Applying to discharge or vary a Special Guardianship Order

The law is as set out at section 14 D of the Children Act 1989, which is set out at the end of this post.  We can see from this that a parent can apply to vary or discharge an SGO but needs the court’s permission first.

‘Vary’ means you want to change the content of the order; ‘discharge’ means you want the order to come to an end. There is probably little point in applying to discharge or vary an order until at least six months have passed since it was first made – if you think that the order should not have been made in the first place, you should consider applying to appeal – but you will have to do that within 3 weeks.

Special Guardianship Orders are meant to be a way of providing a child with a permanent home throughout his childhood so you will need good reasons to say that the order should no longer apply, once it has been made. There is no automatic legal aid for parents in such proceedings.

For more general information about SGOs, see this post. 

The courts have decided that this is a two stage test.

a. First the parent must show a change of circumstances.
b. Then the court will consider the child’s welfare and the parent’s prospects of success in challenging the SGO.

Step 1: What counts as a ‘significant change of circumstances’ ?

The courts are unlikely to place much weight on use of the word ‘significant’ when applied to the word ‘changes’. In G (A Child) [2010] EWCA Civ 300 Wilson LJ decided to proceed on the basis that there is no relevant difference between applying for permission to discharge a placement order [under section 24(3) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002] and applying for permission to discharge an SGO, even though section 14D refers to ‘significant’ changes and the Adoption and Children Act does not.

Various courts have agreed that the bar cannot be set too high so that no parents could ever get over it; parents should not be discouraged from trying to improve their circumstances. But the change in circumstances has got to be a relevant one.

In the case of Re B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146 the court described the test for ‘change of circumstances’ in this way, in the context of the Adoption and Children Act 2002:
a. … the court has to be satisfied on the facts of the case that there has been a change in circumstances ‘of a nature and degree sufficient, on the facts of the case, to open the door to the exercise of judicial evaluation’
b. the test should not be set too high, because parents should not be discouraged from bettering themselves or from seeking to prevent the adoption of their child by the imposition of a test that is unachievable;
c. whether or not there has been a relevant change in circumstance must be a matter of fact to be decided by the good sense and sound judgment of the tribunal hearing the application;
d. if there is no change in circumstances, that is the end of the matter, and the application fails.

In another case also called G (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 119 the Court of Appeal agreed that a change in the child’s circumstances could also be relevant.

Therefore, the parent will have to demonstrate some relevant changes which on the facts of the particular case in front of the judge, means it is appropriate for the Judge to consider moving on to Step 2 of the process. It is likely that if the concerns about your parenting in the care proceedings were very serious, you will need to show correspondingly serious changes.

For example, in Re G [2010] the mother’s child was living with the maternal grandmother under an SGO after the mother had been in a number of violent relationships. However, the grandmother agreed she would not oppose permission being given to the mother to apply to discharge the SGO, after hearing about the efforts the mother had made to attend counselling/therapy to help her make better relationship choices in the future. The mother was also caring successfully for her second child without any intervention from Children’s Services.

Step 2: What do the courts mean by considering issues about ‘welfare’ and ‘prospects of success’ ?

Having determined that the approach to ‘change’ should be the same for applications to discharge an SGO and to discharge a placement order, it made sense for Wilson JL to also decide in G (A Child) [2010] that courts should take the same approach after deciding that the circumstances had changed.

Wilson LJ confirmed that this means the approach in M v Warwickshire County Council [2007] should be followed, where he said at paragraph 29 of his judgment in that case:

In relation to an application for leave under s.24(3) of the Act I therefore hold that, on establishment of a change in circumstances, a discretion arises in which the welfare of the child and the prospect of success should both be weighed. My view is that the requisite analysis of the prospect of success will almost always include the requisite analysis of the welfare of the child. For, were there to be a real prospect that an applicant would persuade the court that a child’s welfare would best be served by revocation of the placement order, it would surely almost always serve the child’s welfare for the applicant to be given leave to seek to do so. Conversely, were there not to be any such real prospect, it is hard to conceive that it would serve the welfare of the child for the application for leave to be granted.

This means a change in circumstances is a necessary but not sufficient condition to get permission to make the application to discharge a SGO – it opens the door for the Judge to consider it and he or she will then examine the often overlapping issues of the child’s welfare/prospects of success of the application.

The child’s welfare is not however the paramount consideration for the court in this exercise. Also, the issue of  “a real prospect of success” relates to discharging/varying the order NOT necessarily the return of the child to the parent’s care. See Re G [2015].

At this stage, the courts will probably want to consider how long the changes you have made have been in place, and how likely they are to be sustained in the future.


Section 14 D Children Act 1989

Special guardianship orders: variation and discharge

(1)The court may vary or discharge a special guardianship order on the application of—
(a)the special guardian (or any of them, if there are more than one);
(b) any parent or guardian of the child concerned;
(c )any individual in whose favour a [Child arrangements order] is in force with respect to the child;
(d) any individual not falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (c) who has, or immediately before the making of the special guardianship order had, parental responsibility for the child;
(e) the child himself; or
(f) a local authority designated in a care order with respect to the child.
(2) In any family proceedings in which a question arises with respect to the welfare of a child with respect to whom a special guardianship order is in force, the court may also vary or discharge the special guardianship order if it considers that the order should be varied or discharged, even though no application has been made under subsection (1).
(3) The following must obtain the leave of the court before making an application under subsection (1)—
(a) the child;
(b) any parent or guardian of his;
(c) any step-parent of his who has acquired, and has not lost, parental responsibility for him by virtue of section 4A;
(d) any individual falling within subsection (1)(d) who immediately before the making of the special guardianship order had, but no longer has, parental responsibility for him.
(4) Where the person applying for leave to make an application under subsection (1) is the child, the court may only grant leave if it is satisfied that he has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application under subsection (1).
(5) The court may not grant leave to a person falling within subsection (3)(b)(c) or (d) unless it is satisfied that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the making of the special guardianship order.

204 thoughts on “Applying to discharge or vary a Special Guardianship Order

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Yes it would wouldn’t it? And you might think that a Government who cuts legal aid and passes every more complicated laws might think it part of their duty to the people who suffer from these actions, to have a proper website with advice and links and the ability to download and fill in forms.

      You might very well think that it is an absolute disgrace that just a handful of individuals are trying to fill in that rather huge gap.

      I am sorry that I have neither the time or the money to make this the resource which I think is so sorely needed. I think the forms are available on some government site but to be honest I am not sure and they don’t make this stuff easy to find. If anyone has a good link, I would be very pleased to know it.

      1. Nu shoes

        Legal forms depot is the website you need to visit. Its a bit complicated with talk of subscriptions but I think that it is just for professionals. Generally I that no they have samples for the gen public

          1. Tereasa Lea Smith

            thank you I see you posted this some years ago I can only hope and prey this will be my godsend.
            very much appreciated

      2. anonoymous

        if you do happen to know if there is anywhere the forms are available other then solicitors and mediations this would be great.

        1. AGR8MUM

          C100 for the application and ex160 if you are low income to waive the fees, (fee is £215. ) fill them in send it in and wait .ca court date. I did this and the whole process took about a year

          1. Kerry

            Hi can you get egal aid to end a special guardian order or to apply for extra contact ? Solicitor to me today would be around 10 k

          2. megan floyd

            Did you manage to revoke your sgo? Would you be open to telling me what happened. I lost my daughter and want to no if theres still hope for me in the future.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Contact the court where you think the order was made? Should be the same court that made the SGO in the first place.

        2. David Antwi

          I want my child back but she is in the grandmother’s guardianship how do I reverse the guardianship order because I want full custody of my child.

    2. Crystal

      FM1 Form,d.d2s

      C1 Form,d.d2s

      Both these forms are available on the website.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Thanks Crystal. I have never found the website easy to navigate.

    3. Jo

      Pls help. My daughter was placed with my mum three years ago. I live with them both and do a normal paretibg role its just in the background and i sign and do everything for my daughter. My daughter was taken due to my mental health. Ive now been stable 5 years and i work in a school and im in a new raltionship with a teacher. I want to move him with him but wont without my daughter coming. Can inapply for residency or do i have to apply for sgo to be canceled. My mum the sg is fully behind me and my daughter 6 wants to be with me. I know im very lucky i still live with my daughter. The guardian thought we cound do it togther. Ty

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I always think it is better to regulate a situation formally so if your mum supports you it shouldn’t be difficult to discharge the SGO, particularly if you have been stable for 5 years and been carrying out a pretty big parenting role in the meantime. But you do need to get some proper legal advice from someone who can read all the paperwork and understand the background.

    4. samantha calvey

      I am in the same boat of having my SGO discharged and i cant really remember the site I had taken it off but this is the form that ANYONE will need to fill out o do the same I really hope this helps everyone of you as it has me! Click on supplement for discharge for SGO Order and the form you need will automatically download for you fill it in print it off or otherway round and send to the tribunal courts address would be on the same website hope this is helpful!! good luck xxx

      1. becky

        am in same boat my mum has mine am just starting to try and discharge sgo order and need to fill in a form to start it as no legal aid is this the form i would need please help x

    5. Jamie

      Hi I have a 6 year old daughter who I gave up at 9 weeks old under my choice she went to live with my aunty social services wanted to go for a special guardian ship order I was very young at the time and didn’t really understand what was going on . The placement keeps breaking down I keep falling out with my aunty due to that my relationship is suffering with my daughter , I say relationship but she doesn’t even know who I really am just know me of my name my aunty will have my child with anyone else accept for me I have contact with my daughter but nothing regular just as and when my aunty says I am now a lot older and want back custody of my daughter but I am coming to dead end every time my aunty tells me I can’t get her back but I know I can I just don’t no what measures and steps to take any help would be greatful and very much appreciated please could you private email me [email protected]

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        If you want to apply to court to discharge the SGO you will need some proper legal advice, you will need to sit down with a lawyer and go through all the paperwork and circumstances of your particular case. You would have to show a change of circumstances and that it is in the child’s best interests to live with you. It is quite hard to discharge these orders as they are meant to be permanent. However, the whole point of an SGO is that it is not an adoption order and is meant to reflect the reality of the child’s life – i.e. you are her mother, not your aunt. So if she doesn’t understand who you are and what role you play in her life, that isn’t good and needs to be corrected.

        Also what do you mean by ‘the placement keeps breaking down’ ? If things are not going well with your aunt and she is struggling to look after your daughter, that may be a good argument to ask the court to look again at the arrangements.

        But I am afraid to sort this out it looks inevitable that you will have to to to court and it would be best to get a lawyer to help. You might qualify for legal aid but you would need to go and speak to them about that.

    6. Jane Moreton

      I would like to be how to get my son home he is under a special guardianship and has been for 2yrs in that 2 years my whole lifestyle and choices have changed will I have a chance at applying for my spin to come back home

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        It sounds as if you have certainly made changes – but 2 years is a long time and it may be that the court thinks it wouldn’t be in your son’s best interests to move him. It all depends very much on the facts of each case, how old he is etc. You really need to get some advice from a lawyer who can have access to all the paperwork. You might qualify for legal aid but I appreciate its going to be more difficult in the current health crisis to get advice.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Thanks Julie! I should have known that one… still bruised by my last attempt to use the ‘form finder’…

  1. Angelo Granda

    Just a suggestion.Might i suggest that any advocacy services keep a supply of the various Court application forms, templates to copy etc. in stock to assist those who cannot get legal funding.
    At present, i understand paperwork has to be submitted in a particular way and the guidelines are so strict it is difficult even for a solicitor to get it exactly right. E.G. the font used and its size is specified, the number of pages in a skeletal argument restricted etc.etc.
    This service would be of immense help to parents ,especially i would imagine the less educated ones. For one of normal intelligence, the paperwork is a massive task so much so that the sight of court papers and documents becomes too much and they find it difficult even to pick it up and look at it after a while.
    Of course, the solution would be to make legal funding available for Public Law cases.

    1. Angelo Granda

      I also suggest that there would be a good market for any experienced solicitor’s clerk, legal secretary or paralegal if they were to go online and offer a legal paperwork service to LIP’s.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Readers may be interested to know something which has just happened and save themselves a little time possibly. An application on the correct forms in paper format was submitted on the behalf of a family . They waited 5 weeks patiently. They were then contacted by the Court office and it was requested that the application was sent electronically. 3 weeks later,still no word.

