Special Guardianship

​Special Guardianship offers an option for children who cannot live with their birth parents and need to have permanent care whilst giving the carers parental responsibility for the child. Special Guardianship offers security without absolute severance of the relationship with the birth parents.

A Special Guardian family takes on the legal powers and responsibility of parenting a child until their 18th birthday. Birth parents do not lose their parental responsibility, but they cannot exercise their responsibility except in certain circumstances, which are exceptional and few. The Special Guardians make most decisions to do with the child’s upbringing, including where the child lives, goes to school and what medical treatment they can receive.

Carers may apply for a Special Guardianship Order after caring for the child for 12 months or sooner with the leave of the court.

Special Guardianship Orders may be made in private law proceedings and the local authority will be asked to assess and prepare a report for the court stating whether the Special Guardianship Order is in the child’s best interest.

Special Guardianship Orders can also be made at the end of care proceedings. Special Guardianship Orders can be made in favour of Kinship carers with whom a child is living and can be an appropriate outcome as part of a permanence plan for a Child in Need.

The applicants for Special Guardianship, the birth parents and the child will all be seen by the Local Authority Social Worker during the process of the application for a Special Guardianship Order.

All Special Guardians are entitled to an assessment of their needs as well as the needs of the child.

More information can be provided through the Kinship Care Team Telephone number 0113 378 3537