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6.1.8 Foster Carers Becoming Special Guardians


Caption: Table containing Contents List
1. The Legislative Context of Special Guardianship and the Processes Involved
  1.1 What is Special Guardianship?
  1.2 Who are the Children and Young People Under Special Guardianship Orders?
  1.3 The Process of Applying for Special Guardianship Order (SGO)
  1.4 Support
  1.5 Financial Support
  1.6 Entitlement to Leaving Care Services
  1.7 Outcome of a Support Assessment
2. Good Practice Principles for Fostering Services and Foster Carers
3. A Good Practice Protocol for Seeking a Special Guardianship Order
  3.1 Process 1
  3.2 Process 2
  3.3 Factors That may Need to be Considered as Part of a Support Package for a Child / Young Person
  3.4 Summary of Issues for Consideration for the Different Parties Involved in SGO Applications
  Appendix 1: Process for Time Relationship Foster Carers - Special Guardians document
  Appendix 2: Process for Family and Friends Foster Carers - REG 24/ 25 Placements flowchart


This protocol has been developed by the Fostering Network, in collaboration with a representative group of fostering providers from the local authority and independent sectors together with foster carers and special guardians.

It recommends the good practice guidelines to be followed when a foster carer is considering becoming a special guardian for the child/ young person they are caring for.

In order to address the key issues of the transfer process it is necessary to be clear about what special guardianship involves in the first instance. The protocol is therefore structured in 3 sections;

  • Outline of the legislative context and processes of special guardianship;
  • Good practice principles;
  • The transfer protocol.

The protocol discusses transfer arrangements for foster carers who have been caring for children and young people overtime – especially older children and young people. It also addresses the particular circumstances of family and friends foster carers who are connected with the child or young person but may not necessarily know them personally very well or have cared for them overtime.

Who is this good practice protocol for?

The protocol is relevant for foster carers, social workers and managers in LAC and leaving care / transition teams, IROs, commissioners, local authority fostering services, and fostering services in the independent sector. It is also of relevance for local authority legal teams, courts and CAFCASS guardians.


The protocol;

  • Recognises the principles of child care legislation and seeks to ensure that safeguarding the welfare of children and young people is at the core of fostering policy and practice;
  • Has been developed on the basis of the underpinning principle that special guardianship is a permanency outcome for specific groups of children and young people;
  • Builds on the existing good practice guidance (Simmonds 2011)  in outlining a specific process for transfer arrangements. This process outlines  that fostering services – especially fostering services in the independent sector, rather than foster carers, are approached by placing social workers in the first instance to raise the question of special guardianship.

Aims of the good practice protocol

  • To provide a concise overview of special guardianship and what it involves;
  • To facilitate continuity of care and placement stability for children and young people during any transfer process;
  • To provide a framework of understanding about the issues involved in order to facilitate transparency and forward thinking in the negotiation and planning arrangements;
  • To ensure that foster carers are appropriately prepared and informed before any decision – making process about changing their fostering status is instigated.

This protocol is not intended to outline what is good practice in terms of the detail of support and financial provision for special guardians. It does however highlight the sort of questions and issues that services and prospective special guardians might need to consider during the assessment / preparation stage  as part of the process of coming to a decision about the sustainability of the arrangement as a  secure permanency outcome for the child or young person.

What do we mean by permanency?

The aim of permanency is to give a child or young person "a lasting experience of a family that gives them the opportunity to attach to adults".

(Sinclair et al 2007). The key elements of permanence are security, well – being and family membership through a shared history and identity, which endure overtime into adulthood. Permanence is defined in care planning as a “framework of emotional permanence (attachment) physical permanence (stability) and legal permanence (the carer has parental responsibility) (Children Act 1989 Volume 2 CPPCR 2010 2.3) Whilst long term foster care can enable the intrinsic qualities of belonging and emotional permanence as well as physical stability it cannot facilitate the third aspect of the framework because foster carers do not have parental responsibility.

