Become a special guardian

What is a special guardian

You can apply to be a child’s special guardian when they cannot live with their birth parents and adoption is not right for them.

You’ll be responsible for looking after the child until they’re 18 (unless the court takes your responsibility away earlier).

You’ll make all day to day decisions about the child, for example schooling and medical treatment. You do not have to discuss these decisions with the birth parents.

You’ll need to get the consent of everyone who has parental responsibility for the child before you make some important decisions, for example:

  • changing the child’s surname
  • putting the child up for adoption
  • taking the child abroad for more than 3 months
  • the child having surgery for reasons other than improving health, such as circumcision, sterilisation or cosmetic surgery

If you cannot get consent, you can ask the court to decide. Use the form ‘Make an application in existing court proceedings related to children’ (form C2).