  2. Mr Crabtree

    I am a special guardian and have been following the court order to the letter, but every now and then there is a big issue made of certain conversations regarding the childrens parents passing on information as to what happens at home with us. therefore because there is legal aid available to us, we can’t physically or financially challenge the SGO regarding contact. it would be much of a relief for all Special Guardians to be able to exercise some kind of legal right to make other arrangements for the contacts to be supervised by another party to save any mental or distress to children affected. So many of us a basically forced to carry on with what is in the order and just take all the extra abuse, pressure etc that may occur within the framework of the SGO. is that fair, my opinion is no, in the sense Special Guardians are the utmost survivors and gives the parents the ability to see their children or otherwise they may be adopted out where neither close family or the parents will be able to see them at all. It was a great change for GRANDPARENTS to be able to be kinship carers as in SGO’s.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      If facilitating the direct contact with the parents is subjecting you to abuse or unacceptable pressure, then you don’t have to be directly involved. Your legal obligation is to make the children available for contact, I assume – if contact is subject to a court order. If the parents abuse that privilege and make things difficult for you, I think you are perfectly entitled to say ‘unless your behaviour changes/improves, we will no longer be directly involved with you. You will have to find someone else to pick up/be present at contact’. then the obligation to sort that out falls upon the parents. And if they don’t like that, they can make their own application to court.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Mr.Crabtree, I think you can také a cue from Sarah’s advice in respect of parental contact and court orders in general.
        Think about the balance of power and always remember that as you have the child in your care, the power is in your hands.
        Contacts are often difficult for parents and children. Not surprising- it is awkward ,unnatural situation for both.
        If they say or do anything and i mean anything which you don’t like or which upsets you, you always have the power to call it abuse of priviledge if it makes things difficult for you in any way.You can do more or less what you want because you hold the balance of power.After all, why should parents have the freedom to go around talking to others about how you care for their children? Surely that is taking free speech too far and it must be difficult and upsetting for you.The LA’s and foster -carers hate it too. No-one would ever discuss or risk upsetting parents.
        I advise you to make it very clear to them.If they don’t watch their p’s and q’s and if they do anything you don’t like,you will call it abuse of privilege and make it difficult for them.
        They will powerless! If they can afford to get a solicitor and make a court application,it will také a long time.Civil court orders mean very little unless they can be enforced.
        I am no lawyer but i think you are on safe ground to control their behaviour to suit youself.Warn them first but if they don’t change, clamp down hard.For example,if the child is ever upset for any reason after a contact, think about cancelling a couple while you consult CAMHS.
        You have every right to use your power to your advantage and improve the situation.
        I hope this helps.

        1. Angelo Granda

          Mr Crabtree, I am sure i don’t need to mention that you can exercise your power in two ways.Use the ‘ carrot’ as well as the stick and tell the parents that you can also show discretion in their favour ( extra privileges, flexibility of rules and so on).
          As i said before, the court orders and procedures mean very little except when enforced and the CS are unlikely to také matters to court for similar reasons to the parents.You hold the balance of power.

          Exercise it!

          1. helensparkles

            This would be private law, which is why there is no funding, CS would not be involved unless asked to provide a report for the court.

        2. stacey yates

          Hi i was just after a little advice after reading your comment i am wondering what right does a parent have if a special guardian is behaving difficult on contacts infront of the child cared for ? When mediation dosnt work and more barriers being put in place to make contact with the cared for child difficult or stopped ? What can a parent do when its the sg acting iappropertly ?

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            If you can’t sort it out between yourselves then the only options are mediation or applying to court I am a afraid. But you probably won’t get legal aid to help make an application to court, or it will be means and merits tested. you could apply to court to vary the contact order in place (or ask for a contact order if there isn’t one) or even to discharge the SG order itself – but that’s a tough one.

          2. Tereasa Lea Smith

            Hi Stacey

            I understand this post is 5 or so years old but in reading your comment I was just wondering what you did and if you sorted your problem out as I am currently having the same problem. my mother has sgo of my 2 eldest but she gave me up for adoption when I was just 11 and has in the past 4 years done everything in her power to stop contact and sabotage my relationship with my children to the point my son who is 16 in Aug no longer wants to see or twalk to me

            kind regards Tereasa

        3. Jamie

          So what about the birth parents feeling don’t you believe in parents changing I think what you have said is wrong . I’m a birth parent and I gave my daughter up at 9 weeks old I was 16 in a mother and baby unit being watched 24/7 I couldn’t cope I demonstrated concerning behaviour when pregnant but I was just 16 I was a kid my self my aunty had my child and plays god with her picks and chooses when and where I see her I have contact not supervised your saying I should just be greatful I see her that’s out of order I’m now 23 have a flat a stable relationship can offer my daughter a loving and stable home my aunty will pick me up and drop me when ever she feels like it and will have anyone else have my child but me and my daughter is 6 and doesn’t even know I’m her biological mum but I’ve had contact from day 1 not consistent but always had contact for past 2/4 years I’ve been consistent and trying to build a bond . I love my daughter and want her home

      2. Laura

        Hi Sarah,

        There is an SGO in place where the careers have not allowed contact to take place during the week but I work on the weekends. There is also a Supervison order in place and despite knowing that I work weekends the SS have not informed the SGO holder. The SGO holder refuses to allow visitation during the week. What can I do?

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am afraid if you can’t reach agreement by negotiation or mediation then your only option is to return to court and ask for the existing contact order to be varied. If there is a supervision order in place then the LA should really be helping with this! Has the social worker spoken to the SGO and explained the position? That seems the first obvious step.

          Would you be willing to meet them and talk about it? Is there any flexibility at all with your work that would allow for some weekend contact? Without knowing the objections to contact during the week or the constraints of your job, I can’t really say more. But I hope you can sort something out. Good luck.

    2. helensparkles

      This is a link to the National Association of Child Contact Centres, if you want to look for a centre in your area I would advise not ticking the filtering boxes because nothing came up when I did that (for my area) but there are 4.

      Referrals can be made by:
      Social workers
      Family Mediators
      Court Order
      If the child placed with you was previously in the care of the LA, they have responsibility for providing support for the first three years after the making of a Special Guardianship Order so you may have a SW you can access, but you should anyway be able to access their first response team or the childcare team responsible for placing the child with you. It is something I would be able to do on a closed case for example (& have) and you are probably best contacting the person that knows the situation best. Contact can risk placement disruption so you should be supported to find a way to make a different arrangement.

    3. Tania

      Well said, being the special guardian for my 3 grandchildren has been truly rewarding but severely hindered by having to supervise contact with the parents. I am fraught and emotionally exhausted by the parents inadequacy to behave like adults and clearly see the detrimental impact had upon the children. I have time and again asked children’s services to intervene and arrange supvised contact, but alas to no avail.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I am sorry to hear that. You must protect your own health as you are caring for 3 children. You cannot be forced to supervise contact if the parents are behaving badly. I would suggest putting the ball in their court and saying that you will make the children available for contact but only IF it is properly supervised, and due to their bad conduct, you can no longer be that person.

      2. helensparkles

        This guidance tells you about post SGO support

        You might also want to look at which is the website of the National Association of Child Contact Centres, you can search by area, and they are staffed by volunteers.

        I don’t know any LAs who have the capacity to supervise contact post SGO, that doesn’t mean none do, I just don’t know any that do unless it is in a contact order and that is uncommon.

    4. Melissa smith

      Hi I’m also an sgo, the child’s parents were granted 6 visits a year, but it was ultimately my choice if I deemed the situation suitable for the child, in the end after abuse to me and them thinking I had to do what they say I refused to meet with them until they had sorted there issues out, after all its not about what they want its what’s best for the child and being around them at that point was not what a child should be around, I was supported with my decision, from SS, and told it was my decision, ultimately we get all the crap, when we are the ones that have gone out our way coz of the parents mistakes, it’s not easy task taking on a child that has been through this situation for all involved, I moved house for an extra room, had to buy a bigger car, and also had my own young children to think about, once the parents are stable I’m more than happy for him to start seeing them again,

      1. Sally P

        Hello Melissa

        I too have a SGO and stopped contact. I also have my own children and have yet to meet anyone who has a SGO and isn’t a grandparent. After 5 years we are finding it really, really difficult. How do you cope?


        1. Elizabeth B

          My daughter lost two children via an SGO granted in favour of her abusive ex partner’s sister. The sister is a female version of the partner but able to pull the wool over SS eyes, apparently. This has only just happened so I dread to think how my daughter will have contact with her children (three years and one year old) when the sister is barely willing to speak to her and blames her for the abuse she suffered.

          1. Sam

            Unfortunately certain types of people can play the game very well, to the detriment of the children. I am not a lawyer, but if there is an order allowing contact to take place, this is what should happen. If it doesn’t get the matter back into court ASAP. it is important from your side to try and maintain the contact as the type of person you describe may try and alienate the children from the maternal family. Sorry not to be more positive, but I do know the behaviour of this type of person first hand, and their controlling is absolutely nothing to do with the welfare of the child and everything to do with they are bullies

      2. Laila

        Well hang on that’s your choice it’s what you do you take payment you have restbite and very good have no idea what happened to them family s and sw will allways side with you how dare you speak like that did you speak like that in front of mum a dad of so we’re you the problem children should come first how old were the children this whould have a big inpack on the children there life’s are changed forever never to be the same never to be told I love you cuddles extra and why were you in visitation you shouldn’t need to be there they should be dropped off piked up council worker watches over why put your self in that situation but to say there mistakes exactly huw are you to judge no one your job is wha5 it says you get a very good wage and if they come with there problems you will receive more money and if you felt you couldn’t cope the word is no moveing home that’s your decision same with car but if this is your thinking I actually believe you should quit humanity compassion and open mind don’t beli eveything your told

        1. Sarah

          I have applied for an SGO for my granddaughter, which mum is supporting, as she placed her in our care voluntarily. There is NO payment available, considerable cost to us, and nothing but years of difficulty ahead with providing contact with all extended family. This child will be much loved at great sacrifice by us-you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

    5. Judith

      I have sgo of my sisters son she has recently got c100 form because she wants more contact, we don’t get legal aid. Not sure what to do he starts school in September so giving her more contact will be difficult. There doesn’t seem like there is much support for special Guardian after the first 6 months.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        The LA should have set out a package of support they were going to give you at the time the order was made. Have you got someone at the LA you can ring and ask for some advice/help? As you are SG you get the final say on contact so provided you aren’t being completely unreasonable, hopefully the court will support your position, if you do end up there.

        Could the LA help organise a round table meeting, to see if you can sort out the problem without going to court? Or have relationships broken down already?

    6. James

      {I have removed this comment James as it is simply abusive and serves no purpose other than to abuse}

  3. Deborah Nelson

    I can offer a family legal paperwork service to Litigants in Person. I am really interested to know if there is a market for this. I offered a local family legal paperwork free service to people but it didn’t have much of a takeup. Any comments would be helpful, I’m a former solicitor now working as a McKenzie Friend and also considering setting up some online courses to help people representing themselves.

    1. Michelle

      Hi on the 29th January 2016 my then 2 year old twin girls were placed with paternal grandparents with a SGO. I see them once a fortnight without fail and all contacts have been positive. They have also all been supervised by their grandma. I’ve asked if it can progress to me seeing them on my own as that is meant to be the way forward, they said “no because contact has to be facilitated by them” Am I right in thinking facilitated means they help with contact and help to sort out contact as in where when n how but doesn’t mean supervised? Please can you help me

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        You would need to look carefully at how the original order was worded. There can be confusion about ‘supervised’ ‘supported’ and ‘facilitated’. ‘Supervised’ means that someone has to be with you; supported/facilitated usually means just that someone is going to help you set up the contact but not usually that you have to have another adult with you. Problems arise when people mix the words up. It seems clear the PGP think that they are under a duty to supervise you. What does the order say?

        But if contact is going well, then hopefully everyone can agree that it may not need to be strictly supervised. Can you compromise and ask for half the contact not to be supervised, and see how this goes? But if the order is very strict they may have to go back to court and ask the judge to change it.

    2. Angelo Granda

      Yes, I do believe your service is needed.
      Many parents find the paperwork too much for them and appeals ,especially, impossible on their own due to the tight schedules.
      Recently, when one parent applied for care-order discharge using a solicitor, the paperwork was returned for amendment three times .This means professionals are having trouble too!
      Can you let us have your contact details?

    3. sky123

      Daughter is with my sister on a sgo has been with her 3/4 yrs due to dv with her dad. I’ve made a lot of changes and adressed the issue’s that the local authority was concerned about and more, also have plenty of written letters from health professionals and so on.. I have no contact with her dad at all he’s completely out my life. As that was a concern.. my sister deals with him. She is more them happy to come to court, I’ve also been with my partner for 2yrs he’s a good man and works hard, he has no criminal background and no dv at all.. I have my daughter from Friday to Sunday then every holiday. I’ve had her for a full six weeks, I’ve lived in my new home for two years so I’ve been able to give her that stability and love she needs. She has her own bot in my room. My daughter makes it clear to my sister/family/school that she wants to be back with mummy. I’d be more then happy for them to come inspect. I’ve been told court cost can be paid for but I have to set up payment plan with solicitor.. just hoping this will be enough to get my little girl back. She’s been gone since she was 3 and she now 7, I’ve had time to change my life and circumstances and I feel like I have proven I’m capable and not a liability.

    4. Samantha

      My children are with my mother and father on special guardian ship I have been having unsupervised contact with them at my new home for 6 months they have been with my mother and father a year august just gone I’m trying to progress to picking them up from school and having more than once a week unsupervised contact I was in a domestic violent relationship my only relationship , they got taken in to care in January 2015 I have known where the children’s foster placement was from day one I was no risk and was told I was a good parent it was just that I let him back in to see the children , I feel that my mother and father will
      Not let me progress any more before they are scared I have a good fighting chance of them coming home I just need advice to where I stand in this as I feel worthless cause I have a good relationship with my mother and father and they are brilliant with my kids I don’t want to fight against them but they told me they will never give them back because I put them in this situation and its my fault but other times they say you did nothing wrong its messing my head up all I want is to have a life with my kids that begg to come home every week 🙁

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        The difficulty is that SGOs are supposed to be ‘permanent orders’ i.e. meant to last for the whole childhood. So is is difficult to discharge them and courts won’t do it lightly. But if there is a real change in your circumstances, you have having unsupervised contact and the children want to be with you, it is probably worth talking to your parents and see if you can reach any agreement between you about changing the order. It’s often better to avoid contested court hearings if you can.

