In my last blog, I wrote about the legal effect of special guardianship orders. Today, I’m going to talk about what the Local Authority consider in carrying out a special guardianship order assessment.
Before the Court makes a special guardianship order (SGO) it is required to consider a report to consider the suitability of the proposed special guardians.
The Special Guardianship Order Regulations 2005 provide a lengthy list of matters which the Local Authority is required to report on before a SGO can be made. These include:
– Basic details about name, date of birth, address and background
– Details of any current or previous marriage or civil partnership or cohabiting relationship
– If the proposed special guardians are in a relationship, an assessment of their relationship
– The current relationship with the child/ren concerned
– A health history
– Details of how the proposed special guardian relates to adults and children
– Previous parenting experience
– Details of income and expenditure
– Details of other members of the household
– Details of any other child of the proposed special guardian, even if they are not part of the household
– The views of other household members about the application
– A health history
– Employment history
– Details of any other involvement in family court proceedings
– Reasons for making the application
– Hopes and expectations for the child/ren’s future
– Wishes and feelings about the child/ren’s contact with parents
The Local Authority will also carry out criminal record checks (often called DBS checks). They have to talk to referees who have known the special guardians for a long time and a medical assessment will be carried out by a GP.
So you can see this is a huge piece of work! It will generally mean around 6-10 meetings with social workers and can feel quite intrusive. Bear in mind that the process is designed to ensure that a really comprehensive assessment is carried out before the Court makes a decision to place a child with special guardians.
In my next blog, I am going to talk about the support available to special guardians.