still being keept from our grandson

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nannydunn
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:51 pm

still being keept from our grandson

Post by nannydunn » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:21 pm

it has been four months since our grandchildren were taken from us and put in to foster care as their parents didn't want then staying with us anymore we think social workers were behind this as we failed the fostering assessment due to overcrowding but they continued to let them stay with us for 15weeks and four days the limit is 16 weeks without a full fostering assessment anyhow we final got a meeting with the s.w and the children's mother the father our son refused to come and it was agreed that we could see our granddaughter for 2 hours a fortnight in a contact centre we asked about our grandson the sw said no but mum said we should see him so it was agreed he would come for the second hour along with our daughter their auntie well we waited and waited we were told it would take one to two weeks to arrange so after two weeks we phoned and asked when it would be sw said he would sort it for the weekend we waited all week then at 4 oclock Friday I text as this seams to be the preferred way of contact between the sw he came back with Saturday 1-2 granddaughter only I asked why not the boy and was told there were issues that need to be discussed with his line manager and she was on annual leave until Monday he did not tell us where the contact was to take place so I text him back saying where waited until 6pm then phoned the offices where the duty sw found out for us

we have now seen our granddaughter 3 times but no grandson when we ask why all we get is there are issues I have spoken to the line manager she told me she needed to talk to the sw and would get back to us but could not say anything I case it was a child protection issue we are totally baffled we haven't had the children for four months they wont answer our solicitors letters when we spoke to the customer service manager who is dealing with our complaint it appears they have lost the solicitors letters it seems like we are back in the playground where we have made a complaint about the sw and department so he is going to make life difficult for us can we ever win or should we just break all ties now before it makes us really ill we are both so stressed not knowing what they are saying about us and not being able to have our say. all we have ever done is the very best we can for our granddaughter since she was five weeks old and our grandson when he came to live with us.

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David Roth
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Re: still being keept from our grandson

Post by David Roth » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:33 am

nannydunn, I am very sorry to hear about the problems you are having around contact with your grandson - not only have you been unable to see him for planned contacts, but you are not being given any reason for him not coming to these contacts.

It is hard to know what to make of what is happening. If he has made an allegation about something you did while he was staying with you, then I would expect that you would have been interviewed as part of the investigation. If he has said that he doesn't want to see you for contact, then I would see no problem with the social worker explaining that to you.

I wonder if he is having trouble settling into his foster placement? I have noticed that when this happens, sometimes foster carers will say that the child's trouble in settling is due to the people who were looking after him/her previously, and they can raise objections to the child having contact with them. Of course, this is actually a decision for the social workers to make, and the foster carers should not have a veto over who foster children can see for contact. And in addition, it won't necessarily be harmful for foster children to see their previous carers — in fact, quite the opposite. When children come into care they can end up staying with several different sets of carers, and it is not thoguht to be good for children to form relationships with people who then just vanish from their lives.

It sounds as though you have been taking the steps that it is possible to take, by making a formal complaint. It sounds very frustrating that letters from your solicitor are being ignored and then going missing. Perhaps you could phone the local government ombudsman for some advice: http://www.lgo.org.uk — in the present circumstances time is of the essence if you are to have your complaints heard.

Are you still interested in being considered for the children, even although the council states that you have been ruled out? It may still be possible to be considered, but time would be of the essence for this as well. Was overcrowding the only reason that was given for turning you down as carers for the children? And do you think you could have managed if you were helped to get accommodation with more space? Local authorities can sometimes help with getting housing transfers or having extensions built. Did the local authority give you any other reasons besides overcrowding for ruling you out? If so, you would need to consider how you could meet these objections as well. If this is something you want to pursue, I would suggest perhaps starting another thread, or calling our advice line for more detailed advice about your particular circumstances - the freephone number is 0808 801 0366, lines are open 9.30am-3pm Mon-Fri.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

