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Special guardianship order's

14 Jan 2019

 



What is a S.G.O Special Guardianship order..



A special guardianship order is designed for the purposes for other family members like aunties or grandmothers ect... to be able to offer your children a permanent home for the rest of their childhood it is designed for keeping children within there own family unit.



An SGO is an order made by a court under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, which gives legal guardianship to non-parents, meaning a child or a young person can live with a family members permanently, so they are no longer the responsibility of the local authority.


They are used mainly to give relatives of a child legal parental responsibility over to another family member for their upbringing, there is only an initial assessment carried out with is called a viability assessment, and maybe a few follow up informal visits to make sure everything is going smoothly but after that social care do not get involved.


It is now a legal requirement that all parties must attend at least one mediation session before putting in an application for a sgo, or to vary or discharge an existing sgo.


4 Mar 2019



viability assessment...


ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY CARERS AND OTHER PEOPLE CONNECTED TO A "LOOKED AFTER" CHILD.


The qualities and abilities that make a good carer

What they are looking for...


Well settled in their present home.

High commitment and dependability.

Evidence of ability to maintain long standing relationships.

Prospective carers and their children, if any, have positive, well-established relationship with the child/ren to be placed.

Warm supportive relationships within the family, sharing responsibilities.

Evidence of good parenting of own children and of secure attachments.

Ability to set appropriate boundaries and manage the children's behaviour.

Ability to deal with the strain of changing family roles.

Sufficient time and space to devote to everyone in the family.

Strong sense of kinship and belonging with positive family traditions.

Sufficient support network.

Members of the network supportive of the prospective carers and willing to help with child care.


Ability to promote the child's educational and health needs.

Good relationships with the children's schools.

Supporting positive out-of-school activities and interests.


Positive, well-established relationship with the children to be placed.

Enjoyment of the child’s company, liking the child.

Ability to promote the child's self-esteem.

Ability to accept the individual child as they are and to provide appropriate care.

Ability to listen and communicate with the child.

what are the wishes and feelings of the child regarding this placement?

What is the child’s relationship like with the proposed carer?

Does the child have a relationship with the proposed carer?

What are the child’s views with regard to the proposed placement?

Evidence of good quality relationship between the child and carer.




Evidence that carer understands the child’s needs and has the ability  and capacity to meet them long term.

Capacity to offer warm, stimulating care.

Capacity to understand, adapt to and meet the child's changing needs.

Capacity to be realistic about the possible problems and special needs which the child may present.

Ability to work with professionals and to seek out and accept help.

Commitment to using training and professional support (foster carers).



Understanding and acceptance of the real reasons which led to the child's removal from the parents' care. Ability to protect the child from further harm.

Long term commitment to the child and ability to put their welfare first, even when it conflicts with loyalty/ concern for the birth parents.

Acknowledgement of the parents' difficulties which led to Social Services intervention.

Does the child have additional emotional and behavioural needs as a result of their experience?

Knowledge of the child’s development understanding the impact of poor parenting.

Has the child any siblings if so has a sibling assessment been done? What are the plans regarding contact and can the proposed carer facilitate contact?

Awareness of, the child's need to maintain links with significant people and ability to manage contact arrangements.

Commitment to helping the child develop an understanding of their history and promote a positive identity including their ethnic and cultural identity.

Shared moral or religious code.



What they don’t want is ..


multiple relationships.

relationship breakdowns.

High number of moves in the last 10 years within and between countries. Plans to move in the next year.

High number of people who would be Involved with the child.

Lack of empathy for the child and persistent complaints about there behaviour.

Rigid, coercive discipline without time, patience and coaxing to obtain the child’s compliance.

Regular use of physical punishment, threats or bribes.

Chronic inconsistency or inability to set ordinary boundaries.

Unwillingness or inability to understand or meet the identified educational, medical or emotional needs of the child, including those who may require a high level of specialist care.

where medical and/or psychiatric history and current state of health give serious cause for concern about the prospective carer's.

where the medical opinion is that the carer may not survive all the years of the child's dependence or retain sufficient energy and vigour to meet the child's needs until independence.

if the carer has a drug or alcohol dependence that is likely to affect the carer’s ability to offer safe care.

