SGO

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Abs
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:25 pm

SGO

Post by Abs » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:05 pm

New to the site and hope someone can help me with some advice. A friend of ours has a 3yr old nephew who is currently in care with foster parents because her brother (childs father) effectively abandoned him after the child's mother moved back to Russia. The father struggled to cope on his own and dropped his son off with social services. I think his intention was to give him a break and get his son back but he's been in care since. The father has anger issues and this has been evident when social services have spoken to him about his son and he has displayed such behaviour in front of them when he hears something he doesn't agree with, acting quite aggressively shouting and swearing. Basically not doing himself any favours. The child mother then decided that she wanted her son back and told social services that she fled a violent relationship that their son witnessed. However, after a while she decided against trying to get her son back.

My wife and I were asked by the aunt if we'd consider fostering her nephew either short or long term as she considers us as family. She was unable to take her nephew in herself because she has 2 young children and doesn't have the space. My wife and I agreed to help out and said we would foster the child and then began numerous visits with SS who decided we would be suitable to foster him.

However, towards the end of the process and assessments the goalposts were moved by SS who now told us that the child would be placed with us under a SGO! Now neither my wife or I had never heard of the SGO and it's only when I asked the SW what it was that it all became clear. We both told the SW that the SGO would mean that we would get no financial support other than a means tested grant but not a regular payment as you would fostering. We were also told that the child would stay with us until he reached 18 and there would be little intervention from SS unlike fostering.

We told SS that we couldn't afford to look after another child on a single wage and that financial support to look after a child would go a long way. We already have a daughter who will be 15 soon and we know how expensive they can be. We also told SS that the SGO was never on the table for discussion and we only agreed to foster. So we said no to the SGO and the court decided that long term fostering is not the ideal environment for the child who would benefit from as little change and intervention from SS to keep it as normal as possible for him.

At the time of writing the child is still with his foster parents. We've now been approached by our friend, the child's aunt who is basically saying that unless we agree to look after him under a SGO he'll end up being adopted and they wouldn't see him again if this was to happen. We reiterated that we couldn't afford to look after him. She said she and her siblings would help us financially but they've got kids and family of their own and I don't feel comfortable with this arrangement. What if their circumstances change and the support stops?

She then mentioned that her brother can apply to have the SGO discharged say after 12 months and his son can go back to him? I beg to differ and said it wouldn't be that simple and from what I've read online and on this site is that parents can apply to have an SGO discharged but this is very difficult and the parent would need to show that they've made significant steps to show they are capable and can prove to the court that they are suitable to have the child back with them. I feel that my wife and I are being forced into a corner. We understand their plight and the thought of not having their son/nephew in their life would be awful for anyone. But I've still got my family to consider and feel that by going down the SGO route would cause stress in my home, not to mention financial issues.

Sorry for my long winded opening post but we both feel that we are unable to go ahead with this and know that it would probably end the relationship with our friend.

Can someone please comment on the SGO being discharged and is it at easy as they think? Thank you in advance.
Last edited by Abs on Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Abs
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:25 pm

Re: SGO

Post by Abs » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:12 pm

New to the site and hope someone can help me with some advice. A friend of ours has a 3yr old nephew who is currently in care with foster parents because her brother (childs father) effectively abandoned him after the child's mother moved back to Russia. The father struggled to cope on his own and dropped his son off with social services. I think his intention was to give him a break and get his son back but he's been in care since. The father has anger issues and this has been evident when social services have spoken to him about his son and he has displayed such behaviour in front of them when he hears something he doesn't agree with, acting quite aggressively shouting and swearing. Basically not doing himself any favours. The child mother then decided that she wanted her son back and told social services that she fled a violent relationship that their son witnessed. However, after a while she decided against trying to get her son back.

My wife and I were asked by the aunt if we'd consider fostering her nephew either short or long term as she considers us as family. She was unable to take her nephew in herself because she has 2 young children and doesn't have the space. My wife and I agreed to help out and said we would foster the child and then began numerous visits with SS who decided we would be suitable to foster him.

However, towards the end of the process and assessments the goalposts were moved by SS who now told us that the child would be placed with us under a SGO! Now neither my wife or I had never heard of the SGO and it's only when I asked the SW what it was that it all became clear. We both told the SW that the SGO would mean that we would get no financial support other than a means tested grant but not a regular payment as you would fostering. We were also told that the child would stay with us until he reached 18 and there would be little intervention from SS unlike fostering.

We told SS that we couldn't afford to look after another child on a single wage and that financial support to look after a child would go a long way. We already have a daughter who will be 15 soon and we know how expensive they can be. We also told SS that the SGO was never on the table for discussion and we only agreed to foster. So we said no to the SGO and the court decided that long term fostering is not the ideal environment for the child who would benefit from as little change and intervention from SS to keep it as normal as possible for him.

At the time of writing the child is still with his foster parents. We've now been approached by our friend, the child's aunt who is basically saying that unless we agree to look after him under a SGO he'll end up being adopted and they wouldn't see him again if this was to happen. We reiterated that we couldn't afford to look after him. She said she and her siblings would help us financially but they've got kids and family of their own and I don't feel comfortable with this arrangement. What if their circumstances change and the support stops?

She then mentioned that her brother can apply to have the SGO discharged say after 12 months and his son can go back to him? I beg to differ and said it wouldn't be that simple and from what I've read online and on this site is that parents can apply to have an SGO discharged but this is very difficult and the parent would need to show that they've made significant steps to show they are capable and can prove to the court that they are suitable to have the child back with them. I feel that my wife and I are being forced into a corner. We understand their plight and the thought of not having their son/nephew in their life would be awful for anyone. But I've still got my family to consider and feel that by going down the SGO route would cause stress in my home, not to mention financial issues.

Sorry for my long winded opening post but we both feel that we are unable to go ahead with this and know that it would probably end the relationship with our friend.

Can someone please comment on the SGO being discharged and is it at easy as they think? Thank you in advance.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 605
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:32 pm

Dear Abs,

Welcome to the Friends and Family Discussion board.
I can see that you have been successfully assessed as a foster carer for a friend’s nephew but then children’s services wanted you to apply for a special guardianship order instead. They should have been more forthcoming about this when they first contacted you. It sounds like there has been a waste of time.
You researched special guardianship orders and realised that they are not as financially secure as foster care, as the allowance is reviewed every 12 months and is means tested.
The friend then told you that the father would be applying after 12 months to revoke the special guardianship order. You have researched this and you are right to say that it is not easy at all to revoke the special guardianship order. There would have to be changes in the circumstances since the order was made and that it was in the best interests for the child to go back to dad. Dad would have to get permission of the court first and there would be an assessment to find out what changes had bene made.

You do not say under what circumstances the child was removed from the parents. How easy would it be for them to improve their circumstances?
Even if you did support this plan, it would mean being dishonest about the situation when you made the application. A Special Guardianship Order is considered to be a long term order-until the child is 18 and quite secure in that it is difficult for a parent to overturn.

I doubt the court would think this plan would be in the best interests of the child.

I am not sure at what stage the court proceedings are at. Although it sounds like they have been ongoing for a while, it may not be too late to consider other connected persons. Could the family friend find any other connected person to take on the care of the child? You mentioned that mum had gone back to Russia.
Has all the family outside England and wales been considered? If not, this could be a way forward for the family.

I hope this post helps.
Best wishes,
Suzie

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