They say we have a Private Family Arrangement

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WAG
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:24 am

They say we have a Private Family Arrangement

Post by WAG » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:14 pm

I have been caring for my Granddaughter for 8 months. She was placed with us by the Police on a 72hr protection order and the first SW came to see us the day after and asked us if we were willing to care for her, which we confirmed as she said the only alternative was for her to go into the care system. My daughter was in police custody at the time and then was given bail conditions to have no direct or indirect contact with her. Childrens Services arranged supervised contact at one of their centres 2 days per week and that has remained. Following the dropping of the bail conditions (and all charges) it was made clear to us that Childrens Services were not happy for our granddaughter to return home to her mother. We were originally told that we would be assessed as Foster Carers but despite my pursuing this it has been flatly rejected.
I sent them a letter provided by Family Rights but this has had no effect. I am at a loss as to what to do next. Does anyone have any advice / experience / wisdom they can share with me please?

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Robin D
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: They say we have a Private Family Arrangement

Post by Robin D » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:53 am

Not that its any help, but one of my daughters is going through the identical situation with her niece, (another of our grandchildren). The child is a teenager so its a little different, but left home after apparently being assaulted. Children's Services in a neighbouring authority where the child was living were actively involved with the placement and even did a quick assessment on the day, but now say its a private arrangement! I'm helping her complain, but they are simply ignoring the earlier case law to avoid helping out financially.

I also know two other families personally in a similar position with a different authority. I don't know how they get away with it. If a private individual deliberately avoided their responsibilities as directed by case law, they would be for the high jump.

If you haven't started a formal complaint you must. Be aware that the stage 1 and 2 processes will almost certainly agree with the council. You must continue to stage 3 to get a proper review and make it clear you will take it to the ombudsman. Also it's often worth contacting your local councillor and your MP.

Best wishes ...... 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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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 647
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: They say we have a Private Family Arrangement

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:46 am

Dear WAG

I am sorry that Children Services are still despite you writing to them causing you to be so upset and frustrated by their refusal to accept that your granddaughter is a looked after child.

Also, from what you have said about how your grandchild came to be in your care it is difficult to understand how this can be said to be a private arrangement. You said in earlier post that your grandchild was removed from her mother’s care by the police for 72 hours. The usual procedure where the police remove a child is for Children Services to provide accommodation and once the time has expired the child can be returned home. However, if Children Services do not agree then they would need the parent(s) or person with parental responsibility to consent for the child to remain accommodated and, if not, obtain a court order.
If your grand daughter’s mother agreed with Children Services for her to be placed with you then your granddaughter is a looked after child.

Were you made aware at the time the social worker came to see you that your decision to look after your granddaughter would be a private arrangement? The case law is that if Children Services played a major role in the child being placed then that child should be treated as looked after especially where the carer was not given the option of making an informed decision.

As you have not received a response to the letter you sent to Children Services, then I suggest that you write again with a copy of your previous letter. This time you should copy the letter to the Head of Children Services and the Chief Executive. I think this will get you a reply and if you are not satisfied then I suggest that you make a formal complaint. Alternatively, you may wish to make a formal complaint straightaway. A copy of our advice sheet about complaints is here for your information.

If you have not already done so, you could ask your local MP to look into the matter for you with Children Services.

Please read our advice sheet about what happens when a child is placed in an emergency as happened in your situation as her mother was in police custody.

You should not to be bullied by Children Services into accepting that your grandchild is not ’looked after’ as the level of their involvement suggests that she is and the case law is there to support your position. Please read pages 5 to 6 and 15 onwards of the advice sheet regarding support Children Services should offer. I have also included a copy of our advice sheet about family and friends becoming foster carers here.

I do understand that you want to look after your granddaughter but you could say to Children Services that have to go to court and how they will explain to the Judge why your grand daughter could not remain in care of a family member. Children Services is required to consider family and friends carers before placing in child in stranger foster care.

Should you wish to speak to an Adviser I suggest that you telephone our advice line on advice line on 0808 801 0366 . The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

I hope you will find this information helpful.

Best wishes,

Suzie

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