Assessment confusion

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CarCiKoTab
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:11 am

Assessment confusion

Post by CarCiKoTab » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:15 pm

Hi, I'm new to this but I really need some advice, I'm going to try and explain as much as possible hopefully without making it to long winded.

So my sister has always had SS in and out of her life regarding her ability to care for her two children now 8 and 10. The most recent incident was what we believe a severe case of DV in which her 2 children was witness to but my sister ended up in hospital. Police were involved and wanted my sister to press charges but she has refused and has declined any professional intervention e.t.c. and therefore children was under Police protection and was taken straight into foster care which is where they are now.

I phoned up the SS roughly three weeks ago to basically put myself forward and try and help out in any way, SS made the decision to come and assess myself and my partner which took about 3 hours, at the end of their visit I was still unsure as to what we were being assessed for whether it was temporary foster placement, kinship carer and so on then they announced they would be looking for us to take up either a RO or a SGO now this is where I am quite confused.

I agreed to the SGO and they told us we may, may not hear something in regards to the next stages of assessment. They seemed to make the right noises when they were here but obviously didn't say 'Great we will be in touch to arrange another assessment' So how long does this whole process take? It is already at court and my sister is only allowed SV with the children, according to hearsay the final hearing is early next year but where do we come in? If they are considering us as SG's what do we need to do whilst all this is happening, I know what my role is as a SG but I have no idea of the process and how long it is likely to take before I know what is going on.

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Robin D
Posts: 1848
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Assessment confusion

Post by Robin D » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:54 pm

Hi CarCiKoTab and welcome here.

I suggest that the first target is to get the children living with you as foster children. Social Services have a legal duty to place the child with family if possible, and have the ability to make an emergency assessment for you as foster parents in this situation. That they have apparently made no attempt to place the children within the family is not right. Advice sheet 10 at http://frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/advice-sheets details the options. It might be best to ring the social worker and remind them of that duty and ask that the children be placed with you as a priority.

If they resist this, or start prevaricating, then you need to a) Submit a formal complaint, and b) apply to join the current court process as a party. You could also ask that a Family Group Conference is organised. You will see further advice sheets on this at the same location.

If you are serious now about a SGO, then WRITE to the head of Children's Services saying you wish to be assessed as special guardians. You have to give notice to the LA before you can apply to the court. Make sure you date it, get proof of delivery, (or deliver in person) ask for a letter of acknowledgement, and keep a copy. I don't know what your LA is like, but we have unfortunately seen many occasions where such important letters have 'not been received'!

The most important message I think you may get from other users here is do not waste time waiting for things to happen. You need to move quickly. You don't say how long the children have been in foster care, but the longer it is the more difficult it can be to extract them from the system.

The next most important thing is to start today with keeping a good diary and put absolutely everything in it. Being able to say that you told [name] on [date] at [time] and [location] during [meeting, phone call, contact etc] will prove vital as will details of your sisters and the children's behaviours when when you see them. Make notes as it happens and write it up daily. Everyone here who has done it, will tell you its worth its weight in gold.

Good luck, you may need it .... Robin
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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