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48.979(3)(a)(a) In this subsection:
48.979(3)(a)1. 1. “Agent" means a person to whom delegation of the care and custody of a child under this section is facilitated by an organization.
48.979(3)(a)2. 2. “Organization" means an organization that facilitates delegations of the care and custody of children under this section.
48.979(3)(b) (b) The department may promulgate rules to implement this section. If the department promulgates those rules, those rules shall include rules establishing all of the following:
48.979(3)(b)1. 1. Training requirements for the staff of an organization, including training in identifying children who have been abused or neglected and the laws and procedures under s. 48.981 governing the reporting of suspected or threatened child abuse or neglect.
48.979(3)(b)2. 2. Screening and assessment requirements for a proposed agent, including a screening of the personal characteristics, health, and finances of the proposed agent and of the physical environment and safety of the proposed agent's home and, based on that screening, an assessment of the proposed agent's fitness to provide for the care and custody of the child and ability to meet the child's needs. The rules promulgated under this subdivision shall prohibit an organization from facilitating a delegation of the care and custody of a child to a proposed agent unless the proposed agent is fit to provide for the care and custody of the child and able to meet the child's needs.
48.979(3)(b)3. 3. Training requirements for an agent, including the training described in subd. 1. and training in the expectations of an agent specified in subd. 4.
48.979(3)(b)4. 4. The expectations of an agent with respect to the care and custody of the child, including expectations relating to the care, nurturing, protection, training, guidance, and discipline of the child; the provision of food, shelter, education, and health care for the child; cooperation with the child's parents in coparenting the child; and cooperation with the organization in facilitating visitation and other communications with the child's parents and in otherwise complying with the expectations of the organization.
48.979(3)(b)5. 5. A requirement that an organization regularly monitor an agent and the child whose care and custody is delegated to the agent and maintain communications with the child's parents.
48.979 History History: 2011 a. 87; 2013 a. 165 s. 115; 2013 a. 314, 335; 2015 a. 195, 381; 2017 a. 364 s. 49.
48.9795 48.9795 Appointment of guardian of the person for a child.
48.9795(1)(1)Definitions. In this section:
48.9795(1)(a) (a) “Interested person" means any of the following:
48.9795(1)(a)1. 1. For purposes of a petition for guardianship of a child, any of the following:
48.9795(1)(a)1.a. a. The child, if he or she has attained 12 years of age, and the child's guardian ad litem and counsel, if any.
48.9795(1)(a)1.b. b. The child's parent, guardian, legal custodian, and physical custodian.
48.9795(1)(a)1.c. c. Any person who has filed a declaration of paternal interest under s. 48.025, who is alleged to the court to be the father of the child, or who may, based on the statements of the mother or other information presented to the court, be the father of the child.
48.9795(1)(a)1.d. d. Any individual who is nominated as guardian or as a successor guardian.
48.9795(1)(a)1.e. e. If the child has no living parent, any individual nominated to act as fiduciary for the child in a will or other written instrument that was executed by a parent of the child.
48.9795(1)(a)1.f. f. If the child is receiving or in need of any public services or benefits, the county department or, in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, the department that is providing the services or benefits, through the district attorney, corporation counsel, or other officials designated under s. 48.09.
48.9795(1)(a)1.g. g. If the child is an Indian child, the Indian child's Indian custodian and Indian tribe.
48.9795(1)(a)1.h. h. Any other person that the court may require.
48.9795(1)(a)2. 2. For purposes of proceedings subsequent to an order for guardianship of a child, any of the following:
48.9795(1)(a)2.a. a. The child, if the child has attained 12 years of age, the child's guardian ad litem, and the child's counsel.
48.9795(1)(a)2.b. b. The child's parent and guardian.
48.9795(1)(a)2.c. c. The county of venue, through the district attorney, corporation counsel, or other official designated under s. 48.09, if the county has an interest in the guardianship.
48.9795(1)(a)2.d. d. If the child is an Indian child, the Indian child's tribe.
48.9795(1)(a)2.e. e. Any other person that the court may require.
48.9795(1)(b) (b) “Party" means the person petitioning for the appointment of a guardian for a child or any interested person other than a person who is alleged to the court to be the father of the child or who may, based on the statements of the mother or other information presented to the court, be the father of the child.
48.9795(2) (2)Appointment; venue; nomination; duty and authority.
