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Special Guardians are individuals who care for children when their parents are unable to do so.

Special Guardianship is a form of ‘Kinship Care’ where there is already an existing relationship between the child and the carer.

The most common relationship found in this type of care is  between grandparents and grandchildren.

A person can apply to become the child’s Special Guardian if one of the following apply:

  • They are already the child’s legal guardian.
  • The child lives with them because of a ‘Child Arrangement Order.’
  • The child has lived with them for 3 out of the past 5 years.
  • They are the child’s relative or foster parent, and the child has been living with them for at least a year.
  • They have the agreement of anyone named in a Child Arrangement Order as someone the child can live with.
  • They have the agreement of all the individuals with parental responsibility for the child.
  • They have the agreement of the local council if the child is in care.

If a person does not meet any of these descriptions, they will need to seek permission from the court to apply.

If none of these criteria are met, the court’s permission will be needed to apply.

For more information, individuals are encouraged to refer to the Kinship Care Special Guardians leaflet.

Last reviewed: November 7, 2023 by James

Next review due: May 7, 2024

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