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A Special Guardianship Order or Residence Order is a legal way for someone with whom the child has a relationship, other than a birth parent, to provide that child or young person with a secure, loving family when their own parent cannot.
If a child needs to live permanently away from their parents and the carer would like to make major decisions on behalf of the child, similar to those with an adoption order, but everyone agrees that links with their birth parents should continue, then a Special Guardianship Order can be applied for. This will restrict the birth parents rights but will not permanently end the relationship.
This could be because:
You can apply for a Special Guardianship Order if:
As a Special Guardian you will have parental responsibility for the child until they are 18 unless discharged earlier by the court. You will be able to make all day to day decisions and caring for the child and their upbringing.There are a few exceptions:
Unlike adoption orders, Special Guardianship orders can be varied or discharged by the court and the court can step in where there are disputes over a Special Guardian exercising their parental responsibility.We will provide you with support and services including financial support. You can claim child benefit or child tax credit if it is not being paid to the parent.
A Residence Order is a court order which decides where and with whom a child should live.This could be because:
You can make an application for a Residence Order if:
The Residence Order gives Parental Responsibility to that person for as long as the order is in place. This includes being responsible for the care and well being of the child and also being able to make important decisions for them including consent to medical or dental treatment and school trips.
The child cannot be removed unless the Residence Order is revoked or the local authority obtains an Emergency Protection Order or Interim Care Order.
Parents or those with parental responsibility have a right to apply to revoke a Residence Order.
Parents who have parental responsibility will retain this responsibility. They should be able to have a say in major decisions about the upbringing of the child e.g. religion, which school a child attends and non-emergency medical treatment. They are entitled to attend school meetings and obtain school records e.g. school reports.
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