Special guardianship offers a legal framework that can encapsulate and potentially secure the intrinsic elements of permanency relationship

1. The Legislative Context of Special Guardianship and the Processes Involved

1.1 What is Special Guardianship?

Special Guardianship has its roots in its precursor custodianship. This was introduced in the Children Act 1975 but as it was in isolation to other welfare reforms it was rarely used and was abolished in the Children Act 1989.The concept of Special Guardianship originated from a Department of Health working group in 1989 to review the law on adoption. It was subsequently introduced in the White Paper Adoption a new approach which was then enshrined in the legal framework of the Children and Adoption Act 2002.

Special guardianship is a private law order that has applicability for both public and private law. In practice however, it is mostly utilised in the context of public law. A special guardianship order (SGO) lasts until a child or young person reaches 18 unless it is terminated by a court before that time.

The concept of legal permanence that was envisaged in respect of special guardianship as outlined in the White Paper was;

  • To give the carer clear responsibility for all aspects of caring for a child/ young person and for taking decisions to do with their upbringing;
  • To provide a firm foundation on which to build a lifelong permanent relationship between the child/young person and their carer;
  • Be legally secure;
  • Preserve the basic link between a child/young person and their birth family;
  • Be accompanied by access to a full range of support services including, where appropriate, financial support (Children Act 1989 Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 p.4).

1.2 Who are the Children and Young People Under Special Guardianship Orders?

The White Paper envisaged that the groups of children or young people who would benefit from special guardianship would mainly be those who were older and in long term foster care. This included unaccompanied asylum- seeking children and young people. It was also envisaged that it would be applicable for some children and young people in the long term care of relatives. Research and practice experience however have demonstrated that the group for whom special guardianship has been predominantly used is kinship carers – of whom the majority (53%) are grandparents (Wade, Dixon and Richards 2010).  The mean age of those children they identified was 2.7 years  In this context special guardianship they suggest has been used as an 'exit strategy from care' as well as an alternative route to permanence instead of adoption.

The group of children and young people with whom this good practice protocol is primarily concerned are those for whom the legislation was originally intended namely older children and young people who have 'time- established relationships' (Simmonds 2011) with their foster carers.

The aim of special guardianship for this group is to create a legal framework that underpins those relationships and affirms a carer's commitment to a child or young person. This in turn enhances the sense of belonging for the child or young person and enables them to be able to participate in 'claiming' their foster carer family, as well as their foster carer family 'claiming' them.  (Falhberg 1991).

1.3 The Process of Applying for Special Guardianship Order (SGO)

Who can apply?

An application for special guardianship maybe made by an individual or jointly by two persons who do not need to be married but who must be 18 or over. People who are eligible to apply for an SGO are;

  • Any guardian of the child/ young person;
  • A foster carer  with whom the child/young person has lived for one year immediately preceding the application check;
  • Anyone who holds a Child Arrangements Order or who has the consent of all those in whose favour the R.O is in force;
  • Anyone with whom the child/young person  has lived for three out of last five years;
  • Where the child/young person  is in care anyone who has the consent of the local authority;
  • Anyone who has consent of all those with Parental Responsibility;
  • Anyone including the children/young people  who has leave of the court to apply.

    (Source section 14A 5a-5d Children Act 1989)

An SGO is therefore  a flexible order that is potentially available for a broad and diverse group of applicants. However the extent to which SGOs are accessed and facilitated in a pro-active way as a permanency option for older children or young people can be dependent on the transparency of the process and support provisions available.

An SGO is designed to give the special guardian the responsibility and legal authority over the majority of the aspects of a child or young person's day to day care. Although birth parents retain Parental Responsibility the circumstances in which they can utilise this are explicitly prescribed as follows

  • Consent for the change of name of a child/young person;
  • Consent for a special guardian to take a child/young person out of the country for more that 3 months;
  • Consent or withholding of consent for adoption.

A special guardian has 'exclusive' (s 14c(1) C.A 1989) Parental Responsibility for the child or young person in the respect that they can decide things for the child or young person without having to discuss or for it to be agreed with other people who have Parental Responsibility. A birth parent has to seek leave of the court in the first instance for an order to resolve any dispute or to  discharge of an SGO (s.8 C.A 1989) Although on the surface an SGO is similar to a Care Order in terms of its impact on restriction of birth parents' Parental Responsibility there are some differences. Someone who has an SGO for example is not subject to complaints procedures and cannot be held accountable for their actions under the Human Rights Act as a Local Authority can be in respect of a Care Order.

