Special guardianship orders

If you are caring for a child who is unable to live with their parents and who has been placed with you with the approval of Children’s Social Care, you may have been advised to consider either applying for a Special Guardianship or a Residence Order as a way of making a more permanent legal arrangement for the child or young persons future.

We are trying to give you some basic information about these different orders. If you need more detailed information you are advised to consult a solicitor or discuss this with the child’s social worker.

What is a Special Guardianship Order

Special Guardianship is a new legal order intended to provide permanence for children for whom adoption is not appropriate. This is an order appointing one or more people over the age of 18 to be the child’s special guardian. When considering whether to make a special guardianship order, the welfare of the child is the court’s paramount consideration. An order can only be made if the court has received a report covering the suitability of the applicant(s) to be special guardian(s) from the local authority.

A Special Guardianship Order will:

• Give the carer clear responsibilities for all aspects of caring for the child or young person, and for taking a decision to do with their upbringing

• Provide a firm foundation on which to build a lifelong permanent relationship between carer and the child or young person

• Preserve the basic legal link between the child or young person and their birth family

• Provide a range of support services including, where appropriate, financial support

A special Guardianship Order is flexible and can work in a variety of situations:

• For older children who do not wish to be legally separated from their birth family, but could benefit from greater security and performance.

• For children in long-term foster or those who are cared for on a permanent basis by members of their wider family or friends

• For children and carers who have cultural and religious difficulties with adoption as set out in law.

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of family law or child care call us for a no obligation free consultation on 020 8543 3302.

If you qualify for legal aid, we represent your case on public funds/ legal aid.