What can I do?

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AuPairNJDC
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:59 pm

What can I do?

Post by AuPairNJDC » Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:31 pm

Hello,

I am sorry if this is a repeated topic but I really am not sure what I can do and am desperate for some personalised advice.
We were advised last Thursday that my sister was being taken to court on Monday 26/10 to have her two boys taken away. We were given just 3 days to try and make arrangements. My mum and dad had their assessment to see if the boys could come and stay with them while things got sorted. They were told that because my mum is going to be the main support for my sister, the boys could not come and live with her. On the Thursday we were told we made it very clear that I wanted to put myself forward to care for the boys. Due to the lack of time SS were not able to carry out an assessment on me.
On Monday my two nephews were taken into care. My sister was advised to sign an agreement taking the boys into "accommodation" for three weeks. This decision was made by the court because the boys had not been assigned their own social worker. So this three weeks will allow her to get to know my nephews.
I am still waiting to have my assessment done but the social worker dealing with my sisters case is on annual leave. When I phoned SS on Tuesday morning they told me there was no one else that could come and do my assessment!! I think given the very small time frame we have this is unacceptable.
The reason I am writing here is because I still live at home with my mum and dad. I want to have the boys long term under a Special Guardianship order eventually. Mum, dad and I have discussed all the options and they have agreed they can privately rent their house to me and they find themselves somewhere local but smaller to live. If I present this option to the SW when she eventually comes out to do my assessment, will I automatically fail given the fact that I do currently live at home!?
The Social workers are all so judgmental and condescending that I don't feel they are giving me any solid advice, not that they are really giving me any to be honest.
Please can someone help me! Does anyone think I have a strong enough solution. I so desperately want the boys and I would hate to loose out just because at this present moment I live at home!!!!

Thank you in advance for your help.

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

Re: What can I do?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:46 pm

Dear betiernan1

Welcome to Family Rights Group Family and Friend Carers’ Discussion Forum.

I am sorry that you are feeling desperate and worried because of Children Services involvement with your sister and her children.

You say that you mum and dad were assessed but could not care for your nephews because your mum is your sister’s main support. Does your sister live in the same property as you and your parents? It is not clear why they could not live with your mum if it was only for this reason. Usually, Children Services should consider placing a child with family or friends before placing with stranger foster carers. Does your sister have particular difficulties that she needs your mum’s full time support?

If you live in the same home why did Children Services not consider that you could provide support to care for the children or did they not consider this? The fact that Children Services has the time to apply to the court to remove the children suggests that there was time to consider family members. It is possible for emergency assessment to be done. Please see our advice sheet here regarding placing a child in an emergency.

I think you should write to the social worker’s team manager and ask him or her to confirm that an assessment will be carried out before the next hearing. If this is not the case, you could consider going to the court hearing so the judge can be told that you asked to be assessed.

A copy of our advice sheet about family and friends being assessed as foster carers is here for your information. You could ask to be assessed as a foster carer and then consider becoming a Special Guardian afterwards.

As you and your parents have considered all the options and come up with what appears to be a solution it shows that you are all putting the children’s needs first. Do Children Services have any problems at all about the home itself or just that your mum cannot be the person caring for the children. I suggest you find out from the team manager, as the social worker is on leave, whether you looking after your nephews in the home would be acceptable. If not, then you can explain that your parents are willing to move out so you can care for the children.

I am including a copy of our advice sheet about care proceedings so that you will have an idea of the court process.

Your nephews are currently ‘accommodated’ which means they are looked after children but not in care. Your sister has parental responsibility at the moment and the local authority do not share it as there in no interim care order at the moment. Having said that, if the court makes an order at the next hearing, they would share parental responsibility for your nephews and will be able to make decisions about them even if your sister does not agree.

If you would like 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.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

AuPairNJDC
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:59 pm

Re: What can I do?

Post by AuPairNJDC » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:33 pm

Hello Suzie,

Thank you so much for your reply! It is so good to talk to someone who has some knowledge about this situation.

My sister does not live at home with me and our parents. She has her own house in the same town as us. She also does not need full-time support from my mum. Their argument was because she doesn't have strong relationships with any of her other family members (me included) that my mum would be the only person who could support her "getting better." The social worker told my mum that should could not be supporter to my sister and advocate for the boys!

I don't believe they considered me to provide support for the children. Until now and that's only because we are telling everyone that I want to be assessed.
We also felt the same about them having the time to prepare everything for court but not for family and friends care. We feel as if they have had their mind made up about what they wanted to do with the boys for a very long time and just so they could complete their checklist, they came to my mum and dad's home and carried out "an assessment." My mum and dad haven't received anything in writing about the assessment. I will take a look at the advice sheet for emergency placement. Thank you for sending me that!

I will do exactly what you have suggested and write to the Social Worker's team manager. Thank you for the suggestion.

We also feel the same. We know that we will be putting the boys' needs first, Lord knows they deserve it!
Children Services said that because of the house only having 3 bedrooms it would not be suitable as both boys need their own rooms because of certain behaviuoral concerns. Mum and dad also said that wouldn't be a problem because I would move out. I would have gone to stay with a friend till I could arrange myself a place to stay. What it feels like is that we are presenting every possible option and we are prepared to jump through hoops for the boys at such short notice but because it goes against their plan; of putting the boys in to care they don't want us getting in the way of it.

I will call on Monday and speak to someone. We will also be contacting my sisters solicitor to arrange a meeting with them to ask what options we have.

Thanks so much for your help!

B.

topsyturvylife
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:13 pm

Re: What can I do?

