Ministry for Vulnerable Children v C [2017] NZFC 4052

Published 19 September 2017

Application to appoint additional guardians — application to appoint special guardians — Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1989, ss 110 and 113A. An application was made to appoint the caregivers of the subject children as additional guardians and as special guardians. The parents of the children had been imprisoned for charges relating to sexual abuse of a half sibling of the subject children. It was proposed that some of the guardianship rights (including rights in relation to decisions about health and education) be held by the caregivers, and the remaining rights be shared by the mother of the children, and the caregivers. The caregivers sought further sole guardianship rights regarding relocation and travel. The court found that the Chief Executive needed to establish clear evidence of previous disputes or issues with the existing guardians over guardianship matters for a special guardian to be appointed. The court found that the requirements of s 113 (1) must be met in respect of both parents. The court found that a grave reason existed which made the father unfit to be a guardian of either child, and that it would be in the welfare and best interests of the children for him to be removed as a guardian. The court further found that the actions of the mother, including relocating and becoming uncontactable indicated that she did not intend to be a part of the lives of the children in a way that would enable her to carry out her guardianship roles. The court found that it would be impractical for the caregivers to continue to care for the children in the absence of a guardianship order. The court further found that it was in the best interests of the children for the caregivers to be made special guardians. The caregivers were appointed as additional guardians and as special guardians. The father was to have no guardianship rights. Judgment Date: 8 June 2017. * * * Note: Names have been changed to comply with legal requirements * * *