Extending Placement Orders to Special Guardianship Orders

Part of Children and Social Work Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:30 pm ar 12 Ionawr 2017.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education) 12:30, 12 Ionawr 2017

I thank the hon. Lady for tabling the new clause, which seeks to improve decisions about whether to place a child under a special guardianship order. I recognise the problems that she is trying to address and agree that we need to improve decision making about permanence options for children who cannot live with their birth parents. Indeed, that is exactly what clause 8 seeks to do—to improve permanence decision making. Uncharacteristically, I not only agree with the synopsis of the hon. Lady but would say that in some ways, she has gone further than I would in trying to resolve the issue. Clause 8 is part of trying to do that. As Andy Elvin of the Adolescent and Children’s Trust—TACT—said:

“All of this is eminently sensible. In practical terms it will raise the evidential bar for all care planning. The biggest impact, rightly, will be on special guardianship order assessments.”

That needs to be addressed because, as the hon. Lady set out, we have seen an exponential rise in the use of special guardianship orders without confidence in the assessment process to establish whether the carer named in the order has sufficient ability to look after that child and meet its specific needs for the duration of its time in their care, up to the age of 18. Clause 8 seeks to look at the longer-term requirement.