What does the application process of a Special Guardian involve?

Reg 11 (C.A 1989 S.G regulations 2005) states that an assessment must be undertaken in respect of an application of any child or young person who has been Looked After immediately prior to the making of SGO.  Foster carers will therefore need to take this into account.

Assessments of family and friends applicants maybe directed by the court and these assessments may happen in parallel with an assessment for them as family and friends foster carers.

A foster carer who is applying for an SGO because of their 'time – relationship' (Simmonds 2011) with the child or young person must give 3 months' notice to the Local Authority that is responsible for the child or young person.

In practice we recommend that a foster carer does not make a formal application to the court until such time as the support and transitional arrangements have been clarified (see Appendix 1: Process for Time Relationship Foster Carers - Special Guardians document).

The exception to a foster carer giving three months notice is if they are given leave by the court through  existing family proceedings which maybe  the case  in respect of family and friends foster carers.

The local authority is required to undertake a report for the court in regard to the suitability of the applicants. This is expected to be completed within 3 months but there is not a duty for local authorities to comply with this timescale. If the transitional and ongoing arrangements for support have already been agreed it maybe possible for this timescale to be achieved, but this may not always be the case.

It is important that there is enough time within the process to enable all parties, but particularly foster carers, to have sufficient preparatory time to consider all the implications of what becoming a special guardian means for them. They need to be able to take into account what the impact will be, practically, emotionally and financially for themselves, their families and the child/young person -currently and into the future.

The matters to be covered in the special guardian assessment report are outlined in Regulation 21 (C.A 1989 SG regulations 2005) and Schedule.

This covers 10 areas;

  • Matters in regard to the child or young person;
  • Matters in regard to the child or  young person's family;
  • The wishes and feelings of the child  or young person and others;
  • Matters in relation to the applicants;
  • Details of the local authority completing the report including support services to be provided for the special guardian, the child or young person or the birth parents;
  • Summary of medical information and assessment;
  • Summary of the implications of making an SGO for the relevant parties;
  • The relative merits of special guardianship and other orders;
  • Recommendation as to whether an SGO should be sought or alternative proposal;
  • Recommendation as to what the contact arrangements might be for the child or young person.

 N.B for further consideration of the practice issues for these assessments see (Simmonds 2011)

1.4 Support

In addition to an assessment of a person's suitability to become a special guardian for a specific child or young person, local authorities are also required to undertake assessments as to what support services maybe required in some circumstances. Regulation 11 (C.A 1989 S.G regulations 2005) states that an assessment for support services must be undertaken if someone requests it in respect of a child or young person who was in care before the making of a SGO order. Other people who make such a request in regard to a child or young person who is not Looked After may be entitled to an assessment for support services but this depends on the discretion of the local authority.

Local authorities are required to make arrangements for the provision of a range of support services for special guardians as part of their general service provision. These services may include counselling, advice, and mediation information and such as other services prescribed in the regulations 3 (C.A 1989 S.G Regulations 2005 (1-3).The regulations also provide for the assessment of need for special guardianship support services and the planning and reviewing of those services.

In undertaking an assessment of a person's need for support services the regulation 12 (C.A 1989 SG Regulations 2005) states that the following should be considered as far as is relevant in any particular circumstances;

  • The developmental needs of the child or young person;
  • The parenting capacity of the prospective special guardian or special guardian;
  • The family and environmental factors that shaped the life of the child or young person;
  • What the life of the child or young person might be like with the special (proposed) special guardian;
  • Any previous assessments undertaken in regard to the child or young person;
  • The needs of the special guardian (proposed special guardian);
  • The likely impact of an SGO where there are pre- existing relationships with the parent of the child or young person – for example when grandparents are the proposed as special guardians.

1.5 Financial Support

As well as undertaking an assessment in regard to the consideration of support services, special guardians and proposed special guardians may request that financial matters are considered.

