Viability assessment done

wilsy
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:08 am

Re: Viability assessment done

Postby wilsy » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:27 pm

Hi

So, our assessment went well on Friday. It was really just a meeting with my niece, SW sat back and watched how we were with her, the temp foster carere gave us lots of information about my niece, and lots of do's and donts - she was talking as if she thinks my niece is definitely coming to us, thats how it felt anyway.

SW asked us a couple of questions, employment history, asked about any previous convictions etc (i assumed all the CRB checks had already been done though).

There is a meeting between all parties at the end of October, and then a final hearing in November. SW wants us to have at least 1 more visit with my niece before the October meeting.

SW told us that if the judge agrees she should be placed with us, then she will be with us before XMAS.
My question really is, if in the hearing the judge says yes, she comes to us - then how quickly after the hearing would she actually be placed with us?
I dont know if the SW is right in saying she would be with us by xmas, sometimes i sort of feel they might be telling us what we want to hear!! im sure they are not though!

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David Roth
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Re: Viability assessment done

Postby David Roth » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:53 pm

Wilsy, it sounds to me as if there are two possible outcomes from the final hearing in November.

One possibility is that the court might decide to award you the special guardianship order, in which case as from that date you will be the child's special guardians, you will have parental responsibility for her, and you should make the arrangements for her to make the move in with you at the earliest possible date - the social workers would probably want there to be a transition period of about a week or so to help her make the move and adjust, and you might need a little time to get the house and yourselves ready for a new little one to move in.

The other possibility is that the court might make a care order to the local authority. In that case, the move would really be their decision. You would have to be approved as foster carers, and the child could be moved as soon as that happened - this could include the temporary fostering approval we mentioned earlier.

There would have to be some negotiation around whether the child would move in with you in time for Christmas. Sometimes when foster carers are attached to children, they do put in a request for the child to be able to spend Christmas with them, as it will have all its other Christmases with the new family. However, this really shouldn't be allowed to hold things up - if it has been agreed that the child can come to you, and you are ready to receive the child, then the move should just go ahead, Christmas or not. If you get on well with the foster carers, and they don't live too far away, you might want to take her around for a visit on Christmas day, if she has left them to move in with you before then.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

wilsy
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:08 am

Re: Viability assessment done

Postby wilsy » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:27 am

Hi

Just wondered if any one knew the process of claiming expenses due to travel costs.
I really hate having to talk about money, it seems as though it comes across as 'what am i getting for this' which really isnt the case, but as we are being expected to travel a long way to have more contact with my niece, at the LA request, myself and my partner are having to take time off work, luckily i can use holidays, but he is self employed and runs his own business, so will loose money there, and it is costing us quite alot to have to keep travelling back and forth, we are more than happy to do it, but im wondering how many times will we have to do this, and it will end up costing a lot money!
I really get nervous about having the financial talk with LA.... its like the elephant in the room at the minute!!
But if anyone has any tips on how to bring things like this up, i would appreciate it!!
Thanks

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ied53
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Re: Viability assessment done

Postby ied53 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:19 pm

we could not claim expenses during the process until we became foster carers then could for conatcts and meetings
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

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David Roth
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Re: Viability assessment done

Postby David Roth » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:26 pm

Wilsy, all local authorities have a legal duty to promote contact between 'looked after' children and their parents, others who have parental responsibility and their family and friends. Many local authorities take promoting contact to include paying the travel fares of those people when they visit the children. This would seem to be a particularly important consideration when the reason you are seeing them is with a view to the children coming into your care.

Asking about the travel expenses is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Some local authorities would already have raised it with you first, and would see it as part of their support for a looked after child. Local authorities often have policies that state what expenses they wil land won't pay, and in what circumstances, so perhaps an indirect way of approaching it, if you don't want to ask them outright, would be to ask what their policies are about paying travel expenses, as it is leaving you somewhat out of pocket.

