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Special guardianship provides an alternative legal route to permanence for children where adoption is not appropriate. Figures published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that during 2015 a total of 5,386 children and young people were the subject of Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) made by the family courts in England and Wales, compared with 4,835 in 2014 – an increase of 11.4 per cent. A Government review of the use of SGOs concluded that a ‘significant minority’ of children were being placed at risk through an SGO being made inappropriately and there being inadequate support for special guardians (DfE, 2015).

Special guardians may step in selflessly to provide a safe and loving home to a child or children that need immediate support, but many face challenges in doing so – financial difficulties, health issues, managing contact with the child’s birth parents, supporting children with complex needs and/or attachment issues to name but a few.

To meet the needs of increasing numbers of special guardians, Family Action has launched a national Special Guardianship Support Service.

Aims

Our Special Guardianship Support Service aims to:

  • improve outcomes for children living with special guardians
  • provide an accessible source of trusted support, information and guidance to special guardians.

Model

The Special Guardianship Support Service is a subscription service available to local authorities across the country. Once a local authority has signed up to the service, all special guardians living in the locality and local authority professionals supporting special guardians will be granted access to:

  • a dedicated website containing comprehensive and up-to-date  information and guidance, downloadable resources and signposting to other sources of support
  • online web chat with trained professionals available 7 days a week out of hours
  • telephone helpline offering support from trained operators 7 days a week out of hours
  • discounted access to up-coming training and consultancy events.

Local authorities will also receive discounts on additional support services purchased for individual special guardians, including facilitation of support groups and life story work.

Cost

The cost for each local authority signing up to the service is £6,950 p.a. (excl VAT)

As mentioned, this cost enables all special guardians within the local authority and professionals supporting them to access the support outlined above.

Find out more

Visit: www.specialguardiansupport.org.uk

Tel: 020 7254 6251

Email: SGtechnical@family-action.org.uk