What’s a Special Guardianship Order?
A Special Guardianship Order places a child or young person in the care of someone other than their parent(s) on a long-term basis. The person(s) the child or children are placed with, will become their Special Guardian.
This isn’t a decision that’s taken lightly and is often a difficult time for all those involved. Sadly however, there are occasions when it’s in the child(s) best interest to be placed in the care of someone else.
Below we explain everything you need to know about Special Guardianship Orders. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of our family team.
Who can apply to be a Special Guardian?
To apply to be a Special Guardian, you must be aged 18 or over and not be a parent of the child. Joint applications can be made and there’s no need for joint applicants to be married.
You can apply for a Special Guardianship Order if:
- You are a Local Authority foster carer and the child has lived with you for a minimum of one year
- The child has lived with you for three of the last five years and has not ceased living with you more than three months before the application
- You are the guardian of the child
- The child is in Local Authority care and they consent to you making an application
- You have a Child Arrangement or Residence Order in place
- You are related to the child and they’ve been living with you for at least one year
- You have permission from the court to apply
What is the effect of a Special Guardianship Order?
If you become a child’s Special Guardian, you will be given parental responsibility for them. This means that they will live with you and you will have responsibility for the day-to-day decisions relating to their care and upbringing.
How do I apply for a Special Guardianship Order?
Please speak to our family team, they will advise you more on applying for a special guardianship order and what to expect with the application process.
Will I be assessed if I apply to be a Special Guardian?
It’s important that any child is placed in a safe and stable environment so you will be assessed if you apply for a Special Guardianship Order.
Because of this, you will need to inform Children’s Services in writing, of your intention to apply. This should be done three months before submitting your application to the court – our family team ca advise and support you with this. Children’s services will then investigate and prepare a report for the court to determine whether or not they feel the applicant is suitable.
Is there financial support for Special Guardians?
You can apply to your Local Authority for a Special Guardianship Allowance. This should be calculated in line with fostering allowances, but deductions may be made to take into account Child Benefit and Tax Credit.
Financial support is typically granted when:
- It’s necessary to help a Special Guardian look after a child
- A child needs special care due to a disability or emotional or behaviour difficulties
- Help is needed to pay for the legal costs when applying for a Special Guardianship Order
If you need help applying for a Special Guardianship Order or would like further information, please don’t hesitate to speak to our family teams using the form provided.