I have an SGO, can I adopt?

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Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:01 pm

I have an SGO, can I adopt?

Postby 2plus1 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:38 pm

Hi, I have a little one living with me under an SGO. She was removed from parents a few weeks after birth due to DV poor MH record, neglect and faliue to protect. BM (unrelated to me) asked me to put myself forward as an alternative carer, and following a period of time in Foster Care during the court process and my assessments, little one came to live with me at 7 months of age. She is now 2 and very settled. Parents separated and BM has another younger child who, following a brief spell in foster care, now lives with her. Following BMs perceived change in circumstances (marriage, home, job, assessed as fit to have younger child) we decided to increase contact until we got to the point whereby little one moved full time back to BMs care with me being involved as far as possible and monitoring while she made the relevant authorities aware etc (she never did 'get round to' doing this) However during this time I had several concerns and began to doubt that this was in little ones best interest (not least that BM was lying to me) and spoke to the health visitor for advice. As it turns out, another referral had been made to children's services and to cut a long story short, I recieved a call from the MASH team suggesting that I take her back into my care, which I immediately did. The case was then closed. Little one came back to me in an awful condition and mum had clearly not addressed health needs that had arisen, and from what her childcare setting advised me, had been emotionally neglecting her too. She has now settled back into our family and is back to full health. Since then it has become apparent and also mum has admitted, that there really is no bond between them, and while BM states that it's 'not her fault she hasn't got a bond with daughter' she still says she wants to try and build one. On the other hand, I would like to go ahead and adopt this precious little girl who deserves so much better! BD is only allowed letterbox contact, and I don't see he would appose adoption as he shows little interest, but BM I'm sure would. So, here's the question, do I have any hope of successfully adopting her, or will the judge decline as there is an SGO in place? Sorry for such a long post!

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

Re: I have an SGO, can I adopt?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:04 pm

Dear 2plus1

Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers’ Discussion Forum.

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

I see from your post that you are concerned for the little girl for whom you have a special guardianship order to have a secure future in your care under an adoption order. I am sorry that things did not work out well with the birth mother.

In answer to your question as to whether you can adopt whilst having a special guardianship order, the short answer is yes but there are legal requirements that have to be satisfied in order to make an application for adoption.

Firstly, there is a requirement that the child must have live with the applicant(s) for a period of 3 years. If this is not satisfied, it is possible to seek leave (i.e. permission) from the court to make the application.

Secondly, you will need to give notice to the local authority area in which you live. This is referred to as a section 44 notice of intention to adopt. Once notice is given to the local authority they will need to carry out an investigation and prepare a report to the court. Adoption cases are dealt with under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (ACA 2002).

As you are a special guardian and already in touch with the local authority regarding the little girl in your care, it might be appropriate to have a discussion with the local children services department about your intention to apply for an adoption order before giving formal notice of intention. As you are not related to the child it may be seen as the next step to secure a stable future for her.

You will need to be mindful that the child’s parents will be respondents to the application and can oppose the application for an adoption order. The court will be concerned with the welfare of the child and her best interests in reaching a decision. The court process could be lengthy depending on whether the parents are opposed to your application or not.

Adoption will mean for the child and the parents that all legal ties are removed. The parents will lose parental responsibility and she will be legally your child if the order is made. As birth parents, they could see to have contact but that will depend on what you are prepared to agree and whether the court consider it to be in the child’s interest.

You may not be eligible for legal aid to make the application for leave or for adoption.

The information I have given here is an overview of what you can expect but there is more in respect of the court process itself and I suggest that you contact CoramBaaf who will be able to give you more information about adoption 0300 222 5775. Alternatively, you could telephone First4Adoption on 0300 222 0022 who can also give you further information about adoption.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes


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Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:01 pm

Re: I have an SGO, can I adopt?

Postby 2plus1 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:25 pm

Dear Suzie

Thank you so much for your in-depth and informative reply. Please accept my apologies, I have only just seen it. I shall telephone CoramBaaf tomorrow and depending on their advice, hopefully apply to the court for leave to make the application. (And apply for a bank loan to cover the costs!!)

Many thanks again for taking the time to reply.

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