The Fostering Network welcomes the publication of amendments to the Special Guardianship Regulations in England, following a consultation in the autumn of 2015.
The changes in The Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016 include a strengthening of the assessment of prospective special guardians to ensure that they can fully meet the needs of the child through until adulthood. There is also a new requirement to report to the court on the relationship between the child and the prospective special guardian(s), how they will help the child overcome the impact of any previous abuse or neglect, as well as how they will manage any risk to the child from the relationship between the special guardian and the child’s birth parents.
Helen Keaney, practice support team manager at The Fostering Network, said: “There should be no hierarchy to permanency for children and young people, so we are pleased to see that special guardians are being considered as another valuable resource in helping to achieve permanency for some children. We are pleased that the Government has amended The Special Guardianship Regulations in England, and that they are due to publish further proposals for support for special guardians and the children they care for. The Fostering Network’s view is that the special guardianship support needs to be on the same basis and with the same eligibility as adoption support.
"The changes made to the regulations will make sure that children in special guardianship placements can have the same experiences as their peers who are adopted, or in long-term foster care, and we hope that these changes will bring greater stability to SGO placements as a permanence option for children.”
The latest edition of The Skills to Foster Connected Person’s Assessment, published in July 2015, already covers the majority of the issues contained within the Government’s amendments to the regulations to perform an SGO assessment in England. The documents will be updated to make clear where the new questions fit within the existing assessment framework. For more information about The Skills to Foster Assessment materials, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org