SGO/residency order

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Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:27 pm

SGO/residency order

Postby jules30862 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:56 pm

Hi can any one advise me please children's services would like my self and my husband to look after our grandson.He is 18 months old and lives with us and his mum (our daughter) she has post natal depression . :(
Social worker first said to have a residency order now it has changed to special guardianship order.My husband works 30 hours a week we receive housing benefit and tax credits , can we get help with solicitor /court costs etc, as a friend said the children's services should pay for it :?
Any advice would be very much appreciated as we have not been in this situation before and dont know what to do.Thank you


Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:27 pm

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David Roth
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: SGO/residency order

Postby David Roth » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:57 am

Hi jules30862

You are certainly being asked to consider making a major change to the lives of you and your husband. Either a child arrangements order (which has replaced residence orders) or a special guardianship order would give you parental responsibility for your grandson, with the intention that he should be able to grow up in your care. As he is now only 18 months old, this is a serious long-term commitment on your part. While it would benefit him, as it would mean he wouldn't have to leave his family or go through any major disruptions, it would also have a huge impact on your own future plans.

You can certainly ask the local authority to pay your court costs and legal fees - they do have the power to pay, although they are not obliged to. Practice can vary a lot between different local authorities - some will routinely make this type of payment, many others seem to do their best to avoid it. It can be a matter of where you live - in other words the postcode lottery of which council you are dealing with.

The council may want you to check whether you would be entitled to legal aid. Your chances of qualifying for that will be better if the child has been under a child protection plan. You could check this out with a local solicitor from the Law Society's children's panel of solicitors who specialise in this type of work - more details on the Law Society website: . If the solicitor could give you a quote of the estimated costs of an SGO application, you could use this to make the request to the child's social worker for financial support.

You will also need to think about how you are going to manage financially after the order has been made. The local authority can pay an SGO allowance, although they are only obliged to do the financial assessment for this if the child is 'looked after' (i.e. in the care system) before the order is made. However, you are still able to make the request for the assessment. Again, this can be a bit of a postcode lottery. Many local authorities try to avoid getting into long-term financial commitments such as paying SGO allowances to family and friends carers, but there are some which are more sympathetic.

I would suggest reading our Advice Sheets 18 and 19 for more information about SGO and CAO:

You can also talk through your situation with an FRG adviser by calling our freephone advice line 0808 801 0366, lines are open 9.30am-3pm Mon-Fri.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

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