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Barking and Dagenham have now joined together with Havering, Newham and Tower Hamlets Local Authorities to form Adopt London East. 

Adopt London East is part of Adopt London which brings together adoption professionals from local authorities across London, to provide high levels of expertise and support to adoptive families at all stages of the adoption process. 

Whether you want to start your adoption journey today, are looking for more information about adoption or want to find the right adoption support services for you and your family, Adopt London East can help. 

Visit Adopt London website

Special guardianship

Special guardianship is a formal court order which allows parental control over a child by individuals other than the parent. These could be grandparents, close relatives or even family friends. It allows children to remain within the family unit or with another significant person and to have a sense of normality.

It is important to note that not all children under special guardianship have been in care or looked after by the local authority or social services. A parent may allow a child to live with a family member for a number of reasons. For example, they may have not bonded with the child or they have to work abroad and do not want to disrupt the child’s education.

Any one who is over 18 years old and is significant in the child’s life can apply. You could be:

  • grandparents
  • an aunt or uncle
  • a brother or sister
  • another relative
  • a family friend
  • a foster carer who the child has lived with for at least one year immediately before the application
  • a couple making a joint application (do not have to be married)

When making an application for a special guardianship order, consent is needed from the person with parent responsibility which may be:

  • the parent
  • a person with a residency order
  • the local council

If consent is not given, the court can accept the application and grant a special guardianship order if it is deemed to be in the child’s best interest.

Special guardianship support

Families with children on special guardianship orders are entitled to an assessment of need. They may be able to access a range of support services in addition to the continuing support of their social worker. These may include:

  • financial support
  • support in managing contact with birth parents or family
  • respite support
  • training

Find out more about the support and guidance available in our special guardianship guidance (DOCX, 668.01 KB)

If you wish to speak to someone about special guardianship, call the Special Guardianship Team on 020 8227 5491.