Special Guardianship Order
A special guardianship order is an order pursuant to section 14A Children Act 1989. It appoints one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian/s when the parent/s cannot care for the child. A special guardian must be over 18 and must not be a parent of the child in question.
A special guardianship order is often made in favour of a family relative (e.g. a grandparent) or friend, who steps in to care for a child and prevent their adoption or placement in foster care. In 2018, there were 180,000 children in England being looked after by a family member or friend.
A special guardianship order enables a child to live with a person other than their parent/s on a long-term basis. Whilst it is designed to be more secure than a child arrangements order, it does not legally sever the child’s links with their birth parents and family (unlike adoption).
A special guardianship order confers parental responsibility on the special guardian for the child. It also enables the special guardian to exercise their day-to-day parental responsibility to the exclusion of all others with parental responsibility except another Special Guardian. However, it does not extinguish the parental responsibility of the child’s birth parents.
Special guardian cases can be legally and emotionally complex, making it advisable to obtain specialist legal advice. We provide leading specialist expertise and can help you place family life on a firm legal basis.