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Special Guardianship Information & Resources

Key SGO Documents &

SGO Research Information

Key Documents Around Special Guardianship Information

You will find here key legislation around Special Guardianship (SGO) and Research that has since been completed. We will try to keep this updated. 

If you come across any research that is not listed, then please contact us and let us know.

special guardianship research resources books in a library

Practising in Kinship Care: The Perspectives of Specialist Social Workers Sept 2021

    The research, conducted by Joan Hunt, Honorary Professor, Cardiff School of Law and Politics, is believed to be the first to make the views and experiences of these social work practitioners its focus and has important implications for policy and practice around kinship care.
    Practitioners spoke extensively about the complexity of kinship care and the challenges of working with families and within systems which are not adequately attuned to the unique characteristics and needs of kinship families.
    Forty-two practitioners from 19 local authorities in England and six in Wales took part in the research. Most were either part of a specialist kinship team or had been so in the recent past in their local authorities; many were also part of the Kinship Professionals’ Group.

    About the author
    Joan Hunt OBE was appointed Honorary Professor in Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics in 2013, on her retirement from Oxford University, where she was a Senior Research  Fellow in the Centre for Family Law and Policy, part of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work. She has researched and written extensively on kinship care and most recently produced an overview of the past two decades of kinship care research in the UK.

    You can read the full report at Research at

    kinship care research views of social workers


    Special Guardianship Resource Pack For England May 2021


      The Lancaster University has a new online Special Guardianship Resource Pack including a summary of relevant case law

      The pack also covers support services for SGO, SGO stories, research and statistics

      Lancaster university resource pack


      Best Practice Guidance Special Guardianship March 2021

        Best Practice Guidance: Special Guardianship Orders March 2021 which has recently been published.

        You can find the full report by going to the Family Justice Council

        bpg guidance sgo


        Key Information : -BPG Guidance indicates that the Courts should consider extensions of care proceedings beyond 26 weeks but should always take into account the best interests of the child. 

        Special Guardianship Resources at Family Rights Group

          Family Rights Group has an extensive list of resources that help Kinship Care assessments including that of Special Guardianship 


          Kinship Care


            The Adoption and Children Act 2002 provides the legal framework for Special Guardianship under the Children Act 1989. Section 115 (1) of the 2002 Act inserted new sections 14A-F into the Children Act 1989.

            The New sections provided for;

            • who may apply for special guardianship orders
            • the circumstances in which a special guardianship order may be made
            • the nature and effect of special guardianship orders
            • support services for those affected by special guardianship


            Forms To apply for special guardianship order

              You can find all the forms and information the Court will need to make a Special Guardianship application at



              Special Guardianship Guidance : Children Act 1989 : The special guardianship regulations 2005 amended 2016

              Special guardianship in practice 2010

                The Adoption and Children Act 2002 introduced an important new permanence option for children, from early 2006, in the form of special guardianship.

                A special guardian is invested with a high degree of day-to-day parental control, although the child’s relationship with their birth parent is not legally severed.

                Four years on, the numbers of special guardianship applications have risen steadily and look set to increase.

                This book describes these new provisions and provides a critical assessment of the implementation of special guardianship in eight local authority areas.

                The research design comprised: document analysis; key informant interviews; a survey of special guardianship applicants and their social workers; and case study interviews with special guardians and, where feasible, their children.

                The study examined how local authorities have responded to special guardianship and considers the policy and practice implications that have arisen in the first two years of implementation.

                Special guardianship in practice 2010

                The poor Relations - children & informal kinship carers - A research report 2013- julie selwyn, elaine farmer, sarah j meaking, paula vaisey

                  The Poor Relations: Children and Informal Kinship Carers Speak Out’ is the largest authoritative report to date in the UK to look at both children’s perspectives of living in an informal kinship care setting and the views of their carers.

                  It provides insights into how well, both emotionally and academically, these children are doing, how this compares with children in the formal care system and what impact such arrangements have on both children and carers.