The guidance Regulation 6 (C.A 1989 S.G regulations 2005) states that “financial issues should not be the sole reason for an SGO arrangement failing to survive.” The principle underpinning the regulations and guidance is that financial support should be available to ensure that financial aspects are not an obstacle. Regulation 13 outlines the expectation that special guardians should access the benefits that they are entitled to and that the role of local authorities is to be facilitative in this process. It also stipulates that any financial support made to special guardians under these circumstances should not duplicate any other payment that they receive. The areas that the local authority is required to consider as part of a financial assessment are;

  • The financial resources – including investments of the (prospective) special guardian;
  • Outgoings of the prospective special guardian;
  • Financial needs of the child or young person.

Regulation 7 (C.A 1989 S.G Regulations 2005)  makes specific provision in regard to  financial provision  for special guardians who were formerly foster carers for the specific child or young person. The general principle underpinning the regulations is that financial support should not include any element of remuneration but former foster carers are exempted from this for a period of up to two years. In exceptional circumstances such an element could continue beyond 2 years (Reg 7 (2)). This regulation therefore gives a local authority discretion to maintain payments to foster carers who become special guardians; these can include the allowance as well as the fee element of such payments.

The message underpinning the regulations and guidance is of the benefits of permanency as the driving principle.

1.6 Entitlement to Leaving Care Services

See also Leaving Care and Transition Procedure.

A young person who is the subject of an SGO may 'qualify' for  'advice, guidance and assistance' from leaving care services. (C.A 1989 Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers Regulations and Guidance 2011 Vol 3).

For a young person to be eligible they must be;

  • Between 16 and 21;
  • If they are under18 the SGO must still be in force;
  • If they are over18 it must have been in force before they reached 18. (Vol 3 2.12)

Regulation 22 (C.A 1989 S.G regs 2005) clarifies that the responsible authority for providing advice and assistance under these provisions would be the local authority that last Looked After the young person. It also suggests however that depending on the service required it maybe more appropriate for the young person to seek support locally where he is resident for example health care.

This has implications if a young person is living at distance from the local authority with whom he or she was looked after. Receipt of 'advice and assistance' services assume a certain level of human and face to face contact for them to be meaningful and appropriate. Thus, although such services may technically be available for a young person living at distance, they may not be regarded as being very helpful or relevant by the young person.

The advice and assistance that a local authority can provide for a young person is outlined in C.A 1989 (24A) on the basis of a needs assessment. A local authority may provide advice and befriending services and in exceptional circumstances give cash.  A local authority can also contribute to expenses for education, training but it can be conditional and take income of parents into account. In some circumstances local authorities may also include birth parents in terms of these considerations if they are still involved in the young person's life.

1.7 Outcome of a Support Assessment

In undertaking an assessment for support a local authority must come to a decision as to whether or not:

  • A person has needs for special guardian support services;
  • To provide such services.

The local authority is then required to provide a plan to the effect of the decision which must include consultation with health and education services as appropriate.

The applicant must be provided with the opportunity to make representation in regard to this plan and the timescale for this as suggested in the regulations is 28 days.

The recommendation of this good practice protocol is that enquiries and investigations in regard to the support package that may or not be available, would pre-empt the formal assessment of suitability of an applicant as a special guardian.  If this is the process that is adopted it should aid the process of the suitability assessment and facilitate a consensus approach to the support package negotiations.  Carers would still retain their entitlement to make representations within the timescale but the aim is that the necessity to do this would be minimised.

The support package arrangements in regard to special guardians who are family and friends foster carers is usually part and parcel of  the suitability assessment and would be incorporated in documentation from the court including directions orders.

The placing authority for the child or young person has responsibility for providing ongoing support for 3 years but after this time the responsibility reverts to that authority where the Special Guardian lives.  This therefore needs to be borne in mind in the planning at the outset if the special guardian lives outside of the placing authority or intends to move outside the placing authority.

