Special Guardianship Support


Information & Resources for Special Guardianship Carers

SGO Support

Welcome to Special Guardianship Support (SGO Support)

sgo suport children faces

If you are a Special Guardianship carer to a child in your family or maybe you care for a child/ren because you are a friend of the family, also known as kinship or connected person,  you might be looking for support and information about Special Guardianship.

Whether you have been a Special Guardianship carer for a while, are new to SGO,  or are still being assessed under special guardianship, you will find Special Guardianship support resources.

You may have found that it still not easy to find information about Special Guardianship, but SGO support is growing. You will find here support resources and information about Special Guardianship (SGO).

Why Special Guardianship Support (SGO Support) Started

SGO Support When You Need It

Becoming an SGO carer can be a lonely process.  Often you cannot turn to those closest to you for advice and support.

sgo support

SGO Information To Make Choices

Special Guardianship carers should be provided with the information they need to make the choice that is right for a child and right for their family.


sgo support

Access to SGO Resources

There should be a range of resources and information available to family members at every stage of the special guardianship process. Information about SGO should be easily accessible and affordable.

sgo support children holding hands

National SGO Support Systems

Special Guardianship support services should be available nationally. Every family should receive equal support and access to resources when caring for children under a Special Guardianship Order.


SGO Support

Special Guardianship Support - Why It's Needed

All over the UK, children are being cared for under Special Guardianship Orders, but many people have never heard of this form of caring.

Everyone has heard of fostering or adoption, yet Special Guardianship is growing rapidly as a preferred option for families.

Special Guardianship is the middle ground between adoption and fostering, it allows children to stay connected with their family of origin retaining their sense of identity.

SGO Support –

For Special Guardians all over the UK

Number of SGO's Granted in 2006

Number of SGO's Granted in 2015

What is Special Guardianship?

Special Guardianship or SGO as it is sometimes called, is a Legal Order introduced in 2005

The aim of Special Guardianship (SGO) were brought about to give permanence and security to children who did not have access to permanency through other routes

For example:- 

  • Older Children for whom adoption was not an option
  • Children already settled and living with a  relative or foster carer
  • Unaccompanied asylum seeker children requiring permanency whilst still retaining a strong attachment to family abroad
  • Minority ethnic groups whose culture have difficulty with adoption.


They are just principles

This is what has happened

2013 - No of children aged 1 year or less placed under SGO

2014 - No of children aged 1 year or less placed under SGO

2015 - No of children aged 1 year or less placed under SGO

Special Guardianship Orders are rising quickly each year

They are being granted more and more for babies and young children,

Special Guardianship Order’s are being used in a way that they were not intended.

As a result, families who obtain a Special Guardianship Order find that there is little support

They are often left literally holding the baby.


holidng the baby sgo support
sgo support hands holding baby hands

A Bit More About What Special Guardianship Is

Why were Special Guardianship Orders introduced

Special Guardianship Orders often referred to as SGO’s were introduced in England and Wales in December 2005 as a way to provide greater security for children when the Local Authority were planning for their permanence and when adoption was not appropriate.

Special Guardians obtain parental responsibility for a child which overrides the parents’ parental responsibility. This means that they will be able to make most of the decisions about a child. A parent never loses their parental responsibility, but they cannot exercise this over and above the Special Guardian.


Who Can apply for Special Guardianship

  • A person who has a Child Arrangements Order
  • A person who the child has lived with for three out of the last five years.
  • A person who has the agreement of the Local Authority
  • A person who has the agreement of all the people with parental responsibility for the child.
  • A Local Authority foster carer or relative that the child has been living with for at least one year before the application is made.
  • Anyone who has the courts permission.
  • They will need to be 18 years old in order to apply for a Special Guardianship Order.

If a family member is applying for a Special Guardianship Order because they have a child in their care where there are no care proceedings in place, but they need to obtain parental responsibility for a child they will need to make an application through the courts and notify the local authority in writing in order to make an application. This is a PRIVATE SPECIAL GUARDIANSHIP application.

Three months before they make the private application to the Court, they must tell the Local Authority in writing that they plan to apply to the Court for a Special Guardianship Order.

The Local Authority has to write a report for the Court to help it to decide what order to make.

The Court cannot make an order without this report.

You can find all the forms and information they will need to make an application at



What Does Special Guardianship Order allow a carer to do?

Special Guardianship carers obtain parental responsibility for a child which overrides the parents’ legal parental responsibility.

They will be able to make most of the decisions about a child. However, a parent never loses their parental responsibility, but they cannot exercise this over and above the Special Guardianship carer.

There are only three main things that a Special Guardianship carer cannot do, they will need the permission of the Court or the parents in order to do the following:

  • They cannot change a child’s name
  • They cannot take a child out of the UK for more than 3 months at any one time.
  • They cannot give consent for the child to be adopted.

What Is the difference between Special Guardianship and Kinship/Connected Persons

Special Guardianship and Kinship carers are both achieving the same purpose; they are caring for a child who is a member of their family. The key difference is the legislation that is behind these two ways of ensuring that a child is cared for within their family.

Special Guardianship carers are assessed under the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 and February 2016.

Kinship/Connected Carers are usually assessed under the Fostering Regulations and are also called or Family and Friends Foster Carers. Kinship carers can also be caring for children under other orders such as Child Arrangements Orders.

What are the support needs of Special Guardians and their families?

Special Guardians often come forward at a time of crisis in a family, when there are Care Proceedings in place and the Local Authority is looking at alternative permanent plans for a child.

This means that Special Guardians may not be prepared, they often have to leave their work and therefore finance becomes an issue, they may not have enough space in their home, they have to manage contact between the birth parents and the child, they have to help the child understand the reasons why they cannot live with their parents.

There is such a high expectation, within a short timescale. Special Guardians have to make life-changing decisions and after that, they find there is nowhere for them to turn to.

Find out more about the Assessment Process

Find out more about Finance

Find out more about Housing

Find out more about Contact

Find out more about Support Groups


Get in touch

We hope that you have found out a bit more about Special Guardianship and what support is out there, if not then please get in touch with your questions.

Let’s help everyone, tell us what’s missing so we add that information to this site for everyone to benefit from.

*NB Please do not contact us to query any SGO finance payments, whether this is a new, late or missing payment.

All SGO payments are made by your Local Authority, please contact them directly.

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