Criminal record of prospective carer and adults in the household. Certain types of offences will automatically bar the offender from caring for a child. i.e. any conviction for an offence against a child under Schedule 1 of the Criminal Justice Act. Other offences will need to be discussed in detail to

establish if they may impact on the care of the child. Any conviction for an offence involving violence will be of particular concern.

where the current accommodation is temporary, overcrowded and/or poorly maintained and there are no realistic prospects for re-housing within near

future.

where the needs of other children and or dependent adults in the household/network are likely to conflict with the needs of the child to be placed.

Where the family is in debt to the point that it cannot manage its finances, is in danger of losing the home due to arrears or would be wholly dependent on the fostering allowance to support the family.

where there have been serious difficulties in how the prospective carers parented their own children,

particularly a history of abuse or neglect.

Presence in the household of children of similar age, and/or children, who have major needs/difficulties of their own.

Assessors would need to explore thoroughly the implications of placing another child for the carer's own children. Do the carer's own children have an existing positive relationship with the child/ren needing placement? What are the children's views, wishes and feelings? How does the carer envisage juggling everybody's needs? Presence of household members, who have a negative, potentially or actually abusive relationship with the child/ren.

Unwillingness or inability to protect the child from abusive parents and enforce restrictions on contact with birth parents.

Poor relationship with one or both of the child/ren's parents. How is this shown? How is it likely to impact on proposed contact arrangements?

Persistent discord and divided loyalties in the network.

Evidence of collusive, enmeshed relationship with the child/ren's parents

Lack of co-operation with social services and other professional services.

Inability to demonstrate an understanding of children's development and needs.



16 Jan 2019



Connected Persons Assessment......


The following questions are what you will be asked while carrying out the connected persons assessment.


Section 1

A brief description of the child/young person


question:


Could you give me a brief description of (child)?

Just the first things that comes into your mind when you think of him/her.


Section 1, A description of the child/young person guidance,


These questions are intended to ‘surprise the unconscious', so the prospective guardian should be

encouraged to describe the first thing that comes in to their mind about the child. Encourage brief responses to avoid straying on to other subjects of the interview.


Strengths in the relationship might be indicated by:


• The prospective guardian should be able to provide a description that is detailed and is specific to this child.


• The prospective guardian shows warmth, interest and pleasure in the child.


• Description is balanced in terms of strengths and difficulties of child.


Difficulties in the relationship might be indicated by:


• The prospective guardian can provide only vague, generalised information (for example ‘just an ordinary little

girl').


• The prospective guardian is ‘cool', detached, disinterested in child. Or indicates hostility, sees child as a burden, or appears frightened of the child.


• Description of child is largely negative and critical.


Section 2

AVAILABILITY – Helping the child to trust


The following questions are about how far the child is able to trust in close adults. We will be thinking about what happens when they get upset or worried about something.


questions:


• Can you think of a particular time when the child was upset or worried about something?


• What did the child do just before, during and afterwards?


• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you do at this time?


• How did that work out?


• Was this your usual approach when the child is upset or worried or have you found other ways of helping?


• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?


Section 2, AVAILABILITY - helping the child to trust guidance,


The child.

The child's capacity to trust is developed in the context of The prospective guardian who is physically and emotionally available. The assessment addresses the issue of trust by focusing on the child's capacity to seek comfort when anxious or upset – i.e. to trust that a close adult will be available and responsive at these times and then return to play and exploration.


For this section of the assessment, it can be helpful to consider secure and insecure attachment patterns to help make sense of how the child behaves when he or she is stressed.


Securely attached children

A child will have the means to talk to The prospective guardian as children's services provide comfort

reassurance and support when the child runs into difficulties and enables the child to return to play

and exploration. For example, a toddler might play happily, away from the parent, but glance back or

vocalise to the parent to ensure that they are still there. However, if the child hurts himself, he will run

immediately to the parent for comfort. The quality of the exploration – relaxed, inquisitive, absorbed –

is important here. Comfort seeking for a child is a means to an end – the end being to restore

equilibrium so that further exploration and activity can occur.


Insecurely attached children

Children with avoidant attachment patterns are unable to use The prospective guardian as a secure base and may try to be self reliant when in difficulty. The child is not avoiding a relationship with the caregiver, but is avoiding displays of emotion, especially negative emotion, in order to not to cause stress to The prospective guardian and to maintain some kind of physical closeness. The child may focus on toys or activities rather than seek comfort and may seem ‘unmoved' by difficult events. Such children, may mistakenly be seen as ‘resilient' or said to have no attachment, when in fact they are highly anxious but their learned strategy is to minimise attachment behaviours because they lack trust in the response.Children who have ambivalent attachment patterns have learned to get their needs met by showing their emotions and making constant demands in the hope of achieving The prospective guardian's availability and attention. These children may retreat to The prospective guardian when they are upset, indeed they may be clinging to The prospective guardian much of the time, but without being able to explore, play and learn. They cannot move confidently away from The prospective guardian because they do not trust that the caregiver will continue to be there for them if they do so.