2. Good Practice Principles for Fostering Services and Foster Carers

Caption: Table containing Section 2 - Good Practice Principles for Fostering Services and Foster Carers
2.1 The decision to apply for an SGO should be based on what is right for the individual child or young person and their foster family and not on blanket policy of encouraging or persuading foster carers to apply for SGOs for all children or young people who are placed with a view to permanence.
2.2 The care planning process with a view to the most appropriate permanency outcome is the underpinning aspect of any application for a Special Guardianship Order.
2.3 Any practice of children's social workers (or CAFCASS Guardians or IROs) in local authorities approaching foster carers directly or exerting pressure on them  to agree to a Special Guardianship Order is unacceptable. This is applicable to foster carers of independent fostering providers as well as foster carers of local authorities.
2.4 Children/ young people should not be placed 'with a view to a Special Guardianship Order' before they have 'time – established relationships' with the foster family. The exception  to this maybe in respect of family and friends foster carers  who may not necessarily always know the child or young person well but would know them and their family by definition as a Connected Person C.A 1989 CPPCR regs 2010 3.11)
2.5 Children and young people should not be placed with carers who are unknown to them with the express or implied condition that any future placement maybe withdrawn, unless they agree in advance to commit to special guardianship in the future.
2.6 Local authorities should agree in writing with the foster carer in consultation with the Independent fostering service or local authority fostering service about the appropriate level of support including financial support for a child or young person on a SGO. This should be transparent and clear about any time limits or future uncertainty about funding in order that the foster carers can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed.
2.7 Independent fostering providers (and fostering services in local authorities) will not obstruct any decision by their foster carers to apply for SGOs where this is agreed to be in the best interests of the child or young person.
2.8 Contact with birth family, including siblings, should be part of the discussions before the application is made. Where it is agreed that ongoing contact is in the best interests of the child or young person, foster carers should be encouraged to see their commitment as a binding agreement on behalf of the child or young person. 
2.9 If a high level of services is required to sustain a special guardianship placement then this maybe predicative that special guardianship is not appropriate in that instance. Alternatively it maybe that a substantive level of continuing support is necessary to support the placement of the child or young person with a special guardian – if they have special needs and/or a disability, for example.

There may also be circumstances where continuing support is necessary for some special guardians who were family and friends foster carers.  This might be in relation to a specific aspect such as contact with the birth family for example, especially where those issues are more closely associated with the birth family than with the ability of the family and friends guardians to deal with the issues per se.
2.10 Becoming a special guardian should not preclude someone from continuing to foster per se therefore special guardians may continue to take other placements where this is possible and appropriate.

3. A Good Practice Protocol for Seeking a Special Guardianship Order

Also see Appendix 1: Process for Time Relationship Foster Carers - Special Guardians document.

The regulations do not set out a planning process; therefore each local authority should have its own policy and procedures in regard to the arrangements and expectations for foster carers applying to become special guardians. In some areas local authorities have developed regional protocols that are applicable to certain aspects of the process (ref  Pan London). Copies of these documents should be made available to independent fostering providers.  They should also be included within the handbooks for foster carers of local authorities.

Discussions about special guardianship as a permanency option are  likely to arise  through  the  review and care planning process and/or the court arena.  The  following outlines provide a framework to ensure that due attention is given to the good practice principles and to enable the  process of decision making to be as transparent and inclusive as possible.

3.1 Process 1

For time – relationship foster carers to apply to become Special Guardians.

N.B this could include family and friends foster carers where children/ young people have been placed for sometime.

Stage 1:

  • The idea would originate through the care planning process and/or discussions in relation to the preparation for reviews and meetings and or in response to events that might occur in placements. It is advised that explicit discussion should not take place in a formal setting with the child or young person until such time as an exploratory meeting has been held between the key people. It is also advised that foster carers should not be approached directly by children's social workers as outlined in the good practice principles (2.3).

Stage 2:

  • An exploratory meeting should take place to explore the options and issues  The core participants of this meeting would be the foster carer(s) who are prospective special guardians, the social worker for the child or young person, and the supervising social worker from the independent  fostering service of the local authority fostering service;
  • The foster carer/prospective special guardian should seek legal advice. If they are members of the Fostering Network they can seek advice via the legal helpline and this may be on more than one occasion.

    In any event fosters/prospective special guardians are always advised to see a solicitor and good practice would be for the relevant local authority to provide funding for at least a one hour session.

