Hello and help please!

Mr no idea
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:46 pm

Hello and help please!

Post by Mr no idea » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:42 pm

Hello,

Some advice would be greatly appreciated please. I'll try to keep it simple

We are uncle and aunt and my sister has 5 children under 18 who are all on the Child Protection Register and have been through their lives. Their mother has agreed to a s20 on the 4 younger ones and they are currently placed in Foster Care just outside the town. The eldest is 16 at the beginning of next month but is currently in a secure mental health unit at the other end of the country due to self harm issues caused by the family environment. Thankfully he is on the road to recovery and Children's Services have approached us to see if we will take him as he is due to be discharged. We have discussed this at length and are happy to give the love and support he needs.

We enquired what support would be available for his complex needs as well as any financial assistance. They have said that Child Mental Health will be the lead and they will set up weekly visits, meds etc and went on, when pushed to say he would have a Youth Support Worker for as long as would be needed. His protection plan is due to be reviewed in October and if not a risk he'll come off it and will be classed as a child in need? I thought he was that already!

We asked about financial help, not being funny but he has no clothes, anything really and children, especially teenagers aren't cheap! We was told (because of what we earn) we would get nothing as this would be under a private arrangement?

We had lots of questions such as
What happens if the relationship breaks down, where's the support?
What about medical treatment
What if he self harms?
What is their care plan etc?

Again they said the mental health side would sort it with help from them if needed. We asked about the possibility of friends and family foster care as this would ensure his complex needs were met along with a back up plan before discharge. We know he would need to be looked after. They again refused stating their stance was the private arrangement as if they were doing us a favour. When we asked what would happen if we refused they said they would..... Get a s20 and place him in specialist foster care!!!

Major guilt trip on us and we feel like they are using this and passing the buck. We think once he is with us, he won't be in danger etc and they'll say over to you (which they have with the financial side)

Can they do this? It seems so wrong given how vulnerable and how much support he will need

Please help?

Mr no idea
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Mr no idea » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:57 pm

Hi, thanks for your reply. On talking with my wife I think we have offered to take him in an emergency but tried to push his care aspect

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

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:26 am

Dear Mr no idea

Welcome to the Family Rights Group Family and Friends Discussion Forum.

My name is Suzie and I am an Adviser at Family Rights Group.

I am sorry that you have been put in such a difficult situation by Children Services regarding your 16 year old nephew who will be in need of support and help once he is discharged from hospital.

On reading your post you have asked all the right questions about your nephew’s placement and, as ied53 has said in her post, if Children Services are asking you to look after him then it is not to be considered a private arrangement. Children Services are required, even where there is a s.20 agreement (that means that your sister agrees for them to provide accommodation), where a parent is unable to care for the child to place him/her with family and friends before the child being placed in foster care.

Since Children Services have approached you to care for your nephew even if in an emergency, they should assess you as a foster carer and pay you the appropriate foster allowance. advice sheet here a copy of our advice sheet relating to family and friends taking on care in an emergency of a vulnerable child. This will give you more details about how you should be treated by Children Services.

A copy of our advice sheet regarding support for family and friends carers is here for your information. There is a copy of our advice sheet about family and friends becoming foster carers here.

The fact that Children Mental Health services will be providing support for your nephew due to his mental health issues does not mean he should not be treated as a looked after child if Children Services places the child with you. You should ask to be assessed as a foster carer since you are not entering into a private arrangement with your sister to look after your nephew.

I suggest that you ask the social worker to put in writing the information she is providing to you so you have it absolutely clear as to what Children Services are asking of you and what support they will provide to you to care for your nephew.

I hope you will find this information helpful. However, if you wish to speak to an Adviser, please do telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m Monday to Friday.

Best wishes

Suzie

Mr no idea
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Mr no idea » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:18 am

Hi Suzie,

Thanks for the reply. We have an exchange of emails where the Social Worker details what they'll do but it doesn't make much sense to us as it contradicts in places and the last long one finishes that they will only proceed under a private arrangement. I've been trying your number for days but will keep on trying
Thanks

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:16 pm

Dear Mr no idea

Thank you for responding. You should not be bullied into agreeing to look after your nephew under a private arrangement. I suggest that you read the advice sheets before any further discussions with the social worker. There is no private arrangement unless your sister is placing her son with you.

If they will not go ahead other than with a private arrangement, if you do not agree the mother would have to agree to s.20 for him to be placed elsewhere. If not, they will have to go to court and will then have to explain to the court why he could not be placed with family member who is willing to care for him.

A private arrangement means they will not have to make financial contribution to your nephew care.

Do keep trying to get through on the advice line for further advice.

Best wishes

Suzie

Mr no idea
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Mr no idea » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:13 pm

Hi and thanks again,

I've doctored bits for anonymity bit their stance is as below

We would have to look at alternative placements so mum would sign s.20 like she has with the other children so she would have parental responsbility but we would need to look at whether he is based in a foster placement or a specialist placement we would need to be guided by health to what they felt was best to meet ****** needs.

****** has stated he will not return home so if he does not come to yours as a family arrangement we will look for alternative care with ******** consent and mums.

They go on to say when challenged that

In summary after seeking further advice, childrens social care stance is that if ****** was to reside with you this would be done through a private family arrangement and will not be done through a friends and family foster arrangement

Sorry for cutting and pasting this but it's really affecting us now. I've tried the lines and will keep trying. Thanks again

DGJ
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:15 pm

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by DGJ » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:23 pm

I've been in the same place as you,
I made a formal complaint and got my mp involved and later on had a solicitor that hot the issue sorted I also got all my costs for solicitor fees back thanks to the mp that was involved.. You have email confirmation you could send this with your formal complaint..You could always see a solicitor they give you a free 30 minute consultion.. I recommend ******if you have one in your area.. They are experts in this area..

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:23 am

Dear Mr no idea,

As DJG has suggested, you should challenge this decision by way of formal complaint.

Here is our advice sheet about complaints that sets out how to do this.
Also have a look at this report by the Local Government ombudsman “Family values”
It sets out a lot of case studies where friends and family carers have been let down by children’s services and how the ombudsman has tried to remedy this. You could attach a copy of the report to your complaint. It will show that you know the law and what your remedy might be.
Also do consider getting legal advice as well. Have a look at the Law Society-find a solicitor .

Keep trying our advice line. It is usually less busy over the school holiday period.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Mr no idea
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Mr no idea » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:31 pm

Thanks DGJ and Suzie,

We have sent an email requesting they reconsider including some of your advice. They did visit with the Mental Health Team on Friday and that side of it seems in hand. When we asked the Social Worker about what would happen if our nephew wanted to leave and she replied they would try to re-house him though it would be difficult through Foster Care due to his vulnerability! We have told them that it's not good enough and it needs to be in place now.

We are awaiting the response

Mr no idea
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Hello and help please!

Post by Mr no idea » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:49 am

Hello,

Just to update you

Children's Service finally agreed to review their decision and conceded that since our initial offer to take him in an emergency the situation and circumstances and developed significantly. They have now agreed to assess us as Foster Carers and more importantly the level if support for us and our nephew has increased dramatically.
Thank you

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