SGO and care orders

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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:36 pm

SGO and care orders

Post by Rain » Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:02 pm

Hi everyone,

My niece has been taken into care and it’s been decided today by the judge that their is sufficient grounds to meet the threshold for a care order to be placed. They say my sister has neglected her daughter and a lot of stuff has been exaggerated but the judge has believed and gone ahead with a care order.

I originally wanted to apply for Special guardianship and told the social worker but due to problems with living with extended family I couldn’t do it. Moving on 3 months later I am moving out with my husband and kids and can now keep my niece. I told the social worker on Friday (23/10/2020) that I wish to apply and she said she would notify all the parties but there was no mention of this in the case today (26/10/2020). They don’t want to return my niece to her mum and her dad has backed away as he has his own family. I wanted to know if anyone has experience of this and if this was still possible now that a care order has been made. Any advice on how to deal the with social workers or what to do further ahead. I regret ever backing down before but I was helpless. Now I’m 100% wanting to do it and hope I haven’t missed the train. Would love for any advice as to what to expect and how to deal with the situation.

Thank you in advance.

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

Re: SGO and care orders

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:36 pm

Dear Rain,

Welcome to the Friends and Family Discussion Board.

Your post is about your niece, who has recently become subject to a Care Order and is therefore now a Looked After Child. During care proceedings, you initially felt you were unable to put yourself forward as a Special Guardian for your niece, however, this has now changed and you would like to know how you can go about caring for her.

As your niece’s aunty, you are entitled to apply to the Courts for a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) even though care proceedings have now concluded. In order to do this, you must have the consent of the children’s services department that is looking after your niece, or from everyone who has parental responsibility for her. If you are unable to do this, you will need to get permission from the Court.

It is important that you communicate with your niece’s social worker about your intention to apply for an SGO, and that you inform the Local Authority who initiated care proceedings in respect of your niece of this in writing. You must give Children’s Services 3 months’ notice before your intention to apply to the Court in order for them to undertake an assessment of your suitability as a Special Guardian. This assessment will inform the Courts’ decision. It is usually best to seek some legal advice before applying for a Special Guardianship Order. You can take a look at our SGO advice sheet (link) for more information on how you may be able to fund this, as well as for more information on the application process.

In the meantime, as your niece is now a Looked After Child, children’s services have a duty to place her with family and friends if this is in her best interests. Do you know what the Local Authority’s care plan for your niece was at the final hearing? If you are ready to begin caring for your niece, you can speak to the social worker and request that you be assessed as a kinship foster carer.
As your niece is a Looked After Child, Children’s services must assess you as a foster carer, however in some cases they are able to provide temporary approval so that your niece can live with you immediately. please see the advice sheet linked above for more information on this.

I hope you find this helpful but should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday.

Best Wishes,


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