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Post by RNB » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:52 pm

Dear All,

I have looked after my ex's son (and our two daughters) since we split 3 and a half years ago (Oct 12). I was never married to her and have no parental or legal responsibility for him. Just to be clear I am also not his biological father.

Communication and visiting from their mum was poor but she saw them regularly despite letting us down on numerous occassions which meant at one time I left worked without permission to pick my kids up from school and was disciplined for this.

This meant that instead of her letting us down I stopped contact, this lasted from Jan 2014 to Aug 2014. Their mum had them for a week at her mums and then a week at her own home. It was during this period that my son ran away and was missing for several hours. Eventually being returned by the police.

This lead to myself receiving a letter due to concerns, which said 'no intervention was needed however a professional will be in touch in due course'. A few weeks passed and nothing, so I spoke to the school about additional support as since running away my son's behavior had got worse, both at home and at school.

The first input from the local authority was in November 2014 which came after the previously mention request for help via the school and was apprarently paid for via the school. At this point the local authority knew I didn't have PR, that I had never married my son's mother and I wasn't his biological father.

I was told that I should seek PR as I was concerned that I would struggle to keep my family (myself and the three children) togther but was told it would cost £250. I was unable to afford that so delayed and the support worker was aware of this yet never once informed me of what my legal status was and how they should have already been assessing me. In fact part of the first Caf has it noted that I required no financial assistance and yet they needed to help sort my ex's, also nothing regarding any maintenance was mentioned at this time either.

In March 15 we were given a new support worker as it was felt that more direct assistance in the home was needed, again no legal status was mentioned although it was known.

In April 15 my son assaulted me and I told the support worker I no longer wanted him living with me and he ended up living with his mum for a month.

Things went from bad to worse and he ended up in a respite house for a period of 23 days as his bail conditions meant he couldnt have contact with either myself or his mum. I have a list of dates from around this time.

When they were lifted (July 15) I recieved a phone call from his social worker (that was working with his mum) saying that they couldnt let him go back to live with his mum as they had concerns over how she coped with him and that he would be going into temporary care unless I could take him back.

I had major concerns as I have two young daughters that also live with me. I also feared that if I said no and he went into foster care that it might be the last time I hear anything due to myself having no PR, and his mum not being very proactive.

I eventually agreed and the Local authority placed him with me on July 15.

I have since found out that my entitlements were not told me and that I was entitled to help and support both in training and financially. It was actually something mentioned to me during a family meal in Nov 15. By a family member who thought it odd nothing had been said as she use to do social work.

Two things really back in November 14, should I have been assessed and again in July 15. I don't have firm evidence but from all I have read he was a looked after child when placed with me so the local authority should have carried out an Fostering assesment in July 15.

In Nov 14, I feel that I should have been told more about the SGO and what support was available as I was getting no maintenance from his mum for any of the children. The first Caf seemed to be more concerned over theirs mum's situation than mine.

I am now in the process of being assessed for an SGO As of Jan 16 but that is 13-15 months of support that I feel I am entitled to but wasnt advised about. This would have made alot of difference in how my sons behavior was during this period.

If you need further information or specific details please ask.

Any help and advice is much appreciated. Regards. MR B

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 534
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Help!!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:04 pm

Hi Mr B,

Welcome to the friends and family carers forum. Thank you for posting.
How old is your exes son?
You are right to identify the different times-November 2014 and July 15.

When children services became involved in November 2014, your exe’s son was already living with you under what looks like a private arrangement. Children services had played no part in placing the boy with you.
It looks like children services carried out an assessment to see if the boy was a child in need and to find out whether he needed any support.
They advised you to seek a court order (special guardianship order or child arrangements order) but you felt that you could not afford the court fee at the time. Was it suggested that you seek legal advice? If you were on a low income, you may have been able to pay a reduced court fee or no fee at all.
They assessed you as not needing any financial support at this time.
Was a copy of the assessment ever given to you or mum? You would need mums consent (or the boy consent-if he was old enough to consent to this).
Also ask for a copy of the friends and family carers policy which you should be able to find on your local authority’s website or have a look here. .Was the policy applied correctly?
It may not be worth complaining at this stage as you are out of the time limit and it would be difficult to apply for an extension.
I suggest you read our advice sheet about complaints or contact an adviser on our advice line.

July 2015
It seems possible that your exe’s son became a “looked after child” because he appears to have been placed with you. Have a look at our advice sheets 12-Placing children in an emergency with friends and family carers -page `14 onwards.

Also our advice sheet 21 page 15 onwards sets out how there can be a fostering arrangement.
If you think that this is the case, you should have been assessed as a foster carer and will be entitled to backdated fostering allowance.

Also look at the Local Government Ombudsman report Family Values .

If you wish to pursue backdated foster care allowance, you should write a letter to the social worker and manager setting out the circumstances and ask them to confirm that they will pay you monies backdated to July 1015. Ask them to respond to your request in 14 days.

If they do not agree, ask them to set out reasons in writing. You could then decide whether you have a case or not to challenge that decision via the Children services complaints.

Please post back with any questions.

If you can, telephone our advice line to discuss the circumstances further.

Best wishes,

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