From December 2005, a new type of legal order has been made by the government called a Special Guardianship Order (SGO). The aim of this order is to help ensure that children who cannot live with their birth parents are able to have a permanent home and that those caring for them have the legal security to make decisions for them. These orders are appropriate for relatives wanting to care for a child within their family but where they feel they need legal parental responsibility to do this. The Special Guardianship Order provides a firm foundation for a lifelong permanent relationship between the child and their carer.
To become a special guardian, you must be over 18 years of age and must not be the parent of the child. In order to make the application, you must give the council three month’s notice in writing to inform them of your intentions to apply for an SGO.
The Permanency, Adoption and Support Team will then produce a report which will include information about the child and the child’s wishes, information about the birth family, information about contact arrangements, information about the prospective special guardian’s and the council’s recommendation on whether an SGO should be made.
It is the responsibility of the council to ensure that the report is completed on time and prepared by a qualified social worker. This report is then presented at court for the SGO to be made.