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January/February 2001Vol. 2, No. 1Explore Issues of Permanency Planning for HIV-Affected Families

The Fall 2000 issue of The Source, a newsletter by the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, explores the issues that parents with HIV/AIDS face when planning for the future care and custody of a child.

A legal permanency plan protects the child from being placed in foster care. Some of the voluntary legal planning options discussed in the newsletter include conventional mechanisms, such as testamentary guardianship and inter vivo guardianship, and newer methods, such as standby guardianship and standby adoption. The article outlines the following as advantages of standby options over conventional guardianship:

  • Transfer of guardianship or adoption is not immediate, but occurs only when the standby guardian or adoptive parent's duties are activated
  • Parents have the opportunity to provide testimony regarding the child's best interests
  • Parents gain peace of mind by knowing that the chosen legal plan will take effect when needed.

HIV-affected parents have fewer options if their children are in the child welfare system. Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), timeline requirements aimed at termination of parental rights and traditional adoption may preclude a parent from participating in permanency planning efforts.

The newsletter also profiles The Family Center, a New York City agency that assists terminally ill parents with permanency planning for their children through legal, entitlement, and psycho-social services. A case study of a 37-year-old mother with AIDS is presented as an example of the agency's family-centered approach.

Other articles in this issue explain standby guardian laws effective in 20 States, the partnering of law and social work in the planning process, peer support, and disclosure. A list of resources and conferences is also included.

Order a copy of The Source newsletter from the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (NAIARC) at 510-643-8390. NAIARC staff provide information, referral, training, and technical assistance on standby guardianship. Free assistance in developing legislation on standby guardianship is also available.

Visit the Resource Center's website ( or contact:

John Krall, MSW
Policy Analyst

Related Items

For a related article on an AIDS Orphans Adoption Program in New York City, see "Adoption Program for Children Orphaned by AIDS Grows in New York" in the November 2000 Children's Bureau Express.

Search for more CB Express articles on permanency planning using the Search feature on this website.