I am sorry to hear that things are so difficult for you at the moment. It sounds as if caring for your granddaughter is very challenging as she needs a lot of support and attention from you which you are trying to balance with caring for your other two children, one of who is also finding the situation stressful. As you are caring for your granddaughter under a SGO she may well have experienced serious difficulties before she came into your care and even though you are trying very hard, this is not an easy situation for anyone to manage especially if there is not much support in place for either you or your granddaughter. Being spoken to rudely by your son or daughter and their partner must be an added stress for you.
You don’t want to give up but it sounds as if you think things can’t stay as they are. If you can, try to think through what would be most useful to you and your family to relieve some of the pressures that you are all experiencing. This might help you decide where to go or who to contact for assistance.
Some of the other family and friends carers who post on this board may want to respond to you too as they will recognise some of the problems you are having.
In the meantime, here are a few things that you might be interested in trying to see if they would help your family. You may have already tried some of them but in case you haven’t you could try:
• Checking with your granddaughter’s school and/or GP to see if there is any help they can offer or recommend such as counselling, help with homework or parenting support.
• Linking in with a support group for kinship carers so that you don’t feel so alone and hopefully can get some good practical advice from other kinship carers who have struggled with some of the same issues as you. You can check our website to see if there is any support groups
• Ask children’s services if they can offer you support as a Special Guardian under their special guardianship support services. You may have previously had an assessment of your support needs but you could ask that this be reviewed. This does not mean that they have to provide the support you ask for but if they cannot they should give you good reasons for this. You can find out more about this in special guardianship advice sheet
. As you are feeling at your wit’s end then they should take this on board.
• If managing your granddaughter’s contact with her parents is adding to the strain you are feeling then this is something you can also discuss with children’s services. We also have a document on managing contact
which you might want to have a look at.
• Ask children’s services to carry out a child in need assessment
to work out what could be put in place to improve the situation at home. Government guidance recommends that all children who live in kinship care should be treated as children in need. You can read more about this in our family support advice sheet
The main thing is that you should not have to carry on saying everything is fine when in fact you are finding it very difficult and your granddaughter and your own children are too.
If you need to talk to someone for advice and support around parenting and family life you can get in touch with Family Lives
who run a confidential and free telephone advice service on 0808 800 222.
If you would like to speak to a Family Rights Group adviser about what you can ask from children’s services you can ring Freephone 0808 801 0366 Mon – Fri between 9.30am and 3.00pm.
I hope this is helpful.