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7.2 Court Reports in Special Guardianship Guidance

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter was developed/entirely revised in September 2012 and should be read in full.

AMENDMENT

Section 2, Special Guardianship – Matters to be Dealt with in Report to Court, was revised and updated in March 2017 to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016) as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016.


Contents

  1. Who may write the Report
  2. Special Guardianship - Matters to be Dealt with in Report for the Court

    SGO Report form

    CSF 4297 Notification for Intention to Apply for SGO


1. Who may write the Report

The restrictions as outlined in the Adoption Agency regulations (2005) as to who may prepare adoption reports do not apply in the preparation of Special Guardianship Reports.

Only a qualified social worker may prepare a Special Guardianship report for the Court.

A social work student working in either an adoption, fostering or an area team may carry out the investigations required for a Special Guardianship Order. The report must be fully supervised by a qualified social worker and counter signed before submission to Court


2. Special Guardianship - Matters to be Dealt with in Report for the Court

1. In respect of the child:

a. Name, sex, date and place of birth and address including local authority area;
b. A photograph and physical description;
c. Nationality (and immigration status where appropriate);
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
e. Religious persuasion (including details of baptism, confirmation or equivalent ceremonies);
f. Details of any siblings including their dates of birth;
g. The extent of the child's contact with his relatives and any other person the local authority consider relevant;
  ga. Any harm the child has suffered;
  gb. Any risk of future harm to the child posed by the child’s parents, relatives or any other person the local authority consider relevant.
h. Whether the child is or has been looked after or is or has been provided with accommodation by a voluntary organisation and details (including dates) of placements by the authority or organisation;
i. Whether the prospective Special Guardian is a local authority foster parent of the child; 
j. A description of the child's personality, his social development and his emotional and behavioural development and any related needs;
k. Details of the child's interests, likes and dislikes;
l. A health history and a description of the state of the child's health which shall include any treatment the child is receiving;
m. Names, addresses and types of nurseries or schools attended with dates;
n. The child's educational attainments;
o. Whether the child is subject to a statement of special educational needs under the Children Act 2014; and
p.

Details of any order made by a court with respect to the child under the Act including -

  1. The name of the court;
  2. The order made; and
  3. The date on which the order was made.

2. In respect of the child's family:

a. Name, date and place of birth and address (and the date on which their last address was confirmed) including local authority area of each parent of the child and his siblings under the age of 18;
b. A photograph, if available, and physical description of each parent;
c. Nationality (and immigration status where appropriate) of each parent;
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background of each parent;
e. Whether the child's parents were married to each other at the time of the child's birth or have subsequently married and whether they are divorced or separated;
f. Where the child's parents have been previously married or formed a civil partnership, the date of the marriage or civil partnership;
g. Where the child's parents are not married, whether the father has Parental Responsibility and, if so, how it was acquired;
h. If the identity or whereabouts of the father are not known, the information about him that has been ascertained and from whom, and the steps that have been taken to establish paternity;
i. The past and present relationship of the child's parents;
j.

Where available, the following information in respect of each parent -

  1. Health history, including details of any serious physical or mental illness, any hereditary disease or disorder or disability;
  2. Religious persuasion;
  3. Educational history;
  4. Employment history;
  5. Personality and interests;
k. In respect of the child's siblings under the age of 18-(i) The person with whom the sibling is living;(ii) Whether the sibling is looked after by a local authority or provided with accommodation by a voluntary organisation; and(iii) Details of any court order made with respect to the sibling under the Act, including the name of the court, the order made and the date on which the order was made.

3. In respect of the wishes and feelings of the child and others:

a.

An assessment of the child's wishes and feelings (considered in light of his age and understanding) regarding Special Guardianship:

  1. His religious and cultural upbringing;
  2. Contact with his relatives and any other person the local authority consider relevant; and
  3. The date on which the child's wishes and feelings were last ascertained.
b.

The wishes and feelings of each parent regarding Special Guardianship:

  1. The child's religious and cultural upbringing; and
  2. Contact with the child;
  3. The date on which the wishes and feelings of each parent were last ascertained.
c. The wishes and feelings of any of the child's relatives, or any other person the local authority consider relevant regarding the child and the dates on which those wishes and feelings were last ascertained.

