Increase In Special Guardianship Orders
Although this is not a business issue directly, many employers and employees have children and grandchildren and maybe interested in the rise in the number of Special Guardianship Orders over the last few years.
A Special Guardianship Order is a Court Order appointing one or more people to be a child’s “special guardian”. It is intended for those children who cannot live with their birth parents but who would benefit from a legally secure placement.
The Order is half way between a child arrangements order (previously called a residence order) and adoption. It is somewhat less secure than an adoption order because it does not end the legal relationship between the child and their birth parents.
Special Guardianship Orders were introduced by the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and are increasing in numbers.
People who wish to apply for a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) have to go through an assessment process to be sure that an SGO is in that child’s best interests. The assessment can be fairly intrusive and similar to a foster carer assessment.
More and more often now there are difficulties in parents caring for their children for a number of different reasons, this can be due to mental health issues, addiction issues or illness or any number of reasons. Grandparents frequently step into the breach as do other relatives of the children and often apply for Special Guardianship Orders.
The Local Authority should provide support for special guardians and often including financial support by way of a special guardianship allowance.
Applying for a Special Guardianship Order is a big decision and you should not feel under any pressure to apply or commit to such an order unless it is right for you and the child.
It is important to get independent legal advice before applying so you can be sure you are making the right choice.
It is often a great option for the child who cannot live with his/her own parents but an SGO gives them a stable home and still keeps ties to their birth family.
Every case is different and there are numerous factors to consider.
Should you wish to have any legal guidance or help and assistance in relation to any issue regarding a Special Guardianship Order please do not hesitate to contact us and speak to Heather Wolfe or Ashlee Grayson-Smith on 024 76387821 if such advice is needed.