Special Guardians

Special guardianship offers legal security without requiring the legal severance from the birth family which stems from an adoption order.

If you are considering applying to adopt the child or children in your care who you have a special guardianship order for, the child must have lived with you for a minimum of three years (or three out of the previous five years) immediately preceding the application. Otherwise, you would first need to apply for leave of the court to make the application without meeting this condition.

If you are in receipt of any allowance or support for the child or children from the local authority who placed the child/ren with you, you should consider the impact of this allowance or support stopping. Please contact the local authority that placed the child/ren and undertook the original special guardianship assessment to discuss this further.

As part of the process, you and the child/ren will be required to pay for and undertake medicals with your doctor. You will also be asked to provide the details of three referees to support your application, we will also seek DBS checks. You will be asked to provide the details of the birth parents who will be contacted to obtain their views in relation to your application and these views will be provided to the court. The child/ren views will also be sought as part of the process and shared with the court.

Adopt South West are required to meet with you to talk about your intend application to change the legal status of the child/ren and discuss why the current Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is no longer considered sufficient. This may include helping you think through any implications for the child’s relationship with their birth parents and any contact with the wider birth family.

Often special guardians seek a change in the child’s name, so we suggest you seek advice from a family solicitor to talk about a name change because you do not need an adoption order to secure this.

After considering the above and you still wish to make an application, please contact Adopt South West to request an appointment with a social worker. Please call the advice and support on 0345 155 1076 or email us using childsc.adoptsouthwestassessment-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

You may wish to consult a solicitor who specialises in children and family law.