Typing it into google, the definition is as follows:
“A special guardianship order is an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘special guardian’. It is a private law order made under the Children Act 1989 and is intended for those children who cannot live with their birth parents and who would benefit from a legally secure placement.”
I have found that it is sort of in the middle of fostering and adoption. We all know that adoption is taking on a child, that in the eyes of the law, becomes legally yours. Everything about the child is solely your responsibility. You can move country, change the child’s name, school, and no other person shares the responsibility except for the adoptive parent(s). Fostering comes without the parental responsibility, In as far as you cannot make any big decisions in the child’s life. The child may well still be seeing their birth parents weekly, monthly etc. The child could be with you short term or long term. Anything from overnight as an emergency to when the child reaches adulthood. It is generally found that you only foster children with a gap of 2 years to your own child, no matter which way. This ensures they will have different needs.
A special guardianship means taking on the ‘most’ parental responsibility. You make the big decisions in that child’s life. You can change their school, take them on holiday and decide what treatment they will get if ever needed. However it was explained to me to look at it like 95% PR. The other 5% remains with the birth parents. This means you will be unable to change the child’s name by deed poll, unless you advise the courts or the parents agree. You cannot leave the country for more than 3 months, again unless the parents and courts agree and you must always inform the birth parents of any ‘significant’, or ‘life changing’ event in the child’s life … for example … changing schools (doesn’t mean they can say no, you just have to tell them), moving address, life saving treatment, or let’s say the child gets to 16 and requires adult consent to enable themselves to access something that will affect them e.g. Sex change, marriage.
For the 9 months I have been a special guardian, I have found it busy, great but hard, sometimes frustrating and a massive learning curve into the way the care system works and how they look at things.
I will write blogs on all of this including parenting, managing a child that is traumatised, managing contact with the parents, social services, school, health services and the impact it has on you, your relationship, and your children. This blog is set up for pure honesty. I would love to hear from you if you have had experiences, or questions or if you want a blog on something specific.