Also, if they are not being forthcoming about this sort of expense at this stage, then it seems that it might be all the more important to make sure that the local authority does an assessment of what your financial and support needs will be as a special guardian, once you have the order. Remember that if they don't do this assessment before the order is made, it can be a lot harder to get the support after you've got the order, so it's worth putting in the request now.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

wilsy
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:08 am

Re: Viability assessment done

Postby wilsy » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:01 pm

Hi All

Its been a while so i thought i would update. since my last update we have had 2 more visits with my niece, which both went very well. Today the were was a court hearing, which i beleive is a final hearing before the actual final hearing.... if that makes sense, although i am yet to hear any outcome of that. Judging by the mums comments on FB it wasnt good news for her, i believe she has been told that she is not getting baby back, but i can only guess as i have not had an update. We have been asked to attend the final hearing next week, so i assume we can only sit tight and wait until then.
I am also waiting to hear from the fostering team, apparently i should be hearing from them soon, but with just over a week til the final hearing i thought i might of heard something by now. Its lots of guess work at the minute!!
Will update again soon.

:)

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

Re: Viability assessment done

Postby ied53 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:28 pm

Hope you here soon. Hugs
Irene

Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire

Tough times never last tough people do

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David Roth
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Re: Viability assessment done

Postby David Roth » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:33 am

Wilsy, considering the long-term implications for you and your niece, it really isn't unreasonable for you to expect them to give you some idea of what it is they will be recommending to the court.

    Are they recommending a care order with you fostering the girl, or that you should be her special guardian?

    If they are recomending special guardianship, what support and financial package are they proposing?

    Have they carried out an assessment of your need for financial support and support services?
Although your main concern at the moment might just be that your niece can come to live with you, with the legal status covering the arrangement less of a concern, in the long run legal status can make a huge difference to the support you are entitled to.

As your niece is currently a looked after child, then if it is SGO that is being considered you can insist that they do an assessment of your needs for support and financial help. It could be worth while putting a request to be assessed for these support needs in writing, and making sure the court knows you have made the request. It can be lot harder to get this support after the SGO has been made, but while it is still in the court process the judge can apply pressure for you to get the SGO support that you need. You would need to make sure it was raised with the local authority in advance of the final hearing.

Please do call our advice line if you'd like to discuss this.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

wilsy
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:08 am

Re: Viability assessment done

Postby wilsy » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:34 am

Hi David, thanks for your reply.

I believe they are recomending SGO. It was discussed that we could possibly foster for a year, and then go for SGO, but now i am under the impression they are going straight for SGO, although again, we havent been given much information about this!
At present we still have not discussed finance support, i had a call from the guardian 2 weeks ago and i was asked had this been discussed as yet, i told her no and the reasons why i felt uncomfortable discussing it, she said i shouldnt feel that way and she will insist someone speaks to me about it soon. But with just a week to the final hearing i am starting to wonder if this is going to be discussed prior to the hearing or not. I know i should bring the matter up now, but getting hold of any of the SW at the minute is difficult, having left messages, texts and tried calling a few times - even just for an update to the hearing yesterday, i dont seem to be getting any response! I dont know what to expect from the hearing next week, whether we will be called up, or just there in case.
I also expected to see some form of report that they had put together of myself and my partner, we were advised we would receive something, but we have not received a single letter from the LA regarding this case, the only official document we have received was a letter to confirm visiting dates with my niece.

Hopefully after a couple more calls this morning, the SW will come back to me, i have a contact number for the guardian, so will try her if no repsonse later today. Im not entierly sure who i should or shouldnt call to find out information!

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David Roth
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Re: Viability assessment done

Postby David Roth » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:29 pm

Hi Wilsy

It's good news that the guardian has raised the issue of support, as it is so important that this is raised before the final hearing.

Do you have an email address for the guardian, if you can't get her on the phone? Guardians can be in court on other cases, so hard to contact, but may catch up on their correspondence afterwards. If you can detail the efforts you have made to contact the social worker about this, without anybody getting back to you, then the guardian might be able to follow it up for you.

I would suggest that you put in a written request to be assessed for financial support and support services to the social worker, and to the head of the department. You could explain that you would have liked to make this request earlier, but the social worker has not been returning your calls. If you are becoming the special guardian of a looked after child, the local authority has to carry out an assessment of your need for financial support and support services if you ask them to, and they would have to explain to the judge why they have not done it.

I know that you are reticent about putting forward a request for financial assistance, but if they continue to ignore you this might be the best way of making sure it is considered.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser


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