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Next of kin

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 12:37 pm
by Auntiev
Hi, we have an SGO for our nephew & he has contact with his parents for 1 hour every six weeks. His dad's is going fine. His mums is very erratic & when he is around her his behaviour escalates. He has various health issues & sees various specialists due to severe neglect as an infant. My problem is this, when we attend the various appointments we are asked to note down his next of kin on the forms. His mum is not allowed unsupervised contact & as I say can only see him once every 6 weeks. If there was an emergency the hospital would need to contact us but we have been told she is still his next of kin. This seems crazy as she wouldn't be allowed near him & they have no contact details for her?? Can we get round this at all. In addition to this she has been playing games & contacting various medical professionals changing his address etc back to hers so she gets appointment letters and we miss them. Some departments now have a password on his details but I'm still curious about the next of kin issue. Can someone shed some light on how we can resolve this. I understand she's his mum & always will be but it is not safe for her to be contacted. His dad is not on birth certificate & is not an option.

Re: Next of kin

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 3:35 pm
by Robin D
I suggest you send in a letter with a copy of the SGO to the hospital chief executive and ask them to refer to their legal department if in any doubt that you are the primary and over-riding contact. Ask them to make sure that all departments are aware.

It seems perfectly clear that either someone is playing semantics, or the law is not understood!

Good luck .... Robin

Re: Next of kin

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 4:22 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear Auntiev

Welcome back to the discussion forum.

I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time regarding your nephew and his medical appointments.

From your post it seems clear that there are a number of health issues for your nephew as well as the impact that contact with his mother appears to have on his behaviour. Have you considered taking the matter back to court to reduce the amount of contact he has with his mother. It might be a good thing to reduce contact until he is more settled in his placement.

As far as the situation regarding your nephew’s next of kin, I believe that you have a right to put yourself as his next of kin since you have a Special Guardianship Order. Whilst the mother retains parental responsibility as a special guardian you are able to exercise your parental responsibility over and above hers. I am not sure why the hospital consider that the mother is the next of kin whilst he is in your care. It might help if you asked either for a meeting with all those treating your nephew or ask for the hospital to put in writing why they consider that the mother should be the named next of kin.

The purpose of the special guardianship order is to give the special guardian the right to make all decisions about a child to the exclusion of the parent’s parental responsibility. You say that the child’s father does not have parental responsibility at present. It is open to him to apply to the court for a parental responsibility order. A copy of our advice sheet relating to parental responsibility is here for your information.

I have also included a copy of our advice sheet regarding what special guardianship means for birth parents. You will see that a special guardian has the right under their parental responsibility to make all major decisions about the child.

I hope you will find this helpful.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please do telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

Best wishes


Re: Next of kin

Posted: Thu May 05, 2016 6:50 am
by Auntiev
I have been told by the hospital that they took the matter up with social services (for advice) & were instructed that unless a child is adopted or dies their mother is always next of kin. They say although we have over riding parental responsibility we do not have adoption rights and are not next of kin & mum must remain on their records. I have argued the point until I am blue in the face with social services who are instructing the hospital

Re: Next of kin

Posted: Sun May 08, 2016 12:38 pm
by Robin D
I suggest you write to the Legal Department of the local authority controlling the social worker giving the advice, and refer them to the regulations and indeed Suzie's response. Copy in the Chief Executive at the hospital and Head of Children's Services.


Re: Next of kin

Posted: Tue May 10, 2016 2:16 pm
by Auntiev
I've spoken to the hospital again and they empathise but social services word seems to be final. I am going to put everything in writing as advised but which part of the regulations should I be referring them to? I see nothing about next of kin. With regards to parental responsibility to the exclusion of all others, social services accept this yet still say this does not mean we are next of kin although we can make all medical decisions??? It's got me baffled. I did speak to an advisor from this forum & was advised as far as they are aware there is no legal president regarding next of kin under SGO. I just don't see how I can get round this. I've today found out his mum has been back on the phone to the hospital changing his records yet again!! I'm at my wits end