48.9795(2)(a)(a) Venue. Except as provided under par. (b) 2., venue for guardianship under this section shall be in the child's county of residence, the county in which the child is physically present, or, if the child is a nonresident, the county in which the petitioner proposes that the child reside. The court may, upon a motion and for good cause shown, transfer the case, along with all appropriate records, to the county in which a dispositional order has been issued under this chapter.
48.9795(2)(b) (b) Appointment.
48.9795(2)(b)1.1. This section may be used for the appointment of a guardian of the person for a child. An appointment of a guardian of the estate of a child shall be conducted under the procedures specified in ch. 54. If the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter has jurisdiction over a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian of the person for a child or continuing jurisdiction over such a guardianship and the court assigned to exercise probate jurisdiction has jurisdiction over a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian of the estate of the child or continuing jurisdiction over such a guardianship, the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter may order those proceedings or guardianships to be consolidated under the jurisdiction of the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter. Upon such consolidation, the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter shall order all records relating to the guardianship of the estate of the child to be transferred to the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter and that court shall retain those records as required under SCR chapter 72. This section does not prohibit a person from petitioning a court under s. 48.831, 48.977, or 48.978 for the appointment of a guardian of the person for a child.
48.9795(2)(b)2. 2. If the child is the subject of any matter pending under s. 48.13, 48.133, or 48.14 (1) to (10) or (12) or ch. 938, any subsequent petition filed under this section shall be heard by the court authorized to exercise jurisdiction over the pending matter. The court shall stay a guardianship proceeding for the appointment of a full, limited, or temporary guardian of the person for a child under par. (d) 1., 2., or 3. until the matter pending under s. 48.13, 48.133, or 48.14 (1) to (10) or (12) or ch. 938 is resolved. The court may appoint an emergency guardian under sub. (6) while any matter is pending under s. 48.13, 48.133, or 48.14 (1) to (10) or (12) or ch. 938 if the court finds that the best interests of the child require the immediate appointment of a guardian.
48.9795(2)(b)3. 3. A petition filed under this section may not seek to change an order under s. 48.13, 48.133, or 48.14 (1) to (10) or (12) or ch. 938.
48.9795(2)(b)4. 4. The court may appoint coguardians of the person for a child under this section, subject to any conditions that the court imposes. Unless the court orders otherwise, any decision concerning the child must be concurred in by all coguardians or is void.
48.9795(2)(c) (c) Nomination by parent or child.
48.9795(2)(c)1.1. A parent may nominate a guardian and successor guardian for any of his or her children who is in need of guardianship, including a nomination by will. Subject to the rights of a surviving parent, the court shall appoint the person nominated as guardian or successor guardian, unless the court finds that appointment of the person nominated is not in the child's best interests.
48.9795(2)(c)2. 2. A child who has attained 12 years of age may nominate his or her own guardian, but if the child is outside of the state or if other good reason exists, the court may dispense with the child's right of nomination. If neither parent of a child who has attained 12 years of age is fit, willing, and able to carry out the duties of a guardian, the court may appoint the nominee of the child.
48.9795(2)(c)3. 3. In determining who is appointed as guardian, the court shall consider the nominations of the parents and child and the opinions of the parents and child as to what is in the best interests of the child, but the best interests of the child as determined by the court shall control in making the determination when those nominations and opinions are in conflict with those best interests.
48.9795(2)(d) (d) Duties and authority of guardian.
48.9795(2)(d)1.1. `Full guardianship.' Subject to subds. 2. and 5., a guardian appointed under sub. (4) (h) 2. has all of the following duties and authority:
48.9795(2)(d)1.a. a. All of the duties and authority specified in s. 48.023.
48.9795(2)(d)1.b. b. Subject to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the authority to determine reasonable visitation with the child.
48.9795(2)(d)1.c. c. The right to change the residence of the child from this state to another state.
48.9795(2)(d)1.d. d. The duty to immediately notify the court that appointed the guardian of any change in the address of the guardian or child and to make an annual report to that court on the condition of the child. The report shall include the location of the child, the health condition of the child, and any recommendations regarding the child.
48.9795(2)(d)2. 2. `Limited guardianship.' The court may order that the duties and authority of a guardian appointed under sub. (4) (h) 2. be limited. The duties and authority of a limited guardian shall be as specified by the order of appointment under sub. (4) (h) 2. The duties and authority of a full guardian shall apply to a limited guardian to the extent relevant to the duties or authority of the limited guardian, except as limited by the order of appointment. The court may limit the authority of a guardian with respect to any power to allow the parent to retain such power to make decisions as is within the parent's ability to exercise effectively and may limit the physical custody of a guardian to allow shared physical custody with the parent if shared physical custody is in the best interests of the child. The court shall set an expiration date for a limited guardianship order, which may be extended for good cause shown.
