Every year in the UK, thousands of people become special guardians.That means they take on long-term, legal responsibility for a child they already have a relationship with.
We have created Guardians’ Guide, a dedicated, free website full of practical guides and expert support for special guardians and anyone who wants to be one.
The Guardians’ Guide includes clear information on how you can become a special guardian, what it means for you and the children under your care, and guidance about a range of topics for carers with a special guardianship order.
Special Guardianship Orders (SGO)
A special guardian is someone with long-term, legal responsibility for a child they already have a relationship with. It's an important, often rewarding role that provides a stable home life for a child to grow and develop.
A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) can be granted by the Family Court if it’s believed to be the best option for a child when they are not able to live with their birth parents, but adoption or fostering isn't quite right.
If you are granted a special guardianship order, the child will permanently live with you.
You will have parental responsibility until the child is 18 years old. As a special guardian, you are responsible for making all day-to-day decisions about the child’s care.
View the ‘Becoming a guardian’ section of the Guardians’ Guide website for more information on the role, considerations and the application process.
If you already have the child of a friend or relative living with you
If you already have the child of a friend or relative living with you, but do not yet have a SGO, you are likely to be what is known as a ‘kinship carer’.
Buckinghamshire Council offers dedicated support services to special guardians, children living under guardianship and their families.
Available services include:
- phone advice and support service with the team
- practical support with a wide range of topics from education and health, to money and behaviour
- reviews of contact with family arrangements (family-time)
- training courses on new skills
- local and national peer support groups and meetups for special guardians, children living under guardianship and parents
- access to therapeutic support for children and young people
The Guardians’ Guide contains the latest information about support services as well as lots of self-help guides and advice.