Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:34 pm


Post by merktwain » Tue Sep 29, 2020 3:17 pm

Last edited by merktwain on Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 720
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Applying for special guardianship for my baby sister

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:20 am

Dear merktwain

Welcome to the family and friends carers’ discussion board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie and I am Family Rights Group’s online adviser. I am sorry for the delay in replying to your post and to hear of your family’s difficulties and your worries about your youngest sibling.

You would like to be considered as a carer for your baby sister who is currently in foster care. I think from what you have said that your sister's situation is in care proceedings at the moment. If the case has been in court since February then it is probably close to completion and so is increasingly urgent. As you have referred to, adoption can be the permanency plan especially for a baby or young child so any potential family members including a sibling such as yourself should be properly considered as an alternative to placing the child permanently outside the family.

If you are able to call FRG's freephone advice line to speak to an adviser this might be the best way to discuss the current situation, what has already been tried and possible options. You can ring 0808 8010366 between 9.30 am and 3.00 pm Mon to Fri. However, I will give some advice below too.

It is not clear from your post if children’s services have completed a viability assessment of you yet to rule you in or out for further assessment. If this has not already happened then it is urgent and you should formally contact the child’s social worker, in writing, to ask that this be done as soon as possible. You could also copy the Guardian and children’s services legal services into your request.

You say that children’s services are concerned that your parents are controlling of you and that this would mean that you would not be able to protect your sister from them. Has this already been formally assessed? If so you would need to challenge that assessment to put forward your alternative proposal of how to address this. You would do this by writing to the social worker (and the parties above as discussed) and the court to let them know that you do not accept this. If you have already had a negative assessment you could also seek legal advice from a solicitor about how to challenge. Here is our guide to viability assessments which explains more about what is involved but also how to challenge a negative assessment (pages 40 and 41).

Has there been a family group conference to properly consider family members as possible carers and to explore your aunt and uncle in Scotland either as supports to you or as possible carers in their own right? I think that this should have been done already but if it has not happened it should be arranged as soon as possible – the court would normally expect that this be done at the beginning of proceedings. Your proposal could be properly looked into at such a meeting as it would need to be well thought out, practical and the right option for your sister.

You can make an application to the court yourself to apply for parental responsibility for your sister, as you mention, through special guardianship. You would need to be joined to the current proceedings to do so and would have to make an application to the court. This advice sheet on special guardianship tells you more how to do so. It is important that the court know about you and your willingness to care for your little sibling if that is the best option for her.

It is a good idea also to make sure that the social worker and the court also think about possible future contact between you and your sister, if you are not able to care for her. You can raise this with the social worker, the Independent Reviewing Officer, the Guardian and the judge who all have to consider this issue when making plans for the child. It is also something which social workers should discuss with potential adopters although unfortunately often only ‘letterbox’ contact is agreed. As adoption is a possible plan for your sister you are entitled to an assessment of your support needs around this e.g. counselling. The social worker or the Post Adoption Centre can tell you more about this.

Please do post back if it would be helpful to you, to provide an update on your situation and with any further queries.

I hope this helps a little.

With best wishes.


Post Reply