Important appeal court win for grandparents

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:59 am

I appreciate what you say about obtaining legal advice, but I am afraid Family Rights Group cannot substitute for that. We cannot review your papers and negotiate on your behalf with the local authority, so we simply cannot give you a clear answer about what you should do. Our instinct here is that you should accept the offer, but ONLY if you understand you may never be able to get any more from KCC than what they are currently offering. Of course, you should only accept the offer if you have in writing it's guaranteed duration, and the promise that it will not be reduced in the future. Factor into the equation the time and aggravation spent on this - you may be better of accepting what you can get, and moving on.

However, as I said, we cannot give you firm advice. I do not want to advise you to accept an offer when there is possibility that you could be entitled to more. For this, you really would need your file reviewed by a solicitor. Whilst we do not recommend particular firms, as has been mentioned, Ridley Hall has an expertise in this area. You should only go with a firm, Ridley Hall or another, that has a lot fo experience in this particular field.
All the best,
Suzie

confusedinfrance
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:10 pm

Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby confusedinfrance » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:17 am

Thanks Suzie, I will consult a solicitor in the next few weeks once this payment is seen to be implemented and up and running.

confusedinfrance
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:10 pm

Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby confusedinfrance » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:39 am

As I could have predicted, the payment increase etc. promised for implementation this week has not been actioned. I am awaiting the excuses with baited breath, I have never encountered such a bunch of incompetents in my life, I doubt that any of them would be able to hold down a job in the private sector.

confusedinfrance
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Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby confusedinfrance » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:16 am

I have finally been awarded what I thought was a reasonable increase from KCC, but only after threatening legal action, and drawing their attention, as if they were unaware, to this case and the precedent it had set. I am, however, still somewhat confused as to the level of payment that may have been achieved by this legal action. It appears that the implied result is that this case produced a level of payment equal to that paid to a foster carer, and from the information published by KCC on their website, that could be somewhat different to what they have deemed to give me.
They state that the payments they make is made up of two seperate amounts, one being maintenance the other being reward, so for say, a 13 year old the payment would be, at current rates, £176:82 maintenance, and £198:66 reward, making a grand total of £375:48 per week.
Can someone please clarify what level of payment was achieved, or point me to a site which will give me that information. Many thanks.

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David Roth
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Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby David Roth » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:39 am

confusedinfrance, you might find it useful to read what the statutory guidance for local authorities on family and friends care says about the fostering allowance payable to family and friends carers. You can read the guidance by following this link: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/Family%20and%20Friends%20Care.pdf
Paragraphs 4.49 and 4.50 deal with payments to family and friends foster carers, and this is what they state:
4.49 Fostering allowances to foster carers must be sufficient to meet the cost to the carer of caring for the child and should be at least the minimum set annually by the Department for Education. The allowances paid by a fostering service must be calculated for family and friends foster carers on the same basis as for all other foster carers, and any variations should relate to the child’s needs, the skills of the carer or some other relevant factor that is used as a criterion for all of the service’s foster carers.

4.50 A judicial review of Manchester City Council’s policy on payments of allowances to family and friends foster carers in 2001 (the Manchester City Council judgment) came about because foster carers who were relatives of the children they were caring for were paid significantly less allowance than non-relative carers. The court held it was unlawful to discriminate against family and friends carers by paying them a lower allowance than non-relative foster carers. There is no requirement to pay a fee to reward a carer’s time, skills, commitment, etc in addition to the allowance. Where a fee is paid, it must be payable to those foster carers who meet the criteria set out for the scheme, including foster carers who are family or friends.


What this is saying is that you should be paid the same basic allowance as the council pays its other no-relative foster carers. They are not required to pay you the additional reward payment, but you should be eligible to receive it if you meet the criteria under which other carers receive it.