Children with disorganised patterns who have experienced frightened or frightening parenting are left with a dilemma - how do I approach someone for comfort when they will raise my anxiety rather than reduce it? Infants and very young children are left without any effective strategy and they may display confused and confusing behaviour – perhaps ‘freezing' in the presence of The prospective guardian, or approaching and then turning away.


Older, disorganised children learn to use a range of behavioural strategies that are designed to control the The prospective guardian and make the environment more predictable. These behaviours (punitive aggression, compulsive self-reliance, compulsive guardian ) can already be developing in the pre-school years and make it difficult to interpret what the child is thinking and feeling.


The prospective guardian.

Strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:


• Plenty of physical time available to focus on the child.


• Emotional space and availability (i.e. not preoccupied with own difficult feelings and unmet needs or emotionally detached and cut off).


• The capacity to reflect on the child's needs to build trust in them as guardians and to think about ways in which they might support the child to do so.


• Alert to child's needs and signals (e.g. able to identify and describe a time when the child was

worried or upset, how the child showed this/did not show it, what signs they might look for in the child to signal distress etc).


Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:


• Lack of time/energy.


• The guardian's own unmet needs (perhaps from the past) are coming to the fore.


• The guardian seems overwhelmed by the child's demands.


• The guardian feels marginalised by child.


• The guardian themselves from the child.


• The guardian doesn't believe a child should need that much attention.


Section 3

SENSITIVITY – Helping the child to manage feelings and behaviour.


Children vary a great deal in how they manage strong feelings such as anger, guilt, excitement and sadness some children show them easily, some go ‘over the top’, some bottle them up. The following set of questions is about how far the child is able to

manage his/her feelings.


questions:


• Can you think of a particular time when the child had strong feelings about something?


•  What did child do when they had these feelings – just before, during and afterwards?


• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when the child has strong feelings or have you found other ways of helping?


• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?


Section 3, SENSITIVITY - Helping the child to manage feelings and behaviour guidance.


The child.

Critical to children's ability to engage comfortably and constructively with play or school work, as well

as in their relationships with family and friends is their ability to manage or regulate their feelings and

behaviour. Being overwhelmed by feelings such as anxiety or anger makes it very difficult for children

to become competent and confident in play, learning or activities with others.


This assessment focuses on how the child manages strong feelings, such as anger, as this is often one of the most problematic areas for troubled children of all ages. However, it may also be helpful to gather information about if and how the child expresses a range of feelings, such as sadness or happiness: are they being comfortably managed or suppressed or expressed explosively and excessively? Verbal and non-verbal, direct and indirect communication of feelings will be relevant. For instance, the assessment will need to include reports of rages and tantrums, but also headaches or tummy aches at times of stress.


The social worker needs to be aware that the child's capacity to express and manage the full range of

feelings appropriately in relationships relies on mind-mindedness (i.e. the ability to think about what

they and what other people might be thinking). In infancy it is the mind-mindedness of the caregiver

which contains and regulates the child's feelings. But as the growing child spends increasing amounts of time away from the caregiver, they will need to think about their own mind and the mind of others in order to regulate their own feelings and behaviour and take account of the feelings of others.


Of concern here is the need to identify and understand patterns of behaviour that would indicate the coping or defensive strategies adopted by a child when strong feelings surface – or the lack of

strategy and dysregulation that leads to extreme aggressive behaviours or to denial and dissociation.


The guardian's Strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:


• The guardian can think and talk about the child's feelings, recognise that the child has strong feelings at times, and that they are understandable, ‘in the circumstances'.


• The guardian has the capacity to ‘stand in the shoes' of the child, to think flexibly about what the child may be thinking and feeling and to reflect this back to the child.


• The guardian can think and talk about their own feelings and share them appropriately with the child and other people.


Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:


• The guardian lacks interest and curiosity in what is in the child's mind.


• The guardian appears overwhelmed by own strong feelings - or finds it hard to think and talk about own feelings. (N.B. There is a ‘normal variation' in this; it is extremes that are of concern. Key is the capacity to acknowledge and understand the child's needs).


