Rose Harvey-Sullivan, 7BR
Special Guardianship Orders are increasingly used by the family courts as a means of keeping a child with family or friends in circumstances when their parent is unable to look after them. However, new Guidance published last year highlights concerns that potential Special Guardians are often thrust into the middle of complex legal proceedings without adequate support, preparation or guidance to help them navigate the situation. This means that some individuals who would otherwise make excellent guardians are not positively assessed or put forward for the role, to the detriment of the child. This article establishes the legal framework for making SGOs, highlights what should be involved within the assessment process, and sets out a number of questions and factors for lawyers to consider on behalf of their clients who may wish to challenge a negative assessment.