Special Guardianship Orders
The Court may make an Order pursuant to the Children Act 1989 s14 appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘Special Guardian’.
The purpose of a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is to:-
- Give a child’s carer parental responsibility for a child;
- Create a clear and legal relationship between the child and their carer whilst considering the connection between a child and their natural parent in contrast to an Adoption Order.
The effect of a Special Guardianship Order is:-
- Grant the beneficiary of the Order parental responsibility for the named child;
- Discharge any existing Care Orders.
In order to apply for a Special Guardianship Order the Applicant must be aged 18 years or over and may not be the actual parent of the child concerned. The categories of those who may apply include:-
- Anyone with whom the child has been living with for the last three years (or more than one year if they are a relative);
- Anyone who has a Residence Order or the consent of those with the benefit of a Residence Order (or the consent of the Local Authority if the child is in care).
One of the advantages of a Special Guardianship Order is that it opens opportunities to the Guardian to provide support for a child. The Local Authority has a statutory duty to provide support and therapeutic services to meet the needs of children subject to Special Guardianship Order and the Local Authority can be required to provide financial support to help the Guardian where either the child has special needs or it is deemed that the Guardian needs financial support to be in a position to actually care for the child.
We have experience of acting for Applicant Guardians and are able to offer specialist advice.