Post by topsyturvylife » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:38 pm

Dear Suzie,

You clearly are frustrated about the lack of speed for being assessed to have the boys. In the meantime although they are with strangers and this will be upsetting and confusing for the boys in particular, the foster carers will be nurturing and do their best by them. The local authority will only place them with tried and tested carers as the welfare of the children is their responsibility because they removed the boys via a care order. They and CAFCASS (court children s' Guardian). This will be severely traumatic for your family. However, the major plus side is that in the event you are positively assessed as suitable to care for your nephews either via an arrangement (residency) order and your sister gives her blessing for you to be awarded SGO status in the future. I say in the future, because the process of assessment for an SGO is lengthy. It usually takes up to 6 months, but can be fast tracked if necessary- local authority manpower permitting. As the boys will have been 'looked after', it means that both funding for them and therapy should be available without the need to apply through the courts if and when you have the SGO. Not all care orders are permanent. Is it possible, that the local authority thinks that your mother may be able to get your sister back on track so that the boys may return to her care in the future?

My husband and I are 9 months into proceedings for an SGO, we were positively assessed to take our three grandchildren, we have an arrangement order in the meantime, but the sticking point has been from day one that because the children were never 'looked after' because we stepped in for emergency assessment 2 days before the care order, and instead of the court sending them to foster carers after the hearing they came home with us. Ever since we have had to fight tooth and nail through the courts to receive financial and therapeutic assistance for the children. My husband had to give up his job to look after them as was impossible to give them the stability and attention they needed with both of us working full time. To date we have received no funding for them other than Childrens allowance and DLA for one of the children who has ADHD. Had the children been 'looked after' CAFCASS would have signed off the SGO as the children s' needs would have been assured to be met on all levels. Currently we are looking at a years supervision order in conjunction with the SGO for the local authority to drive everything forward. To add insult to injury, unknowingly we have moved to a county where the LA failed their Ofsted assessment and CAMHS are in special measures. We had to relocate as we could not afford a larger house in our area to accommodate the children especially on one wage and the uncertainty of any funding.

What I'm saying is although your situation is far from perfect, you may have an ace up your sleeve in the future. Also if you are positively assessed for an arrangement order should the the Court, CAFCASS and the LA decide the children may move from the foster carers to your care, you should receive legal aid for your own representation until you accept the SGO (if granted). Most carers with SGO's get no financial support as they are deemed as family and therefore expected to provide for the children in their care .

Wishing you much luck with your situation.

AuPairNJDC
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:59 pm

Re: What can I do?

Post by AuPairNJDC » Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:19 pm

topsyturvylife wrote:Dear Suzie,

You clearly are frustrated about the lack of speed for being assessed to have the boys. In the meantime although they are with strangers and this will be upsetting and confusing for the boys in particular, the foster carers will be nurturing and do their best by them. The local authority will only place them with tried and tested carers as the welfare of the children is their responsibility because they removed the boys via a care order. They and CAFCASS (court children s' Guardian). This will be severely traumatic for your family. However, the major plus side is that in the event you are positively assessed as suitable to care for your nephews either via an arrangement (residency) order and your sister gives her blessing for you to be awarded SGO status in the future. I say in the future, because the process of assessment for an SGO is lengthy. It usually takes up to 6 months, but can be fast tracked if necessary- local authority manpower permitting. As the boys will have been 'looked after', it means that both funding for them and therapy should be available without the need to apply through the courts if and when you have the SGO. Not all care orders are permanent. Is it possible, that the local authority thinks that your mother may be able to get your sister back on track so that the boys may return to her care in the future?

My husband and I are 9 months into proceedings for an SGO, we were positively assessed to take our three grandchildren, we have an arrangement order in the meantime, but the sticking point has been from day one that because the children were never 'looked after' because we stepped in for emergency assessment 2 days before the care order, and instead of the court sending them to foster carers after the hearing they came home with us. Ever since we have had to fight tooth and nail through the courts to receive financial and therapeutic assistance for the children. My husband had to give up his job to look after them as was impossible to give them the stability and attention they needed with both of us working full time. To date we have received no funding for them other than Childrens allowance and DLA for one of the children who has ADHD. Had the children been 'looked after' CAFCASS would have signed off the SGO as the children s' needs would have been assured to be met on all levels. Currently we are looking at a years supervision order in conjunction with the SGO for the local authority to drive everything forward. To add insult to injury, unknowingly we have moved to a county where the LA failed their Ofsted assessment and CAMHS are in special measures. We had to relocate as we could not afford a larger house in our area to accommodate the children especially on one wage and the uncertainty of any funding.

What I'm saying is although your situation is far from perfect, you may have an ace up your sleeve in the future. Also if you are positively assessed for an arrangement order should the the Court, CAFCASS and the LA decide the children may move from the foster carers to your care, you should receive legal aid for your own representation until you accept the SGO (if granted). Most carers with SGO's get no financial support as they are deemed as family and therefore expected to provide for the children in their care .

Wishing you much luck with your situation.
Hello topsyturvylife,

I am so sorry for the late reply. I have been waiting to get information from the social and in the mean time doing research and gaining references as I need 6. Anyway, I just want to say thank-you for replying to my message. It is so reassuring to hear people going through a similar process.

I am really sorry to hear how difficult things have been for you since you took care of your 3 grandchildren. It's such a shame there has been no consistency in your funding, that is incredibly frustrating.

I failed my viability assessment because of my current living situation. I have been put forward as a long term carer for the boys (SGO). I am having my first meeting with the family and friends team tomorrow and they will complete my DBS check and Health and Safety check. I am hoping that she will be able to direct me to some legal help. I have read that I am entitled to representation - as you rightly said. I think I will be assessed for financial support but as you said it may not be granted because I am family, which I am ok with!

Thanks again for replying and I too wish you all the best in the future with your situation.

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