Response to ombudsman's report on special guardianships

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Commenting on today’s publication of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s report Firm foundations: council support and advice for special guardians, Jackie Sanders, The Fostering Network’s director of communications and public affairs said:

'We welcome the publication of this excellent report, which highlights some of the challenges that are being faced by special guardians across England.

'Special guardianship can be a really positive way of offering a permanent and stable home to children who can’t live with their birth families, and many special guardians are the child’s former foster carers. However, The Fostering Network has long been concerned that some foster carers and others are being encouraged to take out special guardianships without really understanding the long-term implications for themselves and the child, in terms of financial and practical support.

'We echo this report’s call for all local authorities to be clear with those considering special guardianships about what this entails, the support in place, and the duration of this support, so that they can be sure that they are making the right decision for themselves and the child. We agree that it is essential that the financial and practical support on offer are sufficient to meet the needs of both the child and the special guardian, and that these support plans are regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to meet changing needs.

'Only when this best practice consistently happens across the country will we be reassured that decisions to move children into special guardianship arrangements are being taken in the best interests of each individual child, while providing the adults looking after them with the support needed to help the relationship work in the longer term.'