Are Special Guardianships behind the fall in adoptions?

Mon 17th Oct 2016

During National Adoption Week (17th-23rd October) Coodes Solicitors Family Lawyer Sarah Evans how special guardianship are an alternative to adoption and why more children are now being cared for in this way.

“Last year, the number of adoptions in the UK dropped by 21% while the number of Special Guardianships have risen. In fact, between 2011 and 2015 there was an 81% increase in Special Guardianships. Despite this, many people are unaware of what a Special Guardianship Order is or what it entails.

“Special Guardianships were introduced in 2002 and underwent a number of changes when the legislation was updated in February 2016. Adoptions and Special Guardianships are both said to provide secure, homes for children whose parents are unable look after them, but there are differences. The most significant are that with Special Guardianships, meaningful contact with the birth parents can still be possible and their legal relationship with the child does not end.

“There are a number of situations in which the Court may make an Order for a Special Guardianship, rather than an adoption. The typical scenario would be when a child is cared for by another member of the family: often their grandparent, aunt or uncle. The child may well have been living with the family member before the Special Guardianship formalises the arrangements. In many of these situations, it is appropriate for the parent to maintain contact with the child, even though they can no longer look after them on a day-to-day basis.

“At Coodes we are able to assist the individual who is caring for the child to obtain a Special Guardianship Order and we also discuss this option with parents who we work with, who are unable to look after their children for various reasons.

“Special Guardianships Orders are made by the Court after consideration by a Judge though the process is far shorter and simpler than with adoption. Adoption is a huge step to take, and the rise in Special Guardianships and the drop in adoptions, reflects most Courts’ focus on trying to keep children in families wherever possible.”

For further advice and assistance on any of these issues, contact Sarah Evans at Coodes Solicitors on 0800 328 3282 or

Mon 17th Oct 2016

Sarah Evans

Head of Family

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