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It is of vital importance that a child has a stable home life and a safe environment in their life. If you would like to become a kinship carer for a child, then you may wish to apply for a Special Guardianship Order.
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What is a Special Guardianship Order?
A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is used to place a child into someone’s care, giving them Parental Responsibility and providing a secure home and lifestyle for the child until the child turns 18 years of age.
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for a SGO. This could include a foster parent, a relative, any guardian among others. The court will decide if it is in the child’s best interests. However, unlike adoption, this does not strip the biological parents of Parental Responsibility and leaves some relationship in place. A parent of a child cannot be appointed as their special guardian.
Although a relationship remains with the biological parents, the special guardian still has say on day-to-day and important decisions that need to be made. Their decisions can also overrule those of the biological parents. However, this does not mean that they can decide on matters such as changing the child’s surname or granting permission to marry among other life choices. A special guardian is also unable to overrule a biological parents' decision on adoption of the child.
After an order is made, the Local Authority has three months to prepare a Special Guardianship Report and any plan necessary. The Local Authority may provide financial support for various circumstances such as covering costs to maintain contact with the biological parents (travel or otherwise). Authorities may also provide other types of support such as counselling or support groups for special guardians and children to attend.
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How can Switalskis help me?
Applying for a SGO and the area of law can be complex and professional legal advice is the best way of ensuring that the process goes smoothly. Our family law team are highly experienced in the field and can help you in obtaining a SGO. You will first need to go through a SGO assessment to ensure that you are eligible for applying. One of our solicitors can guide you through this, as well as the following Court Hearings.
We understand that every case is unique, and that choosing to take on Parental Responsibility can be an important and sensitive step in life. Our solicitors will provide a personal and friendly service so that you feel at ease with the process.