no order principle - what is a 16.4 guardian

Following our article regarding the importance of special guardianship orders and assessments being undertaken fully and properly, there has been a reported case where a Judge has found that one of the child’s special guardians had used an allowance received to fund the purchase of drugs, alcohol and for gambling. As a consequence a placement order has been made with respect of the child, only two weeks after the special guardianship order was made.

The special guardianship order was made in favour of the maternal aunt and uncle in September 2015 but was sadly neglected by his special guardians. After initially being placed with foster carers the child was returned to the foster placement which in of itself was a fortunate occurrence that the placement was still open.

This example brings into sharp relief the importance of full assessments of special guardians. Special guardianship orders have now been in place for more than a decade and bridge the gap between adoption and children remaining with birth parents. They can still offer the security of a permanent placement with family, however they require careful and detailed assessment, before they are approved by the Court. Previous researchers suggested that a number of orders may have been made supplemented by supervision orders whether or not the above case revealed information as to a lacking in the assessment is unclear, however it is felt that this is a further example of why it is so important that a full and proper assessment is undertaken before any special guardianship order is made.


At Stephens Scown we specialise in issues relating to Special Guardianship Orders and members of our team are members of the Law Society Children’s Panel, a specialist quality mark for solicitors who with deal with contact cases involving children. Ed Bidder is a paralegal in the family team in the Exeter office – if you have any questions relating to the content in this article, then please call 01392 210700 or email