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In law, a ward is someone placed under the protection of a legal guardian. A court may take responsibility for the legal protection of an individual, usually either a child or incapacitated person, in which case the ward is known as a ward of the court, or a ward of the state, in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. In Ireland and the United Kingdom "the" is not used it is thus termed "ward of court"[1]In Canada the legal term is Crown ward.[2]

When children enter foster care they become wards, of various govenment entities dependent on country. In the U.S. they become wards or the respective states in which they reside. The state via the family court stands in loco parentis to the child. Generally this entails assuming all lawful authority to make medical and legal decisions on the child's behalf.[3][4]

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