    5. Merisha pinnock

      Hi my husband and I was foster carers for a sibling group for a year before our SGO was granted. We were quickly given the SGO order within three months. We tried our best with the children, however the Placement has broken down for one of the children. She needs therapeutic care and is unwilling to get help. We also have our own children to consider as she is belligerent and disruptive to the household. The Most disturbing issues are her making herself very vulnerable as she often has missing episodes. It is a complex case as the parents never had contact with the children which was a part of the care order. However this has had an detrimental affect on this child in question and she is needs more help than I can give. It has gone beyond parenting and she is unwilling to work with us. Social services are very unhelpful and condescending. We feel she would have more access to help if she was in care. We have tried for ten years to make this work but we are now spent. Please can you help us discharge the SGO.
      Kind regards
      Merisha pinnock

    6. Sally Blackaby

      I was wondering if u could contact me as really in a hard place with gaining access and phone calls to my children as stated in a order the grandparents dont tell me anything with regards to my children they have been away from me now since 2012 and would love them to be able to stay in my new home I’ve been in for 5 yrs, my name is sally and I need ur help if u are still doing this sort of thing

    7. Zara Shelton

      I’m currently trying to fight an sgo which was given to my mother 5 years ago over the last 2 years she has been abusing my son because she dislikes his father. Social services keep closing the case without investigation. Although my children have admitted they are getting abused.
      I was abused by my mother as a child.
      I have made alot of changes and now they are refusing to help with access with no explanation as to why and I’m now applying to the courts for help.
      As a mother who fled domestic violence there is no help in the system for us when we know are children are in trouble yet we cant do anything…
      I was never told about any of this when the social granted the sgo I never understood what this actually ment.

    8. Michael Tunney

      Hi Deborah,
      I have just read your offer to help with paperwork etc regarding SGO, I am in a different situation to the other people with SGO problems. My story in short I accepted an SGO having previously fought to be accepted as a Kin Ship foster carer at some expense to myself, the local authority and the court kept telling me I must accept an SGO I continued to refuse while the children’s future was being decided by the court, I realised SGO would be detrimental when compared to being a Foster Carer at the final court hearing the court appointed Childrens Guardian took me in one of the interview rooms and said if I did not accept an SGO she would recommend that my 2 year old grand daughter be adopted blackmail perhaps. having bonded with the child there was no way i could risk the child being taken out of our care. Four children were involved and one of the is the reason for this message. He has psychological problems and has multi agency input. I am at my wits end and need to be relieved of the SGO responsibility because it is having an adverse affect on my health and mental well being, please can you advise me on how to rescind the SGO

      Kind Regards,

  4. Mike

    Im now 15, i was taken away due to my mums mental health when i was about 7-8. it has been many years and my mum has become much better. i want to apply to go and live with her as i find where i live now horrible. and would like a fresh start. My question is would i get a say in the matter being under 16. My mum wants me to come home and is going to apply for a discharge

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      As you are 15, the courts should listen to you very seriously. Your views won’t necessarily decide the issue but you are old enough for them to carry a lot of weight.

      You could apply to get your own solicitor and join your mother in the application. Do you have an advocate, or someone you can talk to in the local authority? (I am assuming you are currently in foster care?)

    2. helensparkles

      It’s good to hear your mum is doing better now and she can think about a revocation of the Care Order. If I assume you are in LA care, you can talk to the Children’s Rights Officer (CRO). They are employed by the LA but their role is advocacy for children in care. The CRO will also be able to support you to find a solicitor to represent you. I realise you might not feel that anyone in the LA is independent, but my experience of CROs is that they are much more independent of the social work teams than your IRO for example, so I would give it a try.

      Your social worker will know who the CRO is, as will the fostering social worker, and your IRO – depending on who you have the best relationship with and want to ask. But you don’t have to involve any of them. It should be fairly straightforward to find out who the CRO is – if I Google my LA + Children’s Rights Officer, the right name comes up. You can just try phoning the main switchboard for your LA and asking for them by title, they should be able to give you the name and number.

      I don’t of course know why you don’t like where you are, it would be reasonable to just not like being in care, but the CRO can help you with any problems there as well.

  5. kymthomas

    i have two children who are currently residing with my mother (maternal grandparent) i recently split up with the childrens father due to years of domestic abuse, social services were not involved during the 8 years of my abusive relationship but became involved a few months later due to me having a bit of a break down not knowing what to do with my time as i was never allowed to socialize/go out or even meet friends. so eventually the freedom got to me and i lost all control of what was going on in my life, i was drinking and taking drugs none of which was around the kids but i was still doing it. anyway cut a long story short social services were getting reports off people saying that i was partying and taking drugs around my kids (which i wasn’t). my kids have always been looked after their father did not want them so i was always the main carer for them even when their father and i were together so when we split i was able to cope with looking after them, they were always fed i never layed a finger on them but they missed a few odd days off school. my mental health is still going down hill but the kids are still my priority Evan though it was hard for me to function throughout the day especially when i didn’t know i was going through a breakdown until social services advised me to let the children stay with my mother until i was feeling well enough to look after them, which i agreed as i didn’t want to disrupt their life anymore than what it was. after that i was trying to sort myself out going to appointments etc we had a conference meeting on which everyone attended their come to the conclusion that the children where suffering from emotional abuse. i couldn’t really argue with that as i was an emotional mess myself so i went with it so the children where appointed to reside with my mum. 8 months has now passed and i’m doing really well seeing the children on a regular attending all my appointments going on the specific courses social services has appointed me to so in my eyes i’m heading up and there’s light at the end of the tunnel but now for some unknown reason social services are making my mother apply for a special guardianship order which means the children will reside with her until they are 18, although you can appeal this order many have been successful so i really don’t understand that if i’m doing everything they ask me to do i don’t drink anymore or take drugs I’ve just started work too. so why after everything i have done to better my life so i can better my kids lives and eventually have them back have social services felt the need to apply for this SGO? i am doing my own research on this matter but very little is on the internet to do with the parental rights on trying to stop an SGO going through or what grounds the local authority have to have before making an application for an SGO. If anyone knows anything that will help me id be very grateful.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I would guess – but can’t possibly know, without seeing the relevant papers – that the LA don’t have as much faith as you do in your recovery. They have to take a cautious approach because if they get it wrong, children are at risk. I know this is very frustrating when you feel you are doing everything that is asked of you and are doing well. What does your mum think? If she is persuaded to apply for an SGO you can go to court and argue against it – but I appreciate it is very difficult when it is family involved and court proceedings can often end up making things worse. I think you need to understand the precise arguments the LA are making – have they provided you with any paperwork? Notes of meetings?

      1. Angelo Granda

        Please help us out? You are saying that Social Services are ‘ making’ your Mum apply for an SGO.
        I don’t believe the Local Authority have the power to make her apply for anything! You and she should consult the Family Rights Group (FRG) website which issues all the advice sheets about SGO’s you will need.
        I can only guess that both you and your Mum attend Looked after Children reviews every six months. It is the purpose of the reviews to ‘review’ the ongoing situation, as the name implies, and if you are recovered , the IRO has a duty to reunite the child with you if possible.
        Thus you should not really need to go to court in theory.
        Have you raised the question of a reunion at the reviews? Is Mum supporting it?
        Are there alternatives to continued separation? Could you move in with Mum if only temporarily?
        I suggest you contact the FRG and get an independent advocate asap.Otherwise your rights ( and those of the child) may be ignored.
        There are tests which can prove you are off drugs etc.

        1. Lilly may

          Social services have to got my mother to apply for a SGO … Instead of taking it to court themselfs under PLO they have payed for my mum to do it meaning that unlike under PLO legal aid isn’t available as its classed as a private court matter according to all the solicitors I have been too.

      2. James

        The la day they have it right sometimes and still a child is at risk the Social workers [I am redacting this as abusive and serious allegations made with no evidence. If you object to be being called a liar, don’t do this.]

  6. Angelo Granda

    There may not be any Looked After Children reviews because your children are not actually looked after by the LA, are they and there is no order.
    Are the LA threatening to apply for a care-order for some reason? Perhaps because you had the breakdown?

  7. sue

    Am facing a court battle for my 8-year-old. The LA has applied for a care order and has also suggested that the foster carers want to seek for SGO. I have not agreed to this as I am hoping the judge will have mercy and give me supervision order instead. My child is in care as I drank on the day she was taken into care. iI have been sober for 9 months and I am so determined to stay that way in the long term. However, this is the third time my child has been removed from my care due to alcohol. The third time I took a hair strand test which was negative showing that I was not using alcohol excessively. Am not proud, of the impact I have caused to my daughter. Please advise.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      It isn’t possible to advise you or anyone about your particular situation on this site as all the information I have is this short paragraph. I can only make some general points which may or may not apply to you. You really need to sit down with a lawyer in real life and have a proper conversation about your options, but I appreciate that is not always easy to do if you don’t qualify for public funding for legal representation. But if you are talking about a supervision order, I assume you are in care proceedings, so you should qualify for non means, non merits tested public funding.

      Generally, the fact that anyone’s child has been removed three times for the same problem, I am afraid makes it very, very unlikely that you are going to convince any judge to return that child. Everyone deserves at least once chance, some people deserve a second chance but a third or fourth chance is rarely granted. This is because the impact on a child of not having a stable and consistent home during childhood can be very serious and cause harm to their emotional development that will last all their life.

      However, if you have been sober for 9 months then you have done really well – all I can ‘advise’ is that you go to court and tell the judge what you have done and explain why you would not let alcohol get in the way of your parenting in the future.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I don’t think you automatically get it as these aren’t care proceedings. I think it is both means and merits tested – i.e. you have to have a very good case and you have to be very poor. But you would need to speak to a solicitor about this -it’s not my field of expertise.

    2. James

      I am sorry discharge of sgo is private law so no legal aid this is done so that it’s difficult for parents to rectify the mistakes that the la always make it costs a fortune which is why the la pick on the weak and poor and do this to innocent people who can’t afford a solicitor there scum sum of the earth and I think that legal aid should be available but it’s not if your a sgo carers then hand the child back and remove the order before you hurt the child emotionally if your a victim of the la then look out for legal clinics and get as much advice as possible you can get the court fees waived though so all is not lost good luck

  8. Huxley

    We fostered for a few years. Our first placement broke down when normal teenaged angst was exacerbated by a life story that I won’t post here. It broke our hearts and we subsequently resigned as foster careers.
    We maintain contact and supported with our ex-foster daughter (and I use daughter as oppose child deliberately as we treated her as such) as much as we can. Whilst it was clear we could not really control behaviour, we hoped that the few years we spent providing a loving family home and our ongoing support would influence a young mind and her moral compass; I do think to some extent it has.
    A few years after the placement broke down or foster daughter fell pregnant within an abusive relationship and we effectively rescued her, circa six month pregnant, from a refuge.
    We gave her a place of safety, aka our home, and worked hard with the Local Authority but couldn’t offer a mother and baby placement as we could foresee it would jeopardise the relationship we had with her if things went wrong and also that we would effectively be parenting both. We both work fulltime in demanding jobs.
    The Local Authority provided two opportunities of a mother and baby placement but both failed and the new born child was placed in an independent foster placement. We supported our ex-foster daughter through the care proceeding and after some discussion with all parties concerned took the decision to pursue an SGO for the offspring child; we were approaching the 26 week threshold. All parties supported the SGO and it was granted.
    After 12 months of holding the SGO the mother has fallen pregnant again and as is demanding unsupervised contact and seeks her return.
    I’ve read all the information about ‘significant change of circumstances’ etc. but we feel we are now between a ‘rock and a hard place’.
    We long for our foster daughter to be happy and have the family unit she calls her own and a child in her care but her current pregnancy (not to the same farther as the first child, but neither is he present or willing) is immediately subject to invoked proceeding by the Local Authority.
    We feel stuck because we do hope she can raise this new child and he/she not to be removed by the Authority. We want to support her but in doing so are we effectively proving our foster daughter with the opportunity to discharge the SGO for the child, who has been in our care for over 12 months, should she prove capable of raising child number two?
    It terms of contesting the SGO is our foster daughter entitled to Legal Aid. As we spend over £1000 a month on child care and neither biological parent contribute anything financially so we can’t afford an advocate. Also, the contact arrangements have been placed in the ‘recordings’ of the SGO not a specific Order of Contact, does that reinforce or diminish our position that contact must be supervised.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am so sorry to hear this. Sometimes no matter how much love and support you can offer people, it just isn’t ever enough and that is heartbreaking. An SGO is supposed to be an option of permanence so they won’t be lightly overturned. From even the brief history you give of your foster daughter, I am afraid I wouldn’t be optimistic that she is going to turn her life around to the extent required. She will not automatically get legal aid to apply to overturn any SGO, as far as I am aware. Only parents in care proceedings get non means, non merits tested public funding. If there is no contact order from the court, then you as holders of ‘super PR’ get to decide what to do about it – so if you say contact has to be supervised, that is your decision, unless and until a court overrides it.