4. In respect of the prospective Special Guardian or, where two or more persons are jointly prospective Special Guardians, each of them:

a. Name, date and place of birth and address including local authority area;
b. A photograph and physical description;
c. Nationality (and immigration status where appropriate);
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
e.

If the prospective Special Guardian is:

  1. Married, the date and place of marriage;
  2. Has formed a civil partnership, the date and place of registration of the civil partnership; or
  3. Has a partner, details of that relationship.
f. Details of any previous marriage, civil partnership, or relationship,
g. Where the prospective Special Guardians wish to apply jointly, the nature of their relationship and an assessment of the stability of that relationship;
h. If the prospective Special Guardian is a member of a couple and is applying alone for a Special Guardianship Order, the reasons for this;
i. Whether the prospective Special Guardian is a relative of the child;
j. An assessment of the nature of the prospective Special Guardian's current and past relationship with the child;
k. A health history of the prospective Special Guardian including details of any serious physical or mental illness, any hereditary disease or disorder or disability;
l. A description of how the prospective Special Guardian relates to adults and children;
m. Previous experience of caring for children;
n.

An assessment of the prospective Special Guardian’s parenting capacity, including:

  1. Their understanding of,and ability to meet the child’s current and likely future needs, particularly, any needs the child may have arising from harm that the child has suffered;
  2. Their understanding of, and ability to protect the child from any current or future risk of harm posed by the child’s parents, relatives, or any other person the local authority consider relevant, particularly in relation to contact between any such person and the child; and
  3. Their ability and suitability to bring up the child until the child reaches the age of eighteen.
o. Where there have been any past assessments as a prospective adopter, foster carer or Special Guardian, relevant details as appropriate;
p. Details of income and expenditure;
q. Information about the prospective Special Guardian's home and the neighbourhood in which he lives;
r. Details of other members of the household and details of any children of the prospective Special Guardian even if not resident in the household;
s. Details of the parents and any siblings of the prospective Special Guardian, with their ages or ages at death;
t. The following information:
  1. Religious persuasion;
  2. Educational history;
  3. Employment history; and
  4. Personality and interests;
u. Details of any previous family court proceedings in which the prospective Special Guardian has been involved (which have not been referred to elsewhere in the report);
v. A report of each of the interviews with the three persons nominated by the prospective Special Guardian to provide personal references for him;
w. Whether the prospective Special Guardian is willing to follow any wishes of the child or his parents in respect of the child's religious and cultural upbringing;
x. The views of other members of the prospective Special Guardian's household and wider family in relation to the proposed Special Guardianship Order;
y. An assessment of the child's current and future relationship with the family of the prospective Special Guardian;
z. Reasons for applying for a Special Guardianship Order and extent of understanding of the nature and effect of Special Guardianship and whether the prospective Special Guardian has discussed Special Guardianship with the child;
aa. Any hopes and expectations the prospective Special Guardian has for the child's future; and
bb. The prospective Special Guardian's wishes and feelings in relation to contact between the child and his relatives or any other person the local authority considers relevant.

5. In respect of the local authority completing the report:

  1. Name and address;
  2. Details of any past involvement of the local authority with the prospective special guardian, including any past preparation for that person to be a local authority foster carer or adoptive parent or Special Guardian;
  3. Where Section 14A(7)9a) of the Act applies and the prospective Special Guardian lives in the area of another local authority, details of the local authority's enquiries of that other local authority about the prospective Special Guardian;
  4. A summary of any Special Guardianship support services provided by the authority for the prospective Special Guardian, the child or the child's parent and the period for which those services are to be provided; and
  5. Where the local authority has decided not to provide Special Guardianship support services, the reasons why.

6. A summary prepared by the medical professional who provided the information referred to in paragraphs 1(l) and 4(k).

7. The implications of the making of a Special Guardianship Order for -

  1. The child;
  2. The child's parent;
  3. The prospective Special Guardian and his family; and
  4. Any other person the local authority considers relevant.

8. The relative merits of Special Guardianship and other orders which may be made under the Act or the Adoption and Children Act 2002 with an assessment of whether the child's long term interests would be best met by a Special Guardianship Order.

9. A recommendation as to whether or not the Special Guardianship Order sought should be made in respect of the child and, if not, any alternative proposal in respect of the child.

10. A recommendation as to what arrangements there should be for contact between the child and his relatives or any person the local authority consider relevant.

End