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(Family Division; Robin Toulson QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge; 1 February 2006)  2 FLR 41
Making special guardianship orders in respect of three children, with the agreement of the mother, the local authority and the approval of the guardian, the judge noted that these orders, recently introduced by Adoption and Children Act 2002, cemented the relationship between the adults and children concerned to greater degree than residence orders would, that unlike fostering orders they did not involve the children in the restrictive care system, and that unlike adoption they allowed the children to preserve their legal relationship with their natural family. Relying merely on the mothers consent to placement with these families (both part of the childrens wider family) would have left the children vulnerable to a change of mind on the part of the mother. The judge considered that there was an inquisitorial element to the courts function, having at an interim stage held that a report under Children Act 1989, s 14A(8), could not be dispensed with by consent. It seemed to be the case that a parent might continue to apply for a s 8 order in respect of a child who was the subject of a special guardianship order without seeking leave.
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