I'm confused and a bit scared

P17613P
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:05 pm

Hi - My Grandson has been living with me for 2 years and I am his kinship foster carer

He was previously in non family foster care for a year

After my Grandson had been with me about 6 months SS started putting pressure on me to go for an SGO

I wanted to make the right decision for me so took advice from some other special guardians etc and also thought about the support I had in place as his foster carer

It still felt all new to me , was settling into my role , glad of the support and it did not feel right for me to go for an order as yet where I would lose the majority of my support etc so I talked to my fostering SW and she advised me to ask for more time which I did

At the following LAC review I expressed where I was at re going for an SGO and stated I needed more time as I needed the support in place ( especially as my Grandson who is 9 has special needs and challenging behaviour ) so the LAC review officer recommended they laid off the pressure

As time went on I was getting more confident in my role and yet still appreciated the support in place as my fostering SW organised some regular much needed respite for me and was supporting me with my Grandsons difficult behaviors etc and I felt happy and comfortable in my role and with the support etc I was getting

I was then told by SS if I don't go for an SGO that they would get a care order and ''You don't want that! So are you willing to go for an SGO?'' and so I said ''yes''

The new SW then also asked me on around 3 different occasions ''are you willing to go for an SGO'' and I said ''yes'' but time ticked on and then here we are 2 years in with little man being with me they had a legal planning meeting and it seems all hell broke loose because of the timescale etc with no permanency in place even though I am 100% willing to be my GS's permanent carer for life - I just needed some time to get my head around it at first and TBH I ALSO wanted to give enough time for my daughter to have a chance to recover from her alcoholism ( Could not help that , being her Mum ) but that was not my MAIN reason for asking for more time , it was about the support I had in place and not being ready to lose that

My daughter said she had stopped drinking 7 months ago and seemed to be doing well , holding down a job , got herself a nice flat , presented sober at every weekly contact and they started talking about reunification

I still had a gut feeling 'something was wrong' re my daughters recovery hence when they asked me a couple of months ago ( which was around the 3rd and last time the new SW asked me ) am I still willing to go for an SGO I said ''yes'' in spite of how well my daughter seemed to be doing but nothing was done , no assessment process started etc and after the legal planning meeting we were told they are going to court for a care order

I am not even sure what that means in regarding the permanency of my Grandson remaining here for life which is what I want if my daughter cannot care for him

The SW found out my daughter was still drinking last week and then they had the legal planning meeting , then a meeting with myself and my daughter at which I was told that the ''yes'' I had said to the SW about wanting to go for guardianship ''wasn't a real yes'' nor were the previous ones but I DID mean it , especially the last 2 times I was asked but seems I 'lost my chance' now so much time has passed with no permanency and it all seems to be my fault for 'delaying it' and for my yes not meaning yes even though it did!!!

I asked the SW about still going for an SGO and she said I would get less money and it felt like I was asking 'too late' and I should have 'gone for it while I had the chance' even though they never told me the process would be starting or that they / we were going to get the process started

So now I feel a bit mistrusting tbh as was told we have to have a FGC and someone else in the family has to come forward for assessment! ... This got my panic button setting in and fear and worry , they said it was in case my health failed but I was not sure if that was 100% the reason as they seem to be unhappy with me / am in their bad books now because I did not go for the SGO when I had the chance and now they are in trouble for it!!!

I want to trust that the Aunty coming forward who is the only person in the family who has presented themselves ( but only to keep my GS out of care as a last resort ) will indeed only be assessed in the event that my health fails or I die ( which are the circumstances they told me ) and I do not mind that , am just a bit scared that as I seem to be in their bad books for asking for the SGO to be delayed that they are actually looking to PLACE him with the Aunt :cry: :cry:

We have agreed as a family that she will only sign something to the affect that she is only willing to be assessed as his carer in the circumstance of my death or poor health but I am in FINE health currently with no medical conditions and am 53 years old and my Grandson will be 10 next month

I may be worrying about nothing but I also do not understand why the order they are going to court for has to be a care order not an SGO???