• The guardian finds it hard to think and talk about the child's past – finds it too painful or feels that the child needs ‘a fresh start'.


• The guardian has difficulty in thinking flexibly about a range of possible reasons for the child

behaving in a certain way.


• The guardian is frequently negative or angry towards child without ‘pause for thought' about

why child is behaving in this way or how best to respond.


Section 4

ACCEPTANCE – Building the child’s self esteem.


The following set of questions is about how child feels about themself and how they cope if things don’t go well.


Questions Part 1


• Can you think of a particular time when the child showed how that they felt good about themself? (N.B. if there are no examples or these times are

unusual, go to Part 2).


• What did the child do when they had these feelings just before, during and afterwards?


• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when the child shows good self esteem or have you found other ways of supporting this?


• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?


Questions Part 2


• Can you think of a particular time when the child showed how that they did not feel good about themself? (N.B. if there are no examples or very few

examples leave this section out and go to Part 3).


• What did the child do when they had these feelings – just before, during and afterwards?


• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when the child shows low self esteem or have you found other ways of helping?


• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?


Questions Part 3


• Can you think of a particular time when things did not go well for the child? (for example, they lose a game, are not successful at something).


• What did the child do when they had these feelings – just before, during and afterwards?


• Why do you think they behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when the child shows low self esteem or have you found other ways of helping?


• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?


Section 4, ACCEPTANCE – Building the child's self esteem guidance.


The child.

Children with good self esteem are able to enjoy their success, take the risk of trying new things and accept that they cannot be good at everything. Self-esteem, therefore, is often about aspiring to do well, while acknowledging realistically what can and cannot be achieved.


Many children have difficulty in accepting and valuing themselves and the exact nature of this

difficulty for each child needs careful attention within an assessment. The obvious starting point is the child's history, to see where there may have been some opportunities for the child to feel loved and

valued or where particularly harsh forms of rejection or scapegoating may have occurred. This Assessment builds on this by seeking specific examples of good self esteem, poor self esteem and the child's management of failure or setbacks. Because children with low self-esteem have to defend against the feelings that this induces, what the child says openly is not likely to give you a straightforward or accurate picture. Smiles, boastfulness or an inability to accept ‘failure' such as the loss of a game may be masking very low self esteem. Accepting the self is not just about valuing personal qualities or perceived success, but is linked to a developing self-concept and identity. In this broader context, children's ability to accept and value their gender, ethnicity, community, culture and religion are important parts of the self-concept. In the minds of children who experience various degrees of disruption and discontinuity, being lovable or unlovable, a good or a bad person may become linked to being a girl, being of a particular ethnicity or having a disability. Multiple sources of information and observation relating to self-esteem are important in assessment, planning and supporting placements, whether to confirm a pattern or to provide windows on some very different aspects of the child's sense of self that need to be addressed.


The guardian's strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:


• The guardian shows joy, pride and pleasure in the child.


• The guardian can praise the child easily and readily.


• The guardian can help the child to accept failures, setbacks etc in a kind, supportive way.


• The guardian can actively support the child in pursuing the child led experiences, interests and

activities.


Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:


• A tendency to focus on negative aspects of the child, little pleasure or pride evident.


• Finding it hard to accept/enjoy the child's individuality and ways in which the child is different

to other family members.


• The child seen as ‘a burden.'


• The guardian offers little active support to the child in pursuing the child led experiences, interests and activities.


Section 5

CO-OPERATION – Helping the child to feel effective and be cooperative.


The following set of questions are about how effective and competent the child feels. Examples of this are:


• Able to complete a task, such as a jigsaw puzzle or laying the table.


• Able to solve a problem, such as a shape sorter toy or how to draw something.


• Able to make a choice, such as which cereal to have or what to wear.


Questions Part 1


• How does the child usually manage when faced with a task, problem or choice?


• Can you give a particular example?


• Why do you think the child's behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when you need the child to work with you or have you found other ways of helping?


• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?


Questions Part 2


The following set of questions is about how the child manages to co-operate and work together with adults.


• Can you think of a particular time when you asked the child to co-operate, compromise/work together with you? (for example, to get ready to go out, to finish a game and put toys away etc).


• What did the child do when asked to do this – just before, during and afterwards?


• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when you need the child to work with you or have you found other ways of helping?


• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?


Section 5, CO-OPERATION – Helping the child to feel effective – and be co-operative guidance.