  9. Lilly may

    My children where placed with my mother in may “voluntarily” (due to domestic abuse) while me and there father did a contract of expectations. During the time of the 8weeks given me and the father separated. We have been separated since July. I have done all what was in my agreement (which even social services have said I have completed it all) I now have UNSUPERVISED contact 3 times a week and any extra my mother allows. There was never an issue with my parenting or drink/ drugs. Neglect ect it was due to the impact of domestic abuse. Like I say we have been operated since July yet social services last month have paid for my mother to privately apply to court for a SGO (at there request and advise) the reports ect have to be in for court in December , ready for the hearing in January … By which point we will have been separated for 6month. I am also due to have another child on the 4th of December which social services are letting me keep. My mum for some reason still has it in her head that once the baby’s born the children will start to come back home to live with me. She seems oblivious to what the SGO means

    1. Lilly may

      Nor do I understand when iv showed changes that they can after separating and after completing my contract of expectations they can now go for a SGO especially in January and after letting me keep the baby due in December!

    1. helensparkles

      Or she could just speak to an actual lawyer, she would need one to make an SGO application regardless of the LA supporting her or not.

  10. Eudora Phillips

    Hi just wondering I have been a sgo for last 15yrs for my niece she has decided she no loner wants to stay with me an is residing at my mother’s her grandmothers. She does not want to come back and her behaviour is affecting my other two children. It’s difficult for me but I want to withdraw from my sgo but social services said if I do so it’s automatic procedure to open a case on my two children which I am unhappy about. My children have no problems at home or school but I don’t want social services intervening I just want to close my sgo is this possible or am I stuck with two options keep going for next 3 years or try withdraw an have social services involved in my own children’s lives I am totally lost an feeling depressed

    Many thanks for reading

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I don’t think it can be right to say that asking to discharge the SGO means an ‘automatic’ investigation into your other children. I assume your niece is at least 15 years old by now? So she is certainly old enough to ‘vote with her feet’ and it certainly makes no sense for you to continue with an order which isn’t in fact being obeyed. But in the circumstances, whether or not the order is formally discharged, in reality it is ineffective and it is ineffective because the child will not longer accept it – so it can’t be your responsibility. So if you are really worried that a formal discharge of the order might lead to investigation then I can’t see any harm in just letting the situation alone. Just make it very clear to the LA that your niece is making her own decisions and you can’t control that.

    2. helensparkles

      With an SGO you have the balance of PR so can make a family arrangement for your niece, which is what you have done. Children’s services won’t be interested in that, 15 year olds vote with their feet, and (unless there is any limited capacity) have the competence to make that kind of decision. Keeping the SGO in place doesn’t mean your niece has to live with you if you think it is better for all that she is with your mother and she is ok there.

      Revoking the SGO legally does put children’s services in a different position, because they placed your niece with you. This would mean ‘opening a case’ but, unless there are any concerns, this would be the completion of an assessment rather than an investigation. The extent it would involve your children would be limited unless your niece gives SW a reason to be concerned about them. It won’t be a fishing expedition and you would be asked for your consent for any checks they want to make.

  11. Angelo Granda

    Sarah, this is not a blog is it? I don’t read blogs normally.
    The only one I have taken a look at in years is Sam’s new one but I doubt if I will be a regular reader.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I think its a mixture of website and blog. I try to update general factual stuff, but I also post my own and other’s personal views; which is more blog territory.

  12. looked_after_child

    I’m grateful for the blog-ish opportunity Sarah. I am not in a position to have a web presence in my own right yet I want to effect change so thank you

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Start a blog! its easy! And I have found Twitter quite useful for trying to spread the word.

      1. Sam

        Looked -after-Child It is easy to start a blog, if I can do it anyone can . Email me if you get stuck, though I just Google when I get stuck.

  13. looked_after_child

    I get around a surprising amount – I recognise the web presence of more and more people I’ve met at APPG (Autism, Children, Dual diagnosis) and various events – ( Autism, stakeholder consultations and the Care system mostly) and usually for professionals. I always stand up and do my best to ask a killer question and say why the answer matters. I wear lots of ‘hats’ I’m the ONLY natural parent on the SCIE study into mental health support for looked after children ( says it all really – everyone else is saleried so paid to work with these children – well meaning but a whole industry in itself, yet I had to fight like you would’ent believe to be ‘a stakeholder’ as obviously are Mums are abusive and neglectful) Mums with children who entered Care are never meant to be listening to the conversation and certainly not contributing to the debate and that is where I challenge (and others do too such as Sam). A big media presence can bring out a nasty streak in people and I do’nt want to go there plus this stuff is sometimes quite raw and you have to be able for it…..Anyway enough said -Have a good evening

  14. June

    I have SGO for my 5 1/2 year old granddaughter.
    We are now looking at dissolving the SGO so that she can live permanently with her BP.
    She is my son’s daughter and the issues surrounding the SGO were to do with her mum. She has always had regular contact with her bp and has been living with them for just over a year.
    We have regular written reviews, which are done between myself and her bp and the local SS are aware that she is living with them.
    Mum has really turned her life around and completed a 2 year college course and has definitely sorted out the eating issues she had! Lo has 100% attendance in her first year at school and things are going really well.

    How do we go about doing this please?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Her mum will need to apply to the court that made the SGO and you can say you are supporting that. Or you could apply! Either way, someone has to get it back before the court who made the SG order.

  15. Lizzie

    I am hoping someone can help me. My partner and I have had his grandchildren under SGOs since they were 6 months and 8 months old. We also have a child of our own but we are not married. The children do not see their biological parents much but we are in contact (me more so than my partner). Under the financial pressure, working full time and having no time to ourselves our relationship has sadly broken down to the point where I feel we may need to live separately. However, I am unsure of my legal rights in terms of being able to keep the children. Would my partner have a stronger case as the paternal grandparent or would we be given equal standing? I desperately want to keep the children together and would hope that my partner would act responsibly and in a civilised manner but from initial discussions I suspect he will fight to keep his grandchildren. Both of them know me as mummy and think of our biological child as their sister and it breaks my heart to think of losing them. I have a very good relationship with my partner’s ex wife and her family and would happily continue to facilitate contact with the parents (I.e. her son and partner). Does anyone know who I can speak to or if I would need to talk with Social Services in the first instance?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am sorry to hear that. If you can’t reach any agreement between you and your ex then I am afraid you have to go to court. I don’t think that you need to contact social services; SG orders are ‘private’ law orders, which means they are orders made between two individuals, rather than a ‘public’ law order like a care order which is made between individuals and the state (the local authority). If the local authority no longer have any involvement in your life, then the courts should treat you just like any other parents who can’t agree on where the children should live. I don’t think that the biological connection should be treated as more important than the actual relationship the children have with the adults in their life. I think you do need to speak to a solicitor to get an idea of what you need to do. I assume that if you are splitting up there might also be issues of property/finance you need to sort out, but I can see you state you are not married.

  16. Tom

    Hello, I really need some advice. It’s abit of an odd case: the special guardian is the child’s maternal grandmother, and she has been living with the child and the mother in the same house for 5 years. In a way they have been co-parenting the child. The situation that led to this decision is completely different now, both the special guardian and mother herself are happy to pass custody to the mother, so they can move out with her partner. But we do not know how to begin revoking. Who do we speak to? Do we just walk into a court and ask? Any help or advice would be really appreciated.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      you will need to make an application to the court that made the SG Order. Do you know what court that is? If you don’t, just go to your local court and ask them for the right form to fill in. There may be a charge to process the form. The court staff can’t give you any legal advice but they can hopefully point you to the right form.

      this might help with finding forms

      this might help you find the court

      But remember that a lot of courts now don’t have any counter staff available after lunch or even won’t do drop in appointments and you need to ring and make an appointment to issue an application. So check before you go!

  17. Mrs N

    I have some very specific questions about process. I have had an SGO for a grandchild for approx 12m but the child has been resident with me for approx 24m. The SGO was awarded as an outcome of care proceedings. Children’s Services have remained involved with a 12m Supervision Order (to monitor and assist with contact arrangements rather than concerns about the viability/quality of the SGO placement).

    The mother has reported, informally, that as soon as the Supervision Order is discharged (end of month), she intends either to apply to revoke the SGO, or to have the contact arrangements changed significantly (although there is no Contact Order so my understanding is that she would make an application for such). She appears to have recently made some positive changes but I am concerned about the extent and sustainability of these – Children’s Services advice thus far has been that I should be very cautious about increasing the frequency of contact or allowing it to be unsupervised, and the SGO is their ‘permanence’ plan. Unfortunately, relationships are strained and mistrustful.

    I understand that the first step a parent would take is an application for leave to apply to revoke the SGO and I’d like to know what actually happens next. I understand that the Court (ie a Judge) would determine whether to allow a full application to be made on the basis of a case made by the applicant parent but would all parties to the original proceedings as named on the Order be informed (which would include the local authority and CAFCASS in our case) or just those with PR? Would there be a hearing at this stage, or any other opportunity to submit evidence and/or a statement? Would there be an expectation of mediation beforehand?

    I have been unable to find this information elsewhere in the internet and hope you are willing to help!

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The court should list it for a preliminary hearing as the mother will need the court’s permission to make the application. I think you will be the only other party but I think the LA ought to be informed as well, but the court can look at all this at the first hearing. I don’t know how quickly your local court can list anything so there may be a few weeks before the application and turning up at court. I don’t think the court will want any written or oral evidence from anyone at the first hearing but check what the court sends you and what they require.

  18. Lisa H

    My son is currently living with my mum under a sgo. He was placed with her last year after I suffered a serious sexual assault. He cries every time I have to leave him and tells me he wants to live with me. He’s seven with autism so the social services didn’t try to hear his wishes. I’m currently homeless at the moment so couldn’t safely house him, but hoping my circumstances will improve soon. When I’m settled how much weight will my sons wishes have when it comes to removing the sgo? Or will we have to wait until he is older? My mum wants us to be reunited but is worried my son will be put in care if she agrees with me and my son. Also our separation has caused us both trauma, is there any counselling for us as a family to help us cope?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Sorry, counselling available for family members in this situation is – so far as I know – pretty much non existent unless you can pay privately. But it might be worth contacting your GP and seeing what he/she can refer you to.

      If you can get secure housing and your child wants to be with you and your mum supports this, it would definitely be worth exploring what can be done. However, its not easy to overturn SGO as they are meant to be permanent options. However, you could at least make sure there is a good regime of contact in place even if you can’t succeed in getting your son living with you.

    2. Angelo Granda

      Lisa H, Who was it who suggested that because you suffered a serious sexual assault that you were unable to care for your son? Was it the Local Authority lawyers?
      I doubt whether any social worker would be so inhumane; it must have been the Local Authority. Surely the Social Worker reported to it that your son was crying and begging to be returned to his Mum and it was passed on to the Court? Did it tell all the expert assessors involved? Or did it forget? Or worse still, did it dishonestly state he was happy and thriving without you? What did the Guardian think about it?
      Did the Judgment specifically state that the SGO was meant to be a permanent option or is that just one of the arguments which Local Authority lawyers may use to support the continuation of the great pain ,mental suffering and degradation forced upon your son?
      I understand that adoption orders are permanent but I’m not sure about SGO’s.
      I suggest you get a good lawyer willing to argue SGO’s aren’t intended to be permanent and one who will visit your son ( perhaps at a contact) and bear witness to your son’s wishes.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Angelo, SGOS ARE meant to be a permanent option. That is why they are difficult to unpick.

        1. Angelo Granda

          I respect your assertion re-SGO’s and permanent options, Sarah. I understand perfectly that L.A.s and CP professionals award themselves the power to make all sorts of dictat like that one based upon their own professional opinions but the question is ” Do they act lawfully?”

          We have already discussed and agreed that the very word ‘permanence ‘ has been adopted and used as ‘jargon’ by these people to mean until a child is 18 but I have suggested to Lisa H. that she engage a lawyer willing to question such an abuse of power. Clearly , her child wants to go home to Mum and Grandma supports reunification ,if possible.

          The problem is with professional jargon like ‘permanence’ ,Sarah arises when the LA flouts legal guidelines and safeguards and ignores its duties. For example, it does not inform vulnerable families of plans for children, keep them suitably informed or explain issues to them. Neither are families given the chance to express agreement or disagreement or contribute . When the LA does this and when the Judge does not stipulate strict time scales ,it renders the Court decision unlawful .It should never be that children are parted from Mums unlawfully. They should be included and kept informed ( according to Munby and other Judges like Mc Farlane. Especially they should have care-plans explained fully to them.
          Many parents would appeal lower court decisions immediately were it explained to them that these SGO orders and foster-care plans were permanent. They are conned by the professionals who assert down the line that the plans are to last until a child is 18. ‘Conned’ is the right word for it .Foster-care and special guardianship is ,IN REALITY, temporary. Even foster-carers understand they are to care for children only until they can be returned to parents. Other wise they would become unofficial adoptive parents.
          Parents need lawyers to argue the legality of these issues rather than make assumptions.
          Sarah, have you any idea why so many parents appear to make comments and ask for advice but only once? They don’t acknowledge replies or follow up queries.I suspect that, as in one particular case I know of, the parent’s solicitors advice to a parent was to steer clear of this resource and the FRG and other internet sites. Parents are warned off!

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            It is not a ‘self awarded’ diktat. It is a matter of law. SGOs were devised to be an option of permanency. That is what the law says. That is the law that Parliament enacted. Nothing to do with the lawyers.

          2. Angelo Granda

            But we already know that ‘permanency’ is professional jargon and I am suggesting that the law is arguable in this respect . Obviously, I am also suggesting parents need a good lawyer willing to argue in this child’s favour in order that his wishes are granted not one who goes along with such professional opinion. The child has a rights to life with his natural Mum and the law says so. The word permanency is clearly misused by lawyers biased towards Local Authority ulterior motives.
            Lawyers should look into the dictionary (as ordinary parents do) and re-examine the meaning of the LAW they are supposed to be administering and argue points on the behalf of this unfortunate child who is likely to continue suffering until they do so. Permanent means permanent NOT until a child is 18 as Local Authorities would have us believe because the Local Authorities prefer it that way. If return to natural family is possible before then, it should be undertaken as soon as possible ESPECIALLY WHEN the child is distressed as this one is.

          3. Worried

            In our case we were definitely advised by the SW and LA that the the SGO was a temporary measure and had I known a bit more about it I would have questioned it ( or attempted to as I am biological Grand parent)being given solely to one individual, who is very controlling and is now making Decisions which both BP and extended family do not believe are in the interests of the child. What can we do to challenge these decisions? We have all been told by SG that it’s her decision and we can do do nothing about it! Very worried.

          4. Angelo Granda

            Sarah, Please clarify a point. When you say the Law means SGO’s are a permanent option, it is a little confusing . Does that mean it can be a temporary ( impermanent) option or a permanent option depending on the best needs of the child?

          5. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            An SGO is a slightly diluted version of an adoption order. It is to cover situations where Grandparents want to care – that would be odd to call them ‘parents’ which they would be under adoption order. It is also for those religions which do not permit adoption – I understand Islam is one.

            Therefore it is meant to be an option of ‘permanence’. It is meant to be made only in those situations where all are reasonably confident the child will be able to live with the SG for the rest of his/her childhood. It is emphatically NOT a ‘holding position’ for a year or two while mum or dad get it together.

            However, that doesn’t mean that the parents can’t try at a later stage to discharge the SGO. It must means its quite a tough application and you will need a strong case.

          6. Angelo Granda

            Thank you ,Sarah.
            To Worried. If the LA advised you that an SGO was only meant to be a temporary measure and if neither the Social Worker or any of the sets of family lawyers did not inform you either that it was indeed meant to be a permanence plan akin to adoption then I suggest you were conned by all of them.
            According to the Law, of course , family are to be fully involved in care-plans, to be fully informed throughout and on no account must they be mislead like that.
            The LA has flouted legal guidelines, ignored its duties and misled not only you but the Court.
            From Sarah’s comments I gather that Lawyers are able to adapt the meaning of the word permanent more or less as they wish depending on whose behalf they are putting arguments. Permanent usually means just that, for life. They seem to be saying that , for LA’s ,the meaning has been changed to until 18 years. Thus ,I suggest ,as a fellow parent, you get a good lawyer who will argue for you that it is a ‘movable’ option and that the order should be discharged. As Sarah suggests it can be difficult ,don’t forget to tell your new lawyer how you were misled. Perhaps you should have appealed the order at the time.
            It may be difficult now to get the SGO discharged but ,frankly, the LA’s always have a massive advantage due to the imbalance of power and because of bias so you should be very, very careful when choosing a lawyer.
            If you have anything down on paper where the LA and SW told you it was temporary ,show it to the lawyer.

          7. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Angelo, you persistently misrepresent what is said and it isn’t helpful. Of course permanency means only until 18 for children. Because after 18 they aren’t children any more!! they are adults! No parents have a legal or moral right to house/care for children after the age of 18 – bar some exceptions for tuition fees etc – although of course I hope that most parents would still want to be loving and supportive of their adult children for all their lives.

          8. Angelo Granda

            Sarah, I am not mispresenting anything nor trying to be unhelpful. In my opinion the Authorities should not use the word permanence at all unless they mean permanence. If it can mean just until 18 in the child’s best interests then it can also mean until any age in a child’s best interests and possible to return to parents at any age.
            IN REALITY ,in my opinion ,an SGO is not a diluted adoption order , it is more like a foster-placement but because the child remains with family ,the LA don’t have to pay foster-carers and it saves expense. All such placements should merely be temporary. Indeed when the SW told Worried it was ,clearly he or she thought so too!
            This matter of permanence rankles. Who decides that foster placements are to last until 18? I know the Care-orders last until 18 but often it maybe in the child’s best interests to go home before that.
            The Judge doesn’t order fostering until 18.
            Care-plans should be changeable when parents become able to care for their children under a care-order if necessary. It is inhumane to decide on so-called ‘permanence’ without due process in which parents should be fully involved.
            I shall tell you what I think happens and hope I’m not being unhelpful. The Court makes the care-order, the LA abuses LAC Review procedures and a Review ( to which no parent or neutral is invited) decides arbitrarily to make the placements ‘permanent’. The case is then transferred to a ‘permanency’ team without proper, due process. Next LAC review the parent attends, it is too late to do anything about it.
            All comments welcome.

          9. Diane

            The LA are a law unto themselves and definitely in our case conspired against us and used us as scapegoats for their failings to support us when we were SG’s. Their support plan was not worth the paper it was written on and to this day we will never understand why they didn’t work with us to keep the children living with us where they were safe, loved and secure. They have a very strong attachment and bond with us and the LA have caused them emotional harm by what they did.

            After being in our grandchildren’s lives since the day they were born, supporting my daughter and her husband (they are very heavy drug users) and children were on a CPP, my husband and I were made SG s of our 2 grandchildren (aged 3 & 19 mths) in January 2016. Unfortunately due to me becoming ill with 2 viral infections and vertigo, and having sleep deprivation, as they shared our bedroom and the younger one was waking up every night between 2-4 hours, in March we asked the PAST team for some help with respite with the former foster carer (whom they had formed a very good attachment with as she had them for 5 months whilst both families were being assessed) for every 4-6 weeks over a weekend as none of our support network could help as they worked all week and wanted their weekends to rest and recharge. I was phoning the team every other day for about 6 weeks only to constantly be told this was unusual and would have to go to a ‘Panel.’ Meanwhile, my health, both mentally & physically was going downhill as I was main carer as my husband was still workingdue to financial commitments). By May 2016 it had reached a stage where I became so ill and didn’t know what to do that I had to phone Emergency out of hours and asked that if the former foster carer didn’t have a placement could she look after the children as a temporary measure. (I have now lived to regret this and with hindsight my husband and I both realised we should have done things differently and he should have given up work) All I needed was a week or two to get better and then have the children back. The LA took it upon themselves to instigate care proceedings for adoption as they couldn’t go to paternal family as the paternal grandmother and uncle failed the original assessment and there were safeguarding concerns at their house with dad.

            We fought for 10 months in court to get them back but the paternal aunt put herself forward and was given a positive assessment by an ISW but we were told by our Barrister it was flaky and weak, but LA had no choice but to support it as the Judge would favour family over adoption. At every hearing It was awful, noone spoke to us and the Guardian never met with us and used to tut in court when the LA’s Barrister would say we had rejected the children, which was not the truth. We were treated by all the professionals and paternal family with absolute hatred and made to feel the worst people that walked the earth. Our Barrister advised us to not challenge the aunt’s assessment as we would get better contact if we supported it.

            My grandchildren are mixed heritage (Asian Muslim on pat side and white English on mat side).

            In the Final Order there was recommendations from the Guardian and ISW about us having minimum monthly regular contact increasing to firtnightly with staying access and holidays and playing a significant role in the childrens lives but the pat aunt is still punishing us and only allowed us to see them for 4 hours once a month from May – August 2017. (this was the Guardian that made her commit to dates that went into the Irder) She banned us from bringing them to our house, is very jealous of the childrens love and attachment with us, as they run to uswith excitement so decided to reduce our contact to 3 times per year for no valid reason other than fabricated lies about their behaviour after contact etc. we have never had any issues and there were never any concerns when we had fortnightly contact from 10am-5pm when the children were in foster care when the last proceedings were going on.

            The family know how to ‘play the game’with the Judge and children’s services whereas we have only ever been truthful and are still being punished for the placement breaking down through the LA giving no support.

            We have been granted leave for per is soon to apply for a child arrangement order for contact to resume fortnightly for a whole day. The Judge ordered the new social worker to arrange a couple of contacts before the next hearing. The aunt made it as difficult as possible but we saw the children on 8 December for 2 hours with sw observing, sw said it was a very positive contact and then were meant to see them again on 18 December but the aunt cancelled and the sw cannot get hold of her so advised us to wait until next hearing (2 Jan).

            There is a supervision Order attached to her SGO until 31 March. My granddaughter who is 3 now is not settling and is confused. We are worried about the children, we weren’t even allowed to give them their Christmas presents, which they have always celebrated previously. The pat family want to erase the mat family out of the childrens lives, but surely it is their birthright and e en human right to have a healthy relationship with their mat family. They are not seeing mum and there is no life story work being done with them. Can we get the SG Order varied to kinship carer as our worry is that they will be off the radar when the SO is lifted at the end of next March?

          10. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Sorry to hear this. However, you are currently in proceedings with regard to a child arrangement order to resume contact to fortnightly so I hope you can air these issues before the court. Is there any way the LA could help with some kind of family group conference or mediation between family members? It must be a good thing for the children to have a relationship with all the adults who care about them. But if the relationships between the adults break down it is often very difficult for court orders to ‘stick’. It would be good if you and the aunt could reach some understanding but I appreciate this can be very hard.

  19. looked_after_child

    You are doing the right thing staying close to your son in what sounds like very difficult circumstances and your mother sounds great and hugely supportive of both you and your son.

    Our LA has family group councelling that we could access but that was for slightly different reasons.
    CAMHS gives this kind of councelling too but it may be very difficult to access. Your GP can send their patients for councelling but not sure how specialist.
    Could you ask the LA to help you increase your parenting capacity? They might stick you on the Troubled Families Programme and you would get a Family Support Worker that ( in theory, possibly in practice ) would help you access services you need to help you?

    As your son is autistic ( Does he have a medical diagnosis, special support in school?) there will be a lot of things he experiences differently. Where I live there is a very active branch of the National Autistic Society and they organise lots of sessions for families about autism related issues. I know some people do’nt like joining in group activities or feel others will judge them if they open up but I’ve found these groups very inclusive. People don’t judge and you can tell as little about yourself or as much as you feel comfortable with. Not everybody’s life is perfect and parents of children with autism know this more than most.

    If you click on my name above ( it is looked_after_child) it will bring you to my website that hopefully is a source of information about all things child protection and autism related. There is a list of organisations ‘at the back’ that may be able to help with non-autism related support.

    Good luck and keep going so you stay in your son’s life.

  20. looked_after_child

    It is my experience that people will tell you things like “You don’t fit within our service criteria” or ” your chances are very low” or whatever. The key thing is to focus on what you want, and then do all the legwork building from the ground up, working at getting/staying well slowly making one thing better at a time and you will get there.. It may not be the ”there’ you imagined but it will be OK. If you and your son are happy and well, that may be more than enough in itself.

  21. donna brown

    hi whom it may cansider my stepsister and her husband has sgo and the ss seid i can have my children back if i get rid of my ex partner who was adiveive to me so now i do have a good relationship with my new partner i am so happy now. i have moved out of grimsby now i live in bradford so i am what some adive to get my 3 children back

    1. HelenSparkles

      You need legal advice. An SGO is an order which is intended to provide permanence and stability for children, so not only do you need to evidence change, it may depend on how long the children have been with your step sister and her husband.

  22. Diane

    Hi Sarah

    Thank you for your reply.

    We have had FGC’s before and 2 mediation sessions that the LA funded, should have been 4, but the aunt and pat uncle just abuse us at these sessions and have refused to attend any more of them.

    We have done everything we can to make relationships easier with them for the sake of the children but they don’t want to know. It has become a power exercise for them against us, almost oneupmanship as they are fiercely jealous and insecure of the attachmeny the chikdren have with us and are trying to break it. They are not thinking about the childen’s emotional wellbeing, it is a personal vendetta by them to wipe the mat family from their lives. They hate my daughter and will describe her and us in a very negative and derogatory way to the children when they are older so it is vital that we keep the contact so that they know what truly happened.

    The sw is saying the placement is weak and by having too much contact with us it could weaken it even more. Does that sound right? Clearly, there’s something very wrong as they have lived with the pat family for over 9 months and are still not settled and there are 3 adults in the household. The LA always had their doubts and didn’t want the children to go there, hence the SO being attached to the SGO for 12 months.

    When you say it will still be difficult to get a CAO to ‘stick’ because adult relationships are bad, can the aunt still be difficult with contact? If she is hopefully we will be able to enforce it by going back to court? There’s only so many times the aunt can stop contact before it looks so suspicious to the Judge at the nasty game she is playing. Also, can we ask the Judge to consider varying the aunt’s SGO to kinship carer instead through these current proceedings?

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thank you.

    1. HelenSparkles

      When you ask about varying an SGO to kinship carer, you are asking for a court order to be altered to someone caring for a child under fostering regulations, so they are very different things. Whether someone makes an application for a SGO, supported or not by the LA, is often after they have been approved as kinship carers. The only mechanism (Sarah may correct me) I can envisage would be a court discharging the SGO, but the reasons for this would be likely to disqualify someone from being a carer under fostering regs as well.

      It would be better if everyone could act in children’s best interests and it is better for children that all the adults around them, who love and care for them, are able to at least put a face on any differences or disputes. You would be able to return to court if contact arrangements were not adhered to but orders really are only effective if people stick to them. CAFCASS would normally be involved, in terms of ensuring children’s views and wishes are heard in court, and they sometimes ask the LA for a report. If you have any concerns in regard to contact arrangements not being adhered to in so far as this might be comprising emotional abuse, you should raise them.

      People do play games and courts may or may not be suspicious of someone’s aims, but a court really isn’t the best play to try to resolve that. The court has granted an SGO, that means they view the current placement as robust enough to ensure permanency and stability for the children, a Supervision Order gives the LA oversight of that for a time limited period. If there is (what I would call) a whispering campaign against you, it may well destabilise the current placement to pursue contact, proceedings should be able to determine what really is in the interests of the children.

      Mainly this is adults putting their issues aside and children not being exposed to them.

  23. Angelo Granda


    This link is to the Family Rights Group on which website you will find much help and advice including how to go about arranging family group conferences as suggested to you by Sarah above. The FRG also has a telephone helpline which gives advocacy and there is a discussion forum for grandparents like yourself where you can get good advice based on the experiences of others who have faced or are up against similar problems.
    Hope this helps.

  24. Diane

    Thank you Helen and Angelo. I have used the FRG before for advice.

    Helen – thank you for your advice with regards to the implications of varying an SGO to kinship carer, but in our view, and the LA’s, the placement is weak, so of course this would be a safer option for the children, as the LA would still be involved and keeping a close eye on things. The aunt’s assessment was not robust, as I said previously, our barrister had said it was ‘flaky and weak’ and it was, but the ISW and Guardian were so against adoption and what they read from the LA about me becoming ill so thought I couldn’t cope if they returned to us, that the court had no other option but to grant SGO with a SO attached. The LA actually wanted a Care Order attached but we supported the SO and didn’t challenge the assessment (on the advice of our barrister) as he said we would be seen in a ‘better light’ for contact, but I begged him to challenge it but he strongly advised against it, as we predicted this would happen and the family would be difficult with contact.

    The Guardian then visited us after the final hearing for 2.5 hours (after never speaking with us throughout the 10 months proceedings) to say the children are not settling (especially my granddaughter, now 3) and they need to see us and that we should apply for a contact order as she can tell the family will be difficult with contact!. She also said she wished we’d have challenged the aunt’s assessment and now she had spoken with us wished she’d have met us before!

    The irony to this too is that the aunt moved back to the grandmother’s home, where the uncle also lives, and who both failed the original assessment for very good reason, one including safeguarding issues with dad, but grandmother and uncle now support the aunt in caring for the children. Really doesn’t make any common sense at all!

    It is so obvious to us, and everybody that have lived through this with us, that childrens services do conspire against decent people and it is a somewhat corrupt system that ensures ‘backs’ are covered for previous mistakes made by the LA.

    My grandchildren should have been returned to us with sufficient support in place to secure the placement. Instead, they were in foster care for 10 months at a huge cost of public funds abd causing them more emotional damage when they were then uprooted and moved into an unknown world with the paternal family, who are muslim and the children are of mixed heritage and weren’t being brought up as muslims, but because SGO’s have PR they are given the power to do what they like, regardless of whether it is in the best interest of the children. They deserve to know their maternal family. During the assessment process you are asked over again how will you ensure the children know their mixed heritage and we said continually that it is important the children have contact with their paternal family who can teach them that side of their culture and when they were with us the family had telephone contact and contact in the community. Surely this should work both ways?? But how is it being enforced? isn’t, by anyone, so it makes that question totally hypocritical

    We know that the children miss us and want to see us and other members of our family. They are being caused emotional harm and this is wrong. What is being done about it?…nothing.

    Hopefully, and I pray, that the Judge will see this for what it truly is. We have tried everything, FGC’s and mediation, but it is the other family that are causing all of the issues and continually put up brick walls and want to block us out of the children’s lives.

    Could we take this further to the court of Human Rights or ask for a Juducial Review maybe?

    Thank you.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Judicial review won’t help you – it is a challenge to the process of a decision, not the merits of a decision. I think your best bet is to make your case clearly before the Judge in the current proceedings but what you are describing sounds like a complete breakdown of the adult relationships which is not going to be something the court can fix. The best it can do is make an order that contact takes place at certain dates and times but obviously if the other family frustrate this, you will have to go back to court to try and enforce the order and there is a limit to the court’s effectiveness here.

      I agree with Helen – there is no point arguing that they should be foster carers rather than SGOs. If they aren’t deemed suitable to be SGOs I think it vanishingly unlikely that the court would endorse any change to status to foster carers and vanishingly unlikely the LA would approve them as foster carers. The court can’t force this to happen – there are regulations in place that dictate what makes a lawful foster placement and the court can’t override these.

      the bottom line is that the type of order doesn’t matter very much. What matters is where the children live, who has influence over them and how co-operative the adults are going to be. You need to try and put your case in a way that doesn’t make the Judge think that you are willing participants in this ‘battle’ or that you think the LA is simply biased against you. I would worry that this won’t go over very well in court.

    2. HelenSparkles

      “It is so obvious to us, and everybody that have lived through this with us, that childrens services do conspire against decent people and it is a somewhat corrupt system that ensures ‘backs’ are covered for previous mistakes made by the LA.”

      I am really sorry you feel this way. Social work operates within the framework of the law and it does appear to me that it is the legal framework that is your obstacle, that you are in proceedings now, leads to some hope of a resolution. Insisting that other family members or the LA are ‘against you’ will not be helpful. The law does state that children should remain with their family of origin where possible, the LA doesn’t have a choice in looking within those carers, even if it is a ‘weak’ assessment. Without knowing all of the circumstances (& safeguarding issues would of course need to be explored) there is always a balance of risk to children’s wellbeing, development and future outcomes.

      It is always impossible to comment on cases where we don’t have details and you quite rightly shouldn’t give us those details, but a call to an out of hours service for respite is always going to be significant because it is a flag to say you can’t cope. The support available is the support available (& you will never get me to argue it is adequate but … it is what it is) which is why it is so important that your support network is assessed, along with your resilience, and ability to make decisions which will be in the best interests of the children if things go wrong. You have to own your own stuff, hindsight and all.

      It is common to think that the court is the battleground where anything and everything can be disputed, won, managed etc. The court is an arena where people present their evidence and ask for the judge to make a decision, a measured approach

  25. Sam

    “It is so obvious to us, and everybody that have lived through this with us, that childrens services do conspire against decent people and it is a somewhat corrupt system that ensures ‘backs’ are covered for previous mistakes made by the LA.”

    It is a fear based system and it is just as dysfunctional and operates in the same way as any dysfunctional family who may be covering up their shortcomings in public. I have wondered if being insured , means that councils cannot admit liability though.

    1. HelenSparkles

      Just listened to Lemm Sissay saying Wigan apologised to him & he didn’t expect it. It happens more than you think, I’ve heard senior managers say that the LA should be sued. I wouldn’t say LAs always face up to the issues, but I have seen honesty and transparency.

  26. Angelo Granda

    Diane, we are all really sorry you feel like this.It is only too common.The LA in your case fails to follow strict Childrens Act working together frameworks and conduct the case correctly.The Family Court appraisals and decisions were thus not fair and well-i formed.Unfortunately. the only remedy for the children and your family is an appeal to a higher court
    Get yourself a good lawyer and instruct him or her to intervene on that basis is my advice as one parent to another.Any applications to the lower court will rely on the previous wrong appraisals; the LA will co ntinue to conduct the case correctly and deny its past failures. The
    Lower Court will let it get away with it again.
    The only remedy is appeal,I repeat.Unfortunately,leave for appeal is rarely granted.GOOD LUCK but time-scales for children are short.They,all be grown up by the time you get a fair hearing in the lower court.

    1. Angelo Granda

      Correction.The LA will continue UE to conduct its case INCORRECTLY.
      How did it fail?
      It should have arranged the mediation and family conference suggested by Sarah well BEFORE instigation of proceedings.

  27. Laura

    My question is can a special guardians get i to trouble if they gave my kids back ss involvement 4 years

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Probably not if there is no involvement but you ideally should go back to court to discharge the order if it is no longer needed/working.

      1. Laura

        Ok thank you..would it be better to go to court and ask for a variation/arrangement order..As it stands at the moment the children stay with me wed-sun with me picking them up from school on wednesday and returning them sunday evening making sure they attend school thursday friday this arrangement has been going on with the sgs and myself since august 2017.As the sg are family and we all get on very well i would still like them to be very much part of the childrens life.So would i have a better chance for asking the court for the children to live with me full time and the sgo stays in place,this way if at any time the sgs feel that i am not looking after them or coping with the children they can then return then back to themselfs..both my self and the sg are both 100% for this to happen..The way i look at it right or wrong the children come back to me with sgo still in place

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          The SG have ‘ultimate’ PR so if they are happy with this arrangement and it is working well and you are happy with the SGO to continue then its probably fine to leave it as it is.
          If you want the children to live with you full time then that probably undermines the whole basis of the SGO, as the children will not be living with the SGs – in that case there doesn’t seem much point in having an SGO and it ought to be discharged just so everything is clear.
          But if it isn’t broken, maybe you don’t need to try and fix it?
          If you are worried about this then I think you do need to see a solicitor and have them review all the relevant documents in this case. But from what you say it sounds like the current set up is working.

  28. Donna

    Hi I have a little girl on an ago which was put in place just over a year ago. The child is not related to me but is a 4th cousin through marriage to my partner. I have constant issues with mum who’s contact is supervised by me and also issues with paternal grandparents who supervise dad when they don’t get there own way. At the moment my mam is seriously ill fighting cancer we live 120 miles apart and I am looking to move back to care for her I understand it’s my decision and parents or grandparents can’t stop us moving but they are causing so much trouble slating us on social media an threatening to kidnap the child that I’m stuck on what I can actually do by law. Mum has 4 hours supervised per week dad has the same but his parents also get 2 hours on the same day. Any advice would be appreciated thanks

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      you as SG have ultimate PR and if you need to move because your mum is ill, you need to move. You aren’t saying that contact will never happen, its just going to be more difficult to organise, manage and there may be some more travelling. you may need to look at reducing the frequency of contact but making it longer? If the parents and grandparents object to what you are doing they can apply to court if you can’t get an agreement. This will be stressful but hopefully the court will support what you are doing, as you clearly have good reasons for a move.

  29. Jo

    Pls help. My daughter was placed with my mum three years ago. I live with them both and do a normal paretibg role its just in the background and i sign and do everything for my daughter. My daughter was taken due to my mental health. Ive now been stable 5 years and i work in a school and im in a new raltionship with a teacher. I want to move him with him but wont without my daughter coming. Can inapply for residency or do i have to apply for sgo to be canceled. My mum the sg is fully behind me and my daughter 6 wants to be with me. I know im very lucky i still live with my daughter. The guardian thought we cound do it togther. Ty

    1. HelenSparkles

      The SG has the right to make decisions about a child, but you could find this presents problems in the future, because you won’t have the overriding share of PR.

      You should seek legal advice and return to court.

      1. Jo

        Ty court for residency or sgc cancelation? Can it really be done to cancel sgo. Ive made major changes. No self harm for five years no hospital for five years no incidnets for five years. Discharged from mental health. Work in a school with children. Been fully stable. Live and care for my daughter 5 years bow. Minute she born i changed but LA said ine year stable wasnt enough so sgo to my mum. We all live togther and it works but i want to be fully responsible for my daughter. I want to be normal whatsever thats is . I want to love with just me and her yet still of course let grandma play huge part as she done so much for us. Ty for advice

        1. HelenSparkles

          I think you should expect an assessment, Children and Family Services would usually be required to contribute, in the form of a report. Personally, I think maintaining change over a year is evidence of change and I am surprised a court granted an SGO in that context.

          1. Jo

            Ty for your advice. Yes la said a year wasnt long wnough stable and they didnt beleive i could maintain wellness. But its been 5 years now with little support and ive completed phscotherapy also. I have made appointemebt with solicitor for mon the 19th of march she is seeing me for £60 an was same solicitor i used in sgo order so she knows case. Wish me luck!!! Ty for advice

  30. Charlene

    Please help I’m an sgo to my neice but when I signed the agreement I was told it was for 6 to 12 months and if parents were sorted she could go home the way it was explained was if needed would I be willing to care for her til she was 18 I said if worse came to worse yes but honestly it was never put to me that i had made an agreement for 18 years I have 5 children of my own 1 being a baby same age as my neice and I’m really struggling if I’m honest .. her parents my brother and his partner had her removed due to a drug habit but it was agreed in court my neice was always looked after clean healthy and fed it was just the drugs they have both been clean 8 months and provided clean tests and also have a new baby that lives with them we are currently applying for unsupervised access 3 times a week off the local authority … just wondered what they have to do to get her home and what would happen if I was to say that this has all got too much for me I love my neice dearly and it will absolutely break my heart but I’ve bitten off more than I can chew

    1. HelenSparkles

      An SGO is an order which is supposed to guarantee permanency for a child, through to their majority.

      I’m a bit confused about the LA being involved in unsupervised contact, unless they are making a private law application which the LA are writing a report in regard to? The LA no longer have PR, you do.

      If the child’s parents are in court making an application for contact, they will be making an application for a Child Arrangements Order, including who a child lives with can be part of that order.

      1. Charlene

        Hi Helen thankyou for replying met with a social worker today and turns out it isn’t an sgo it’s just a care order were LA make decisions at the last court hearing the L.A. were told to come up with final decision and full term plan for my neice .. We really should have been given the right information I’m feeling a lot better as I’m now on the same page as someone and it’s looking positive they are having a meeting to decide if she can go home or not so fingers crossed now it won’t be a fast solution will do it gradually if they are granted and I’m just going to do my best for my niece in the time being xx

  31. Christina Sapiano

    Currently my sister has an sgo for my two boys. I am at a loss and need advice, as I am in this awful system and situation. I used to have contact 4 to 5 times a week. Due to my oldest sons behaviour my contact has been reduced to 4 hours a week and now supervised. I have paid 2,500 on legal advice, as my circumstances have changed significantly. But I don’t feel I am being treated fairly by social services or the courts. The children want to be with me. But my sister who has the sgo is stopping it. I feel this is cruel and unfair.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am sorry to hear this Christina but unless you can persuade the court to change the order or you can negotiate with your sister, you are stuck. It is difficult to appeal or vary court orders unless there is a very obvious change of circumstances. If you can sit down and talk with your sister that would be best but I can appreciate this is often very difficult.

  32. Victoria Justice

    is there a alternative to an sgo . ss have asked me and my partner to be sgo for a family member(2yrs old)as the mother put our names forward.she has little understanding of the perminancy of the order and thinks once she has her life under control she can just have the child back.after reading up and talking to other people in similar situations i understand its not at all easy to get the sgo cancelled.the mother is young made poor choices but i believe with the right help she could step up and be a good parent

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The only other option apart from adoption is a child arrangements order but often SGOs are preferred as it gives the SG ‘enhanced PR’ and more control. You are right, the SGO is an option of permanence i.e. it is supposed to last for the rest of a child’s childhood so parents should not see it as a temporary option ‘while they get back on their feet’.

  33. Diane johnson

    Hi, was wondering if anyone could offer any advice,I am a sgo to my 6yr old grandson & he has been with me for nearly 2 yrs. I am trying to vary the sgo order by having my ex partners name removed. I have the C1 form but the majority of the form doesn’t apply to me, my ex partner has written a letter stating he gives his permission for his name to be removed & my grandsons mother has also written a letter saying she agrees to have his name removed, would this be enough not to have to go too court ? I do not have any social worker involved.

    1. Angelo Granda

      Look on the links and resources thread and you will see a link to the Family Rights Group ( FRG) which will give you all the advice you need online and it provides a free advice line.Good luck.

    2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I think it would have to go to court but it might be possible to get the judge to change it if you all consent without need for a court hearing, I can only suggest that you fill in an application form and provide the written consents and ask if the court would be prepared to deal with it without the expense of an actual hearing – can’t see any point in anyone turning up in person if all agree.

  34. Amanda Worrall-Arrowsmith

    We are paternal great aunts to a two and a half year old little girl who we’ve had from birth due to our nephew and his wifes DV. We have an SGO on her without a contact arrangement order but it was put in the plan that we would have contact once a fortnight. Contact dropped off at the beginning of the year with them saying leave it this week etc. etc. and when we do have it, it always has to be when and where they say. The mother doesnt bother with her as shes too interested in her horse and the dad thinks its ok to have her on a dirty farm with horses around. They will never go anywhere else and its getting seriously annoying. This little girl calls us mummy and has her own life which tbh is fantastic. Shes’ doing brilliant in her nursery and is really clever, no thanks to them two. They have 8 other kids, 3 of whom shes seen twice this year and her biological sister hasn’t seen her since she was 1 as the mums sister has a CAO on her and doesnt take her to see her dad. The dad has threatened to petrol bomb our house and trash our car, is constantly slandering us, and every time we take her to contact, she is for some reason really unsettled for a day or two. We don’t believe her seeing them is in her best interest and they only want to see her because we have her. They can get their other kids back immediately but they just focus on her. We want to end the SGO and apply to adopt her as we feel it would be for the best, but Ive been told that a court may not do that as it confuses the family structure. We have always been honest with her and would be when she is older and so would tell her why we did it but does anyone know if we can adopt??

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I doubt you would be able to adopt as this is the point of the SGO – it gives you ‘super’ PR but doesn’t extinguish the parents. An adoption order would end any legal relationship between the little girl and her parents. I assume the court made the SGO at the outset for precisely these reasons. Its seen as in her best interests to have these relationships preserved. However, this is just assumption on my part, you would have to get proper legal advice from someone who has all the facts.

      But you don’t have to put up with the kind of behaviour you are getting from her father; that sounds really serious. If he has threatened to petrol bomb your house I think you need to go to the police and report this and I would be very wary about any direct contact with him unless and until he can stop threatening you.

      I don’t think adoption is the issue here – its about protecting this little girl and yourselves about what sounds like a really violent and threatening person. the SGO gives you this power. If there is no contact order, I would stop direct contact until you can be reassured you are all going to be safe.

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  36. Deanne Cole

    Hi everyone im in need of some advice. I lost my son nearly 3 years ago due to being in a dv relationship and during the process i slipped up and had taken drugs 4 times. I ended up breaking down and admitted that it was not safe for my son to return home at that moment in time as i could not keep the ex dv partner away from me and i was petrified of him. In the end to get away from him i had to call the police as i found out something he did that was really bad. I set him up so police could find him and he was then jailed for 8 years. I then started rebuilding My life. My son went to stay with my mum and sister as they lived together in a family arrangement order. Behind my back my sister had applied for sgo and i wasnt aware till i was stood in the courtroom. I didn’t really understand what an sgo was at the time. I was very concerned as my sister doesnt talk to me and over time has became very unreasonable and consistently making changes to agreements to suit herself but not for my sons best interests. My sister does not allow my son to talk about his times with me and shes bin trying to stop him opening up to me. This really upsets him. As you can imagine this has affected my son greatly. We have a fantastic bond and all he wants to do is come home. Ive moved district and im now a qualified accountant. I have made major life changes and im ready for my son to return home. Im currently due to go into court next month to hopefully discharge the sgo order. But a servere incident has happened in regards to my sister whom has sgo. She violently attacked my other sister and her partner whilst at a house party and the children seen everything. My child was not safe guarded at all. Ive reported it to social services as i have no way of communicating with her as she has blocked any form i can contact her with. She refuses to work with me to do whats best for my son. She moved out my mums house in January and since then she will not tell me where my son resides. Im very concerned she has abused her pr powers greatly because of her vendetta towards me. This has impacted on my son whom treasures his mum greatly. . What can i do to protect my son as my sister (sgo) has made it clear she wants nothing to do with me and this is majorly impacting on her decisions regarding my son. She hasnt allowed me to see him on his bday/mothers day/ Christmas nore in holidays. Its absolutely killing me. I have made every effort and even begged her to put our differences aside and work with me to do whats best for my son. My solicitor says ive a great case, infact she said its the best case of change she has ever put to the judge which im so happy about. But im very concerned that my sisters vendetta is directly affecting my son and i dont kno what i can do. After our last contact he asked me to sort out the situation that my sister was violent infront of him. He wants me to protect him and i feel helpless. Ive been calling social for over a year with concerns and not much has been done and now its getting so much more serious. It shouldn’t have happened infront of him he was scared. Any advice would greatly be appreciated. Im still unclear what im allowed to do as my sister (sgo) says she has the last say and thats that there is no reasoning with her. Will my sisters vendetta affect what happens in court.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I think you just have to make sure the court knows what is going on. The situation you describe sounds very damaging for a child.
      Between now and the court hearing I am not sure what else you can do other than make social services aware.
      If you have changed your circumstances for the better than I hope you have a reasonable chance of challenging the order.

  37. Luna

    I have a sgo on a child who has become very volatile with police involvement and I am now fearing for my own safety and the other family members . The LA can’t help with respite so am thinking could I discharge the sgo and would this be considered ?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      It would be one way to force the LA hand. I assume any court hearing that application would have to make the LA parties and they would have little choice but to take the child into care. What a great shame that they can’t offer you any other help.

      1. Luna

        They offered a assessment for support but say respite is not available . She is unable to stay with any friend s or family due to volatile behaviour and risk to others . However they do try and support within are home , however we have had police involvement and now and pressing charges for Abh . As I am black and blue all over . I am devestaed but have no option as I have other children to be considered and safety of everyone . I’d we put her in to section 20 we have been told by the la that they will look into the whole family and our other daughter , I don’t see how that is fair as she has been through enough watching this abuse first hand including a knife attack . How is it correct that we will be in the wrong for saying that we fear for our safety , if it had been the other way Round and we’re worried about her safety they would remove straight away , I am so emotionally drained and in physical pain from this last assault from her . Please help us, I have been in touch with victim support and they are trying to look into are rights as well .

        1. Luna

          They also say long term Camhs but this is not working we have had so many therapies and she does not engage

          1. Sam

            I am sorry to hear what you are going through , but not surprised. I am a birth parent who was also told there was no respite, even though the local authority have a duty under the Children Act 1989, to lessen the need for court proceedings anf for young people to be subject to criminal proceedings. They are using manipulation , by threatening you with investigation of your own child. If this was a personal abusive relationship, (and quite frankly it is BUT being done by a professional’s ), it would be called gaslighting.
            You may get some help about child on parent violence from here : and because you are in a perilous position, I would recommend that you record every conversation with children’s services, it is legal.

          2. looked_after_child

            Hello Luna
            I’m a parent so come from that perspective.

            There is an organisation that may be able to support you here:-

            Can I ask if the child you care for’s mum was using alcohol or drugs when she was pregnant? If so, the child MAY have difficulties as a result. This really does matter because the help for her must be tailored to meet SEN needs ( these are not always obvious – especially for girls)
            This organisation is brilliant for families whose autistic children are violent

            There are others e.g challenging behaviour foundation and Yvonne Newbold

            I cannot say what would work for your family, even if I knew all the circumstances. I do know what it is like to not have the faintest clue how you are going to find a way through the next five minutes, never mind the next five hours or the next five days. It is really important to find an outlet, even if just a supportive forum where you are with people who understand this because they have been through it and are non-judgemental.

            Services are a bit of a runaway train. They take a long time to get going and when they do you cannot pull the brakes even if you do not like the direction of travel.

            This website ( mine!) has some pages that may be of help

            Hope some of this helps

        2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am sorry to hear what you are going through. I have read Sam’s comment and I agree with it. I am afraid that it sounds like the time has come to put your own safety and the safety of other children in the house first. If the LA DO start care proceedings – which I agree sounds very heavy handed – at least you will get a lawyer paid for by the state which may help you argue your case.

  38. Angelo Granda

    Luna,The LA cannot do anything to protect you or the rest of the family from domestic violence,threats or any other alr activity.They will only make an already bad situation worse and if the child is taken into care it will be a disaster for him or her.
    You must press charges and tell the Police to put the child before a Magistrate.It is their responsibility to protect citizens from criminal harm.The criminal court has the power to act and the experience plus the ability to act proportionately and effectively.
    Before sentencing,the court will order reports and they will include psychiatric reports.If the child needs confining ,it has the power to see to it.The court can also arrange for a short,sharp shock,special schooling etc.
    All citizens have civil rights to protection.Insist on pressing charges and rescue the child from having to go into care which will ruin his or her life completely and any future children .
    See the desk Sergeant if necessary; insist on action; don’t let them fob you off!

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      And a child getting a criminal conviction and going into the criminal justice system will NOT be a disaster?!?
      This is really bad advice, in my view.
      You really think the solution here is asking Luna to give evidence in a criminal trial against a child and hoping that child gets sent to prison to keep her safe? This is insane. Even assuming that the CPS would agree to prosecute which I am pretty certain they would not. It’s hard enough to get criminal proceedings against dangerous adult offenders.

  39. Angelo Granda

    Luna, Mine is the advice of an ordinary parent like you not of a child -protection professional.
    It is your choice.
    Alas, in reality, my advice is by no means insane. You need immediate protection as does the volatile child plus your other children.We don’t want to see any of them badly hurt,do we? Swift action is called for.I repeat, the LA cannot help and have already shown it which is why you have asked for advice here.
    It is quite wrong to say that the child will get a criminal conviction if dealt with by a magistrate.She will be treated PROPORTIONALLY at all times,in the juvenile delinquent system and be subjected to just treatment accordingly.She will not receive a criminal conviction and it is against the law to send any child to prison so nobody,least of all me,will be hoping for that.
    Should you explain the problem to the magistrate and give evidence why a protective order is required,there is much which can be considered and all kinds of supervision,training provision,medical treatment will be made available.
    Unfortunately,the LA cp system is dysfunctional and it will not help. I repeat it will be disastrous for her and any children she may have herself when she grows up to go into care.She may even be sexually abused and have a child whilst in care .Then she may end up in prison.
    Luna,most importantly the Magistrates know what they are doing,they deal with this kind of thing all the time and the existence of an SGO should be irrelevant to them.
    It is also important that they operate openly and honestly ,courts are open to the public etc. and the children are dealt with humanely as a result on a sliding scale.Maybe a conditional discharge and harsh warning to start with,but if psychiatric reports suggest it is needed,proportionate therapeutic treatment can be ordered for protection purposes.
    It is so vital that there is transparency .

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Unless my knowledge of the criminal justice system is seriously out of date, it is my clear understanding that you do not, you CANNOt enter the criminal justice system without a criminal conviction. The age of criminal responsibility for child is TEN YEARS OLD. Nor do I understand a doorway opens in the CJS to a raft of help and support. That has not remotely been the experience of my adult clients. Please can you post clear links to where you are getting this information or I am going to have to delete these posts as they do not reflect my knowledge and understanding of the law and I do not want anyone getting dangerously misled.

  40. Angelo Granda

    It is alarmist to suggest that Magistrates can send children to prison.They cannot and will not.
    However, it is alarming and rightly so that ,due to our dysfunctional child protection system in which civil court proceedings are held behind closed doors,out of the public domain,without press coverage etc.thousands of children are RIGHT NOW confined in captivity in secure ‘ residential homes’ miles from their roots ,their human rights abused and this is not at Her Majesties pleasure nor that of the Public but at the LA’s pleasure.Whilst in institutional care,they can be neglected and abused behind closed doors and often are.
    Luna, no-one deserves such a fate and don’t forget that you and the rest of the family will be condemned to years and years of having to travel long miles of visiting to check on her etc.
    She won’t be permitted out to visit you.
    I know personally one beautiful young girl who has been so repressed inhumanely and deprived of any chance of a normal family life for almost five years now.
    An open court would not pass such a disproportionate sentence but the civil family courts can get away with it due to the closed hearings and the press cannot report what is going on.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Of course a child won’t be sent to an adult prison. But they will be sent to a secure unit. Again, please provide the source material for this information so I can check its validity. I do not think what you are saying is right at all.

  41. Angelo Granda

    I did not give my source material when advising Luna because as far I was aware it is fairly common knowledge how careful Magistrates Courts are when considering proportionality particularly because it is an inferior court which conducts summary hearings mainly based on written statements and assessments and so on. Of course , they are bound by good practice guidelines, legal procedure and safeguards against inhumane judgments and sanctions .That is the main difference , I suppose, the criminal justice system follows the legal guidelines and operates the safeguards scrupulously; the Family Courts do not! Which is why there is so much injustice in Family Law; the judicial system is broken, in my system. I have added a couple of links at the foot of this comment for readers .Sarah, I would just remind you politely that you ( and HS) hadn’t even heard of the Police Protection Department.

    Readers, Magistrates are not permitted to imprison juveniles in an adult prison nor can they send them to a secure unit. It is deemed disproportionate for a magistrates court to hand down such severe sanctions. They are not allowed to liquidate families either. The only time a child is held is by Police who may arrest the child for questioning and then not grant bail but in that case ,they would have to put the child before a magistrate within 24 hours.

    From what I know, if Luna’s child were to be put before the beak, she would have a solicitor working for her as a matter of course, and the solicitor can request a pre-sentencing psychiatric report for her. If a child has apparently suffering from traumatic stress, self -harming or has taken to attacking her own guardian then one would be sought. If the forensic psychiatrist detected stress or any other mental disorder, the child will not even be found guilty of any offence or be convicted let alone be locked up in a secure unit for an indeterminate number of years.

    The name of the game for Magistrates is humanity and proportionate sanctions to help families not to destroy them. Importantly , they tend to insist that the Police carry out a full investigation of facts , they will not consider cloud-cuckoo land predications of what might happen in the future based on discrimination . They don’t pre-judge cases on the basis that a family lives in a certain area, or let the fact that a family is on benefits or is considered ‘ troubled’. I won’t go on and on about it but the Magistrates court has many more sanctions available to it which is why I have previously suggested that similar powers be granted to the Family Court.

    Finally, should the forensic psychiatrist identify and prescribe a need for medical treatment , then the probation service and other professionals have a duty to arrange for it. I guess this might possibly include a need for some sort of closed hospital unit but it would be extreme.

    commissioning, administering and producing psychiatric reports for …

    Pre-Sentence Reports | The Crown Prosecution Service

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I don’t know enough about the criminal justice system to confidently say that this is wrong, but I know many, many lawyers who would take serious issue with your description of magistrates. I remain very doubtful that it can ever be in a child’s interests to point them towards the criminal justice system and I would urge any parent reading this to be very, very wary and take proper legal advice before embarking upon a course that might blight your child’s life for many years to come.

      Your view that there seems to be no problem at all in getting psychiatric help and support in the criminal justice system seems to fly in the face of reality, where children have been held in police cells because there are NO hospital beds available in the WHOLE COUNTRY.

  42. Angelo Granda

    You may be right ,I can’t be expected to know that our human rights are being abused in the criminal justice system too.
    It’s a pretty poor do if one cannot advise a fellow citizen to seek the assistance of the Police Public Protection Department in a dv case without seeking expert legal advice first before ringing them.
    Are the judiciary failing us again and covering up for the authorities when they act unlawfully as you have described.
    If so, then are the media allowed to report juvenile cases?

  43. Angelo Granda

    With apologies in advance for any irritation or discomfort it may heap upon cpprofessionals, I must again reiterate one of life’s truisms.
    When human rights are abused it is because of arrogance,false ideology and dogma on the part of the perpetrators.
    Here,readers,the false ideology will be that children are imprisoned in police cells unlawfully because there are no hospital beds in the whole country.

    For one,hospital beds are not always necessary,the children can treated in the community and secondly,if beds are essential, the can be set up temporarily in hostels,hospital annexes or even asylum camps as they would be in any civilised country.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      And where are the doctors? The nurses? to treat the mentally ill children that you would start putting in asylum camps?
      The NHS is on its knees dealing with even urgent physical illness. Mental health services have been chronically underfunded for decades. Your suggestion that a mentally ill, possibly violent child, could be sent to a temporary ‘asylum’ camp is utterly bizarre.

      I am sorry, but I am not going to host any more discussion along these lines. I find it profoundly disturbing that his is your suggested solution to a very serious problem.

      The lack of hospital beds is NOT a ‘false ideology’. As Sir James Munby commented, as HHJ Lazarus commented even more recently, at some point the authorities will have ‘blood on their hands’ due to lack of provision for teenagers who need secure and safe accommodation.

      1. Angelo Granda

        The lack of hospital beds is NOT a ‘false ideology’ and I did not write that the lack of hospital beds IS a ‘false ideology’.
        I am sorry but , if you read my comment again, Sarah, you will see that I wrote it is ‘false ideology ‘ that children are imprisoned in Police cells against their human rights because there are NO hospital beds available in the entire country.
        I believe that is what you wrote.
        That is just not true ,Sarah. In an emergency and at times of pressure on beds, folding beds are often set up in spare wards,buildings, hospital annexes etc. It is inhumane to imprison innocent children in prison cells. If it is true, as you claim outrageously , then it will be because it is easier for the authorities. I have to say i have not seen anything in the papers about it but i am willing to accept your word that it happens.It is profoundly disturbing that innocent juveniles are thrown in the cells.
        My mention of hospital beds within asylum camps was a reference to the extremes foreign governments will go to in countries like France and Turkey to uphold human Rights. the vulnerable ,especially innocent children will never be thrown into prison cells. Obviously , i hope such camps will never have to be set up here in Britain again as they were during the World War.
        Delete my comments by all means if they are dangerous. I would expect it of any responsible moderator but don’t misrepresent my words and try to make me look a fool.
        By the way , i actually know personally of a case where the authorities had no placement for a young autistic child . Even they would not dream of condemning an innocent child to a cell . They abandoned her at the local hospital and the nurses set up a bed for her even though there was no medical reason to admit her to a ward.
        Yes , a camp- bed on A&E for two nights over the weekend .Abandoned without even asking the hospital staff. When the matter was exposed in Court,of course, the Judge covered it up and took no action.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          You said this Here,readers,the false ideology will be that children are imprisoned in police cells unlawfully because there are no hospital beds in the whole country.

          There is clear evidence of children being held in police cells as there is no where else for them to go.

          What else are people supposed to do? Put them on the street?

          I am not going to post any more comments about this. I profoundly disagree with your view that the CJS is a provider of instant and easy mental health intervention and support. Absolutely nothing in my view could be further from the truth and I think it is irresponsible and unhelpful to let people believe otherwise.

  44. Angelo Granda


    I am not publishing this comment.
    If you wish to engage in this kind of discussion, there are many 100s of Facebook groups etc who will happily host you.
    I will not.

  45. Danielle

    I’ve 3 girls been put on a sgo infavor of my sister
    it all started in 2017 when my son was killed in a rtc (he was 19 ) ive been a mother since I was 15
    I started dinking (which ive now stopped completely ) my girls where and are with my sister(since may 18) my eldest girl is prone to lying about very serious things including rape ( I tuck her to the police to report this for her to turn round after a few weeks to say she was lying )the courts have taken what she said as gospel she’s said I’ve had broken bones and never been in the house with her and her sisters she also stated that their was never food in the house yet in court she said that I was their and that their was always food for everyone.
    as she is 15 and wishes to stay at my sisters due to being aloud out till 11pm my other 2girls wish to return home to me and there dad (he’s there step dad as their bio dad has had nothing to do with them since 2013) the girls are 11&8 both of them are very intelligent. it kills me not having the kids with me.
    any form of help would be lovely
    I have my medic files to prove that ive not had ay broken bones since 2013-2019

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am sorry I can’t be much help online Danielle – if you have made some serious changes to your life then it may be possible to persuade the court to discharge the SGO, but it hasn’t even been a year yet so it might be too soon for you to be able to show that you have made changes and can stick to them. but its not possible to give any sensible advice on line as I don’t know the full circumstances of your case.

      1. Danielle

        how would I be able to get in contact with you for advice please as both me and my husband are devastated about this

        1. Danielle

          with everything that’s happened over the last 2 years I’m unable to work but this has never stopped either myself our my husband from putting the children first. we just don’t know where to go or what to do next.
          our 11 year old has started wetting and soiling her self and our 8 year old is swearing and over eating yet our 15 year old is aloud to do what ever she pleases

        2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am sorry but I don’t have any capacity to take on any new work until about April; my diary is already full up. Have you tried another direct access barrister?

          The Bar Council has a directory of all barristers who can take on direct access work i.e. you don’t need to see a solicitor first.

          Or there may be something to help on this page.

          1. Angelo Granda

            I am not a lawyer just an ordinary parent and I understand and empathise with your plight.
            I believe the Law relevant to your case is section 39 Children Act. In the paramount interests of children,SW’s and IRO’s are intended to work with you to arrange rehabilitation home to natural parents when it becomes feasible but often they make no effort to do so. I agree with Sarah’s advice about getting a barrister,if you can afford to pay the bill privately. You can also approach an independent advocate.
            Advocacy and expert mediation ,if the LA follows correct procedure and the law ethically , should always be tried before going to court . Barristers are trained mediators.
            Take a look of this link and mention the Judgment to your advocate. In theory, i don’t see a lot of difference between discharging a full care-order and discharging a special guardianship order. Surely the children deserve rehabilitation to you as soon as possible and should always be the target.

            Be careful to get a barrister if you can. I tried with a solicitor with the help of legal aid and asked her to arrange a mediation meeting with the CS in an effort to work together etc. When we got to the meeting, the manager would not even let the solicitor talk or intervene on my behalf.He then merely stated tersely that they had no plans ever to return the children home and refused to consider changes.The solicitor just sat there silently. Unfortunately ,when we applied to Court eventually she was equally ineffective.


            Hope this helps and please will you stay in touch with the CPR to keep us informed.

  46. Shai

    Hi everyone! I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I’m in better life now with my daughter. My problem is my 5 yr old son British national. went on SGO when he was 1, because of the domestic with my ex. With those years he didn’t had residency in Canada. The sgo placed him to my mum in the Philippines. He has been living there for 6 months now, studying and living with his sister. SGO had Brocken down. SGO keep changing minds about giving him back to me. I never stopped supporting my son. I want him back with me in my care in uk. I’m doing well with his younger sister. I don’t know what to do? It’s very upsetting. I don’t know if I can file a Court here as he’s not here as the moment? Or I can file in the Philippines. Or I will pick him up and take him in uk

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The English court will only have jurisdiction if your child is habitually resident in England so I think that any application would have to be made in the Philippines ?!? but its a complicated area and I confess I am not sure; I am afraid you will need to seek specialist legal advice.

  47. Amy

    Hi, I am a special guardian for my 6 year old niece. She moved in with us in October 2017 when both her parents were unable to look after her. We have 2 birth children of our own and it has been very difficult for us all to manage.
    My husbands parents live locally and due to her behaviours and the challenges our daughter was having with the situation they care for her half a week. We would like to transition this to them caring full time as we believe this would be best for her and our family. We would like to move the SGO to them, is this possible? how do we go about it? and what is the time frame?

    Thank you for any advice

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