Support for Special Guardians

Support for Special Guardians

The Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 sets out the duties and responsibilities of local authorities in the provision of Special Guardianship Support Services.

CoramBAAF have produced a series of slides summarising these regulations.

The Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board has produced an online resource Key Elements of a Special Guardianship Support Service. Its aim is to capture the key elements of some of the most developed special guardianship support services currently available in England and to provide a benchmark against which service leaders can review and adjust resources and systems to make service improvements and achieve whole system change.

The guide includes resources on the following topics

  1. An understanding of the need for services
  2. A mechanism for governance, management and service planning
  3. Information for, and communication with, carers
  4. Engagement and consultation with Special Guardians
  5. Communication with children & young people
  6. Referral and assessment systems and processes
  7. Preplacement support to Special Guardians and children
  8. Support with contact arrangements and managing family relationships
  9. Financial advice and Support
  10. Preventive/Early Intervention support for families and children’s emotional and psychological well-being
  11. Specialist support for families and children’s emotional and psychological well-being
  12. Services to support the transition of young people to independence
  13. Support to access services from other parts of the Local Authority
  14. Support to access services from other agencies
  15. Commissioning systems and processes
  16. Workforce development
  17. Monitoring and evaluation
  18. Birth parent support
  19. Budget and resources
  20. A plan for the future development of services
  21. Conclusion

The Adoption Support Fund

Since 2016 special guardians have been eligible to apply to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) through the local authority/Regional Adoption Agency responsible for providing support services. The film highlights that it is a priority of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board to increase access and uptake of the Fund by special guardians.

Figures for the year ending December 2019 show that in the last four years 9.4% of all approved applications to the ASF were awarded to children on special guardianship orders who were previously looked after.The number of approved applications was 3,619 with an average funding of £3033.

See also:

Answer to a Parliamentary Question of use of the Adoption Support Fund

The Ombudsman report on Special Guardianship support

Evaluation of services for special guardians

Kinship Connected is an evidence-based support programme for special guardians and other kinship carers delivered by Kinship in collaboration with local authorities. An external evaluation of the programme shows significant positive impacts for carers an evaluation of kinship care.

Costs of children’s social care

Kinship (formerly Grandparents Plus) has published an economic case for the support of kinship care.

The average cost for a child in local authority foster care £533 per week or £27,716 per annum, based on Department for Education national data. See also:

Curtis, L. and Burns, A. (2019) Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2019, Section 6.5 Foster care for children, Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent.

Fostering in England, the review of the foster care system including its costs commissioned by the Department of Education and led by Martin Narey and Mark Owers (2018).

Holmes L., (2021) Children’s Social Care Cost Pressures and Variations in Unit Costs Research Report, Rees Centre, Oxford University.

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