How can I protect my children if I am detained or deported?
If you think you could be detained or deported, making a plan for someone to care for your children can help you feel calmer:
- Memorize important phone numbers.
- Make copies of your legal documents, such as your passport or birth certificate. Tell your family members where you keep them.
- Make arrangements for a trusted adult to pick up or care for your children in an emergency.
- Fill out the legal forms to name a guardian for your child in case you are detained.
Look at the Connecticut Family Preparedness Plan toolkit developed by the State of Connecticut.
You can arrange ahead of time for a person to automatically be responsible for your children in case you are detained or deported. This person, called a standby guardian, should be trustworthy, caring, and able to take care of your children in every way. A standby guardian only makes decisions for your children if you are not available.
Standby guardianship takes effect as soon as you are detained. It lasts for one year or until you take charge of your child again—whichever happens first. It can be reversed by you at any time.
You do not need to go to court to name someone as a standby guardian. You can name a standby guardian by filling out some simple forms, as long as the other parent of your child
- agrees to the standby guardianship, or
- has lost their parental rights by a court order, or
- has died.
There are other guardianship options in Connecticut if standby guardianship won’t work for you. Call legal aid to see if a lawyer can help you. See Where to get help, below.
What does a standby guardian do?
A standby guardian
- cares for your child;
- gets medical care for your child;
- gives your child food, clothing, and shelter; and
- makes sure your child goes to school.
A standby guardian can apply for benefits for your child.
The new guardian must make sure your child gets medical care. If your child is a U.S. citizen and gets Husky medical insurance, the child’s coverage will usually continue when the new guardianship starts.
The guardian can make all education decisions for your child. Your child will usually go to school in the district where the guardian lives, although there are some exceptions.
Cash Assistance (TFA)
Your child may be able to get cash assistance even if the guardian is not eligible. The guardian can apply for your child.
If your child gets Social Security disability payments, those will continue. The guardian must fill out papers with Social Security in order to get the money for your child.
If the guardian qualifies for food stamps, then the guardian can apply to add your child to the food stamp household.
How do I name a standby guardian for my child?
You will have to fill out a few simple forms. The forms need to be witnessed, but they don’t have to be notarized and you don’t have to go to court. There is no cost to fill out the forms.
1. Fill out the form, Designation of Standby Guardian, on page 11 of this packet of forms.
- Sign the form in front of two witnesses. Note: The standby guardian cannot also be one of the witnesses.
- Each of the witnesses should sign under Witnesses to Signature of Parent on page 12.
2. Have the other parent sign under Consenting Parent on page 13 in front of two witnesses. If your children have different parents, you'll need a separate form for each parent.
- Each of the witnesses should sign under Witnesses to Signature of Consenting Parent on page 13.
3. Ask the standby guardian to put the completed forms in a safe place.
4. If you are detained or deported, the standby guardian should fill out the form on page 14 called Statement that Designation of Standby Guardian is in Effect. This is the form they will need to show as proof that they are your child’s guardian. This form does not need to be filed in court. It is good for one year or whenever you take back care of your child – whichever comes first.
Standby Guardianship forms - English | Spanish
Where can I get help?
Greater Hartford Legal Aid: 860-541-5000
New Haven County:
New Haven Legal Assistance: 203-946-4811
All other areas of Connecticut:
Connecticut Legal Services immigration hotline: 800-798-0671