Looked after child?

dangrad
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Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:34 pm

Looked after child?

Post by dangrad » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:28 pm

Hello this is my first post. I will give a brief background and then ask if anybody has any experience and/or advice.
7 months ago, following the death of our grandson, our grandaughter was brought to us by
social services and police. They placed her in our care and over the following days and weeks
childrens services stated that the best thing for us and our grandaughter would be an SGO.
To cut a long and upsetting story short. childrens services have been assessing us over the last few months with all positive outcomes, but we have been struggling financially. My question is,
is our grandaughter classed as a "looked after child" and should we have been receiving foster
care allowance?
Thankyou.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Looked after child?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:53 am

Dear dangrad

I am sorry to hear about the distressing family circumstances in relation to the loss of your grandson. However I am pleased to hear that your grandaughter has settled well into your care and that all of the assessments are proving to be positive at this time. You are correct in thinking that your grandchild should be assessed as a Looked After Child and that you should be entitled to financial support.

You may find it useful to refer to our helpful letters, special guardianship and support for relatives caring for someone else's child advice sheets.

If you wish to speak to an adviser please feel free to contact our advice line on 0808 801 0366 Monday to Friday 09.30 am to 03.00 pm.

Best Wishes


Suzie

dangrad
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:34 pm

Re: Looked after child?

Post by dangrad » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:39 pm

Dear Suzie
Thankyou for your reply and advice. We have already sent
a letter to the LA and we are awaiting a reply. The letter wasn't one of
your template letters, but it was very similar.
Yours
Dangrad

dangrad
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:34 pm

Re: Looked after child?

Post by dangrad » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:24 pm

Well, we've had a meeting today with the LA. They stated that because our daughter and our grandaughter agreed for her to be placed into our care then it was a family/private arrangement and therefore no financial support would be payable. They went on to say that if we wanted to be assessed as foster carers then they would take our grandaughter off us and into care until the assessment was complete.
We are completely gobsmacked at the moment and at a loss as to how to respond to this.
It feels as if we have been threatened.Are they right? Are we right to feel so aggrieved?
They asked us if we wanted to continue with the SGO, we agreed but said we were not happy with the lack of support.

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Robin D
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Re: Looked after child?

Post by Robin D » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:07 am

No they are not right.

There are at least two cases that mean if the local authority are involved with placing a child with family and friends carers they become a looked after child. There are a few ifs and buts where if the social workers make it clear at the time of the placement and I think you have to be given a chance to disagree. I think the cases in question are R (SA) v Kent County Council in 2011 and London Borough of Southwark v D in 2007, but if David Roth, or Suzie comes along, they will be able to confirm. Or you can simply ring the advice line.

The authority can also place the child with you as a temporary measure and then do the assessment, so it seems as though SW's are again willing to totally disrupt a placement and further damage a child because of there own actions!

Take a look at Advice sheet 22 at http://www.frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/advice-sheets which will give you much of the information you need to challenge them. If you do, I strongly suggest you do so in writing.

Good luck .... 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.

dangrad
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Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:34 pm

Re: Looked after child?

Post by dangrad » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:04 pm

Many thanks, i will look at this ASAP.

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David Roth
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Re: Looked after child?

Post by David Roth » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:07 am

Hi dangrad

Robin's advice is absolutely correct. If the local authority played a major role in placing your granddaughter with you, then she ought to be a 'looked after' child, you should be given temporary approval as her foster carers, you should be receiving a full fostering allowance, and the local authority should be carrying out a full fostering assessment. This would only not be the case if you had made an informed decision at the time of placement to accept a different legal arrangement.

The full legal references for the cases Robin quotes are as follows: R (SA) v Kent County Council [2011] EWCA Civ 1303; and London Borough of Southwark v D [2007] EWCA Civ 182. When you make the complaint, it will help if you provide these full references, and suggest that the council checks them out with their legal department.

You could also refer to a report by the Local Government Ombudsman that was published last year, called Family Values, that describes how the LGO has found against local authorities who were dealing with their family and friends carers unfairly. This will let them see that if you take your complaint as far as the Ombudsman, then they are likely to lose. The LGO report can be downloaded from this webpage: http://www.lgo.org.uk/news/2013/nov/fam ... ombudsman/
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

dangrad
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Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:34 pm

Re: Looked after child?

Post by dangrad » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:38 pm

Hello David, and thankyou for your reply (sorry it took so long for me to reply). Since the start of this terrible time for us the LA have always stated to us that fostering allowance would not apply to us. However, recently since i have been in contact with many people, from the service manager right up to Cabinet level, the LA seem to have softened slightly. Our social worker has now advised us to consult a solicitor about getting the fostering allowance as she feels we may have a chance of getting it. This appears to be a different approach from the hardline taken by the LA previously, but it seems they still want us to jump through hoops to get what we are entitled to.

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David Roth
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Re: Looked after child?

Post by David Roth » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:43 pm

I can't understand why you should have to go to the expense of consulting a solicitor — unless the local authority is offering to pay for this consultation?

You must make your own decision about what to do, but it should certainly be possible to pursue the matter using the complaints proceedure, and using to the references I provided last week. If you do decide to consult a solicitor, then I would recommend that you mention these references to them as well, as not all solicitors keep up to date with case law and ombudsman decisions in what is quite a specialised area of law.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

dangrad
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:34 pm

Re: Looked after child?

Post by dangrad » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:32 pm

I agree that we shouldn't have take on the expense of a solicitor (which we can't afford). The LA have said that they will fund a solicitor, up to a certain amount, regarding the SGO. We have got an appointment with a solicitor at the beginning of April, we will go armed with all the information that you have kindly provided and see what they have to say.
Thankyou you so much for your invaluable help, i will keep you updated on any developments.

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