More than 5,000 were placed in ‘special guardianship’ arrangements last year, according to new government figures.
A total of 5,386 youngsters went to live with newly designated special guardians across England and Wales, the Ministry of Justice revealed today – the first time the total has exceeded 5,000. The figure represents a jump of more than 11 per cent over the previous year, when 4,835 such orders were made. The total has increased by more than 2,400 since 2011,
Special guardianship provides a less drastic alternative to adoption. Children from troubled families who cannot live with their parents can be securely placed with suitable extended family members or friends, without losing all legal links to the biological mother and father.
The majority of children made the subject of special guardianship orders have already entered the care system.
Last year the government announced plans to strengthen assessment procedures for special guardianship arrangements, following concerns that local authorities sometimes rush the process, placing the affected children at potential risk.