social services trying to force adoption - kinship care assessment

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chbe20
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:47 pm

social services trying to force adoption - kinship care assessment

Post by chbe20 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:58 pm

Hello Everyone,
Currently, my great-nephew is in un-related foster care under a care order this is as a result of a crime my niece committed against her second child 10 years ago, last year she had another child who was removed immediately after birth again under a care order and then adopted 6 months later.

My family and I are going for foster of my great-nephew, we had a 'viability assessment' yesterday although it was just a 15 minutes phone call and the social worker after the call was done seemed positive and stated that someone from the family and friend team would be in contact early next week to come round and discuss our different options fostering, SGO etc.

However we have learned from my niece that meanwhile, social services are pushing for my great-nephew to be transferred from his current foster carer to the family who adopted her previous child the reasoning being he would then be settled if they adopted him, we were worried this would be the case and that social services are only attempting to assess us because the judge ordered that they must assess potential kinship carers before going through with the adoption but it seems they intend to only do this as a 'tickbox' exercise type thing while they have no intention to allow us to foster my great-nephew.

Both ourselves and my niece have had a lot of issues with the social worker i.e. not responding the messages, calls, emails and not keeping anyone informed of my great-nephew's care, to the point my niece put in a complaint about the social worker.

At this point, we aren't sure what to do we want to make sure we have all the information possible to ensure we get foster of our great-nephew as we strongly believe staying within the family is in their best interest, how do we deal with social services, we don't believe there is anything major that would prevent us from being approved as foster carers for the baby apart from social services intentions but we are also worried about the timeframe it would take to get approved as my great-nephew is only a baby and the longer the process takes the more attached and the stronger the bond he will develop with his current carers meaning moving would then be highly distressing for him and impact his development, we would like if possible for him to be transferred to us on a temporary bases while they carry out a full assessment but we don't know the likelihood of social services doing that.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 642
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: social services trying to force adoption - kinship care assessment

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:02 pm

Dear Chbe20

Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers’ discussion board and thank you for posting. My name is Suzie, FRG’s online adviser. I am sorry for the late response and to hear of the difficulties your family is currently experiencing.

I am not clear about a couple of issues and they may be important for you to check (0r for you to ask your niece to clarify, via her solicitor):

1. Is your great-nephew currently under an interim (temporary) care order rather than a final care order . If the order is temporary this would mean that the care proceedings are still going on and a final decision has not been made yet.

2. Have his sibling's adopters been approved as prospective adopters and also as temporary foster carers; this would be a fostering for adoption arrangement. If this is the case your niece should seek urgent legal advice from her solicitor as it would be very difficult to argue that her baby should return to her family once he has settled with 'foster for adoption' foster carers. This may be the situation you are concerned about.

3. Alternatively, have the care proceedings concluded and if so is your great-nephew already the subject of a Placement Order ?

Your great-nephew’s legal status does make a difference and it is important that you know what it is but from your position as potential kinship carers the main thing is to cooperate fully with the viability assessment, any fostering assessment and subsequent Special Guardianship assessment.

This advice sheet on care proceedings sets out the processes involved and the possible outcomes. It also contains information about how to apply to the court for permission to be a party to the proceedings (as prospective carers) on pages 20 and 21 or applying for a court order for parental responsibility.

Here is our guide to viability assessments; I think that the telephone assessment may have been to rule you in for a fuller assessment. You may find it helpful also to look at our advice sheets on family and friends carers: becoming a foster carer and DIY to Special Guardianship Orders for family and friends carers.

It is good that you feel confident that your assessment will be successful but I think it is unlikely as you suggest that your great-nephew would be moved to your care on a temporary basis as the court will want to minimise the number of moves your great-nephew has until a final decision has been made.

Here is our advice sheet also on Adoption
which will tell you more about Placement Orders and the process involved in a child being adopted.

When it comes to making lifelong decisions for children the court and children’s services must comply with the law and this means exploring all reasonable possibilities including a legal responsibility to consider whether a child can be placed with family members. Arrangements which would allow siblings to live safely together or to keep in touch with each other must also be properly considered. When the court decides that an order needs to be made the child’s welfare will determine what it should be.

The social worker and Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) should certainly be keeping your niece informed and consulted about her son; hopefully the complaint she has made will help to resolve this. She should also have a solicitor to help her with this if she is in care proceedings.

The social worker should of course respond to relevant queries from you but as you are not a parent or person with parental responsibility then they do have to respect confidentiality so there will be limits on what they can share.

I hope this is useful to you. Please do post again if we can help or you can ring our freephone advice line on 0808 8010366 if you would like to discuss the situation in more detail with an adviser.

With best wishes

Suzie

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