Shropshire Council

What is a special guardianship order?

A special guardianship order is a way of providing permanence for children and young people. It provides legal security for children who can't remain in the care of their birth parents, and is an alternative to other orders such as adoption, long-term fostering or a child arrangement order. An SGO lasts until a child is eighteen years old, unless it's discharged earlier by the court.

Some examples of children who may benefit from an SGO include:

  • Children and young people who are unable to return to their birth parents
  • Children and young people who are 'looked after' by the local authority where there's no requirement for ongoing social work intervention
  • Children and young people for whom adoption or child arrangement orders aren't suitable options for permanence

For children currently ‘looked after’ by the local authority, the SGO ends that arrangement. The making of an SGO discharges the care order, and the child will no longer be in the care of the local authority.

Unless there's a need for ongoing social work support, for example if there's a 'Child In Need Plan' due to the court ordering a supervision order, social work involvement ends once the SGO is granted.