Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

11.10 Wardship Cases

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 11-CPS Court
11.10 Wardship Cases

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Legal Authority/Introduction


When all persons having parental rights to a child placed in out-of-home care (OOHC) are deceased, the case may be referred to as a wardship case.  These individuals may include the biological mother and father, putative fathers, and adoptive parents.  Termination of parental rights (TPR) is not applicable in these cases and the circumstances of the case should be assessed at the onset of the case to ensure that the child(ren) receives permanency in a timely manner.​


The SSW:

  1. Requests a consult with the Office of Legal Services (OLS) within thirty (30) working days of learning that all persons with parental rights are deceased.  During the consult the following are discussed and assessed:​​​​​
    • ​​Any unresolved paternity issues involving possible putative fathers;
    • Identification and exploration of relatives/fictive kin for placement​1; and​
    • The appropriateness of the goal of adoption.​

  2. Obtains the child’s birth certificate, the parents’ death certificate, and the child’s juvenile court record in preparation for the consult.
​​​​Upon the decision to proceed with adoption, OLS will prepare a court order declaring the child a ward of the state which will allow the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) to place the child for adoption.The child’s presentation summary packet will be due ten (10) working days following the entrance of the order as outlined in SOP13.10 Preparing the Presentation Summary Packet.  


  1. ​Any identified relatives/fictive kin should be offered the relative service array as outlined in SOP 5.1 Relative and Fictive Kin Placement Consideration​.


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