Landmark ruling on special guardianship allowances

News

A landmark legal ruling made last week could lead to carers who look after children on Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) receiving the same allowances as mainstream foster carers.

The judge presiding over a grandmother’s case against Kirklees Council has ruled that its policy to give those looking after children on SGOs two-thirds of the allowances made to foster carers is unlawful.

As a result Kirklees Council will have to align its special guardianship allowances with fostering allowances. The decision will have significant implications on the level of special guardianship allowances paid by many local authorities and is good news for many special guardians.

Hazel Halle, the Fostering Network’s director of services for England, commented: “We welcome this ruling. It is only fair for children on special guardianship orders that their carers can receive an allowance that is equivalent to the fostering allowance.

“These children will have experienced a tough start in life and suffered similar problems to those children in the care system. Therefore, they and their carers should be entitled to receive the allowances they need to ensure the child can be properly looked after, and is not penalised because they are not in care.”

Special guardianship provides children who might otherwise remain in care with the stability and security of a long-term placement and the opportunity to maintain contact with their birth family, while the legal responsibility for the child passes to the adult who holds the SGO.