Rules are tightening for prospective guardians starting next month.
Individuals applying to be a child’s guardian will be required to file an affidavit as of March 18, 2013 – the same day the new Family Law Act comes into effect.
The affidavit will make available any information regarding their past and current care of children.
“Strengthening the process for individuals who apply to the court to be a child’s guardian, generally those who are non-parents, will help ensure that children do not wind up in the care of someone who has a history of criminal or child protection concerns,” explained Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond.
Under this new guardianship rules, the applicant’s involvement in child protection proceedings by the Ministry of Children and Family Development by must be independently checked.
“This new application process addresses a recommendation made by B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth and aligns with B.C.’s Family Law Act – putting the best interests of the child first and making certain that our children are protected,” said Bond.
A list of any and all protection orders made against the applicant and filed in the Protection Order Registry must be provided as well as a criminal record check.
“They want to have a judge overseeing the best interest of the child in terms of when a non-parent is applying for guardianship,” said Nassim Nasser Lawyer for MacLean Family Law Group.
Nasser explained that while judges do consider that’s in the best interest of the child when guardianship is being applied for, she thinks these new regulations will be positive.
“I think it’s a good thing because I think then the judge would have a full picture of who’s applying to be a guardian and whether they’re responsible people or not. Having this extra level of protection, it’s good for the children especially for vulnerable children who may be subject to abuse because they do have to provide some sort of an affidavit showing their criminal record check.”