals to seek custody or adoption when certain conditions are met.

The state promotes a program referred to as kinship care. This is geared toward assisting those relatives -- frequently grandparents, aunts, uncles or older siblings -- in meeting the needs of a child for whom they have agreed to provide care. The number of children who require out-of-home placement has grown over the past several years, and in many cases, older relatives find themselves taking in these minors when the parents are unable to provide the appropriate care.

There are exemptions that can be made for what social service agencies refer to as non-relative extended family members as well. These individuals may have ties to the child through a former marriage or through an existing relationship. While closer relatives are generally preferred when a child needs placement, there are provisions that may permit these extended family members to seek custody.

Many situations may require a child to be cared for outside of his or her parent's home. California laws require that these parents provide the names of family members or other trusted individuals with whom the child has a healthy bond and may qualify to obtain custody. Though the state does have a foster care program, it has been demonstrated that children do well when familial relationships are given precedence as long as there is no danger that a child will be exposed to further harm. Families who are working to find the best solutions for a child in need may choose to seek the guidance of a seasoned family law attorney.

Source:, "Kinship Care", Accessed on Oct. 6, 2017

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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