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Kinship/Connected Persons

Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:56 pm
by butterfly123
Hello everyone, I've been looking for some help on what to do next. (I'm sorry that this may be a bit long)
Basically, my partners 3 younger brothers (4, 5, 7) were taken into care 3 months ago. At the court hearing me and my partner were put forward to do an assessment to care for the boys.
5 days after the court hearing we were contacted by the social worker (after us getting into contact with her). She carried out part 1 of the viability assessment, criminal record, health etc. She discussed with us about a Foster Social Worker coming out to complete the rest of our assessment, she told us she would let us know when. 2 weeks later, the Foster Social Worker came out and completed the assessment, she was there for 3 hours (as we were told). We thought it went well, and she also said that things have gone well but she cannot promise anything (which we understood fully).
3 weeks later we got a phone call from the children's social worker explaining that although there were positive information that they gathered, our assessment came back negative due to our accommodation. We had already planned on moving and getting a bigger place, but we were never advised on what we could do or any help that we would be able to get (we are now in the process of getting a bigger place). They were worried about our independence skills, like cooking as my partner mentioned he likes a roast dinner and pasta bake, so that was a worry that, that was all we knew how to cook (stupid I know). The last things that they were worried about was our finances. I work 2 days a week, 9-3. My partner also worked with me, but we enclosed that he started his new job the following week (at the home visit), which is full time. but they did not consider this. I mentioned I was in the process of asking for a few extra days, which she seemed happy about, but the report we got enclosed that they were worried if this was to happen i would not be able to commit to my caring roles :(
The letter we received with our copy of the report told us we could apply to the court to be joined as party status', so this is what we did. We were unable to get some legal advise as every firm we called in our area either, were already involved in the hearing, were not back till august or they said they would get back to us but never did. We only had a week and a half to send the application off. But we did this ourselves.
We would be so grateful if anyone, who has been in the same position, has any advise on what we could do next.
We, me and my partner, do not want the children to be brought up by strangers, if there mother is incapable of meeting their needs. We want them home, within our family unit. We just do not know what to do next :( :(
And again, I am sorry that this is so long. Thank you! :)

Re: Kinship/Connected Persons

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:51 am
by P17613P
Hi Butterfly - I failed viability twice and was shocked when I got the first phone call too! :-(

Their reasons were we had recently had some bereavements to cope with , that I would be too soft with my daughter as we were close and when I read the report after the 2nd time I failed I could not believe how much everything I said was TWISTED , all the positive things I said were somehow twisted into negatives and I got the feeling in the end ( and all long tbh ) that this particular social worker did NOT want me to have my Grandson no matter what and she had already ''made up her mind about me'' and ruled me out and even seemed to find pleasure in telling me I had failed :-(

Sooooo I just continued plodding on , my Grandson was already in foster care , kept writing / sending e-mails still putting myself forward and saying what improvements had been made , how well my bereavement counselling was going , stated what safety measures I had put in place re my daughter etc etc and it felt like I was getting nowhere for a long time until they changed the social worker to a senior one who saw me through a fresh pair of eyes ( not just the negative stuff which were written in the reports about me ) and eventually when she went on what she SAW for herself , not just what was written she came round to do another viability assessment and passed me straight away!!!

A few months later little man was placed with me and he has been here 2 years now :-)

I would say just work with them , patiently , show and prove your commitment , change anything which needs changing ( which is hard sometimes as you don't know exactly what they want! lol ) but be yourself and believe in your ability to look after the boys well and 2 years in I have shown them I am perfectly capable of caring for my Grandson well and they have no concerns xx

It took one year from when he was taken into care to me having him here with me so don't give up :-) x

Re: Kinship/Connected Persons

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:52 am
by P17613P
Oh and where I lived was a problem too so I moved ;-) lol

Re: Kinship/Connected Persons

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:12 am
by butterfly123
Thank you P17613P for your reply! I'm so glad things have gone so well for you and your grandson!
Yes I can relate to that too, most of our assessment was based on our positives being twisted. Most of the things we said were twisted too!
We're just worried because the last court case is in November, and we don't want it to be too late :( st the moment we're having trouble with the boys mum, she is adamant she is getting them back (which if she does, we would be over the mood about) but she keeps saying no one else is allowed to fight for them, she keeps threatening to go to her solicitor and take us off of the list! We are so worried that they will go with her and completely ignore our plea to help.
Within the next month we should have our new place but we will definitely keep writing to them and telling them all the changes we have made and prove to them that we can do it! But just like you, we're concerned that the social worker involved has already 'made her mind up'.
But we will be patient, and we will be changes things because we want to prove our commitment.
Thank you again for your reply! It was so helpful, we are really grateful xxx

Re: Kinship/Connected Persons

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:15 am
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear butterfly123

Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers Discussion Board.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group. I am sorry that you and your partner have had a negative assessment as this must be very upsetting and distressing for you.

You have had some good practical advice from P17613P from her own experience in ensuring that all was done to enable her grandson to live within his birth family.

I see from your post that you have been told that you failed the assessment because of your accommodation. If accommodation is the only thing that would prevent you caring for the children, a court would expect children services to assist you in obtaining appropriate accommodation which they can do even if you own a property.

The children could be placed in your care if, as you say, their mother is unable to care for them under a child arrangement order or a special guardianship order The local authority could also place the children with you if care orders are made if their favour which would mean that you would become long term foster carers. This will depend on what their care plan is for the children and the ages and needs of the children.

If the social worker has not discussed either of these options with you then you can ask him or her about it. Copies of our advice sheet relating to both orders are included for your information. You could also complete a C2 application asking for the order you wish the court to make if the children are to live with you.

I think it is important that you go carefully through assessment report it and see what you disagree with. As you have now been joined as parties to the proceedings you should be able with the court’s permission to do a statement setting out what you disagree with in the report and why you think it is wrong to rule you out of caring for the children. I am including here for your information a copy of the assessment guide for family and friends carers developed by Family Rights Group. This guide provides a good practice guide for viability assessments. If the hearing in August is not a final hearing, then you might want to consider asking the court to give permission for you to have an independent social worker carry out an assessment. The reason I say this is that the court expect cases to finish in 26 weeks but if you are able to argue that you have not been fairly assessed the judge could extend the time of the case.

Just to help you understand what support family and friends carers can expect please read this copy of our advice sheet

To help you understand the care proceedings a copy of our advice sheet relating to care and other proceeding is here for your information.

I suggest that you contact the Law Society whose website here to try and find a solicitor in your area who can advise you. You should try to find a solicitor who accredited to the children panel.

If you would like to speak with an adviser at Family Rights Group, please telephone our free and confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope you will find this helpful.

Best wishes