Special Guardianship support package
Prior to the Special Guardianship Order being made a social worker will visit your home to undertake the assessment for the support package. It will identify any support that is needed. The court will not grant the order without having sight of the Special Guardianship support package. It is therefore essential that all relevant information is provided as soon as possible to prevent delay in this process.
What kind of support can I get if I am a Special Guardian?
Under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 financial support and other services may be available for the special guardian and the child. However, if a child is not (or was not) looked after by a Local Authority, then there is no entitlement to an assessment for Special Guardianship Support services, although it is possible to make a request for this assessment
Examples of possible services:
- advice on new or existing contact arrangements
- advice and information
- access to support groups
- therapy services
- training for the special guardian to meet the needs of the child
- financial assistance.
Biological parents remain financially responsible in law for their child even when a Special Guardianship Order has been issued and so in most cases they will be under an obligation to pay maintenance for the child’s upbringing.
As a Special Guardian you are entitled to ask the Local Authority for an assessment for financial support, any assessment is means tested and guidance is given in The Special Guardianship Regulations 2005.
A financial assessment is undertaken to see if you are entitled to a Special Guardian allowance. This is means tested and considers the ongoing needs of the child. A financial assessment form and financial contract (which you will be provided with) has to be completed and returned. Whatever information is on the form MUST be backed up in the documentation and must be easily identifiable from bank statements otherwise you will need to provide additional supporting documentation. Partners of prospective Special Guardian and any adults living in the home need to be included in the financial assessment.
If a Special Guardianship allowance has been agreed it is expected that the allowance will help manage the day to day expenses of caring for the child. It is also expected to cover any additional expenses incurred for equipment, activities and travel expenses for contact and other relevant costs associated with raising the child.
The Special Guardianship allowance will be reviewed annually. If you’re financial circumstances change you are expected to notify the Local Authority as soon as possible so that your finances can be reassessed.
The Special Guardianship Team will provide assistance for the purpose of ensuring the continuance of the relationship between the Special Guardian and the child including arranging training for the Special Guardian if needed.
If the child requires any therapeutic needs which were not identified when the Special Guardianship support package was made, the Special Guardian will be expected to initially make contact with Child and Adolescence Mental Health Service, (CAMHS) to explore whether these resources are appropriate. If a service could not be offered, the Special Guardianship Service would consider sourcing alternative provision.