viability assessment

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millie
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Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:55 pm

viability assessment

Post by millie » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:15 am

Hi my husband and my self have had a viability assessment done on us to care for our grandchildren which came back negative. The reasons behind this were that the ss don't think we are trustworthy ( as my daughter had previously told them that my granddaughter lived at her house when she actually lived at mine) and secondly we are still in the pool of perpetrators that could of hurt our grandson ( even though one of the doctors reports has ruled us out). We did not find this out until we were at court so was very upset and shocked.
We are back at court in three weeks time. My grandson is in care and my granddaughter is with us until a decision is made then.
Can I get an independent viability assessment ? Do I have to ask for anybodies permission. I.e court etc.

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David Roth
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Re: viability assessment

Post by David Roth » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:36 pm

Hi Millie

I am sorry to hear that you were not supported by the viability study. I don't know if anybody has explained where the viability study fits into the process, but it might help if I explain a bit.

The viability study is not the final assessment. It is a sort of preliminary assessment that is carried out to decide whether it would be viable to go ahead to the full assessment. It is an opinion that is being presented to the court, that the social worker who did it does not think you would be viable as carers. The reasons you quote are that you have not been ruled out as people who could have caused the injuries to your grandson, and that your granddaughter was living with you when your daughter told them that granddaughter was living with her. I am not clear why they think that is your fault - are they saying that you gave them wrong information about your granddaughter? Were you aware that you needed to inform them of her whereabouts? How were you supposed to know?

Viability studies usually consider what are called 'risk' and 'protective' factors, i.e. what are seen as being the arguments for and against the child going to the carers. It would then decided which case was stronger on balance. Do you feel that your viability study adequately presented the case for your ganddaughter staying with you?

It is possible for you to argue in court that the viability study got it wrong. One piece of evidence in your favour is if your grandaughter has been safe, well protected and happy while she has been growing up with you. Does the report present any evidence to the contrary?

If the girl has been safe and happy with you, and this has not been acknowledged in the viability study, you could also have a case for saying the report is inadequate.

You might also want to point out the potential damage to your granddaughter of removing her. You could suggest that there is scant evidence that she will be harmed if she stays with you, if she has been safe and happy up until now, whereas removing her is likely to be quite damaging if it takes her away from the carers she feels secure with. You could suggest that the risk to the girl of removal warrants a fuller assessment than the viability study has provided - these are usually a lot less thorough than the full assessments, and I would suggest it was inadequate if it has not considered the pottential damage of removing your granddaughter.

With regard to the supposition that you may have caused the injuries to your grandson, given that you say that a doctor's report has ruled you out, I think it is worth asking the social workers how likely they actually think it is that you caused his injuries? Do they see you as a high risk or a low risk?

I cannot recall if you are a party in these proceedings or if you have legal representation, but if so you should discuss these points with your solicitor and how to get the points you want to across in court.

You should also speak to the Cafcass officer if possible, and be open about your concerns about the effects on your granddaughter of being removed from you. Cafcass officers are very influential in the judge's decisions, and if he or she thinks you should go on to a full assessment depite the viability study's recommendation, then you do have a better chance of still being considered.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

millie
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:55 pm

Re: viability assessment

Post by millie » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:03 am

Hi . we went to court and before we gave evidence an agreement was made out of court that I have a temporary residence order for my granddaughter ( until the end if my daughters court proceedings) and ss are going to do another viability assessment and we also are going to start having contact with our grandson ( he's currently in foster care) over the next five weeks in the view of him coming home to us and his sister.
What are the steps of a viability assessment and what does it entail.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: viability assessment

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:12 pm

Hi Millie,

I’m pleased to read that everything is progressing well for you. David and Ied has already given you lots of great information but it might also help you to read our becoming a foster carer advice sheet.

Best wishes

Suzie

millie
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Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:55 pm

Re: viability assessment

Post by millie » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:35 pm

Hi we are just currently going through assessment s for the sgo for my granddaughter and grandson. My granddaughter has managed to stay with us throughout these proceedings ( she has always resided with us) and my grandson was placed with us in January. Both children seem to be very happy and starting to build a brother and sister bond. As everything stands at the moment all professional s support us going for a sgo.
Last week my daughter gave birth to another little boy. My husband and I were asked if we would take in the new baby. We have agonised over this decision and decided that it would be unrealistic as we feel that it would greatly affect the two grandchildren we have and don't want to disrupt them anymore than they have been. Believe me it was one of the hardest decisions to make.
My daughter is in court tomorrow to see what the courts should happen to this little boy. I am not a party to these proceedings, but would of gone along to support my daughter, but tomorrow I have my medical for the sgo, so I feel this has to be my main priority to get the two children secure without any delays. When it comes to the final decision for the sgo will anybody hold this decision against us for not agreeing to take in our newly born grandson

millie
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Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:55 pm

Re: viability assessment

Post by millie » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:47 pm

Hi many thanks for your reply . My grandson is unfortunately going into foster care. My daughter rang me this morning under the instruction if her solicitor to see whether I d care for baby for 3 weeks until mum goes in mother and baby unit. But under advice from my solicitor was advised not to as it would affect the other two in my care which is my main concern.
I have just been for medical regarding a sgo and understandably my blood pressure was high.