48.9795(2)(d)3. 3. `Temporary guardianship.' If it is demonstrated to the court that a child's particular situation, including the inability of the child's parent to provide for the care, custody, and control of the child for a temporary period of time, requires the appointment of a temporary guardian, the court may appoint a temporary guardian as provided under sub. (5).
48.9795(2)(d)4. 4. `Emergency guardianship.' If it is demonstrated to the court that the welfare of a child requires the immediate appointment of an emergency guardian, the court may appoint an emergency guardian as provided under sub. (6).
48.9795(2)(d)5. 5. `Powers of guardian.' The parent retains all rights and duties accruing to the parent as a result of the parent-child relationship that are not assigned to the guardian or otherwise limited by statute or court order. A guardian acting on behalf of a child may exercise only those powers that the guardian is authorized to exercise by statute or court order. The court may authorize a guardian to exercise only those powers that are necessary to provide for the care, custody, and control of the child and to exercise those powers in a manner that is appropriate to the child. This paragraph does not abridge the duties and authorities of a guardian appointed under this chapter outside of this section.
48.9795(3) (3)Guardian ad litem.
48.9795(3)(a) (a) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem when a petition is filed for appointment of a guardian or termination of a guardianship under this section. Except as provided under sub. (6) (b) 3., the court shall appoint the guardian ad litem as soon as possible and before the initial hearing. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem when it determines that a hearing for modification is to be held under sub. (9) (b). In a case that is contested, the guardian ad litem may file a motion pursuant to s. 48.235 (8) (b).
48.9795(3)(b) (b) The guardian ad litem has the duties and responsibilities required under s. 48.235 (3) (a). The guardian ad litem represents the best interests of the child throughout the proceedings but must apply in all court proceedings the applicable standard under sub. (4) (b) 4. to 7. The guardian ad litem shall conduct a diligent investigation sufficient to represent the best interests of the child in court. As appropriate to the circumstances, the investigation may include, personally or through a trained designee, meeting with or observing the child, meeting with the proposed guardian, meeting with interested persons, and visiting the homes of the child and the proposed guardian. The guardian ad litem shall attend all court proceedings relating to the guardianship, present evidence concerning the best interests of the child, if necessary, and make clear and specific recommendations to the court at every stage of the proceedings.
48.9795(3)(c) (c) To the extent necessary to fulfill the duties and responsibilities required of the guardian ad litem in the proceedings, the guardian ad litem shall inspect reports and records relating to the child and, upon presentation of necessary releases, the child's family and the proposed guardian, including law enforcement reports and records under ss. 48.396 (1) and 938.396 (1) (a), court records under ss. 48.396 (2) (a) and 938.396 (2), social welfare agency records under ss. 48.78 (2) (a) and 938.78 (2) (a), abuse and neglect reports and records under s. 48.981 (7) (a) 11v., pupil records under s. 118.125 (2) (L), mental health records under s. 51.30 (4) (b) 4., and health care records under s. 146.82 (2) (a) 4. The court shall include in the order appointing the guardian ad litem an order requiring the custodian of any report or record relating to the child specified in this paragraph to permit the guardian ad litem to inspect and copy the report or record on presentation by the guardian ad litem of a copy of the order.
48.9795(4) (4)Procedures.
48.9795(4)(a) (a) Petition; who may file.
48.9795(4)(a)1.1. Except as provided in subd. 2., any person, including a child 12 years of age or over on his or her own behalf, may petition for the appointment of a guardian for a child.
48.9795(4)(a)2. 2. If there is any matter pending under s. 48.13, 48.133, or 48.14 (1) to (10) or (12) or ch. 938, a petition under this subsection may be filed by any party to the pending matter or any person approved by the court if the petition is consistent with the goal or goals of the child's permanency plan and does not seek to change the requirements of any preexisting court order issued under s. 48.13, 48.133, or 48.14 (1) to (10) or (12) or ch. 938.
48.9795(4)(b) (b) Petition; form and content. A petition for guardianship may include an application for protective placement or protective services or both under ch. 55. The petition shall be entitled “In the interest of .... (child's name), a person under the age of 18" and shall state all of the following, if known to the petitioner:
48.9795(4)(b)1. 1. The name, date of birth, and address of the child.
