National Legal Service Helps Young Mum Discharge Special Guardianship Order

National Legal Service Helps Young Mum Discharge Special Guardianship Order

National Legal Service’s family solicitors were recently able to help care leaver Natasha* successfully discharge a Special Guardianship Order and reunite with her young son, Hugo*.

21-year-old Natasha approached National Legal Service for assistance after previous Care Proceedings saw her child placed with family members.

Natasha’s aunt and uncle had successfully applied to assume parental responsibility for Hugo at the prior hearing, which was held in December 2020. The family court reached the decision to remove Hugo from the family home and place him with his great aunt and uncle after hearing details of domestic violence between Natasha and Hugo’s father. These incidents were compounded by evidence of inappropriate alcohol use on Natasha’s part.

Following the removal of Hugo, Natasha made a huge effort to turn her life around. She committed to attending regular therapy sessions and undertook work in domestic violence. During this period, she also met a new partner.

Although she was able to maintain regular contact with Hugo, Natasha grew concerned that her aunt and uncle weren’t able to provide the right level of care for the five-year-old.

To assist Natasha, we first applied for Legal Aid to help cover the financial costs of bringing proceedings in the family court. Once that assistance was granted, Natasha’s appointed family solicitor submitted a formal application for the Special Guardianship Order to be discharged. As part of this process, notice of the same was also given to Hugo’s guardians and the Local Authority.

We then helped Natasha to complete her statement, which outlined the reasons for making the application and her concerns around Hugo’s care. The next step was for a parenting assessment to be carried out.

Unfortunately, the assessment found that Natasha was not yet in a position to assume sole care for her son. However, we successfully requested an addendum parenting assessment be completed, to also include Natasha’s new partner. A positive report was then given to the courts, with the judge commending Natasha for the astonishing progress she had made. The Special Guardianship Order was discharged, and Hugo returned to Natasha’s care.

With our support, Natasha was able to leave her supported accommodation and move into her own home. As a care leaver, Natasha was eligible for financial assistance to create a new home for herself and Hugo. We ensured she received the funds she was entitled to so that she could purchase essentials such as a bed and freezer.

Today, Natasha and Hugo are happily settled in their new home. Hugo is thriving at school and Natasha and her partner hope to marry soon.

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