I am going to be adopted or live with a special guardian
If a judge decides you can no longer live at home with your family, the grown-ups working with you will think carefully about how you should be looked after instead. The grown-ups will usually want you to live with people who can look after you for a very long time - so that you can feel settled, safe and happy.
There are a few different ways this can be achieved. Adoption is one way and special guardianship is another.
Adoption is when you become a part of another family. Your new family or ‘adoptive parent’ will make the decisions that your parents would have made for you. Your adoptive parent might be a single person or a couple. If you are adopted this means you will be part of your new family forever, even after you grow up and move into your own home.
This is a very big decision.
If the grown-ups working with you think adoption is the best thing for you, they will explain their reasons to the judge and he or she will make the final decision. If the judge agrees you should be adopted there might be a wait until the right family is found. Once you have lived with that family for a while the judge will make an ‘Adoption Order’. This is a very special day and you might be invited to court to celebrate with your new family.
Special guardianship is when you live with someone else, usually someone else within your family other than your parents, until you are 18. Your new carers will be able to make decisions about day to day life so that you can be looked after.
If the grown-ups working with you think special guardianship is the best thing for you, they will explain their reasons to the judge and he or she will make the final decision. If the judge agrees then they will grant what is called a ‘Special Guardianship Order’.
The person who will look after you (your ‘special guardian’) will usually be someone you already know. It might be an aunt or grandparent – or a foster carer maybe. Special guardianship is a good option for children who need a stable, loving home for the rest of their childhood. Unlike adoption you will remain a part of your family. Special guardianship orders end when you turn 18.
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