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Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:04 pm
My partner and I have been assessed and approved for an SGO for our niece and nephew who are currently in care and have been since January 2016. It all goes to court in December 2016 and we have informed it is likely we will become their SG. Unfortunately no one has really explained us what will happen after court if this happens. We are currently in a 1 bedroom flat with our 2 year old son. We literally have no room for the 2 children in our property. Social Services have said they will help move us. I was just after some advice on what to expect in regards to the transition process. How long after the court awards the SGO will the children come to us and will it be a gradual process? I just want to be prepared.
If anyone has any advice and guidance I would very interested in hearing it.
Re: SGO Order
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:59 pm
Thank you for your reply.
Should they be going through the plan before or after court?
The children are 5 and 7 and we have seen them 4 times since they were taken into care. SS have advised us that the mother should have monthly contact and the siblings should be fortnightly.
I would also be really interested in hearing anyone's experiences after SG is ordered.
How did people manage work etc. I currentry work 4 full days a week. I love my job and I am worried that I may need to go term time only but this could make my job vunerable. If i don't then I don't know what we will do in summer holidays etc. I am willing to do what I need to for these children but my work is also important to me.
Re: SGO Order
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:40 pm
I second Irene's welcome here.
In answer to the second part of your question about housing, you MUST get in writing from the Local Authority precisely what they are offering in 'helping you to move'. Too many people have taken SS at their word and found that once the order is made, the 'help' is either not forthcoming, or is not what they expected. 'Help' could mean anything from actually arranging rehousing, through paying removal costs to giving you the contact details of the housing dept that you can find easily anyway. Other folks have been 'promised' money for extensions that have never materialised. The list goes on. Once that order is made, any chance of financial assistance will just disappear into the ether unless you have it in writing and in detail. SS will prevaricate, and possibly threaten to withdraw their support for the SGO, but you must stick to your guns. The lives of those children will be really adversely affect if they leave you in your current accommodation.
Re: SGO Order
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:39 am
Thank you Robin,
We have it in writing how they will help financially. I originally setup with the local housing association for us to switch properties with the mum as suggested by SS but then they decided this could impact negatively on the children. They have since told us on several occasions they will now find us a house and if we have to rent privately then they will help us with the estate agent fees and deposit. We had to refuse to take the children until we were in a bigger property because we are in a 1 bedroom flat and the kitchen is open plan so there literally no room and it would be too dangerous.
Thank you for your advice. I will definately not let them walk over us. We will get what we need in order to help these 2 children.
Re: SGO Order
Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:39 pm
Yea I think your right I am too trusting. I am going to seek legal advice and I will speak to the sw. I do tend to give people the benefit of doubt but I will fight to get what we need for these children. SS have advised us for contact to be monthly but I thought this would all be discussed in or after court depending on the outcome.
Re: SGO Order
Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:49 am
Welcome to the friends and family carers forum.
I can see that Irene and Robin have given you a lot of advice about how practically the children will move to live with you and about the level of contact the children might have with their parents.
Here is our research
about contact when children are placed with friends and family carers.
Also have a look at our advice sheet about special guardianship orders
From page 39 onwards there is a lot of information about being assessed for support-which includes support around contact.
Children services also have the discretion to pay towards your legal fees.
The court will look at the plans for contact and decide whether or not a contact order is made or whether contact will be left in your discretion, as special guardians ? Generally, it is better that there is no court order-so that contact can reflect the needs of the children, which may change over time.
Irene and Robin have also highlighted the need for you to ensure your housing situation is also addressed.
You are giving up a secure tenancy with a housing association for a private rented home. As well as being less secure (private landlords, after the fixed period has ended, can give very short notice that they want the property back), your rent is also likely to be higher.
Before you agree to do this, can you seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in housing to see what options you might have.
Or you could seek advice about this from Shelter
a housing law charity.
Children services and the housing department have a duty to work together under Section 27 of the Children Act 1989. What efforts have been made to do this? Is there an option for you to secure larger accommodation within the same or a different housing association?
What is the guardian's view? His/her job is to act in the best interests of the children.
As Robin and Irene say, it is important to ensure all the detail is addressed in writing and before the court proceedings have concluded.
If you have any questions, please post back.
Re: SGO Order
Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:44 pm
Good to hear from someone who is taking on a niece/nephew. We have our niece living with us along with our own children. Very often it seems the SGOs are to grandparents, who have a different set of issues to those of us who are also trying to bring our own children up along with the SGO child. it is VERY hard work.
Fight against a contact order in the court. I refused one and am so glad i did. After the false accusations of physical harm from birth mum i was able to cease contact legally and SGO child has not seen birth mother for over 3 years. If there had been a contact order i would not have been able to do that. DO NOT underestimate the vitriol of birth parents in these cases and the extreme impact on family dynamics. My children have lost their extended family due to this process as grandma/grandad find it very hard to keep their feelings about their daughter's (birth mother) "loss" of her child out of their relationship with us.
I have not received a penny of financial support from social services as apparently i earn too much - like you my work is important to me and i continued working. It is very very hard bringing up 4 children (which i now have) and it looks like you will be taking on 2 on top of your existing child. Do not underestimate the financial impact - even when you are given financial assistance it does not compensate you for the fact you permanently need a bigger car, can't go on certain holidays as the room set up does not allow for this, school dinners cost a fortune, as do school trips, the fact that getting anyone to babysit 4 children is very very difficult so you never get a rest.
Good luck - get EVERYTHING in writing and make sure you get legal advice. I didn't and i regret it all the time.
Re: SGO Order
Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:57 am
Hi tryinghard69 and everyone else
Thank you so much for the advice it is much appreciated. I deperately want to try and work with the birth mother to try and make this work for the kids. I am worried that she will try and make our lives difficult but we will be setting rules and boundaries though and I hope she respects them.
I know I am very naive and too trusting but I like to think of the best in everyone and i'd like think she can change. I am just going to what is best for all the children involved and I will do what is necessary to ensure their safety and to make sure their needs are taken care of.
Can I ask what do people do about juggling work and schools breaks etc. I was thinking about going term time only at work, however this will put me vunerable position at work and I've worked really hard to get where I am (8 years) and I am close to a quite big promotion.
I would mind going term time only or finding a new job if it wasn't for the fact that I've heard birth mother is planning on taking us back to court in 18 months if the SGO is granted. I really don't know what do because I have looked into summer clubs etc and they cost a fortune. I really don't think she would get them back anytime soon as she isn't really showing signs of having changed but not knowing what to expect/unknown is causing quite a lot of stress at the moment. I'd rather not go term only if the SGO isn't long term.