The child.

The more appropriately effective and assertive a child is able to be, the more likely it is that the child

will co-operate and compromise. Such a child has learned that assertiveness combined with willingness to make some concessions and co-operate with others is most likely to achieve their goals and maintain valued relationships.


This Assessment focuses on the extent to which the child can co-operate/work together with adults and this provides a window to the child's feelings of effectiveness. However, the assessment of effectiveness is rarely straightforward and this area may need additional consideration and analysis. Some children's sense of effectiveness has been so undermined that they cannot assert themselves at all and they behave in a dependent and passive way. Other children become so frightened by their own powerlessness that they can only feel comfortable when they are in total control of others, and so seem very powerful. Similarly, being undemanding and self-reliant can actually be quite controlling, since the message to the parent is, ‘I won't let you look after me'. Even very dependent children can be controlling, with the message, ‘I won't let you get on with your life - I need you too much.' Because of the nature and complex links between effectiveness and co-operation, the assessment needs to look at them separately and together. Thus, additional questions may be asked about the child's capacity to make choices or to complete a task competently and confidently.


The guardian's strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:


• The guardian thinks about the child as an autonomous individual whose wishes, feelings and

goals are valid and meaningful and who needs to feel effective (for example, ‘he gets settled

with his toys and it's understandable that he hates it when we have to go out').


• The guardian can look for ways of working together to achieve enjoyable co-operation with the child wherever possible (for example, ‘we make a game of clearing the toys up and he enjoys that so he doesn't mind going out so much').


• The guardian promotes choice and effectiveness wherever possible.


• The guardian can set safe and clear boundaries and limits and also negotiate within them.


Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:


• The guardian emphasises the need for control, for example - differences of opinion with the

child are a battle that they must win.


• The guardian finds it difficult to accept /enjoy child's need for autonomy and to allow

choice/promote competence and effectiveness.


• The guardian finds it difficult to allow child to take moderate risks.


Section 6

FAMILY MEMBERSHIP/Helping the child to belong.


The following questions are about how the child feels about belonging to this family or group.


• Can you think of a particular time when you have been aware of how the child feels about being part of this family or group (for example, things that he or

she has said or done which have shown they feel part of things or do not feel part of things).


• What did the child say and/or do?


• Why do you think the child spoke or behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when this comes up you or have you found other ways of responding?


• How did the child’s behaviour/what the child said at this time make you feel?


For children who are members of more than one family, think of the main other (birth, adoptive, foster) family that they relate to:


• Can you think of a particular time when you have been aware of how the child feels about being part of this other family (for example, things that he or

she has said or done which have shown they feel part of not part of the family).


• What did the child say and/or do?


• Why do you think the child spoke or behaved in this particular way?


• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?


• What did you say and/or do at this time?


• How did this work out?


• Was this your usual approach when this comes up you or have you found other ways of responding?


• How did the child’s behaviour/what the child said at this time make you feel.


Section 6, FAMILY MEMBERSHIP – Helping the child to belong Guidance.


The child

Family membership is a vital strand of emotional and psychosocial development. Assessment of this dimension requires a great deal of sensitivity to the child's experiences and views, but also to the very different ways in which families work and family membership is expressed . There are also important links to the child's need to develop a coherent sense of identity.


This assessment is not about the ‘strength' of the child's attachment or loyalty as a member of

different birth, foster or adoptive families, although issues of attachment and loyalty are part of the

story, but the quality and meaning of these family memberships to the child. Additionally, if the

arrangements are planned to be permanent, the extent to which they offer support for the child to

become a happy, settled, secure, resilient and pro-social member of the community into adulthood.


All families define their boundaries differently and develop very varied ways of signalling to each other

and the outside world ‘We belong together'. They also vary in the extent to which they include this particular child within their family boundary. Differences may be based on culture, class or ethnicity or simply ways of talking about ‘family'. These differences need to be listened to with care.

However, differences in messages of membership may also be about this child and whether this child

is willing or able to fit in with the family's expectations of its members. Therefore the way in which the child talks, is talked to and is talked about in the family will vary in meaning but will always be

significant. The meanings and long-term value of family relationships and memberships for the

particular child cannot be judged on simple criteria, such as whether or not foster carers are called

‘Mum and Dad', when children's memberships of multiple families are so much more complex than

that.


The guardian's strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:


• The guardian is able to give verbal and non-verbal messages of the child's inclusion in the family.


