Special guardianship

Tomk18
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:21 pm

Special guardianship

Postby Tomk18 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:52 pm

I am looking for some general advice. My children are currently in a special guardianship with the their mothers aunty. The children originally lived with the mother however she was unsuited to look after them due to late parties drink drugs etc. They were about to be taken off her and into a foster parents home whilst court proceedings were sorted when I stepped in and said I would take them on full time. I did this and moved jobs so I was nearer for nursery purposes and set up a house 25 miles from family support. I was 20 at the the time and really struggled with this for a number of reasons. The social services said I was doing a good job and had no complaints but I was on the edge of a breakdown also because I was having a lot of trouble from the mother knocking on the door all hours and making life hell aswell as having no local family support. I agreed with the aunty that we would have them half a week each to help me out however social services said this was no good due to unsettled life and I had to conceed regrettably at that age and being on the edge of a breakdown that I could not cope alone and the kids were taken to a foster home whilst court proceedings took place. The mother never turned her life a round and last miniute the aunty went in for a special guardianship and that is where they are now. I must point out that I never had any concerns from social services in terms of care or safety of the kids and have always had open access to the kids with no supervision etc unlike there mother. I see them every week and they stay at my house too and I have a great relationship with them they are now 4 & 5. The way they are being brought up concerns me as my little boy keeps having accidents in his pants and when I question this The aunty says he has been told it is likely to be down to not agreeing with dairy. When I said we should either get him checked to get a definite diagnosis or stop giving him dairy products she just says oh dairy is in everything so we can't stop him having it I know this is not true as lactose intolerance means no dairy and products are available to buy or on prescription. I am also never informed about parents evenings or see school reports and when I asked about going to school she says she has told them not to let me or the mother in. Again I must stress that I have full access to the children with no restrictions and never have via social services but the reason she has done this is down to control she gets panicked that either me or the birth mum will go back in for the kids. I was not thinking about doing this until the last straw with my son and this dairy issue. I now want to know what my rights would be in terms of can I get any kind of court order to be more involved than I am in terms of doctors schools etc. I also would like to kno the chances of getting custody of my children again under the circumstances and the realistic chances of this happening. I work full time and have done since school I have a stable life in a stable relationship I do not go out drinking or taking drugs and now drive so am able to easily get to family support. I am also in a much better mental state than I was back then and am now 4 years older and much more settled in life with no concerns of ex girl friend (mother) finding where I live as I am not on any kind of social media or any mutual friends or live near where she is. Any advice would be welcome thank you.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1690
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Special guardianship

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:25 pm

Dear tomk,

Welcome to the parents forum. I am sorry to hear about your children being subject to care proceedings. It must have been very difficult to step in at the time, and be assessed by children services. Time would have been a strict factor because of the care proceedings and so you may not have the time to learn the parenting skills so you could have coped better and also obtained any mental health support that you may have needed.

Your children live with their aunt under a special guardianship order. You are now see your children a lot and they stay with you. Children services do not have any concerns about this arrangement.

Here is our advice sheet about SGO’s for parents.

You will see from page 5 of the advice sheet that, legally, you still have parental responsibility for your children.
However, in relation to decision making about your children, if there is a disagreement then your aunt’s decision would take precedence.

I think it is reasonable, given the amount of contact you have with your children that you should have copies of their school reports and also know what is happening with regard to your son’s health.
For advice about soiling you could contact Eric -offer advice about childhood bladder and bowel problems.

Why don’t you raise your wishes about seeing school reports and your sons soiling again with the aunt. (Please see page 6 of the advice sheet I posted.)
If she still disagrees verbally, you could email the aunt, with your requests. State your reasons and why you think it is in your children’s best interests.
For example, you are worried about your son soiling himself at this age (given he is school age) and think that this needs to be investigated further. Ask whether you could take him to the GP or what steps can she take.
Or you could say that if you could be more involved with the school and get reports, then it might help you support your children with their education when they come and visit you.
If she refuses, suggest mediation to discuss these matters. This is something that children services can provide as part of the support they might offer. Or you could contact a family mediation service.
If mediation fails, at that point, you could seek a specific issue order from the court.

You ask about discharging the special guardianship order. These orders are supposed to be permanent until a child is 18 so it is rare for an order to be discharged.

As a parent, you do not have a right to apply to the court directly, when there is a special guardianship order. Instead, you have to apply for permission, first of all.

There are two things you would need to show before thee court would revoke the order.
First, that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the court order was made (for example, you can now provide “good enough” parenting, so you have received the support that would help you cope with the full time care of your children-if there was a crisis in the future, for example.
The second and much more difficult hurdle, is that it is in the best interests of the children to return to live with you. This would be very difficult to prove, if the children were thriving in the aunt’s care.
The court looks at the welfare checklist when deciding about the best interests of a child.

Private law applications are not within our remit, you could contact the Coram children’s legal centre or families need fathers for advice.

If you need further advice please post back or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

Suzie


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