3B:12A-1 Findings, declarations relative to kinship legal guardianship.
1.The Legislature finds and declares that:
a.There is an increase in the number of children who cannot reside with their parents due to the parents incapacity or inability to perform the regular and expected functions of care and support of the child;
b.An increasing number of relatives, including grandparents, find themselves providing care on a long-term basis to these children without court approved legal guardianship status because the caregivers either are unable or unwilling to seek termination of the legal relationships between the birth parent and the child, particularly when it is the caregivers own child or sibling who is the parent. In these cases, adoption of the child is neither feasible nor likely, and it is imperative that the State create an alternative, permanent legal arrangement for children and their caregivers. One such alternative arrangement, which does not require the termination of parental rights, is a court awarded kinship legal guardianship that is intended to be permanent and self-sustaining, as evidenced by the transfer to the caregiver of certain parental rights, but retains the birth parents rights to consent to adoption, the obligation to pay child support, and the parents right to have some ongoing contact with the child;
c.In considering kinship legal guardianship, the State is seeking to add another alternative, permanent placement option, beyond custody, without rising to the level of termination of parental rights, for caregivers in relationships where adoption is neither feasible nor likely; and
d.Therefore, it is in the public interest to create a new type of legal guardianship that addresses the needs of children and caregivers in long-term kinship relationships.