Within care proceedings, family members or friends can be appointed as long term carers for a child until they are 18. This can be as a special guardian under a Special guardianship Order (often referred to as an SGO) or a kinship foster carer under a Care Order.
Beck Fitzgerald specialise in representing and providing legal advice to wider family members and prospective carers who are considering putting themselves forwards as long term carers.
A kinship carer is a family member, friend or other person connected to the child they are looking after, when that child cannot safely live with their parents.
There are different types of kinship care arrangements. The practical and financial support available to kinship carers and the children they care for varies, depending on the type of arrangement in place.
If the Local Authority are involved in arrangements for a child to live with a kinship carer, then the type of kinship arrangement is likely to be kinship foster care.
If children’s services are not involved, then it is likely that the kinship care arrangement is a ‘private family arrangement’. In some cases, a kinship carer applies for a child arrangements order saying the child should with them. Or, they may apply for a special guardianship order.
A Special Guardianship order (often known as an SGO) is an order that appoints a carer, either another family member or family friend, to care for the child until that child is 18. The person that the child is placed to live with is called their ‘Special Guardian’.
SGO’s are given parental responsibility for the child. This parental responsibility is shared with the birth parents but decisions made by SGO’s about the child will override those of the parents. There are some important exceptions to this, for example, where a special guardian wishes to a change of the child’s surname or remove the child from England and Wales for a period of more than 3 months. In these cases the consent of the parents or permission of the court is required.
The Local Authority can apply for an SGO or an individual carer can apply for an SGO. There are certain legal requirements that must be met before an individual or couple must meet before applying for an SGO.
For all Child Care related matters, including special guardianship matters, contact us now on email@example.com or 020 7101 3090.
For all Child Care related matters contact us now on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7101 3090.