Special Guardianship Orders For Cross-Border Child Care Cases

There can be many reasons why the parents of a family are unable to care for their children, for whatever reason the Local Authorities have a duty to ensure that those children are protected, safe and must seek out the best solution for their custody. Children whose lives have been disrupted by the fact that their parents cannot look after them prefer to have permanence over temporary foster parent placements; however, often, particularly older children, do not want to have the clean break from their family that adoption offers. Special Guardianship orders evolved to provide a solution that would enable the child to have a secure situation during their minority without fracturing their family connection.

Children deserve to have certainty and a safe environment and the decision to evoke a Special Guardianship order, particularly if there is a cross-border element, is not taken lightly. However, when this becomes necessary it is imperative to ensure that any legal advisors that are consulted have expertise in all the jurisdictions involved as if any errors are made which come to light after the order is made it may not be possible to remedy mistakes.

The best interests of children are, of course, paramount; the issues surrounding children of EU citizens living in the UK can frequently be complex, especially if the law and legal rights of another European country have to be considered. There are currently estimated to be 5,000 children of EU nationals in Local Authority care in the UK. If it becomes necessary to consider a more permanent solution regarding the care of a child, there are a range of options to contemplate, all solutions must be reviewed to achieve the best outcome for the child and some cases the best solution is for a Special Guardianship order to be sought from the court.

A Special Guardianship order is permanent and conveys parental responsibility to the person or persons that the court believes offers the optimum choice of carer for the child until the age of 18 years; it does not...

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