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Special Guardianship(11 Posts)
If all goes to plan I'm about to become a single mother to a 4 year old I've never met. My sister isn't in a position to look after her son and he is currently in foster care, as soon as I found out I applied for special guardianship, and if all goes to plan I will have him just before Christmas. Has anyone ever done this before and if you have can you tell me the process?
you are assessed by the social workers to see if you are an appropriate carer for him. if they feel you are you pass the assessment and it is called a 'positive assessment'. this information is given to the childs cafcass guardian and the court. They will tell you if you pass or fail the assessment before the court date...
there should be a court case - you will be asked to attend, where the information will be given to the magistrates or the judge. They will ask the social worker, cafcass guardian, childs parents are they in agreement that he comes to you
if yes they make the court order for the SGO,
if no it is called a contested hearing and you will need a solicitor to fight for him. (you will be told ahead of this is anybody does not agree that he will come to you).
hope that helps.
Thanks so much this is very helpful. I am his biological aunt and I have no children, I have a 2 bedroom flat and no criminal records or convictions, my sister (who is his mother) is happy for me to take him. Do you think it will be ok?
The only problem I've had so far is that the social worker hasn't written the report, she said it all seemed positive at the time, since then she has been off sick and is now saying she has emergencies to deal with so I will get a response by the end of next week, she has said next week for the past two weeks. Is this normal or do you think she just doesn't think I should have him?
sounds normal - social workers have huge case loads so dont worry about her slow response - this will be a low priority for her. she will tell you her recommendation, or what she wants you to do for her to say yes
ie, make him a childs bedroom, buy fire blanket & first aid box for kitchen, put child locks on cleaning cupboard & medicine cupboard etc...
do you know you can ask about financial help? SGO can have a financial assessment for means tested allowance so do ask for this...its not huge but will cover the childs weekly expenses if you qualify. (if differs from area to area so depends where you live, but worth asking). this is paid straight from social services.
You can also apply for child benefit & tax credits once he moves in with you. Anyone with SGO can apply - tax credits will be means tested, but you will get child benefit if earning under £60,000 per year.
just be a bit careful with special guardianship. As a kinship foster carer you get a lot more financial, practical and emotional support. If this is an option for you, this is better, if the local social services are any good.
Can I apply to be a kingship foster carer if I've never done it in the past?
yes, I think so, I would suggest you look into it and discuss it with your social worker. Basically, a special guardianship is cheaper for social services, they leave you with temporary parental rights ( which can be revoked at any time) and no support.
Unless the system is different in your part of the country, special guardianship is the worst of all worlds. It isn't adoption, so you get no security or permanence, and it isn't fostering , so you get know financial allowance or support.
Ask your social worker about it, it may well be that there are so many barriers put up to prevent people choosing kinship fostering that its just easier to go along with being a special guardian.
However, even if you ask about it, and they say no, at least it shows you are aware. I have known reluctant special guardians to receive a one of payment of thousands of pounds, on accepting the situation, and I'm sure it wouldn't have happened if they hadn't have worried social services by showing some reluctance.
I don't want to raise your hopes, or to complicate the situation, just want you to get the best arrangement you can. A child is very expensive, and not only that, but this one is likely to be complicated, having already been inadequately nurtured, he will be damaged.
he is very lucky to have you to step in and be prepared to love him and make sacrifices for him. I'm sure you will do a great job. but please, at least ask about kinship fostering, it might not be available, but even if not, then some of the benefits of it might be made available to you, support groups, training, etc.
The most important thing is to be clear on what support you will be offered when you become carer to this little boy.
The authorities have a legal duty to place him with a family member if at all possible. They are not doing you a favour by allowing you to be his guardian.
If you can manage without any financial support that is great but if you will struggle you need to get this sorted. There is an SGO allowance. So ask about it.
I am pretty much repeating what Silver has said but its important.
I am not sure how keen SS will be on foster care rather than SGO but it worth exploring.
SGOs were supposed to be amazing but I have seen too many kinship carers shafted since they were bought in.
You are doing a good thing but you must go into this with your eyes wide open.
This little boy will be traumatised. I don't know why he has been removed from your sister but it must be something very serious.
Even without any neglect or abuse the separation will be traumatic.
How many placements has he been in since leaving your sister?
What are the contact arrangements going to be and will you be expected to manage them?
I am not trying to put you off but please think about all of this first.
Go ahead but go ahead with all the information you need.
Thanks so much for your advice, it’s all been useful. I got the response from social services to say it’s a positive assessment, so the kinship team will take over the next stage 🤞🏾.
well done jj2018. hope all goes well for you and your nephew!
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