What you can decide about your child

When your child is living with a relative or a friend you keep your parental responsibility,whether you have made the arrangement yourself or your child has made the arrangement directly for example with their friend’s mum. The carer does not get parental responsibility unless they take a particular legal step to get it.  This means that you can still make all decisions about your child, and the carer cannot make any decisions for your child that a parent should normally make (for example signing agreement to school trips, agreeing to your child having medical or dental treatment). But if the arrangement is to last for a long time, you and the carer might decide it is best if they share parental responsibility with you.

The carer can get parental responsibility by getting a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order from the court. This would mean the carer could do things like sign forms for your child’s school and doctor for example.

With a Special Guardianship Order, the carer is able to make most decisions without consulting you, so you should think carefully about whether this is the right order for your situation. To find out more about Child Arrangements Orders  and Special Guardianship Orders you could call our advice line or see Advice Sheet 18: DIY Child Arrangements Orders: Information for family and friends carers; and Advice sheet 20: Special Guardianship : What does it mean for birth parents?



Contact Us

The Print House, 18 Ashwin Street
London E8 3DL

For advice, please contact:
0808 801 0366
(from 9:30am to 3pm Mon-Fri)

For administrative queries,
please contact: