Special guardianship orders

A Special Guardianship Order appoints one or more people to be a child’s special guardian.

As a special guardian, you have responsibility for all aspects of caring for the child, including making almost all the major decisions about their upbringing. Special guardians have parental responsibility for the child, but unlike under an adoption order, the child keeps the legal link to their biological parents.

Support for special guardians

Families with children on Special Guardianship Orders are entitled to an assessment of need. They may be able to access a range of support services:

  • Referral to other agencies
  • The support of a qualified and experienced social worker
  • Education — advice and support in addressing problems at school
  • Contact issues — mediation and support with contact arrangements
  • Managing, maintaining and reviewing contact
  • Strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour
  • Relationships — access to mediation and support in improving communication
  • Advice on sharing your child’s life history
  • Help to access therapeutic services — counselling for young people and play therapy for children if appropriate

How to contact us for support

Complete our online form to request support:

Make a referral for support

What happens when you contact us for support?

  • A social worker will return your call, usually within seven days, to ask you for more detailed information and make an appointment for a home meeting
  • The social worker will work with you to complete an assessment of need. This may take more than one visit. They will share the assessment with you, and together you will agree the support needs of your family
  • If appropriate you will be allocated a social worker who will work with you on matters identified in your assessment of need
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