48.9795(4)(b)2. 2. The names and addresses of the petitioner, the child's parents, current guardian, and legal custodian, if any, the proposed guardian, any proposed successor guardians, and all other interested persons.
48.9795(4)(b)3. 3. Whether the petitioner is requesting a full guardianship, a limited guardianship, a temporary guardianship, or an emergency guardianship.
48.9795(4)(b)4. 4. If the petitioner is requesting a full guardianship, the facts and circumstances establishing that the child's parents are unfit, unwilling, or unable to provide for the care, custody, and control of the child or other compelling facts and circumstances demonstrating that a full guardianship is necessary.
48.9795(4)(b)5. 5. If the petitioner is requesting a limited guardianship, the facts and circumstances establishing that the child's parents need assistance in providing for the care, custody, and control of the child and a statement of the specific duties and authority under sub. (2) (d) sought by the petitioner for the proposed guardian and the specific parental rights and duties that the petitioner seeks to have transferred.
48.9795(4)(b)6. 6. If the petitioner is requesting a temporary guardianship, the facts and circumstances establishing that the child's particular situation, including the inability of the child's parents to provide for the care, custody, and control of the child for a temporary period of time, requires the appointment of a temporary guardian; the reasons for the appointment of a temporary guardian; and the powers requested for the temporary guardian.
48.9795(4)(b)7. 7. If the petitioner is requesting an emergency guardianship, the facts and circumstances establishing that the welfare of the child requires the immediate appointment of an emergency guardian.
48.9795(4)(b)8. 8. The facts and circumstances establishing that the proposed guardian is fit, willing, and able to serve as the child's guardian.
48.9795(4)(b)9. 9. The information required under s. 822.29 (1).
48.9795(4)(b)10. 10. Whether the child may be subject to s. 48.028 or the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 USC 1901 to 1963, and, if the child may be subject to s. 48.028 or that act, the names and addresses of the child's Indian custodian, if any, and Indian tribe, if known.
48.9795(4)(b)11. 11. If the petitioner knows or has reason to know that the child is an Indian child, reliable and credible information showing that continued custody of the child by the child's parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child under s. 48.028 (4) (d) 1. and that active efforts under s. 48.028 (4) (d) 2. have been made to prevent the breakup of the Indian child's family and that those efforts have proved unsuccessful and, if the proposed guardianship would change the placement of the child from the home of his or her parent or Indian custodian to a placement outside that home, a statement as to whether the new placement is in compliance with the order of placement preference under s. 48.028 (7) (b) or, if applicable, s. 48.028 (7) (c) and, if the new placement is not in compliance with that order, specific information showing good cause, as described in s. 48.028 (7) (e), for departing from that order.
48.9795(4)(b)12. 12. Whether the petitioner is aware of any guardianship or other related proceeding involving the child that is pending in another court and, if so, the details of the guardianship, termination of parental rights, or related proceeding.
48.9795(4)(b)13. 13. Whether there is any matter pending or the child is subject to a court order under s. 48.13, 48.133, or 48.14 or ch. 938.
48.9795(4)(c) (c) Service of petition and notice.
48.9795(4)(c)1.1. Except as provided in subd. 3. and sub. (6) (b) 2., the petitioner shall cause the petition and notice of the time and place of the hearing under par. (e) to be served at least 7 days before the time of the hearing upon all interested persons. Failure of the petitioner to provide notice to all interested persons shall deprive the court of jurisdiction unless notice is specifically waived by an interested person or by the court for good cause shown.
48.9795(4)(c)2. 2. A notice shall be in writing. A copy of the petition and any other required document shall be attached to the notice. Except as provided in subd. 3. and sub. (6) (b) 2., notice shall be delivered in person or by certified mail. Notice is considered to be given by proof of personal delivery, by proof that the notice was sent by certified mail to the last-known address of the recipient, or, if the recipient is an adult, by the written admission of service of the person served.
48.9795(4)(c)3. 3. If the petitioner knows or has reason to know that the child is an Indian child, notice to the Indian child's parent, Indian custodian, and Indian tribe shall be provided in the manner specified in s. 48.028 (4) (a). No hearing may be held under par. (e) or (f) until at least 10 days after receipt of the notice by the Indian child's parent, Indian custodian, and Indian tribe or, if the identity or location of the Indian child's parent, Indian custodian, or tribe cannot be determined, until at least 15 days after receipt of the notice by the U.S. secretary of the interior. On request of the Indian child's parent, Indian custodian, or Indian tribe, the court shall grant a continuance of up to 20 additional days to enable the requester to prepare for the hearing.