                  The Poor Relations: Children and Informal Kinship Carers Speak Out’


                  Investigating Special Guardianship: experiences, challenges and outcomes Research report 2014

                    This report reviews the progress that has been made in implementing Special Guardianship,
                    explores the extent to which it is meeting the needs of children and families whose permanency plans have become enabled by Special Guardianship and identifies a range of important new messages for policy and practice. The study draws on national datasets to describe the extent to which Special Guardianship is being used by local authorities and the courts across England, how its use varies from one area to another, the characteristics of the children and their families and assesses the risk of disruption to these arrangements and the factors associated with breakdown.

                    At the heart of this study, however, is a three to six year follow-up of a sample of families in seven local authorities where a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) was made between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2009. The follow-up study charts their experiences describes the support they have received and assesses the progress and outcomes of children.

                    It is therefore the first study to assess how well Special Guardianship is working for children and their guardians over the medium term and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this new legal order in providing permanence for children.

                    You can find the full report here:-

                    Investigating Special Guardianship: experiences, challenges and outcomes
                    Research report November 2014
                    Jim Wade, Ian Sinclair, Lucy Stuttard – Social
                    Policy Research Unit, University of York
                    John Simmonds – British Association of
                    Adoption and Fostering

                     You can find the brief report here:

                    Investigating Special Guardianship experiences, challenges and outcomes Research Brief 2014


                    Special guardianship: qualitative case file analysis Research report December 2015 - Research in Practice

                    The aim of this study, was to further explore the
                    impact on SGO use of the introduction of the 26 week time limit for standard care cases
                    under the Public Law Outline (Children and Families Act 2014), and recent court
                    judgements (such as Re B-S).

                    The study comprised a qualitative analysis of c.50 case files in five local authorities (LAs) conducted over a four-week period in August and September 2015.

                    Specifically, the study explored the following areas:
                    • how the decision was made for the order
                    • how the special guardian was assessed
                    • whether the order applied for was the same as the order awarded by the court
                    • the relationship between the child and the special guardian and whether the child
                    was living with the special guardian before the SGO was made
                    • whether a supervision order was made with the SGO
                    • the type of support put in place for the special guardian
                    • whether there had been any disruption to the placement.

                    You can find the full research document here:-


                    The role of special guardianship: best practice in permanency planning for children (England and Wales)

                      This practice guide looks at the key issues than need to be considered in relation to special guardianship for looked after children.

                      It looks specifically at: the use of special guardianship; the role of local authorities in special guardianship; applications for a special guardianship order; assessing the needs of children; assessing the needs of prospective special guardians; special guardianship support services and needs of children; assessment, planning, outcomes and effectiveness in special guardianship support.

                      The guide is aimed to inform practitioners and managers working in family placement, but would also be relevant to other professionals, including lawyers and the courts.

                      The role of special guardianship: best practice in permanency planning for children (England and Wales) – John Simmonds

                      SCIE – Social Care Institute for Excellence – you will need to register in order to read this document

                      Special guardianship: practitioner perspectives 2019

                      This review was commissioned by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and has been
                      co-produced by CoramBAAF, led by John Simmonds, OBE, working in partnership with
                      Professor Judith Harwin and her team at Lancaster University.

                      The issues for consideration were scoped by family justice practitioners, policy leads and academics.  As the work has progressed, the issues have been discussed by members of the Family  Justice Board, led by HHJ Jane Probyn and David Williams and a sub-group of the President’s  Public Law Working Group, led by Mr Justice Keehan.

                      The review has been published in four parts:
                      • Special guardianship: a review of the evidence. Summary report
                      • Special guardianship: practitioner perspectives
                      • Special guardianship: a review of the English research studies
                      • Special guardianship: international research on kinship care

                      Special guardianship: practitioner perspectives Authors: Judith Harwin &
                      John Simmonds

                      Family and Friends care : Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities

                      All You Need To know Family and Friends Care -Fostering Network

                        The Fostering Network has a huge range of resources mainly with regard to family and friends care, however some of this will be relevant when assessing Special Guardians.

                        All You Need To Know Family and Friends Care 


                        One of the family - a handbook for kinship carers - heidi argent

                          This handbook aims to give families and friends who are kinship carers, or may become kinship carers, information about the choices they can make, the assessment process, the legal framework, the child care system, the support they can expect and the financial help available.

                          It discusses some of the most common problems faced by kinship carers who have to balance the interests of the child, and the child.

                          One of the Family – a Handbook for Kinship Carers -Heidi Argent

                          There is a cost of £6.50


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