Fostering and adoption charity TACT has expressed concern over a sharp rise in the use of Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) in England.
Recently released statistics from the Department for Education on children in care apparently show that the use SGOs in England has risen 20.2% from 2770 to 3330. Between 2010 and 2014 the figure has increased 158%.
TACT explains that a Special Guardianship Order is an order made by the court under the Adoption and Children Act 2002. It enables a child or a young person to live with someone permanently and gives legal status for non-parents who wish to care for that child or young person in a long term secure placement. Parental responsibility is shared between the special guardian and the birth parent.
TACT has been a strong supporter of the use of SGOs, which can give children who have been in care the security and stability they need to thrive. However, the charity is concerned that this sharp rise might indicate that the use of orders is extending beyond the original intentions.
“SGOs were introduced to allow young people stability and permanence,” said TACT CEO Andy Elvin. “We are, however, worried that this dramatic rise indicates that they are being increasingly used inappropriately.”
“TACT is aware of foster carers being asked to consider special guardianship shortly after a placement is made, or placements being made only on condition that an SGO is part of the care plan,” he added. “SGOs should only be considered when the time is right for carers and the young person.”
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