My daughters contact has been upped to 4 times a week from tomorrow and I am worried about the disruption to my Grandsons routine and how he will deal with it emotionally / mentally as he has Autism and only partial speech so cannot ask questions and has meltdowns etc when he is upset or overwhelmed and he has been wetting himself every day since my daughter told him he has his room at her new house ( she wants him back ) but I am complying fully with the arrangement and will just have to deal with any behaviours around it but if it is not mild but really BAD and ongoing then I will have to have a word with them and I will be letting the school know about the changes

It is a bit stressful to say the least right now as they do not seem to be fully behind me any more re an SGO but what is the alternative? He has been happily settled with me now for 2 years , there have been no concerns whatsoever with my care of him in fact the fostering team were 'impressed' they said at panel and I did well on my 1 year assessment and the school are VERY pleased with how my GS is doing so I just need to ensure that he will NOT be moved and will remain with me for life if necessary ( ie if my daughter does not pass her parenting assessment ) as I am willing , able and happy to bring up my Grandson for the rest of my life and I have told them that in previous e-mails before the legal planning meeting happened but maybe they expected me to be more proactive and get the ball rolling with the solicitor but tbh I was waiting to be instructed from them to do so ie we are going for it , get the solicitor sorted and we are starting your assessment now but that never happened :cry:

All because it 'seems' my 'yes' was not a real 'yes' when it WAS and even more so now it has been confirmed my daughter has still been drinking but even with her presenting well I had my suspicions all along for the past 7 months hence saying yes when asked if I was willing to go for an SGO and it's not entirely my fault NOTHING WAS DONE :(

Does it have to be a care order they go for or can it be an SGO instead? If it has to be a care order can they then go for an SGO with me afterwards?? They seem to feel I am too keen too late but I was just being honest and hate being pressurised into things I am not ready for!! :?

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:38 pm

I know it's a long post but I could really do with some support with this! :cry:

I need to ask if the contact can be reduced without it backfiring on me as I have only just got SS back on board , just about , as when I go against them or challenge a decision they become unsupportive about me getting an SGO

I suppose all I can do is ''voice my concerns'' but even that get's their back up as they seem to expect 100% compliancy ''or else''

I don't have any support and the FRG helpline is always busy when I ring but am doing my best and will bring up my concerns ( in a gentle way ) at the LAC review as I can't not tbh x

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ied53
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Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby ied53 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:05 am

Hi P,
I'm a kinship carer to. Have you formally asked to be assessed as a special guardian? I would put it in writing. The contact may have been increased due to your daughters apparent recovery which is now known as failing. While you are fostering you have little control and especially if the children's services do not have a full care order. Of course the sw wants the child in a permanent situation but you have also taken professional advice to delay this . I would put that in your letter of application. I would also add while you are able to access support from post adoption ( as you will have SGO) you would like guaranteed support due to his special needs.
I would not include what you feel you need in the application save that for your statement. I would discuss a reduction in the level of contact as you need to ensure your grandson feels secure in the placement with you especially in view of his special needs . With Autism often routine is paramount. You should get the same amount of allowance for 2 years as you have fostered then it should be means tested. Some carers have had the allowance guaranteed until the age of 18 but you will need that to discussed and in writing not verbally agreed.
There is usually a time frame for an " ideal solution" but with children and parents it is rarely ideal. You need good legal advice from a solicitor on the childrens panel not just family law. I have sent you a message with a recommendation as it would be inappropriate to mention names on here .
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:11 am

I don't fully understand why as my daughter's recovery is failing would they UP contact?

Even an ex social worker friend of mine said ''hang on , they find out she has been lying about not drinking so up the contact as a result?'' but I understand it is for evidence gathering etc but why drag my GS with special needs into all that??

I have to take steps to ensure the placement works and I KNOW that at 4 times a week my HEALTH WILL FAIL as 3 times a week will be pushing me to my limit as a human being ( just dealing with all the behaviours afterwards ) three days in a row every week of dealing with little mans behaviours is TOO MUCH and I have told them that as it is too much for him as well and I may have no power as you say or no ''say in it'' but I am insisting it is reduced to 3 times a week as when the SW called me she said it was 3 times a week but then at the meeting we were told 4 and even my daughter feels 4 times a week is too much for her son!

I am not doing it , am not going to carry on letting mine and little man's health suffer over this to the point it pushes me to a breakdown as I have lost count of how many meltdowns and 'situations' I have dealt with this week along with an UNHAPPY boy on my hands who was HAPPY for the past 2 years until his Mum said he has his room at her house and then the upped contact started

I have told them I HAVE MY LIMITS and although as a fc I ''don't have a say'' I DO have a say about my own HEALTH at least if not little mans and this is 100% too much for both of us and if there is a backlash for refusing to do 4 and sticking to 3 then so be it as am heading for a breakdown if it stays at 4 as the AMOUNT on meltdowns and behaviours around it is TOO MUCH for any normal human being to cope with and I actually do well with him considering the extent and scale of his behaviours , but anyway , they will probably threaten to remove him but I am at the point where I know I cannot do it ( 4 times a week and deal with the FALL OUT of that and can just ABOUT deal with the fallout of 3 times a week but that is my HUMAN LIMIT ) and IF they want this placement to work there has to be room for a small compromise or manouvre which is actually at the level the SW TOLD ME IT WOULD BE ON THE PHONE!!!

