Special Guardianship

I have started this blog for several reasons.

– Putting things in writing helps me to process events and ordeals and I can think back on how I can deal with things better next time.

– Helping other people, whether that be SGO orders, fostering, adoption, or even their own child, speaking of difficulties they have with a child, behavioural issues, mental health. Speaking about autism and other ASD factors that come into play as well as trauma.

– Promoting discussions around behaviours to help all parents out there. I hope we can all learn a lot from each other, trying new tactics and strategies to make parenting easier and children less anxious.

I should have started this 9 months ago. This is when our lives changed. We were granted a special guardianship order through the courts for a little girl. This little girl was 5 when she arrived, soon to be 6. We are not family, we knew her in play school. In August 2015 ‘L’ was taken from her birth parents at the age of 4. She was put into a care home. 4 weeks later, she was placed with her Aunt (on father’s side), this was the only plausible option regarding family to take her on. Just a week before Christmas, this placement failed due to L’s behaviour. The violence towards her own children – hitting, biting, smacking, tantrums, screaming, spitting etc became too much and was having a detrimental affect on the other children in the household, she was put back into the care system. She was then placed with a foster carer (home number 4). She stayed there through Christmas until around February March time of 2016. This placement failed too. The foster carer said she was retiring, L was hard work. She would often scream through the night. On a few occasions the police were called from a nearby neighbour as they constantly heard L screaming, sometimes for 4/5 hours at a time and this would raise concerns for her safety and wellbeing. She then went into placement number 5, with some specialist foster carers who had her from March to October 2016. I got to know these foster carers as we started the process to have L stay with us for at least the time being until the courts had an answer as to whether she would be returning home. 

When I heard about the placement breakdowns, it broke my heart. I imagined my own daughter who is the same age, and my heart would wish that someone would take her and love her. So we started the assessment process, at first this was to make sure L had a home with a familiar face until she was returned. But through the assessment process we soon learned that the chances of her returning were very slim. Looking into what path would be set out for L, we realised she would remain in the care system for the remainder of her childhood. Despite the fact that foster carers are amazing and do such a wonderful job, it’s not true family life, they have to follow so many rules, they can’t go abroad for a holiday, change their school if it’s best to do so, or choose to change their hairstyle even. They have no say over the child they look after, but just have the very hard bits instead. L being in this type of care leaves no room for proper love and nurture, seeing the world and having a mum and dad. Me and hubby spoke about it with social services and decided we would still take her whatever the outcome of court. In due course, she was then not going to come to us until the court made a decision about whether she would return to her birth parents. In September 2016, the court concluded she was not to return to her parents at all and we were granted a special guardianship order for L.  The transition process then started to move her across from the FC to our home … her forever home.

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