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Children 101

When You Can't Take Care Of Your Children Temporarily

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There are several ways to legally assure your children will be taken care of if you may become unable to take care of them and the other parent is deceased or not fit.

While an informal arrangement may work for a while, keep in mind that the person who takes care of the children has no legal right to make decisions about medical care if something happens to one of the children or about such other matters as schooling.

While it may be very difficult to think about this subject, making legal arrangements for the care of your children will assure that they will not be left alone or abandoned if you become incapacitated and can't care for them, or if you die. Having the opportunity to choose the type of family or agency that will care for your children will also comfort you.

Alternatives include the following.The linked to articles provide an overview of each of the different alternatives, including the pros and cons. Speak with your attorney or social worker to help figure out which alternative will work best for your situation.

How Do I Prepare My Children?

Be open and honest with your children. Explain the situation to them in terms that they can understand. (For ideas about how to talk with children of different ages, see Talking With Children About Your Health Condition.

Address their questions and concerns.

If there is a move involved for the children, consider the following:

  • Take the children to visit the place to which they are moving.
  • Go with the child at first.
  • Extend the amount of time the child is in the new place and visiting with the person or people with whom they will live.
  • Have extended discussions with the person or people who will take over raising your children. Discuss how your children have been raised, and how you want them raised. Discuss differences between your child rearing and theirs. Come to conclusions about differences. As much continuity as possible is best for the children.
  • Keep in mind that the key is what is best for the children.

If you need professional help, bring in a social worker or psychologist or psychiatrist.


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