Been applying for SGO and now been told we can't

mummylozzy
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:33 pm

Been applying for SGO and now been told we can't

Postby mummylozzy » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:59 am

hello

my niece is in foster care and we are applying to get her into our care. we have completed the application process but have now been told we wont be awarded the sgo until she has been with us for a few months because of law changes recently. this makes us very nervous as we will have to approach her mother for decisions which she will not agree to just to spite our family, this is why we wanted the sgo straightaway as when she does come to us we will have to apply to get her into the local school which my son goes to.

also the social worker has said that she could be with us straight after our application going to panel, or we could have to wait for the resolutions hearing on the 8th November, which they will be treating as the final hearing because of the situation my sister in law is in now.

Is there a way we can be awarded the Special Guardianship Order without having to be her kinship carers first. I am prepared to get a solicitor if this would help?

Also should mention, we are in Kent and my niece is in Herefordshire Local Authority Care

Many thanks

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Been applying for SGO and now been told we can't

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:33 pm

Dear mummylozzy

Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers discussion board.

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

I see from your post that you are very concerned about your position regarding the special guardianship order you are hoping to be granted by the court for your niece.

It is not clear from you post whether you are currently being assessed as a foster carer so your niece can be placed with you. You say you are due to go to panel, is this the fostering panel? There has been an amendment to the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 which relates to the assessment to be carried out for persons wishing to be special guardians. I am not aware of any new legislation that provides for a child to be in a placement before a special guardianship order can be made. From what you have been told by the social worker, I assume that it might be the policy of that local authority to have a child placed first. Are you currently having contact with your niece? If not, that would be a way to establish a bond with her.

If the local authority is supporting you for a special guardianship order, it would be possible for them to amend the child’s care plan to the court to be amended to state that an immediate placement under a special guardianship order is being recommended.

As far as the birth mother is concerned, if the court makes a care order, the local authority will have parental responsibility and they decide where your niece lives and could place her with you as foster carer and you later apply for the special guardianship order. Alternatively, if you are not currently a party to the care proceedings you could ask the court to join you as a party and then ask to the court to make a special guardianship order at the next hearing.

I think you should understand that the term kinship carer refers to any relative who is caring for a child whether that is under a special guardianship order, child arrangement order or otherwise. Please read our advice sheets relating to special guardianship and care proceedings which will give you a better understanding of the process.

Your niece is currently a looked after child and, as such, children’s services have to assess you for a support package for the special guardianship order. Were you to agree to a child arrangement order prior to the special guardianship order being made, then they could argue that she was no longer a looked after prior to the special guardianship order and then any assessment would be at their discretion. You can insist on being a foster carer in the first instance if the court is not willing to make the special guardianship order at the next hearing. A child arrangement allowance could be paid but that would also be at children’s services discretion.

The judge in the care proceedings is able to make a special guardianship order if it is considered to be the best option for your niece to have a permanent placement. Any application you make would have to be within the care proceedings and you would certainly not have a decision before 8th November. At the issues resolution hearing which, you say, is to be treated as a final hearing the court will make a final order or adjourn to a final hearing to ensure that your niece’s placement is decided on the basis of her welfare and long term care.

Children’s services appears to be supporting you for a special guardianship order, you are entitled to ask that they pay your legal fees to get advice from a solicitor regarding special guardianship and support package being offered to you.

It does not really matter that you are in a different local authority to your niece. Once the order is made it will be the local authority for your niece who will pay your special guardianship allowance.

You may wish to speak to an adviser and you can do so by telephoning our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open form 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie


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