My sil is unable to take care (financially) of her both her children and the only real solution is that her eldest daughter (age 15) moves to the uk to live with us from South Africa. SIL holds a British passport (not born in uk). Will we need to adopt her daughter or will guardianship be enough?
If anyone can point me in the right direction and offer any advice I'd really appreciate any help. I keep hitting brick walls and getting referred which isn't getting anywhere.
You will need to register with social services as private foster carers I think. Most will be very clued up on the legalities and be able to help you with the practical stuff, so I would call them for advice. It is a legal requirement to inform them if you will be looking after a child for more than 28 days, whatever your long term plans.
Thank you I agree with everything! I hadn't thought of social services so thanks. Of course we want to follow all the correct legalities; essentially I'm not even 100% sure it's possible at this point in time.
Adoption extinguishes all rights of the biological parent so probably isn't necessary in your case. In order to get Parental Responsibility (which gives you the right to make decisions and deal with schools, doctors etc) you would need to apply for a Residence Order. Form C100 from the court website.
I'd query if you can make an application at present in an English court for residence order as the child is not habitually resident nor present here, so no jurisdiction. You may be able to elect England as jurisdiction, with you sil's consent in order to obtain a residence order, but otherwise I don't think you could do this here in advance, you would need an order in South Africa or agreement that gives you the status to make parental responsibility decisions, that could be recognised here with a mirror order. However as the child is 15 she isprobably competent to make decisions herself and practically you may you not need any formal recognition. parental responsibility status is needed to make decisions about medical issues, schooling, where a child lives, religion, but at 15 she has a strong say and unless other issues, probably competent to make these decisions herself.
British passport is good as there should be no immigration issues as long as it is a full British passport - is that the case?
How lovely of you to help out like this. I know nothing useful (I'm afraid), but knowing how much further money from here can go over there, I wondered why go this route & splitting siblings/family was the answer, rather than sending them what cash you could manage each month.
Of course, that's such an obvious alternative, I'm sure you have considered it already and have your reasons for not choosing that path.
I have no actual legal knowledge, except that I have a friend whose niece from the US came to live with her under similar circumstances. When she applied for a school place for her, she was told DfE guidance says that a child is only entitled to free schooling in the UK if they are here with their parents (regardless of where they are from) OR if the child in an EU citizen. A non EU citizen here without their parents was not entitled to free schooling. My friend took legal advice on this at the time, and was told this is correct. She couldn't afford private fees so had to home educate. The child ended going back to the US as her education was suffering.
Don't know if things have changed now, but do look into that first.