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Re: SGO Query

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:45 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear ied53

Thank you for you post on behalf of a friend.

As your friend has a special guardianship order her or she would be entitled to insist on the child returning to their home. It might be helpful to include children’s services so that they can have an input in assessing the parent to see if it would be an appropriate placement for the child to be reunited with parent.

Due to the child’s age his or her wishes and feeling will be considered in any decision as to where the child should live. Although aged 16 the child remains a child and the special guardian still has parental responsibility. If the special guardian does not support the child being with the parent, then the best way would be to take the matter to court asking that the parent returns child to the special guardian. It will then be for the court to make a decision based on reports and other evidence.

The special guardian could leave it for a while for the child to decide whether the move to parent was all he or she had hoped. The child might decide that being with the special guardian is the preferred option after all.

It is of course open to the special guardian to apply to discharge the special guardianship order so as to end parental responsibility. However, if there is a hope that the child may return this might be an option of last resort. The special guardian will need to decide how long the child will be given before making an application.

Are there any issues with the special guardian and the child that has led to child wishing to leave? Does the child have any behavioural issues or considered to be beyond parental control from the special guardian’s view of the situation.

As stated above, the special guardian can seek advice and support from children’s services about this situation. This would give the special guardian an opportunity to explore any concerns regarding the child living with the parent.

If the child had gone to children’s services and asked to be accommodated as a 16 year old then they would have to consider this irrespective of the parents’ or other person with parental responsibility wishes. In a sense, therefore, a 16 year old is able to make a choice about where to live.

I suggest that your friend read our advice sheets 19 and 20, copies of which are included for more information about special guardianship and what it means for birth parents. Advice sheet 19 refers to an application for special guardianship order but also covers lots of details about special guardianship.

It is of course open to the special guardian to apply to discharge the special guardianship order so as to end parental responsibility. However, if there is a hope that the child may return this might be an option of last resort. The special guardian will need to decide how long the child will be given before making an application.

If your friend wishes to speak to an adviser I suggest he or she telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).

Hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

Re: SGO Query

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:50 pm
by mazzo
What is disadvantage of having a sgo? I care for my grandson as a full-time foster carer. I've only had him 3 mths. I think I will have problems with his mother.

Re: SGO Query

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:09 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear mazzo

Welcome to the family and friends discussion forum.

My name is Suzie, online adviser, at Family Rights Group.

The difference between being a foster carer and special guardian relates to the legal status of the carer and the child.

As a foster carer, it means that children’s services are responsible for the child under a full care order if court proceedings have ended or an interim care order if the court proceedings are ongoing. Either of these orders mean that children’s services shares parental responsibility for the child and can made decisions regarding the child, contact, where they live etc. If a child is in foster care with a parent’s consent then children’s services do not share parental responsibility for the child and must consider the parent or parents’ wishes when making decision relating to the child.

Please see our advice sheet Duties on Children’s Services when children are in the care system

In each of the above situations a foster carer cannot make decisions about the child without the local authority’s agreement. The foster carer is working for the local authority but they can if it is in a child’s interest remove the child from a foster carer if they reach that decision. Children’s services will be responsible for managing contact and other things relating to the child.

Where a person has a special guardianship order, this means that the special guardian shares parental responsibility with the parent or parents and is responsible for the child until the child is 18.. However, the special guardian can exercise their parental responsibility over and above the parents. That is, they do not need their consent. It is the responsibility of the special guardian to manage contact and make decisions in the child’s best interest or in line with any court order made for contact. A special guardian can take a child out of the court’s jurisdiction abroad for up 3 months.

The special guardian will receive a special guardianship allowance as part of a support package from the local authority.

You can read this advice sheet DIY Special Guardianship Orders - information for family and friends carers which also gives information about what is involved being a special guardian.

If you have a special guardianship order and have problems with the mother regarding contact, children’s services can offer support under the special guardian support services that they should have in place.

It may also help you to read our advice sheet relating to Special Guardianship: what does it mean for birth parents?.

Should you wish to discuss your situation further with an adviser, you can telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie