Clause 110: Special Guardianship Orders

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at on 21 November 2001.

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Broadly speaking, we welcome the extension of arrangements for children and particularly the requirement that special guardianship support is comparable with post-adoption support. We would emphasise the importance of the child 's needs and wishes and the necessity of adequate resources to develop, manage and monitor this additional option. We would hope that Local Authorities are in a position to look creatively at the provision of such services and, in particular, at the possibility of a role for the Voluntary Sector, and that the Government will ensure that this new option for children is adequately monitored. There are likely to only be a few examples of the use of this provision in each Local Authority in any one year and it may be expedient to build into these arrangements agreements sought from key parties to participation in the researching of the arrangements. This would simplify evaluation of the working of this option and reduce the cost in identifying and negotiating the agreement of relevant families. We would also suggest that clarity for children about their rights, if they are the subject of a special guardian arrangement, is important. We feel that such arrangements may struggle to achieve the necessary priority amidst the competing demands made on Statutory services and that such children could be vulnerable if they are not clearly aware of ways in which they can make their views known to those who continue to have responsibility for their wellbeing.