Grants for University for those on SGO

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:37 pm

Many thanks for this.

The problem with being "estranged from parents" for those who were on Special Guardianship Orders is that they are more than likely to have contact with parents so do not fit the category of having no contact with parents.

The young people who are "estranged from parents" are those who have had irreconcilable breakdown with their own parents and live with others and maybe have done for years.

This does not reflect those who have been "looked after" who have more than likely had and still have contact with parents. That is why SGOs came into force so that family could look after family and keep family ties which means that the birth parents are part of that family.

If those with SGOs have been under a full care order (looked after) immediately prior to SGOs then they qualify for Care Leavers Support under the regulations which leads me to believe that maybe using the category of looked after might be more appropriate because it defines that at some point they have been looked after children.

The problem is that there is no category to cover SGOs which immediately followed a full care order leading to the fact that they qualify as Care Leavers under the regulations and legislation.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:50 pm

Dear LLB,

Thank you for posting again. it’s true that young people subject to a Special Guardianship Order do not fit neatly into any of the 'independent student' categories.
But having discussed this further with a colleague at Family Rights Group we feel that the category most likely to fit in Special Guardianship cases is the ‘estranged from parents' category. It is not subject to specific limitation only that they must "demonstrate on other grounds that the student is irreconcilably estranged".
By looking at the definitions of those words in the dictionary “irreconcilably estranged”, they do not necessarily exclude some level of contact with parents. (And I agree with you that the order encourages family ties and that young people under these orders are likely to have contact with parents-the courts have to address the issue of contact with family members during the proceedings-and there is support available to encourage contact to take place).
The other category-when a child is looked after-by the local authority-from the age of 16—this would probably occur when a special guardianship order is made after the child is 16 or the special guardianship “placement” had broken down and the child had gone into the care system for 3 month or more. Even a young person who was subject to a full care order prior to the Special Guardianship Order will not normally fit this category, as SGO most likely made before they were 16.
However, I strongly agree that it would be helpful if the guidance included as evidence of “irreconcilably estranged”-copy of the Special Guardianship Order, for example. I will keep you posted on any more information.
I hope this advice is helpful.
Best wishes,
Suzie

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:12 pm

Thank you again for your response.

However, I think that the guidance is all wrong on the Student Finance section and the word "estranged on the government guidance or student finance does say that they have to prove that there has been no contact" which is why using the criteria about being in care will make them stand up and take more notice and clarify things more It can always be taken further when questioned because the bit about being sixteen is really irelevant and wrong on the website.

It is the student finance website who have not put on there about these students being eligible for Care Leaver support which according to the children's act is true and looking at all of the university literature we have from the different univerisities it goes on about Care Leavers and them being eligible for certain grants from the individual universities.

If this is not in the forefront then these students will not be recognised as being eligible and the universities will lose out as well as us. It is so expensive going to university and we have attended open days and we need that recognition of Care Leaver to be uppermost. We can't afford the money needed.

He has already put on his UCAS information that he has been In Care and this has triggered some offer of help from at least one university. If we don't persue that line it could be lost so we are wonder whether to go along with what the universities tell us to. After all it is in the universities' interests to get these students recognised because from what I have read they can only have the £9000 tuition fee approved if they can prove that they are helping such students as our grandson. In other words they need our grandson to be there under these criteria to get these £9000 fees approved by the government. This is why they are also fighting for these rules to be clarified.

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Tue May 08, 2012 4:14 pm

Success!

I am really glad that I started to research this subject last year because I managed to get a contact name and email address for Student Finance some months ago.

I have limited information on how our grandson filled in his Student Finance Application because he did it at school and I think that the schools have very little information on our situation as regards to Student Finance.

He came home from school saying that I needed to create an account on the Student Finance site to support his application and this rang alarm bells because only parents and partners do this, I believe, so that the family income is assessed which ours should not be.

I got in touch with my contact at Student Finance and offered to send scanned documents of both the Care Order and the SGO Order which I subsequently sent via email and low and behold his application was completed within hours with no input as to family income! He got offered the full amount of loan and grant.

So it can be done.

I have also sent the same scanned documents via email to his chosen university today and they have acknowledged receipt of them because there are special bursaries from different universities for those who have been In Care.

Thank you for your support.

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Robin D
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by Robin D » Wed May 09, 2012 10:46 am

Brilliant and well done for persistance. :D
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.

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:20 pm

An Update on our grandson and information on what can happen when you have SGOs.

He has now passed his A'Levels and we took him to his chosen university last weekend.

We were able to access not only a university grant but also a local authority grant because he had been on a full care order prior to the SGO!

I hope that this information is helpful for those with SGOs and higher education and probably further education. If your child was under a full care order immediately prior to gaining SGO then they are entitled to support from that local authority when they are sixteen like other care leavers. This is in the SGO Regulations.

This has helped us enormously being pensioners and very low incomes because it means that our grandson is hopefully not going to struggle financially.

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:58 am

ied53 wrote:Fantastic news thank you for sharing. Every good wish for his future
Many thanks.

I hope that it gives hope to all of us that things can turn out well.

It doesn't matter what they do providing they are happy and do well.

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David Roth
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by David Roth » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:41 am

LLB, congratulations on such a good outcome, and I wish your grandson well in his higher education and then his career after that. You have provided the launchpad for him to take off into this next stage in his life.

Of course, you have often had to argue your case in order to achieve this, and it shows just how important it can be to make sure you have the best information possible about the support you are entitled to get. Well done for doing your best for him.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

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