The number of children placed with Special Guardians exceeds 5,000 for the first time ever
More than 5,000 children were involved in Special Guardianship Orders in the family courts during 2015, Ministry of Justice figures have confirmed.
The number of children placed with special guardians exceeded 5,000 for the first time, the statistics showed, a rise of 11 per cent from 2014 when 4,835 children were placed with guardians. There were 2,975 children placed with special guardians in 2011.
New regulations to strengthen Special Guardianship Orders came into effect at the end of February.
Under the regulations:
It followed a government review of SGOs 10 years after their inception which found that there should be a robust assessment of the potential special guardian (or guardians) and their capacity to care for the child and meet his or her needs and decision making by local authorities, Cafcass and the courts should be robust, consistent, and based on sound evidence about the child, potential carers, and the options available, including the benefits and risks of different placement options.
In addition the review said that the placement should have a strong probability of lasting permanently until the child is 18 and children and carers living in special guardianship arrangements should have the support they need to do well and for the placement to last permanently.
The MoJ statistics also revealed that Emergency Protection Orders fell from 2,047 in 2013 to 1953 in 2014 and there was a dramatic drop to 1689 in 2015.
The MoJ figures come after Cafcass recenty released figures which showed that there was a record number of care applications in February 2016. See our special report here.
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