48.9795(4)(d) (d) Statement by proposed guardian. At least 96 hours before the hearing under par. (e), the proposed guardian shall submit to the court a sworn and notarized statement as to the number of persons for whom the proposed guardian is responsible, whether as a parent, guardian, or legal custodian, as to the proposed guardian's income, assets, debts, and living expenses, and as to whether the proposed guardian is currently charged with or has been convicted of a crime or has been determined under s. 48.981 (3) (c) to have abused or neglected a child. If the proposed guardian is currently charged with or has been convicted of a crime or has been determined under s. 48.981 (3) (c) to have abused or neglected a child, he or she shall include in the sworn and notarized statement a description of the circumstances surrounding the charge, conviction, or determination.
48.9795(4)(e) (e) Initial hearing.
48.9795(4)(e)1.1. The initial hearing on a petition for guardianship, other than a petition for emergency guardianship under sub. (6), shall be heard within 45 days after the filing of the petition. At the hearing, the court shall first determine whether any party wishes to contest the petition. If the petition is not contested, the court shall immediately proceed to a fact-finding and dispositional hearing, unless an adjournment is requested. If the petition is contested and all parties consent, the court may proceed immediately to a fact-finding and dispositional hearing. If any party does not consent or if an adjournment is requested, the court shall set a date for a fact-finding and dispositional hearing that allows reasonable time for the parties to prepare but is not more than 30 days after the initial hearing.
48.9795(4)(e)2. 2. The proposed guardian and any proposed successor guardian shall be physically present at all hearings unless the court excuses the attendance of either or, for good cause shown, permits attendance by telephone. The child is not required to attend any hearings, but if the child has nominated the proposed guardian, the child shall provide to the guardian ad litem sufficient information for the guardian ad litem to advise the court on whether the nomination is in the best interests of the child.
48.9795(4)(e)3. 3. If a man who has been given notice under par. (c) 1. appears at the initial hearing, alleges that he is the father of the child, and states that he wishes to establish the paternity of the child, s. 48.299 (6) applies. The court may order a temporary guardianship under sub. (5) pending the outcome of the paternity proceedings.
48.9795(4)(f) (f) Fact-finding and dispositional hearing. The court shall hold the fact-finding and dispositional hearing at the time specified or set by the court under par. (e) 1., at which any party may present evidence, including expert testimony, and argument relating to the allegations in the petition. The court shall determine whether the petitioner has proven the allegations in the petition under par. (b) by clear and convincing evidence and shall immediately proceed to determine the appropriate disposition under par. (h), considering the factors under par. (g).
48.9795(4)(g) (g) Dispositional factors. In determining the appropriate disposition under par. (h), the court shall consider all of the following:
48.9795(4)(g)1. 1. Any nominations made under sub. (2) (c) 1. or 2. and the opinions of the parents and child as to what is in the best interests of the child, but the best interests of the child as determined by the court shall control in making the determination when those nominations and opinions are in conflict with those best interests.
48.9795(4)(g)2. 2. Whether the proposed guardian would be fit, willing, and able to serve as the guardian of the child.
48.9795(4)(g)3. 3. If the child is an Indian child, the order of placement preference under s. 48.028 (7) (b) or, if applicable, s. 48.028 (7) (c), unless the court finds good cause, as described in s. 48.028 (7) (e), for departing from that order.
48.9795(4)(g)4. 4. Whether appointment of the proposed guardian as the child's guardian is in the best interests of the child.
48.9795(4)(h) (h) Disposition. At the conclusion of the hearing under par. (f), the court shall grant one of the following dispositions, unless the court adjourns the hearing under par. (i):
48.9795(4)(h)1. 1. A disposition dismissing the petition if the court finds that the petitioner has not proved the allegations in the petition by clear and convincing evidence or determines that appointment of the proposed guardian as the child's guardian is not in the best interests of the child. Dismissal of a petition under this subdivision does not preclude the court from referring the child to the intake worker for an intake inquiry under s. 48.24 or from acting as an intake worker at the court's discretion under s. 48.10.
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 186 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on August 1, 2020. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after August 1, 2020, are designated by NOTES. (Published 8-1-20)