Taking on Niece/Nephews

Willsy
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:09 pm

Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby Willsy » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:53 am

Hoping to get some advice and what to expect. The big picture, four children ranging from 2 to 14 were originally placed on the at risk register, the parents then signed the eldest over under a section 20. Over a period of 5 weeks, social didn't see any/or not enough improvements and the 3 remaining children became more at risk and with the parents constantly battling one another to get them arrested. the final straw came when the father took an overdose with the children around to witness this. The parents then agreed to sign the remaining children over to social under a section 20.

In recent days, social have gone to court and it was agreed to put a protection order in place. the two eldest are in separate foster homes and the two youngest are together. The parents have supervised visits at the present moment.

It has been made clear, that should the children not be returned to the parent and no family members come forward, then the children will be put for adoption. I can only assume this will mean the youngest two as they are under 5?

My husband and I have put ourselves forward to be assessed. waiting for this to start. Through all the paperwork/reports from social putting their file to court for the protection order, we have been spoken about in a positive way. We have helped with children, we have had the eldest reside with us prior to going into care, we have assisted with social with concerns, we have helped the parents with support, generally all round possessiveness. that was until the small section which notes us wanting to be considered to be put forward to raise the youngest. they said they were against it, as I had been involved with family augment and this being in front of the children. This I strongly deny and at no point has this ever happened?

Anyway, I have no issue in this as I know this has never been the case and this has never been raised in any of the reports, only the small section about wanting to be assessed.

My question is, my husband and I work full time, we have two spare rooms as my step children (I cast them as my own) moved in when they were 9 and 10 and have now left home aged 23 and 22. Would it matter that we work full time? I have questioned about financial support with social as I understood that if we were to be assessed like a foster carer, we could go for kinship and this would be paid the same as a foster carer. Not saying I will only do this for money, they are family and will fight for them to prevent them being adopted. I just worry that being the youngest is 2 and with my husband and I working full time, we would have to look at nursery or child minder

Wont lie, its freaking me out but am fully prepared to make changes to bring them up. I myself grew up in and out of foster care (mum had/has Munchausen). I live a happy life with no regrets and my past has made me the person I am today. I have no issue with my past being bought up, I took on my hubby kids as they were abused by the step father, my life changed over night and times were tough, but got through that. I know times will be tough and prepared to meet any challenge that hits us. Just would like to be better prepared to know what to expect and where to get advice

Any help will be appreciated

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ied53
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby ied53 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:49 pm

Hello possibly they would want to keep all the children together. Though they may consider the younger ones coming to you. You may be expected to give up work some carers have had to. Depends on the needs. If you foster then you would receive an allowance it is highly likely you would be persuaded or expected to take on a care order in which case the allowance would be means tested after the initial period. Would you be in a position to keep all the children together ? You need to really consider this as a long term project and indeed you may not get the allowance beyond the initial granting. Essentially what is best for the children is what matters and any supposed squabbles between you and bp are irrelevant and usually manufactured to get their own way
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

Willsy
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:09 pm

Re: Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby Willsy » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:24 am

The eldest is settled in his foster home of nearly 2 months and with his needs, they feel he benefits from one-to-one. The next child has down syndrome and a lot of needs, so they feel, she would benefit from one-to-one. which leaves the youngest two being placed together. My husband or I would consider leaving employment, but would worry financially. Surely being a foster carer would benefit more financially, rather than care order which is means tested? I know its not all about money and don't get me wrong, but I don't want to struggle financially. I want to ensure the children, should I be accepted to take them on, have not only longing family looking after them, but have the security of finances as well... When I spoke to social about funding, I was just told, the parents would have to fund us and then she walked off. She showed no interest and still trying to get contact with the kids, have said I will have supervised, or what ever is needed, I have confirmed I am happy for a police check to be done. But still waiting on a date. I just want the children to know and see, we are still there for them and love them very much. Its heart breaking

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ied53
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby ied53 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:30 pm

Hi s a carer I understand your frustrations completely. Fostering will give you more support for the children it will also give you meetings and visits from the sw every few weeks . While essentially becomes a bins and having to ask permission to do anything including babysitters./ visitors to the house. friends the children can visit etc. The allowance would be sufficient for the children only and may include a small element of pay. You will have to account for every penny and be advised on how much should go where etc. Eg x for clothes x for pocket money etc. and is solely for the children not family expenses . Even though you should get the salary element many family and friends carers don't. Only you can decide what is best for you. Personally we wanted the stigma of being in care away from the girls and the freedom to make decisions which is why we went for SGO. You will be expected to go for a care order and not remain carer indefinitely indeed the encouragement to do so will be firm !!. and resistance may prove futile. Some carers have managed to be awarded guaranteed allowance but few far between. Regardless of what sw says unless it is in writing it doesn't happen. or can easily be changed .
Irene

Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire

Tough times never last tough people do

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:04 pm

Dear Willsy,

Welcome to the Friends and Family Carers Forum.

I can see that there are currently care proceedings in respect of the 4 children. They are all in foster care at the moment. You and your husband have put yourself forward to be long term carers of the 2 youngest who are under 5.

While the care proceedings are ongoing, various assessments will be carried out. The parents will be assessed either together or separately, to see whether they can provide safe and good enough parenting of any of the children.
At the same time, you and your husband (and any other friends or family who have put themselves forward) will also be assessed to care for the children long term, should the parents be unable to do so.

