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National Kinship Care Solicitors

Kinship Care is a term given to carers who are looking after relatives. Kinship carers are Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters and family friends to name a few. Children may have been removed from their parents due to neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health issues, domestic violence and other issues which prevent them being cared for by their parents.

Many relatives and friends agree to care for a child often at a moment’s notice. Such decisions are life changing. Many carers do not realise that both they and the children have legal rights. Local authorities often claim they have no legal responsibility and press carers to apply for private law orders such as Child Arrangement Orders or Special Guardianship Orders without having access to legal advice.

Ridley & Hall Kinship Care lawyers can assist you in ensuring you receive the correct legal, practical and financial support. Kinship carers need to be realistic about what they have taken on. Often, they fear what others may think if they ask for support. Children cost money and, in an age, where local authorities are increasingly reliant on agency foster carers, a family placement will ultimately cost less.

Special Guardianship Orders

Special guardianship is where you take on the responsibility of caring for a child until they are 18 years of age.

It gives you parental responsibility (PR) for the child over and above that of the parents.

Under a special guardianship order (SGO) the child can retain a link to the parents and other family members but it provides stability and security for the remainder of the child’s youth.

A special guardianship order is usually most appropriate when the parents have significant problems of their own and are unlikely to agree with decisions about the upbringing of the child and when the child is unlikely to be returned to the care of the parents.

Judicial Review

Judicial review is a form of court proceedings where a judge will look at the lawfulness of a public bodies action or decision.

Our kinship care solicitors are experienced in judicial review proceedings. As a result of actions taken on behalf of kinship carers, it is estimated that Ridley & Hall has secured over £1million in backdated fostering allowances for kinship carers across the country. We have brought fundamental changes in the kinship fostering policies of some local authorities.

Judicial Review can only be accessed if there is no other adequate way of challenging a decision. Sometimes it may be more appropriate to engage in the local authority’s complaint procedure or complain to the Local Government Ombudsman than to bring a judicial review. It does not involve the court deciding whether the public body has made a right or wrong decision but rather that they have implemented the correct decision-making process.

A judicial review can be brought for the following reasons:

1. Illegality. This can include:
• Where a person does not have the power to make a decision or uses the power in an inappropriate way
• Error of law or fact
• Relevant and irrelevant considerations
• Fettering discretion

2. Irrationality

3. Procedural Impropriety.
This can include failure to follow statutory procedures, bias and failure to provide reasons for a decision.
If you wish to make a claim for judicial review you have 3 months from the date of the decision to issue the claim.

Case Studies

Financial Support for Kinship Carers

Kinship carers often don’t know that they are entitled to financial support when caring for their relatives. Unfortunately, this is […]

Remember Maureen Barrett – a battling grandmother who fought for underpaid kinship carers

Maureen Barrett has died. There were no obituaries for her in the local paper – but Maureen was a special […]

It’s National Carers Week, what can we do together?

Are you an unsung hero caring for your loved one, unnoticed and unloved? If you are, we want to applaud […]

Adoption Activity Days – a Solution for an Adoption Crisis?

Following a recent Channel 4 documentary about adoption and in particular ‘Adoption Activity Days’, there has been a lot of […]

Frequently Asked Questions

There can be support for special guardians. Under section 14(f) of the Children Act 1989 (as amended) the local authority must make arrangements for the provision of special guardianship support services.

Support could take the form of:
– Counselling advice or information
– Therapeutic services for the child
– Group meetings for children, special guardians or parents (before or after the making of a special guardianship order) to discuss matters relating to special guardianship
– Assistance for the child in relation to contact with significant people, including mediation
– Advice and support to the child and special guardian, including respite care
– Financial support

For more information on child arrangements orders and special guardianship orders go to This has very detailed advice sheets on both orders.