Special Guardianship (Adoption and Children Act2002)
A Special Guardianship Order is an Order whereby one or more individuals are appointed to be a child’s “Special Guardian”. This is a new concept introduced as part of recent changes in adoption law. It provides an alternative solution where adoption may not be appropriate.
The effect of a Special Guardianship Order is that while it is in force, a Special Guardian has parental responsibility for the child named in the Order and subject to any other Order in force, a Special Guardian is entitled to exercise parental responsibility to the exclusion of any other person who has parental responsibility for the child (apart from any other Special Guardian). A Special Guardian must be aged 18 years or over and must not be a parent of the child in question.
Special guardianship secures the foundation for building a permanent relationship between the child and their special guardian, while preserving the legal link between the child and their birth family. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 provides the legal framework for special guardianship under the Children Act 1989. Provides:
• Who may apply for order
• The circumstances in which the order may be made
• The nature and effect of the orders
• Support services affected by special guardianship
Who can apply:
• A person can apply to be a Special Guardian either individually or jointly with someone else – or several others. If two of you apply, you don’t need to be married. A child’s parent can’t be made that child’s Special Guardian.
If you want to apply for a Special Guardianship order, you need to notify the local authority in writing three months in advance. The exception is this if you have the court’s permission to make an application when there’s already an application for an adoption order.
1. Need to give the local authority three months’ written notice of your intention to apply to the court.
2. The local authority will investigate your suitability to become the child’s Special Guardian.
3. An application also is made to the court.
4. The local authority then submits a report on your suitability.
5. The court will consider your application and the local authority’s report and then makes a decision