A new report on special guardianship reinforces the message that it is an important positive option for children who cannot be cared for by their parents, but outlines a number of priority issues that need urgent reform. The report, Special Guardianship: A review of the evidence, published by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, and co-produced by CoramBAAF in partnership with Lancaster University, indicates that currently, evidence suggests that special guardianship is not operating in a child-centred or carer-centred way.
The report’s authors, John Simmonds, Judith Harwin, Rebecca Brown and Karen Broadhurst, highlight the difficulties faced by local authorities and courts in providing adequate preparation and support for special guardians, and call for a statutory minimum amount of preparation and training to help prospective special guardians and the children they look after.
The report recommends an increased focus on working with family members who might become special guardians before care proceedings begin, to ensure that prospective guardians have direct experience of caring for the child. The report also emphasises the need for the availability of support services that are equivalent to the entitlements that are typically available to adopters and foster carers.
Visit the Nuffield website to read the report.