What is special guardianship?
Who can be a special guardian?
- You have the consent of the birth parents (or those with parental responsibility)
- You have the local authority’s consent if the child is in care
- You have been given permission by the courts to apply
- You are the legal guardian of the child
- The child has lived with you for three of the last five years
- You are a local authority foster carer and the child has live with you for a year immediately before the application
- You have a Residence (Child Arrangement) Order relating to the child, or consent of everyone a Residence Order relates to
- Changing a child’s surname
- Removing a child from the United Kingdom for more than three months
- Very serious decisions where the law states that the consent of all those with parental responsibility is required
How do I become a special guardian?
- If the child is ‘looked after’ you need to give the local authority three months written notice.
- A social worker will assess your suitability to become a child’s special guardian
- You make an application to the Court. If there are already legal proceedings about the child, the court may invite you to join in those proceedings.
- The court asks the local authority to write a report about your suitability. This report explores the background and information on those applying, the merits of specifically applying for a special guardianship order over other forms of care and the wishes of the child being considered and the birth parents or those with parental responsibility.
- The court decides whether you can be a special guardian.
If you live in Oldham and wish to discuss your interest in becoming a special guardian you can contact us on 0161 770 7777. If the child is in care, you need to notify the local authority responsible for the child. If the child is in the care of Oldham Council you can write to:
Special guardianship support services
- Financial support
- Assistance including mediation in relation to contact
- Services to enable special guardians, children subject to special guardianship orders or their birth parents to meet to discuss issues relating to special guardianship.
- Therapeutic services for the child
- Support services for special guardians including training
- Counselling, advice and information.
How can I get support?
- If you are someone involved in special guardianship (for example a special guardian, a child or a birth parent) and you think you need support, you can ask the local authority to assess your support needs. Your needs may have changed since the order was originally made.
- You should contact the local authority where the special guardian lives unless the child was in the care of a different local authority immediately prior to the special guardianship order being made.
- The local authority in whose area the child was a child in care is responsible for assessing support needs for the first three years after the special guardianship order is made and should be contacted in these circumstances.
- Three years after the order was made the local authority where the special guardian lives become responsible for assessing support needs and should therefore be contacted.
Eligibility for care leaver services
- When the child reaches 16 and before they are 21, you can contact the local authority who last looked after the child to discuss needs and services.
- Care leaver services can be provided up to the age of 21 or 25 if the young person is in education or training.
Adoption Support Fund
- Improve relationships with friends, family members, teachers and school staff
- Improve engagement with learning
- Improve emotional regulation and behaviour management
- Improve confidence and ability to enjoy a positive family life and social relationships
To access the fund, you will need to have an assessment of your family’s support needs by the local authority. This is a current legal obligation of all local authorities.
The local authority that places the child with you is responsible for assessing your support needs for three years after the special guardianship order. After three years it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live (if different).
If you wish to know more about support services for special guardians or have a general enquiry about special guardianship then please phone us on 0161 770 7777.