SGO discharge or Section 20

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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:29 pm

SGO discharge or Section 20

Post by torstours » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:32 pm

Our 12 year old grandson has lived with us for 3 years over 2 on SGO but no support was given for his many difficulties he has from his young childhood, we have struggled long and hard but now had to come to the painful decision to give him support he will get in from being in care.
Our daughters social worker told us to sign Section 20 or would it be better to discharge the SGO in court.? Thank you.

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Robin D
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: SGO discharge or Section 20

Post by Robin D » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:24 pm

Hi Torstours.

Welcome here, even if it seems as though you may have reached the end of your tether.

My personal preference would be a section 20 as it's not permanent and provides a way back, if one can be found.

The key question of course is where has the support been? Why do you think that he will receive better support for his complex needs in the care system? If they can deliver it there, why can't they deliver it while he remains in your care and without the disruption of a change of placement? If you have the fight left in you, and we would all understand if you haven't, then you need to contact the head of children's services at the LA and ask the same two questions.

FRG have recently been doing a survey on the use of section 20's that you might like to complete. I can't find the link at the moment, but someone may be able to point it out to you.

It's a tough position you find yourselves in, but believe me, you are not the first and unfortunately, will not be the last to have to make those sorts of decisions. It's even more galling when you know the authorities have just danced around the periphery and actually done nothing to help! :cry:
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: SGO discharge or Section 20

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:33 pm

Dear torstours

Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers’ discussion forum.

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

I am very sorry that you have been brought to the point where you feel you can no longer care for your grandson because of lack of support from your local authority.

Robin D has given you some good advice and I hope you will feel able to continue looking after your grandson with the appropriate support the he needs.

It is not clear from your post whether your grandson was a ‘looked after’ child (either under s.20 or a care order), before you were granted the special guardianship order. If he was then children services should have prepared a support package and you can ask now to be assessed for this. Also, if your grandson has substantial needs, then you can ask for him to be assessed by children services as a child in need and you can get more information about this from our advice sheet

In addition, the local authority has a duty under the special guardianship regulations to provide support services to special guardians. Please see the link here to the regulations (as amended).

Special Guardians are also able to ask the local authority for an assessment under the Adoption Support Fund. There is a link here for your further information. I really would encourage you to ask for this to be done.

Please read our advice sheet about the support family and friends carers can expect when looking after someone else’s child.

Should you decide that you are not able to care for your grandson, then if he is accommodated by children services under s.20 it means you continue to have parental responsibility for him and it will be a voluntary arrangement from which you can withdraw consent, but should seek legal advice before doing so. If you discharge the special guardianship order, you will no longer have parental responsibility and if your grandson is not able to return to his parent or parents, then children services will have to apply for a care order if anyone else with parental responsibility does not agree to him being accommodated under s.20 of the Children Act 1989.

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

I hope this information is helpful and will help you in making your decision.

Best wishes


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