Stage 3:

  • Formal meeting to discuss the practical aspects of the support package. Core participants would include the foster carer(s) prospective special guardian, the social worker for the child or young person, the supervising social worker from the independent or local authority fostering service and the relevant person with decision making power in regard to resource allocation if this is not the social worker for the child or young person;
  • Pending the outcome of the decision about support package the foster carer/prospective special guardian may or may not proceed to make a formal application to the court;
  • It is likely that in most instances these arrangements will run in parallel to care planning and court processes. It would be important that IROs, CAFCASS Guardians and legal representatives are kept abreast of the relevant information and they may attend some specific meetings as appropriate in any individual circumstances;
  • Assessment of the foster carer/prospective special guardian in respect of their suitability;
  • Court hearing.

The principle underlying this protocol process is that in regard to 'time- relationship' placements (Simmonds 2011) the circumstances of the foster carers/prospective special guardians are to a large degree already known to the services. Similarly a considerable amount is also known in regard to the suitability of the 'match' for the particular child or young person. It is therefore helpful to ensure that the initial stage of the work prioritises the need for foster carers/prospective special guardians to completely understand what the implications of special guardianship mean for them and their families.  The support aspects are also important to focus on at an earlier rather than later stage so that any barriers and logistical issues can be identified and clarified or addressed.

It would be important for a child or young person to be involved consulted alongside the process depending on their age and understanding. The aim would be to try and ensure that expectations were not raised disproportionately before a clear decision pathway was established.

3.2 Process 2

For Family and friends foster carers placed under Regulation 24 / 25 to become special guardians

Also see Appendix 2: Process for Family and Friends Foster Carers - REG 24/ 25 Placements flowchart, and Placements with Connected Persons – Emergency and Non-Emergency Placements: Procedure and Practice Guidance.

It is quite common for people who are Connected Persons for a specific child or young person (C.A 1989 CPPCR reg 2010 3.11) and become foster carers under Regulation 24 and 25 to also be considered as special guardians. Assessments of foster carers under these regulations may run in tandem with assessments of them as special guardians which will be under the auspices of the court. The process for this group of foster carers/prospective special guardians cannot therefore be outlined in the same way as for the time- relationship group.  It is usually a fluid process will vary from case to case in which the different elements of different assessments are likely to be interchangeable with the care planning processes for the child/young person. The assessment(s) will involving a number of different personnel with different remits, including a CAFCASS guardian and legal representatives, and fostering panels as well as the court.

Nevertheless the principles in terms of the core elements that need to be factored into the process still apply. It is important that the exploratory meeting still takes place in some form to ensure that the foster carer/ prospective special guardian is fully conversant with the respective outcome routes of foster carer and special guardianship and what these mean for them and their families. In most instances the issues of support will be looked at as part of the court process in which foster carers/special guardians will be represented.

3.3 Factors That may Need to be Considered as Part of a Support Package for a Child / Young Person

  • Assessment of the child/ young person's current and future needs;
  • Any therapeutic services to be provide to support the placement – currently or in the future;
  • Clarity about leaving care entitlement – including higher education supplement;
  • Proposed support package to foster carer – taking into account whether or not they will continue to foster other children/young people;
  • Learning and development opportunities for the foster carer and peer support;
  • Financial allowances;
  • Contact with birth family and any support needs in regard to this.

3.4 Summary of Issues for Consideration for the Different Parties Involved in SGO Applications

Caption: Summary of Issues for Consideration for the Different Parties Involved in SGO Applications


 Issues for foster carers

 Issues for fostering services 

 Issues for placing social workers / services


Payment of legal costs associated with the application  N.B costs are likely to be in region of £120 + VAT per hour  so costs circa £700- £1000 at least for “standard “ application

Inclusion of CYP in their  will
Responsible parent under the criminal law


 Expectation that any support package that is agreed shouldn't change but to be aware of any legal Implications if it did.

