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Dr Lucy Peake, Grandparents Plus Chief Executive said:
“We are concerned by the 4% decrease in children leaving care on a special guardianship order, down to 3,700. SGOs provide a sense of permanence to children who cannot live with their parents and there is a growing body of evidence that well-supported kinship care is a positive alternative to children growing up in the care system.
“Given that more children left care on a special guardianship order than on an adoption order for the second year in a row, we are concerned that this growing group of children and carers continue to be marginalised in public policy and support provision. There is an urgent need for a step change in recognition of and support for special guardianship families. This must happen at national and local level. It must include ending the disparity in support for children subject to SGOs and their carers in relation to adoptive families.
“Statutory support for special guardianship families is riven with inequality, with thousands of children with special guardianship orders entitled to nothing as a result of the way their order was made. While 3,700 children have left care via an SGO, others will have had an SGO granted in public care proceedings without being in local authority care. Other SGOs will be granted in private care proceedings, often at the request of the local authority. All children who are subject to SGOs will have had similar difficult experiences of trauma, abuse or neglect. They should all be able to access the support they need. The government must ensure parity in support for all children subject to SGOs and their families, regardless of their status pre-order.”
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