Special Guardianship Orders

birkettIf you look after a child who is related to you or you wish to obtain parental responsibility for a child in your care, it may be appropriate to apply to the court for a Special Guardianship Order.

A Special Guardianship Order is a court order which appoints one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘special guardian(s)’. The effect of a Special Guardianship Order is that while it is in force, a special guardian has parental responsibility for the child. This parental responsibility can be exercised by the special guardian to override everyone else who has parental responsibility.

Special Guardianship Orders are usually used where a child is to retain a relationship with
other family members, such as parents, but where the child is to be brought up by a relative or friend other than a parent, for example a grandparent, aunt or uncle. There are a number of categories of individuals who can automatically apply to the court for this type of order. Otherwise an application for permission to make an application to the court is necessary before you can give your Local Authority notice of your intention to make an application. You must give your Local Authority three months’ notice of your intention to make an application to a court. This can be done by writing a simple letter to Social Services. Social Services will then prepare a report for the court looking at your suitability to become a special guardian for the child. Once the assessment has been concluded you will be able to make the application for a Special Guardianship Order to the court. The matter will then be determined by the court, who will decide at a subsequent hearing what order to make in accordance with the best interests of the child.

Liz Jones

BIRKETT LONG

T – 01206 217364

E – childcarelaw@birkettlong.co.uk

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