Court agreement and contact SGO

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Court agreement and contact SGO

Post by thiseldo39 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:19 pm

I have an SGO on my GD and am confused as to who is telling me the truth.
At contact review meetings I am told I have to stick to the court paperwork regarding contact, but the SW is telling the other grand parents they can have contact when ever they choose.
I fought to have contact changed from the suggested 6weeks to every 4hrs fortnight and now got into a routine of every week for two hours.
The grand parents are wanting over night stays but the Judge at the time said to their solicitor “not to push it as I had already bent on the contact arrangements suggested and no overnight contact was granted.
Once the supervision order comes off, can I still go by what’s in the written agreement or can the Dad force me to up contact?
The SW stated to the other GP’s that the four hours a fortnight given is the minimum, but when I try and ask for more for my daughter I am told by the SW that it is intact four hours maximum.
Please anyone with any advise x

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

Re: Court agreement and contact SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:40 am

Dear thiseldo39

Thank you for your further post and I apologise that you are only now receiving a response to your post.

You have a special guardianship order (SGO) for your granddaughter and it appears that there is also a supervision order in place. This means that children’s services are continuing to monitor your granddaughter’s placement with you and it may be that because of issues relating to contact that it was decided that a supervision order might be helpful.

The fact that you have the SGO means that you have parental responsibility for your granddaughter. Children’s services do not and whilst they can be offer advice and support around contact they should be supporting you and your granddaughter’s extended family. You say there is a court order in place for the contact. This is what you need to stick to, the court made the order after hearing evidence and therefore the social worker should not be telling the other grandparents that they can have as much contact as they wish.

If you do not consider that overnight contact would be in your granddaughter’s interests, then you do not have to agree it. The grandparents can apply to the court if they wish to have more contact. As long as you are following the court order you are not doing anything wrong.

I am not clear if the contact agreement you refer to is what is in fact the court order or you have agreed different contact to the court order. It is of course possible for you to agree contact over and above what is in court order if you think it will benefit your granddaughter.

Children’s services should not be imposing additional contact, as that is not the purpose of the supervision order it is for them to provide support. As stated above, they do not share parental responsibility.

Below is information about supervision order from our A-Z of terms on the website:

A court can ask Children’s Services to “supervise” how the parent cares for their child under a supervision order. A social worker will agree a contract or supervision plan with the parent, which will set out what is expected of the parent and the help the social worker will give.
This order does not give Children’s Services parental responsibility for the child so basic decisions about how the child is raised can be made by the parents/other with parental responsibility but they may still want to discuss things with the supervising social worker to make sure they are happy with the plan.

A Supervision Order lasts for up to one year, and can be extended at most for two more years.

To answer your question regarding your granddaughter’s dad, the short answer is no. The contact he has will depend on what the court order specifies. You can agree more if you wish, but you do not have to and he cannot force you. He could, if he wanted his contact increased, make an application to the court and you would then have the opportunity to tell the court why you do not agree to increased contact.

This is the position when there is a SGO:

[i]A Special Guardianship Order is a legal order which says that a child will live with someone who is not their parent on a long-term basis. In theory, the order can be ended before the child is 18 but this would be unusual. Parents cannot apply to end the order without the permission of the court and they would only get this permission if they could show that there had been a significant change of circumstances since the original order was made.
A Special Guardianship Order also gives the special guardian parental responsibility for the child. They don’t have to consult the parents or anyone else with parental responsibility about most decisions for the child. But there are some things they cannot do or decide without the permission of the parents/others with parental responsibility or the court, such as
• they cannot change a child’s surname
• they cannot take the child abroad for more than 3 months and
• they cannot agree to the child being placed for adoption.
This order does not remove parental responsibility from the child's birth parents, but they are very few decisions that they can make whilst the special guardianship order exists.

Unlike in adoption cases, the child remains legally a member of the birth family under a special guardianship order.

I do not know why your daughter was not able to care for her daughter but if you decide you wish her to have more contact this is a decision that you can make. If it would put your granddaughter at any risk then you would have to consider this very carefully as children’s services may have concerns about whether you are safeguarding your granddaughter or putting her mother’s needs before hers.

You may find it helpful to read our advice sheet DIY Special Guardianship Orders - information for family and friends carers. Part 1 gives information about SGO but you may find the rest of the advice sheet helpful.

This advice sheet Special Guardianship: what does it mean for birth parents? provides more information about birth parents.

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 3pm Monday to Friday.

Best wishes


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