nannydunn
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:51 pm

Re: still being keept from our grandson

Post by nannydunn » Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:26 pm

thank you for your reply apparently my grandson who is two years old has been asked if he wants to see granddad and he says no and holds his ear three days before they were taken he fell and banged his ear on a small table he had a line bruise on his ear we had social workers come to our house to ask what had happened to start with they couldn't get the right child as they said it was my granddaughter that had the injury my husband explained what had happened and who was there at the time I couldn't comment as I was at work but my son and daughters boyfriend were they were never asked what happened and my son was in the room when it happened it was investigated and the outcome was inconclusive which makes my husband feel as if he is being branded an abuser but they didn't have enough proof to actually say he hurt him why did they not question my son it could of cleared they whole thing up? I think now they will hold that against us ever having the children as my son has moved in with his girlfriend so we now have a large bedroom free which they have been told about when the children's mother was told this and she said that it could be a possibility if she failed her parenting assessment the SW said not with the grandfather like he is we don't know what they are saying about us especially my husband but they seem to be painting a very black picture of us so we have no chance of getting the children they say my husband shouts this is out of frustration and the fact that he is deaf and wears hearing aids in both ears they are also saying the mother says one thing to us about seeing the little boy and another to them which when I asked her to be truthful about it she said the only thing she said was that if he didn't want to see us then she couldn't force him this time last year I had a granddaughter that we could take out for days and enjoy the summer with and we were starting to take our grandson out to we took him to pepa pig land and the farm and had a really good relationship with them now we get one hour a fortnight in a contact centre with the little girl her birthday is coming up in September and it will be the first one we have not celebrated at our house with her and all her family so sad

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David Roth
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Re: still being keept from our grandson

Post by David Roth » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:34 am

Who informed you that your grandson is saying he doesn't want to see granddad? Is this something that the social workers have informed you about, or has it been passed on to you by a third party, e.g. one of his parents?

I ask because it sounds as if you have not had clear communication with the social workers about what is happening, in particular why the contact with your grandson is not happening and why you are being ruled out as potential carers for your grandchildren.

You could try making a formal, written request for them to put these things in writing to you, because then you would at least have a formal explanation of their reasons. You would then be able to decide whether you had grounds for challenging these decisions.

Of course, they may not respond quickly enough to this request, so I would suggest that you explore other ways of challenging these decisions. For example, you could make contact with the Cafcass officer, whose job is to report independently to the court on what would be best for the children. You could inform him/her that you feel you have been unfairly ruled out as potential carers for the children, and unfairly denied contact with your grandson — even if he is nervous about seeing granddad because he fell and banged his ear, they could at least try out supervised contact, where they could observe how granddad behaves towards his grandson, and the supervisor could step in in the event that it was upsetting for the child or there was any cause for concern.

If you do want to fight to be considered as permanent carers for the children, you may want to apply to be joined as parties to the proceedings, with a view to getting special guardianship orders for them. You have recently provided 15 weeks care for them, so you would have some grounds for saying you ought to be considered. Our advice sheet 19 (http://frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/advice-sheets) takes you through how to make an application for SGO yourself, although may want to get legal representation if you don't feel confident about representing yourselves in court. However, without legal aid that could be a considerable cost, so it would be a big decision.

Care proceedings are a lot more time-limited than they used to be, so if you did want to get involved in the proceedings it would be important to do so as quickly as possible.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

nannydunn
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:51 pm

Re: still being keept from our grandson

Post by nannydunn » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:42 pm

thank you for your reply we had a visit from an independent investigator on Tuesday due to our request to take our complain to a stage two complaint she could not understand either why the SW could not provide supervised contact to see our grandsons reaction our feeling is most two year olds say no to most things they are asked it is their favourite word I work In a pre- school and see it all the time the independent investigator looked at paper work we had from meetings etc and had a feeling they had acted illegally we now have to wait for her report but my daughter has been trying to see her nephew as when he lived with us she became a mother figure to him he went to her for everything when she was at home but she is constantly being given the run around too she phones nobody will talk to her she offered to text the childs mother to get permission from her to see him but they said no because she says one thing to us and another to them which she denies all she wants is her children back and for them to have a loving family around them (we are the only family they have she is estranged from all her family who are well known to ss and the police) now they are refusing to talk to my daughter she does not shout or get abusive to them so they have no reason not to talk to her the sw is off tomorrow and the team leader is due to start annual leave so contact will not happen again this week when it is due so it will be six months since we have seen him by the time the next two weeks come round he wont know us all the good we had done building up a relationship with him has been destroyed all for no reason. we just seem to be nobody now they used us to get the children away from their parents and now we have served that purpose they want us to disappear. I have been working hard to build a relationship with the chidrens mother as my son doesn't want to know us and refuses to attend any meetings we will be at that's his choice but I am getting on better now than I have ever done with their mother so hoping that if she gets the children back she will have our support although ss are now saying she could not cope as she has bipolar the whole thing is such a sorry mess all I want is to be a normal nanny enjoying the summer holidays taking my grandchildren out for days and having fun not feeling like a have done 10 rounds in a boxing ring every day. sorry to rant on but it really helps just type away all my problems .

