9.8 Possible outcomes from a final hearing

No order 

Your children should be returned to you immediately. 

A Supervision Order 

This means that your children will stay with you but a social worker will “supervise” you. A supervision order can be for six months up to two years. If this order is made there will be a supervision plan which will say what you are supposed to do and what services you can get from Child Services (CS). 

A Special Guardianship Order 

This means that your children will live with someone else (usually an extended family member on either mother or father’s side) and they will have parental responsibility (as well as you, but they can over-ride you). The court should agree what contact you and other family members can have with the children. 

It is possible for a Special Guardian to apply to the Local Authority for a Special Guardianship Allowance but it is not automatic and so it’s always worth applying. The allowance is means-tested but guidance is given in the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005. These Regulations direct Local Authorities to have regard to how much fostering allowance would have been paid had the child been fostered rather than cared for under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO). Recent case law confirms that the rate for Special Guardianship Allowances should be calculated in line with fostering allowances, but they are dealt with on a case by case basis and are usually much less than foster carers get. Deductions may be made to take into account Child Benefit and Tax Credit.    There are other services which should be available, eg counselling and advice and information; access to support groups; therapy; training for the SGO to meet the needs of the child and respite care.

A Child Arrangements Order 

This means that your children will live with someone else (usually a family member, e.g. ex-partner) without CS being involved, and they will have parental responsibility as well as you. The court should agree what contact you and other family members can have with the children, which should be included in the order. 

A Care Order 

This means that your children go into foster care. It gives CS parental responsibility for them (as well as you, but they can override you). You should have contact with your children and if you disagree with what the CS propose, ask the court to make a contact order specifying what contact you can have. 

Under a Care Order an Independent Reviewing Officer should be appointed to monitor your child’s case and to have regular reviews (at least 6-monthly) which you can attend. This is called a Looked After Child Review (LAC, see 12.1). 

A Placement Order 

This means that CS wants to place your children for adoption – usually they go for a care order as well whilst they find adoptive parents. 

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