Have a look at our advice sheet about assessing friends and family carers to see what to expect.

Children services will also be parallel planning for adoption in respect of the two youngest children. However, the law says that adoption is the last resort, if the children cannot be returned to parents or friends or family or long term foster care.

At the end of the care proceedings, the court will decide where the children will live until they are 18.
Your question was about support that might be available.
As Irene says, if it is decided that the children come to live with you, as they are so young, it is almost expected that you will be seeking a private law order such as a special guardianship order or child arrangements order. This is because these orders are long term and will give you the legal parental responsibility so you can make decisions about the children-like parents.

The private law order with more potential support is a special guardianship order. Have a look at our advice sheet about special guardianship orders -page 39 onwards.
Ask for the local authority’s policy on support for kinship carers.

You should discuss with the social worker your working hours, and whether or not, children’s services will want you to take time off to settle the children with you or to reduce your working hours for a while. What do they expect? This will depend on the needs of the children. How can they support you to do this, for example, will they contribute towards nursery fees? Here is some information about getting parental leave from work

Finally, our FAQ’s for people thinking about becoming kinship carers may answer some of your questions.

I hope this advice helps but if you have any questions, please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Willsy
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:09 pm

Re: Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby Willsy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:30 pm

Update: The social worker called today to ask what my notice would be at work if I was to give my job up and if I can take kids on now. I was very honest and said if the youngest being 2 could go to nursery/playgroup/childminder, I would work in the office and home to ensure being around the kids. But would need help with funding of nursery. We agreed that with a court date at the end of Sept which will give details of dates things need to be done, viability assessments, parents assessments etc. It would be better to wait to that point. i asked loads of questions about how the kids were doing, they are thriving ( I already knew that). she confirmed that if family didn't look after youngest, they would be adopted and only the two eldest would stay in care.

The social worker said that due to my nephew only being 2, i would have to give up work, or seriously cut my hours. When i asked about funding and being a foster carer for the children, she said that would take far to long (6 months) and involve a lot of training and assessment etc. When i questioned, wouldn't it be better for me to be their foster parent which will ensure that given their background and what they have been through, that no one will know what damage has been done and the affects its taken on the children and surely having social services involvement would benefit them as much as us to ensure all parties receive the support if needed...... She said that we would need to take on a special guardianship order and that we would have to fund the children.

Ok-then if i was giving up my job, i would loose a salary and need to pay my normal living expenses and raise two young children.....

I have been open that I have a lot of questions and feel my husband and I can bring my niece and nephew up. we have made it very clear that we understand the long term commitment, and that while assessments are being done, if we felt at any point that we couldn't do it, we would be open and honest. Why do i feel that this social worker who will do the first assessment is pushing to give me negative info, so i would change my mind. I have no issue with stress the children may bring with emotions and health/social issues. We can deal with that and prepared for that.

Finance is my only concern...... Surely asking them to assist for 2 years only until the youngest is in full time school, is not a lot to ask

I'm a fighter and will fight to the end. But really concerned they will dismiss us because of finances :(

Willsy
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:09 pm

Re: Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby Willsy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:26 pm

fist assessment meeting is on Wednesday 13th Sept (next week). I hope they give us a chance and support us

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Taking on Niece/Nephews

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:43 am

Dear Willsy,

I can see that there is a court date at the end of September.
I think it would be really helpful for you to go to the court hearing.
Although, only those who are a party (Mum, dad, the children’s guardian and the local authority-along with their legal representation) will be allowed into the actual court room, most of the negotiations (about assessments and contact with the children) take place in rooms at the courthouse. You may want to have input. You will be able to meet the guardian for the children as well as the other parties.

I want to flag up with you the fact that the social worker was asking you to take the children straight away.
The children are currently “looked after” , so can only be placed with foster carers. However, you could be approved as foster carers on a temporary basis, almost immediately. The children could live with you while the full fostering assessment is completed. So in principle, the children could come to you very quickly. Please look at part 2, page 17 of the advice sheet 22 assessing family and friends as foster carers, I linked in my earlier post. You would then be paid the basic foster carer allowance. This could be used towards the children’s nursery fees, for example.

Your question about financial support under a special guardianship order
Financial support can be given to enable you to become a special guardian as well as enabling the special guardianship arrangement to continue,(so that the placement doesn’t break down). Children services would need to assess whether it is "necessary” to ensure that you can look after the children. Support can also be provided if any child needs special care, arising from an illness, disability, or from them having emotional or behavioural difficulties.
Ask to be assessed for support under the special guardianship regulations. You should specify that you would like support to pay nursery or childminding fees, and then towards afterschool fees and nursey or holiday schemes during the school holidays.
Also find out what support is available in your area. Because the children would have been “looked after”, if you got a special guardianship order, then you may get priority for these schemes as well as school support.
Why don’t you contact the social work department whose job it is to support special guardians? They are likely to have a better idea about support available, than the current social worker. They can also advise you about SGO allowance and the cap for this in your area.

Can you have a quick read through the advice sheet 22 before your first assessment meeting? Then you know what to expect.

If you have any questions, please post back.

Best wishes,
Suzie


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