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A Special Guardianship Order grants parental responsibility to an individual who is not the child’s natural parent. Special Guardianship will last until the child is 18 unless the Order is changed or varied by a court.


Unlike adoption, where a Special Guardianship Order has been granted, the child can remain in touch with their birth family. In the case of adoption, the child will become part of their new family, and no ties will remain with their birth family. 

Special Guardianship is useful for children who may not be suitable for adoption (for example due to their age) but who would still benefit from a stable placement with a long term carer. 

Before anyone can apply for a Special Guardianship Order in respect of a child, they will need to give the relevant Local Authority 3 months’ notice. The Local Authority will then produce a report with information about the child and what they consider to be in the child’s best interests. This report is sent to the court to which the application for Special Guardianship has been made, and its content will be considered by the judge as part of the decision-making process. 

If circumstances change significantly, the court can vary or even discharge the Order. Varying an Order means changing the terms of the Order and discharging it means to get rid of the Order completely and involves the returning of the child back to their parent. 

At Eric Robinson Solicitors, our experienced childcare lawyers will be able to advise on any Special Guardianship application or in respect of the variation or discharge of any existing Order.