hello. i really need some advice. Im 17 and i have a baby. The thing is I am very ill and wont be around for much longer. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t want that. The thing is I want to make sure my little girl is looked after properly. I’ve never been able to make any decisions for myself in my life and this one thing I want to chose for myself. I need to know if I can chose who brings up my daughter. I don’t have any family as I’ve been brought up in care from the age of 4.
I have a friend who is a lot lot older than me who is lovely and has helped me through a lot and is amazing. She does a lot of work for kids and runs her own charity. She’s also a foster carer too. The thing is she lives in Scotland and I want her to bring my daughter up when I’m no longer around. I don’t know if this is possible. I’ve heard about something called special guardianship? Is this possible? I don’t want my daughter to be raised in care or any part of social services at all. I know she will be safe and well looked after with this friend. Can anyone help me please?
If you would like to talk to anyone about bullying or other things, please contact Meic, the national information, advice and advocacy helpline for 0-25s in Wales. You can contact Meic by phone (080880 23456), text (84001), instant message (www.meic.cymru) or email (email@example.com) between 8am and midnight.
Aunty Sprout’s response
Thanks for getting in touch with us here at Aunty Sprout and also via the Meic helpline. This must be a very difficult time for you so we will do our very best to help you find the information you need.
You said that you have a friend that you would like to bring up your daughter after your passing. Is this something that you have discussed with your friend? Does she feel the same as you? Obviously she would need to be as committed to this as you are for it to work.
Also, is there anyone else who might want custody of your daughter? Is your daughter’s father likely to want to raise her? Or even another family member…your side of the family or his?
I’m sure these are things that you’ve considered but if not, it might be worth giving it some thought as their views may be taken into account.
As you are not yet 18 you are not old enough to make a will within which you could specify who you wish to look after your daughter after your passing. I have however attached a link to the Citizens Advice Guide which has some very clear information on wills for you to take a look. I’ve attached this as I don’t know how long it will be before you are actually 18. If that is soon then making a will is vital to ensure your wishes are followed.
You do have the option though to fill in what is called an ‘Expression of Wishes ‘ form. Whilst this is not legally binding in the same way a will is, it is a way in which you can document your wishes in a formal way. This could be useful in the event that this situation is not resolved before your passing.
Having been raised in the care system yourself I have no doubt that you have heard of many types of care/court orders. Special Guardianship is one of them. There are of course rules as to who can become a Special Guardian. If your friend does wish to raise your daughter then there is a process that you will both have to go through to try to make this happen.
As your friend lives in Scotland, where quite often laws and systems are different, the process might be different. However, it is likely that both social services and the court system would be involved in either country. I have attached a link to the Family Lives website for you to take a look at. There’s a section on Special Guardianship which might answer some of your questions.
The most important piece of advice I can give you is to recommend that you take legal advice from a solicitor to ensure you do this correctly. It’s really important that you do this as soon as possible to make sure you have the arrangements in place and to put your own mind at rest.
I’m quite sure that all of this feels overwhelming. However, if you are still in the care system yourself you may be entitled to an advocate. An advocate can support you through this difficult time by making sure that your views and wishes are heard.
If you get in touch with the Meic helpline, they can support you to access an advocate in your area. You can contact them by phone, text IM or e-mail
Also, as you are either in care or a care leaver you could also be supported by Voices From Care. This is the link for their website. You can also contact them either by phone or e-mail.
I hope this information and advice has been of some help for you.
Take care and remember there are people out there to help you.
Best Wishes 🙂
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