You should in any case be paid at least the government's minimum foster allowance, which you can access here: http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/families/fostercare/b0071246/infoforcarers/nma The minimum amount payable for youg people age 11-15 in the south east is £164, so it seems you are getting above the minimum required amount.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

confusedinfrance
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Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby confusedinfrance » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:00 am

Thank you for those pointers Mr Roth, it seems that KCC are being over generous with me or are they, if you look at their published figures on this link http://www.kent.gov.uk/childrens_social ... ments.aspx
you will see the age related maintenance figure is £176:82p, which falls short of the "maximum figure allowable" they quoted in an e-mail they were giving to me. You know I am coming to the conclusion that there is a multitude of deception relating to payments made to carers, and there must be people out there not as lucky as me and getting even less. I am somewhat intrigued by the fact that I suspect most of these non related carers on the books of KCC, are in receipt of some, if not all, of the reward element, but how does anybody gain access to ascertain what is being paid out. Regarding meeting criteria, I would assume that having sent an independent social worker from the UK to stay here for three days compiling a dossier on ourselves, and the subsequent fact that the child is still with us, must mean that we are fully compliant.
I would still be interested to know, as per my previous post, what level of payment was achieved by granny within the aforementioned legal action, reading between the lines it appears that she also is only receiving the maintenance element of the payment

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David Roth
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Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby David Roth » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:49 am

confusedinfrance, I looked at the webpage you provided the link to. Although it gives the amount of the reward element, it doesn't state how you qualify to receive it. As the statutory guidance states, the council doesn't have to give you the reward element, but you should be eligible for it in the same way as any other foster carer. So the point you would need to find out is, what is required in order to qualify for the reward element?

The point at issue in the court case which led to me starting this thread was whether or not the child should be considered to be 'looked after'. The council tried to deny that she was, even although they had placed her with her grandmother, and there were case law precedents to say that when the council makes the placement then, unless certain things had been done, the child would be a 'looked after' child. The council were using section 17 money to pay her £63 per week, but as a foster carer she would have received £146 per week. This was in December 2004.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

confusedinfrance
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:10 pm

Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby confusedinfrance » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:48 am

Thanks once again Mr Roth, I will attempt to ascertain the criteria mentioned, unfortunately, and I can only comment from my own experiences with KCC, they do not come straight out and tell you the facts, and all the documentation is written in such a way as to confuse you even more. In the meantime, if I can impose on your fountain of knowledge once more, what exactly, is a "looked after child". Many thanks

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David Roth
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Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby David Roth » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:43 am

A 'looked after' child is a child who is in the care system, so that the local authority has to make arrangements for the child to be cared for. There are basically two ways for a child to be in this legal situation:
    1. The child is under a Care Order. This means that the local authority has applied to court for this order, on the grounds that the child is suffering 'significant harm'. While the court case proceeds, the child will often be under an Interim Care Order (ie the order is just for a limited period). If the court grants the Care Order, the local authority gets Parental Responsibility - the parents don't lose theirs, but the local authority has the power to make most important decisions about the child.

    2. There is no order, and the child goes into the care system through a voluntary agreement between the parents and the local authority, under section 20 of the 1989 Children Act. The local authority doesn't get Parental Responsibility, only the parents have it, which means that only they (and anybody else who might have acquired it) can make important decisions about the child. They would have the right to remove the child from the care system. This is usually just done as a short-term arrangement, since if the local authority is going to have long-term responsibility for the child then they usually want to have Parental Responsibility for the child.
The terminology for children who are under an order is 'in care', and where there is no order they are 'accommodated'. Both are described as 'looked after' children.

You can see a lot more about what being in the care system means by checking our advice sheets here: http://www.frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/advice-sheets
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

nana543
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:09 pm

Re: Important appeal court win for grandparents

Postby nana543 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:50 pm

Am encouraged by this report...especially since in our own case, we have just seen our Solicitor for the 1st time who has actually looked at the SGO package & is not content for whats in it and the fact that they offer such a low amount of allowance , I think he will succeed in getting what is appropiate!!


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