For children who are members of more than one family:


The guardian is able to talk openly and appropriately with the child about both the strengths and the difficulties of their other families.


• The guardian is able to support the child to get ‘the best' from both families.


Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:


• The guardian tends to treat the child differently to other children in the family (this may be very subtle, for example, providing a different sort of biscuit for a lunch box).


For children who are members of more than one family:


• The guardian is anxious that they might ‘lose' the child to the other family or that the other family's values might conflict with and displace their own in the child's mind.


• The guardian talks/thinks negatively about other family.


• The guardian creates unreasonable barriers to contact between the child and the other family.


Section 7

Caregiving and support


• What aspects of caring for this child give you the greatest sense of pride or

achievement?


• What has been or is the most difficult?


• What are the major sources of help and support for you as a guardian for this child?


• Can you think of any particular help that you would like with any of the things that we have discussed?


Section 7, guardian and support guidance.

The final section of the interview explores, with the guardian, the guardian's willingness to seek and use support.


Strengths in this area might be indicated by:


• The guardian showing pride and pleasure in caring for the child.


• The guardian being able to identify difficulties, but not be overwhelmed by them.


• The guardian indicating that they have tried and tested strategies and/or people that they can

rely on for practical and emotional support.


• The guardian being able to identify or be open to further help, if it is needed.


Difficulties in this area might be indicated by:


• The guardian lacking pleasure and pride in caring for the child.


• The guardian denying difficulties (unrealistically) or appearing overwhelmed by them.


• The guardian lacking support or denying the need for support (unrealistically).


• The guardian being resistant to further help if it appears to be needed.



14 Jan 2019

 


Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)...



If you are in dispute with your ex, or are having difficulties settling your separation, you may be thinking about court proceedings.

But before an application can be made to court, you are now required to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The aim of the meeting is to see if mediation could be used to resolve your difficulties, rather than going straight to court.

Courts are required to know that mediation has been considered before they are able to proceed with your application.

The MIAM is a meeting between you and a mediator to find out if there are alternative ways to find solutions to your problems.


The mediator will explain to you:


•   what your options might be


•   what mediation is, and how it works


•   the benefits of mediation and other appropriate forms of resolving disputes


•   the likely costs of using mediation


•   if you are eligible for free mediation and  Legal Aid.


The meeting can be between the mediator and just you, or with your ex-partner too.


If, after your MIAM, it’s considered that mediation is not suitable in your case, the mediator will supply you with an FM1 form but I suggest you download one or pop in to your nearest courts and grab one just incase the mediation centre don't have any. The mediator will sign the form but double check they are a certified mediator, this form confirms that you have attended a MIAM. A court will then allow you to issue proceedings.


remember that before a judge will agree to a hearing for a contact order/child arrangements order both parents must have attended M.A.I.M. mediation information assessment meeting.



14 Jan 2019



To vary or to discharge a special guardianship order.......



• First stage is you must be able to prove significant change in circumstances.


• Second stage is when the courts decide the best interests and welfare of the child, and the probable chances the parents have of successfully challenging the special guardianship order.


• There is absolutely no point what so ever in applying to vary or to discharge an order for at least the first 6 months from when the original order was first made.


• to be able to challenge a special guardianship order you must be able to prove evidential significant changes in your circumstances and to leave no doubt.


• If you are going to appeal against the judges decision to approve a special guardianship order then this should be done within the first 3 weeks from when the order was approved.


• To put in for a discharge or to vary a special guardianship order you must also have to have looked after the child for at least one year out of the past 3 years.


Applying to vary or to discharge a special guardianship order is done in a two stage test.....


• first stage you must be able to prove significant change in circumstances.


• second stage the courts decide the children's best interests, the welfare of the children, and what probable chances the parents have of successfully challenging the special guardianship order.


notes...


• The courts can not set the bar to high so that no parents can ever reach or accomplish expectations. Parents should never be discouraged in bettering themselves or their circumstances.


• Parents should be encouraged to improve and succeed in changing there circumstances. Remember for the judge to be satisfied on the facts of the case these changes must be significant and relevant ones. Plus the nature and degree must be significant to be able to open it to a judicial evaluation. Relevant changes must be based on facts and on good sound judgement.


• If there is no change or its not significant then that's the end of the matter your application fails.


• Changes do not have to be recent.


• Change in circumstances do not necessarily have to be changes in just the parents circumstances.


• It can also be changes in the life of the child, or in the life of the child's carers.