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Special Guardianship Order

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What is Special Guardianship?

Special Guardianship is an order made by the Family Court that places a child or young person to live with someone other than their parent(s) on a long-term basis. A Special Guardian is usually someone with a close relationship to the child, such as a family member, former foster carer or family friend.

The person(s) with whom a child is placed will become the child’s Special Guardian and will obtain Parental Responsibility for the child.

Who can apply to be a Special Guardian?

A Special Guardian must be aged over 18 years and must not be a parent of the child. It is possible to apply for a Special Guardianship Order if:

  1. You are a Local Authority foster carer with whom the child has lived for a period of one year directly before the application; or
  2. The child has lived with you for three of the last five years (and the child has not ceased living with you more than 3 months before the application); or
  3. You are the guardian of the child; or
  4. The child is in Local Authority care and the Local Authority consents to you making an application; or
  5. You have a Child Arrangements Order or a Residence Order in respect of the child ; or
  6. You are a relative of the child and the child has resided with you for at least one year immediately pre-dating an application; or
  7. You have permission from the court to make the application

What are the effects of a Special Guardianship Order?

The effect of a Special Guardianship Order is to:

  1. Secure the child’s long-term placement;
  2. Maintain links with the child’s birth parents without removing the parents Parental Responsibility; and
  3. Enable the special guardian to have day-to-day control and to exercise their Parental Responsibility to the exclusion of all others with Parental Responsibility except another Special Guardian.

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