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Special Guardianship Order

What is special guardianship?

Special guardianship is a court order that was introduced in the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

It gives a child permanent legal security in a family that has parental responsibility for the child.

A special guardianship order gives a child:

  • security
  • a balance between their need for a safe stable caring home throughout their childhood
  • help with maintaining strong links with their parents.

Who can become a special guardian?

If the child is known to the local authority and you have been identified by the child’s parents as a possible carer for the child

If you are the child’s grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister (including by half blood or civil partnership) or step parent and the child has lived with you for a year you must be over 18 years old

You are a local authority foster carer who has had the child placed with you for at least a year

The child has been living with you for three out of the last five years.

Download the special guardian leaflet for more information

What if I want to apply for a special guardianship or care arrangement order?

These are private law applications that a family and friends carer can make and we will be discussing these with you and the child’s parents throughout the assessment period.

If you are caring for a child who is unable to live with their parents and who has been placed with you with the approval of the Council you may have been advised to consider applying for a Special Guardianship Order as a way of making a more permanent legal arrangement for the child or young person’s future.


Special guardianship information documents


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