Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers’ Discussion Forum and thank you for your post.
I see that you are currently caring for your grandson. Just to clarify the position was your grandson with you before the court proceedings started or has he just been placed with you under an interim care order so you are now being assessed as a foster carer.
Usually, in care proceedings it is expected that the local authority will parallel or twin-track their planning. This means that they have to look at alternative long term care if the child is not able to return to his or her parent(s) care. Special guardianship is seen a long term arrangement for a family member or friend to care for a child until they reach 18 years old. This type of care is considered better for a child so he or she can remain in the extended family rather than living with foster carers or even adoption. The final decision will be made by the court based on what is best for the child.
If you were to be assessed for a special guardianship order, then there should also be an assessment of the child’s needs and the support both financial and otherwise that might be needed to ensure the child can be cared for long term and its needs met. Please see our advice sheet here
which explains in more detail how an assessment for special guardianship is carried out and what you can expect.
A copy of our advice sheet relating to care proceedings
is also included here for your information as th likelihood is that a special guardianship order will be made within the care proceedings. This will give you an idea of process.
As far as contact is concerned, you will need to say that you will support contact and give an indication of what you think will be manageable for you. The social worker will discuss any issues relating to contact with you and it will depend on the parent or parents’ behaviour. As a special guardian you will be able to make decisions about contact as time goes on. The local authority will not remain involved except where you might need support with contact or other matters as a special guardian. If you feel that contact need to be supervised, you will need to say this to the social worker and ask that they provide this even if only in the initial stages. It may be that you can supervise contact yourself or make arrangements for it to be supervised.
The level of contact will depend on the child’s needs and what would be best for him. At the time the special guardianship order is made the court could also make an order setting what contact the parents can have or leave it for you to arrange with them. Ultimately, the decision about contact will be yours provided it is reasonable. The parents will retain their parental responsibility for the child although you would be able to exercise your parental responsibility over and above theirs.
Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our free and confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).
I hope this is helpful.