Auntie/new to caring..urgent advice please..

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Auntie/new to caring..urgent advice please..

Post by auntiekate » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:59 pm

Hi, I would be very grateful if someone could point me in the right direction please. I will try to be brief. My young nephew was born in the UK but moved to Spain with his parents about 5 years ago (he is now 12) To all intents and purpose they have a happy healthy home and appear 'to be living the dream'. Unfortunately the reality is my nephew has never settled there. He's an only child, has not mixed well with other children, 'hated' each of the 5 schools he has been to and is increasingly distressed and unhappy. Not surprisingly, his behaviour and general attitude is suffering. He stays with me, my husband and our 3 children (his cousins) a couple of times a year and is always desperately upset to have to go home. We keep in contact through networking sites and phone calls etc and he always asks if he can come to live with me. We all hoped it would pass and he might settle down but its getting worse. After another behavioural issue this weekend, his parents have asked if he can come to me immediately (tonight!) and if I can arrange interim schooling etc. We have considered all the pro's and cons on other occasions and we will support him and his parents as much as we can. The idea is to see how it goes for approx 3 months; if he thrives and wants to stay, his parents will sell up, look for work here in the UK and move back. If he decides 'the grass is not greener' and wants to return to Spain, then at least it has got it out of his system. So...where do I start? Ive got an appointment at the school where my own children attend, our extended family are all party to this problem/agreement and we have support but do I need to look at formal (albeit) temporary residency or parental agreements? Would a letter or statutory declaration from his parents be sufficient for me to organise his doctor/dentist/school trips etc? We are all working together, finance should not be too much of a problem (would he get child benefit anyway if his parents work and pay tax in Spain?) or any other help or guidance you could offer would be very much appreciated

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Robin D
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Re: Auntie/new to caring..urgent advice please..

Post by Robin D » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:59 pm

Welcome here.

What a difficult position for you all.

Looking purely at the practicalities, you may find you have no difficulties at all with the school etc, However I would suggest you first of all ask the parents to give you a letter stating that have agreed that the named child should live with you and your family and that they authorise you and your husband to take whatever decisions are necessary for the child whilst he is in your care including medical care, schooling and discipline. That should satisfy all but the most "jobsworth" of any official that may get involved.

As Aunt and Uncle you are close relatives so you will not be privately fostering as far as the law is concerned. You therefore do not have to advise the Local Authority of the arrangement. However, if there is any likelihood of disturbed behaviour at school, it might be prudent to advise your local authority Children's Services department that he is staying with you to avoid difficult questions later.

You could look to the courts for a Residence Order, but that will take several weeks, if not months, so if the plan is that he returns to live with his parents either in Spain or the UK after 3 months, then its probably not worth the effort if you have the letter of authority and the parents in support. However, if the real issue is between the lad and his parents, rather than the location, you may find it rumbles on and you have to seek an order to gain the PR necessary.

Be aware that you may suddenly find that this nice young lad turns into a demon with a smile, and also look out of any adverse reaction with your own children. Staying during the holidays is one thing, but semi permanent, with all the competition of school etc can trigger what would appear to be irrational responses and behaviour in the other children.

Good luck .... I suspect you will need it.

Best wishes ...... Robin
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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Re: Auntie/new to caring..urgent advice please..

Post by auntiekate » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:36 pm

Thank you so much for your reply. You have triggered a few alarms bells that are already starting to ring....Firstly, the school (Catholic voluntary aided) is a no go. I've been told today they are over-subscribed for the year group. I have been directed to the local authority and the Archdiocese to look for alternatives and/or appeal which I have just done. Maybe (probably) I was naive to assume he could start school with my own kids soon....he is asking when can we collect his uniform? I've yet to tell him it looks like its not going to happen.
I realise my family are more fortunate than most on this forum, it breaks my heart to read some of the posts. I'm also beginning to realise the 'jobsworths types'...a real eye-opener. Can I keep you posted and in the meantime, thank you for any help.

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Help 1870
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Re: Auntie/new to caring..urgent advice please..

Post by Help 1870 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:57 pm

Hi there.

Just because a school is over subscribed doesnt necessarily mean that a place cant be 'found' You might have to apply, be rejected and then have to appeal using extenuating circumstances.

There is one other potential education difficulty I can see though. Most LEA's/schools will not allocate a place for a child unless/until the child is living within the area. So sorting out any education might be difficult if/until he actually is living with you. Whilst the appliction/rejection/appeals process is underway hes going to be stuck at home getting bored silly.

Robin hasnt mentioned it but this will definitely be whats known as a 'private arrangement'. the chances of you getting any help/support, particularly financial if needed, from SS are likely to be slim to none.

Although a letter from the parents giving you authority for various things is a good idea you may find that even with it some people will not accept it and will not allow you to consent to things such as medical treatment. You may need a Residence order to give you the PR. If the parents are supportive this shouldnt be a problem and shouldnt mean he cant go back to them if he chooses.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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FRG Response

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:41 am

Hello auntiekatie

Welcome to FRG’s discussion board.

My name is Suzie and I am an adviser at Family Rights Group. You have received some really useful advice from some of the other forum users- I hope that has helped.

Just to confirm a couple of things. Your nephew’s parents have every right to place him in your care. As you are the child’s aunt, this would be considered a private arrangement and children’s services would not need to be informed or involved in any way unless you wanted to approach them for support for your nephew.

As you do not have parental responsibility for your nephew, you will not legally be able to give your consent for schooling, medical treatment etc. I do not foresee that this will be a problem as you are working closely with your nephew’s parents and have their full support. Be aware, however, that a letter from his parents may not be sufficient in all circumstances and you may have to go back to them on a number of occasions to sign individual forms etc.

A residence order is the most straightforward way of achieving parental responsibility for your nephew but I do not see that this will be beneficial unless the plan changes and it looks as though your nephew will be in your care for a longer period.

RE: child benefit. It is my understanding that you will be able to claim this for your nephew but we are not qualified to give specialist benefit advice so do check this with the benefits agency.

Good luck auntiekate- it sounds as though you and your family have put a lot of thought in to making the best plan for your nephew. Let us know how things go.

Best Wishes

FRG Adviser

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