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David Roth
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Re: viability assessment

Post by David Roth » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:06 pm

Millie, you asked whether it could be held against you that you are not taking the new baby in addition to the two siblings you are already raising. Irene is quite right to say that it is best for you to be realistic about what you can manage, and stick with that decision.

The only way it might be raised as an issue, is if someone involved in the case thinks that all three children ought to be together. I'm not saying this will be raised, but it might be a question that gets asked during the proceedings. However, it would be unlikely to get anywhere if the older two are well and securely settled with you, since they are not being separated from a little brother they have ever lived with, there is no bond between them and him, and it would be devastatingly unsettling to move them.

However, it might lead to the question of contact between them and him in the future, if he does go for adoption or to another family member. I would suggest it would be best for all these children to grow up having some sort of contact with one another, even if they can't all live together, as I've heard too many sad and unhappy stories from siblings who were separated by going into care or being adopted, and always missed the little brother or sister they had sometimes hardly known.

I hope this isn't too alarming - I don't mean to imply the children might be removed from you, rather that you should be thinking about contact between all the siblings in the future.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

millie
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Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:55 pm

Re: viability assessment where do I go from here

Post by millie » Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:27 pm

Thing's surely can't get any worse.After making the agonising decision of not taking in our 3 rd grandchild. We have been waiting to hear about our SGO. We had a visit saying that our medical records both showed that my husband and myself have both suffered with a few spells depression since 1999 due to family related problems. After the visit the SGO worker said she was still supporting us and just got to write her report and someone would be in touch. That was last week and we still haven't heard anything.
But if tgaty was not enough we had a visit off the police to say my daughter had been taken to hospital. They asked us a few questions and left. The next day the police came out again (new evidence is pointing at my daughter) and I had to make a witness statement. Meanwhile my daughter was in intensive care with swelling/water on the brain. She is now out of intensive care but still in hospital her speech has returned but she is very confused.
We have been told it could take months/weeks or not at all for her to make a full recovery. I have been asked by the police/ss to keep them informed which I have been doing.
My daughter keeps trying to leave the hospital where each time security have found her, but last night the police had to be called, she was found (with her drip and stand) and returned to the hospital
I am so worried , what's going to happen from here

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David Roth
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Re: viability assessment

Post by David Roth » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:38 am

Millie, it sounds like a very worrying time for you, on several different fronts.

Firstly, you must be very concerned that your daughter is in hospital, and apparently not in a good state and not taking good care of herself. Additionally, if the police are taking witness statements about harm to the children, then they must be considering pressing charges against her. Difficult as it is, it should be seen as helpful that you are co-operating with this process. The social workers and the courts will want to know that you take the possibility of her harming the children seriously, so that they can be reassured that you will take the necessary steps to protect them from her, if that is ever necessary. The fact that you have been working with the police to keep them informed shows that you are taking it seriously, I think.

Having a history of depression will be a consideration in the assessment, but it will not automatically rule you out, and it sounds as if the assessing social worker does not think it should do so. Their main focus will be the potential effects on the children. This means they will probably want to look into how you dealt with the episodes of depression. Did you recognise what was happening and look for help or treatment? How did you manage to cope with life at the time? How do you support each other during depressive episodes? If one of the children was with you during a depressive episode, how did you minimise the impact on the child?

I know there is a lot to concern you at the moment, but there will surely come a time when things will have settled down, and you can get back to just getting on with life and hopefully bringing up the children.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

millie
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:55 pm

Re: viability assessment

Post by millie » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:33 pm

Hi many thanks for your reply we told the assessing SGO worker that when we have ever felt down we have been to doctors etc and we as a couple taslk things through. Our granddaughter has lived with us since birth and in all the reports it states we are clearly devoted to her and we have given her a high standard of care ( she currently has a interim residence order) Our grandson has been reported since being in our care (since Jan) that he is very happy and settled and coming on in leaps and bounds. I rang the SGO worker to see if there was an update but they have not been able to find anything out. They are going to call me tomorrow with an update.
Meanwhile my daughter is still in hospital and still confused. Before she's allowed home she has got to go into rehab and this will continue when she comes home. Idaughtmy question is what will happen to the children if we fail the SGO ( I spoke to the children s social worker today and she said she d got to write her report yet but the SGO assessor had e mailed her and said there were no concerns but it depends on their managers). Also could we get the SGO before the Irh if everything is positive due to my daughters condition. We just want the children to have a happy home with us. We are so worried

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