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David Roth
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Re: still being keept from our grandson

Post by David Roth » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:26 am

No need to apologise for having a 'rant', as you put it. People use this forum in all sorts of ways, and letting off steam is one of them. However, we do also hope that the advisers and the other carers who post here will be able to help to resolve some of these difficult situations. And the situation you have described certainly sounds very frustrating.

It is quite alarming that your grandson, who is unable to live with his mother, certainly for the time being and possibly long-term, has loving extended family who want to see him but are being denied.

It sounds as though you may be getting somewhere over the contact issue, in that you have seen an independent investigator who sounds possibly sympathetic. Let's hope that if her findings support you then there can be some quick action to reinstate your grandson's family contact.

However, that still leaves the issue of your grandson's long-term future. It sounds to me as though there is a real risk that he could be lost to the family, unless you are able to force the local authority and the courts to consider alternatives for him from within the family. Even although you have been told that you have been ruled out as potential carers, that does not have to be the end of the story. Please refer to me reply earlier on this thread, about possibly being joined as parties to care proceedings if these are underway.

If the local authority has issued care proceedings, then they are supposed to have identified and assessed family members or people otherwise connected to the children, and assessed them, at a very early stage. Although you stated that you have been ruled out, it sounds as though the process has not been very open, in that you have not been given clear reasons for it, although you suspect that it is because they have suspicions about your husband — however this has not been properly tested out or explained to you. They should convene a Family Group Conference if that is appropriate (otherwise known as an FGC - see our Advice Sheet 3 for more details: http://frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/advice-sheets) - I think an FGC might have been appropriate in your case, as there are other family members like your daughter who may be willing to help out even if they couldn't take in your grandson themselves.

If there are care proceedings taking place, and you don't want the grandchildren to be lost to the family, then you need to look urgently at how you could get involved in the case and ensure you are considered as their potential carers. As I said, you could consider applying to be parties to the proceedings. You don't need to have legal representation for this, you can just phone up the clerk of the court for some advice about how to go about it.

If you would like to talk this through with one of Family Rights Group's advisers, you can phone our advice line - the lines are open 9.30am-3pm Mon-Fri, it's a freephone number 0808 801 0366. If the lines are busy, just try again later, as some times are busier than others.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

nannydunn
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:51 pm

Re: still being keept from our grandson

Post by nannydunn » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:38 pm

thank you for the replies we went for contact with my granddaughter on Monday and when we arrived and were waiting to be told which room we would have we heard my granddaughter in the waiting area she appeared along with my grandson and the foster carer he looked at us realised who we were and run up to my husband with a big smile not the actions of a child we have been told gets distressed at the mere mention of granddad he then ran into my daughters arms and hugged her we gave him some magazines that we had taken for granddaughter to take back for him he sat on the sofa in the waiting room between my daughter and husband and looked at them. the contact centre staff then called us to our room and he had to go with the foster carer but wanted to come with us my daughter went to the bathroom and could
hear him calling for her she was very upset at this. when we returned from contact I phoned the customer relations manager who is dealing with our complaint and is very good at trying to make sense of this mess and told him what had happened and although it shouldn't of happened he said it was good in respect of the reaction we had and that the foster carer witnessed it and he would talk to the head of social services that day or the next regarding some contact with him. the next day I text the children's social worker and told him and asked for contact we have yet to hear from anyone apart from the next two date for contact which is unheard of we normally have to ask several time in the week its due and hear late the day before it's due I text back asking if it was both children got back you need to be there fifteen minutes before contact is due which we have never been told before when I asked why this was I was told policy I again asked if it was both children and said I wasn't happy at spending fifteen minutes in a room waiting for the children to turn up and have heard nothing again. I seems that if he doesn't like the questions I put to him he just ignores me so just playing the waiting game again until somebody feels like replying to me. with regards to the children and court proceedings as far as we know the children are still under a voluntary agreement and the parents still have parental responsibility so not sure whats happening we have been told that as we no longer have the children living we have no rights to attend any meetings about them ! I have made it known that there is a room available at our house now our son has moved out my daughter is still at home and if the children came to live with us we would share the care between us we are not sure what else we can do if they are still under a voluntary agreement, maybe I will give the help line a ring tomorrow and see if they can offer any advice thanks for listening again

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