If I have no rights and my GS has no rights then I am just a HUMAN PUPPET WHO HAS TO DO WHATEVER THEY TELL ME TO DO even if I CAN'T health wise because I am human and actually do have LIMITS and 4 times a would push both me and little man over the limit as we have no time to recouperate even between the bouts of distress etc

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ied53
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Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby ied53 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:13 am

Neither can I understand the increase as they know she is failing . She also needs to tell them it is too much. Speak to your sw manager . What about the health visitor ? is the child at school ? what is the behaviour there? Are they having concerns? Gather your evidence .Unfortunately as a foster carer you don't have control as technically you are employed to do this role and the sw has the responsibility. Possibly Mum was expected to fail and it is necessary to evidence to the court that they have tried to support her and potential repatriation.
That level of contact is not sustainable for any family never mind a special needs child . Does he have a disability sw? Could you discuss with them the effect this is having on the child? Unless there is enough evidence to support the case the court will not rule as challenges can be made against the decision . It is essential they gain all the evidence. Has the court appointed a guardian ? ( caffcass) can you talk to them? Maybe you are not yet far enough in the process? How long have you had the child? There may well be a long way to go yet ask them if a contact centre can be arranged to take the pressure off you. Suggest it would also be beneficial for an independent person to observe contact to see how / if Mum interacts. It may become clearly evident that Mum cannot / doesn't want to cope. But unless all avenues are explored by the sw the case will fail
Irene

Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire

Tough times never last tough people do

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:42 am

Irene , thank you SO much for your support - I reached out on some other forums and was totally ignored!!! lol

He has been with me for 2 years , he is 10 next month and at a special needs school for children with moderate to severe learning difficulties

They said he was shouting more at school and that's it ( but he shouts when he is upset )

I asked for their support on the matter of the contact being too much and they said they will support him in class ( that is all they were willing to do )

I asked my fostering SW for support on the matter and she just rang me to say there was nothing she could do

But I TOOK THEM ON ALL BY MYSELF and INSISTED it was changed to 3 times a week and listed my reasons and his SW ( who is from the disability team ) just rang me to say it has been agreed it is changed to 3 times a week instead of 4 from today

Three times a week is still a bit much and the MAX I feel we could cope with and he hates contact centres so it is more of a natural , relaxed environment at his Mums house and it seems they want me to look for evidence of her drinking as the SW when she did attend contact to make notes etc asked me if I saw any alcohol in my daughters cupboard when I made myself a cup of tea!

I am sure that's not in my job description! [wink] lol

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:46 am

He has no court appointed guardian as yet

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ied53
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Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby ied53 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:36 pm

At least they have agreed that . It might be prudent to suggest that you are considering an SGO if so what level of support would you get and what would the suggested level of contact be . This is going to be for years and you do need some family life
Irene

Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire

Tough times never last tough people do

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:03 am

Thanks Irene , indeed I do , he is so unsettled currently , well I settle him back down only for him to become unsettled again ( too regularly imo ) and we have to take his Autism into account poor thing :cry:

They were previously going to recommend contact set at once every 3 months under an SGO but my daughter was not fighting for him then , she will fight for more contact and carry on fighting to get him back ( but then ruddy well do the work on yourself first love and stop tricking people into thinking you are in recovery when you are clearly NOT ) ( mini rant lol ;) )

They said I would get support from the children and disabilities team after and will not just leave me to it ( but I have my doubts about that ) the main thing I want it my respite to remain in place even though it has not started yet 2 years in as family used to do it very occasionally but I said I needed it REGULARLY ) and of course a financial package till he is 18 which they told me VERBALLY but will want it in writing plus I may need help from some sort of mental help team as he gets older and if there is any further disruption in his life or a bad fall out after the court decision etc ( or if the meltdowns after contact get more intense ) just 'getting older' and hitting the teen years in itself with Autism and a complex family life / history is enough in itself to possible need some extra emotional support for him!

I have found a place who do therapeutic work with children but not sure if he would have to be referred

I want everything in place before I make that step hence sticking with kinship care for as long as I could etc

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:29 am

Hi P17613P,

Just to let you know that we have been experiencing technical difficulties recently and so I replied to your post by private message last week, as we were unable to post at that point. If you have trouble picking it up, please let me know and I'll explain how to do it.

Best wishes

Suzie


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