In June 2020 The Public Law Working Group published its report into Special Guardianship Orders, 'Recommendations to achieve best practice in the child protection and family justice systems: Special guardianship orders', two of the four recommendations for immediate change were for "more robust and more comprehensive special guardianship assessments and special guardianship support plans; and better preparation and training for special guardians."
Further (paragraph 25) the report set out that assessments must (amongst other things) address the prospective SG’s parenting capacity, including:
(1) their understanding of, and ability to meet the child’s current and likely future needs, particularly, any needs the child may have arising from harm that the child has suffered;
(2) their understanding of, and ability to protect the child from any current or future risk of harm posed by the child’s parents, relatives or any other person the local authority consider relevant, particularly in relation to contact between any such person and the child;
The full report is available here.
Where domestic abuse is a concern a DV-ACT third party carer assessment can help to feed into the local authorities assessment by examining whether any potential carer has an adequate understanding of domestic violence and their ability to protect the children in their care.
This assessment can run alongside any risk and/or vulnerability reports of the parents or can be provided as a stand-alone assessment, it is designed to provide clarity in areas of risk and is always completed by an expert witness who can attend court if necessary.
As a minimum, the report will include:
the impact of domestic violence on the child/children;
the ongoing risks;
the carers ability to protect the children under specific circumstances.
Bespoke 1:1 domestic abuse work is also available for proposed special guardians.
Timescales and costs are available upon request. Terms and conditions, referral form and printable information sheets are available to download below. Alternatively please contact us.