Foster carers private business – personal info and financial info part of court process and seen by all parties – different to fostering panel

Different assessments – suitability, support and financial which will overlap with each other

Understand the impact of transitional arrangements in regard to the giving of notice  and the change in the status of the arrangements

Don't hold back on telling your agency that you are considering special guardianship – don't feel guilty that you will be a resource loss

If SGO placement is not successful a referral to social care would need to met threshold criteria

N.B if the child / young person comes back into care this may have implications for continuing to foster other children/ young people


SSW need to know / understand differences between SGO and F/C to support F/C through the process and signpost them to appropriate sources of advice etc

SSW need to be clear about local policies

Notice periods given to fostering services – particularly IFPs re termination of contract for placement


Payment of legal costs of foster carers application (if it is supported)

Cease visits to CYP

Cease reviews



Legal implications of removing support package




Child / young person will no longer be eligible for the pupil premium – are there any specific implications of this

Child or young person  retains priority admission to school of choice at times of usual transition

Who would pay for university fees? (L.A are required to make minimum  contribution of £2.000 but different local authorities offer different levels of support

Further and higher education universities and colleges that have the ButtleUK Quality mark offer a range of support services for care leavers – some may also enable access for young people on SGOs

L.C support if moved away





Other agencies understanding of S.G (health/ Camhns) and access

Arrangement maybe time limited to  3 years and if move elsewhere  support may cease as all LA policies and practice is variable


Loss of foster carer “family “ of agency etc

Compromises for carer “going it alone”

Clarification of CYP entitlement to leaving care services

Membership of the fostering network would cease – would need to take out individual supporter membership

 Continuing support by default if other Fostered CYP remain in placement


Citing of dedicated S.G support services – where they exist – in fostering teams or elsewhere?

Access by S.G who have been foster carers to support groups / L and D opportunities – services may need to be creative and flexible

Liaison with other services re support package

Review arrangements after 3 years

Transfer and receiving arrangements of support for SG who have moved including with other agencies


Financial support
Categories – facilitative for the transition to S,G – largely one off – and/ or ongoing


Clarification of payment of legal costs - current and need for provision in event of future litigation by birth parents

Specific payments


Reviewed annually – submit returns information

Reimbursement of fostering allowance if included only for 2 years

Is rate index linked to changes in fostering allowance rates
(2) Contact expenses travel / accommodation – supervision by a third party in exceptional circumstances most applicable for family and friends Special Guardians
(3) Other –child care / nursery/ building conversions, loss of earnings, transport, time out respite / short breaks care

CYP entitlement to gov trust fund replacement ?

Transparency for fostering services so that they can support/ inform / advise accordingly


Issue of compensatory cost for IFPs particularly if foster carers no longer foster

Revise SGO pegging in accordance with reviews of fostering allowances

Arrangements for reviewing allowances

Other services

Mainstream services, schools / G.P may not understand what S.G means /is.

Judiciary may not give the hearing the same attention / status as a permanency outcome for the CYP in comparison with adoption

Transparency for fostering services so that they can advise / support and inform accordingly

Local policies / relationships with magistrates / CAFCASS etc

Birth family

In most instances need to keep door open for CYP to have contact / have access with their birth family into adulthood even if they do not choose to take this up

Birth family may contribute for young person's expenses – University, college, wedding etc 


May need to work in partnership with S.G if there are safeguarding / care planning issues in respect of other CYP in the family

Young people

If young person goes home to “test out” would local authority continue to pay allowance and if so for how long?

Need to be aware of possible impact on entitlements for housing / welfare benefits as a result of no longer being in care




Appendix 1: Process for Time Relationship Foster Carers - Special Guardians document

Appendix 2: Process for Family and Friends Foster Carers - REG 24/ 25 Placements flowchart


Kent and Medway / Fostering Network Joint forum Protocol for Special Guardianship orders

Schofield. G and Beek. M Achieving permanence in foster care Good practice Guide (2008) CoramBAAF

Sinclair. I, Baker. C, Lee. J, Gibbs. I, The pursuit of permanence A study of the English Child Care System (2007) Jessica Kingsley

Simmonds. J The role of special Guardianship Best practice in permanency planning for children (England and Wales) Good practice Guide (2011) CoramBAAF

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Wade. J, Dixon. J, Richards. A, Special Guardianship in practice (2010) CoramBAAF

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Triselotis. J Long term foster care or adoption

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