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Forced SGO

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:07 pm
by catty
Myself and my partner have been fostering his nieces for 6 months and the authority are in the process of taking parents through court and placing them permanently with us. We have discussed in the long term of doing the SGO but at this stage we are not in a position to do it. (relations have broke down with parents so we would not be comfortable supervising their visits any time soon and our nieces and our selves are still in need of a lot of support and training that we wouldn't have access to under a SGO)
Although the authority and our social worker are in agreement with us and have recommended in their reports to court that the SGO is not suitable at the minute they have said we ought to seek legal advice as ultimately the SGO is something the court can say we HAVE to do.
Does anyone have any advice or experience in this...Can we be forced to do the SGO??

Re: Forced SGO

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:40 am
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear Catty

I am sorry to hear that you are faced with so much uncertainty at this time. The decision to become special guardians must be one that you feel comfortable with, after careful consideration of the implications. Our special guardianship advice sheet for family and friends carers provides detailed information on this.

With regards to the special guardianship order, there is an expectation on Local Authorities to provide a robust special guardianship support plan that meets the child's needs (as outlined in the care plan) and to balance this against the Local Authority resources.

In some instances, but not all, these documents are signed by the parties which increases accountability to deliver the specified services and to timescale. Therefore, it is important to fully participate through consultation with the Independent Reviewing Officer and or your solicitor (if you have one) to assist in this process in the negotiating stage.

Furthermore, you can use the support plan to specify what training may be available to you. This should be in line with that accessed throughout the year by Local Authority foster carers, and could be beneficial to the long term placement stability.

In respect of the contact plan, it is possible that the Local Authority may agree to supervise short term contact as part of any assessments. However, they are not generally resourced to off to supervise contact in the longer term, were you to become special guardians. After the initial period, it would be advisable to appoint an agreed and designated contact supervisor to assist in the supervision of contact.

If you have not done so already, can I suggest you attempt to seek further advice from a law society solicitor. You could access the thirty minutes free legal advice or ask if the Local Authority would be willing to fund a two hour consultation on your behalf.

I hope this helps.

Best Wishes


Re: Forced SGO

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:06 am
by Polly
In a similar situation but found we would be £2500 a year worse off. SGO best for children but can't afford risk

Re: Forced SGO

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:05 pm
by catty
Thanks all, that really helps. since the post our social worker has asked how long we would wait until considering the SGO again and we advised at least year but they said it would give parents opportunity to take authorities back to court should they wish, so they have put a report together for court advising it is not in anyone's best interests for the SGO at the moment but they will be planning on doing a 6 monthly review. It is proposed that the girls remain with us on a care order until then. it is certainly useful to know that we can request the authorities help with contact even under SGO such as a contact centre and the need to formalise financial backing. We will be seeking legal advise but its finding the time to do it as all our spare time is taken up with the girls, meetings/reviews/training/visits and assessments. I actually miss being able to least you can have a cut off and holiday from that. lol.