Hello, I’m Jo and I thought I’d give you a little insight into my crazy but beautiful life as a special guardian for my younger sister.
Just a little background information to start with.
My sister and I have the same birth mother, and different fathers, we also have 2 other adult siblings who are part of our close support network. Our story and not so average family started back in 2017 when I was just 23 years old, and my sister was 5 years old.
The local authority had been involved with my family for many years leading up to little one coming to live with me. Sadly her emotional needs weren’t being met. She saw things nobody should ever see, especially at the age of 4/5 years old.
Sadly her mummy and daddy put their feelings before hers. This was despite being given multiple chances to change and avoid any of the following happenings.
Leading up to this I had become more involved and was looking after my sister more as time went by. I had an idea of what was going on as I had attended a child protection meeting with her parents. I didn’t quite get a full insight into how bad things were until May 2017.
On May 25th 2017 our social worker asked me to look after my sister for the upcoming weekend. Little did I realise she would never be returning home.
The following week it was decided my sister would stay with me under section 20 for the foreseeable future. This was until the local authority had made their application to the court for an interim care order. Thankfully this was granted at a later date.
There was supervised family time weekly with both parents. This was until their relationship broke down and it was then separated but continued weekly.
During the court hearing for the interim care order (November 2018), it was decided family time would be reduced to monthly, as this would help us establish a better and more ‘normal’ family routine and bond.
We started theraplay and began to make huge progress, she came on leaps and bounds!
Eventually, we got to the stage where I was able to supervise contact with her and her father which worked well and I got to witness the wonderful relationship they had formed through consistent family time.
Due to our relationship breaking down, I have not been able to supervise contact with our mum.
Our mother decided she wanted to apply to the court for the little one to be returned home as she believed she was now well enough to care for her little girl and had made enough progress for the judge to agree.
The local authority took this opportunity to apply to the court on my behalf for a special guardianship order. This hearing took place in February 2019.
Special Guardianship Order
After a long 2 days in court, lots of tears, headaches and what I can only describe as a surreal experience. I never thought I’d be watching my mother in a courtroom, especially in these circumstances.
We were granted an SGO ( Special Guardianship Order ).Contact was reformed to supervised 6 times per year for little one & her mother.
We have come a long way and she now enjoys unsupervised time with her father regularly.
Since February, there have been a few hurdles which we have overcome. We have finished theraplay and are super happy. My sister is thriving.
She asks lots of questions but I will always be honest and never hide the truth. It’s so important for us and other families that aren’t what you’d call a ‘normal’ family
I can only describe this experience as crazy but so so precious all at the same time.
I am now 26 and my little sister is 8, we have moved house and created our first little home together, she has taught me things I didn’t ever think I’d learn and the most important thing she has taught me is a new kind of love, the most special kind of love I could ever imagine.