special guardianship hands

Concern for special guardianship support as figures show 1 in 4 new orders has supervision order attached.

A rise in the number and proportion of special guardianship orders being made with supervision orders attached reflects family courts’ lack of trust that local authorities will provide adequate support to families, according to experts.

Of the 4,121 special guardianship orders (SGOs) made in 2014, 1,193 had a supervision order attached, according to the results of a freedom of information request to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass).

The threshold for a supervision order is if a child is deemed to be at risk of significant harm, but Andy Elvin, chief executive of TACT Fostering and Adoption, said that, rather than children being at risk of harm, the rise is a result of “heightened judicial concern” about the lack of post-order support for special guardians.

“What you take from this is that the level of post-placement support in SGOs is, in the eyes of the judiciary, in at least 25% of cases, not appropriate. That is the problem we need to fix, this is just a symptom of the problem.”

The number of SGOs made with a supervision order attached almost tripled from 2012 to 2014, the figures showed, while the numbers of those without a supervision order rose by around 50%.
Figures up to 31 September 2015 indicate the practice may increase again this year. So far, 922 of the 3,148 SGOs placed this year had a supervision order attached, which is nearly 30% of all the orders made.

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