What order and who chooses???

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Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:32 pm

What order and who chooses???

Post by Pearl3009 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:38 pm

Hi all.
I've floated around for a while and will try and keep this post as short as possible, I am just looking for a little advice.
In April my sister was sectioned and her daughter was brought to me under a s.20. She remained in our care until late July when she revoked the s.20, despite chair at CPP conference not recommending her daughter return to her care.
Since then things have gone from bad to worse.
My sister isolated herself everyone, disengaged with all professionals and there is a raft of evidence to show she is incapable at the moment of maintaining her daughter's basic care needs and sustaining a stable environment.
There was a pre proceedings meeting last week that I went to and the solicitor managed to get my sister to agree for her daughter to come back into my care. The solicitor mentioned that he would be looking into a CAO.
Since then my sister has recieved all her paper work and we are awaiting a court date.
The LA is recommending my niece remain with us with an interim care order from the court. Pending the outcome of the IVA (which is happening on Friday)
I work quite closely with social services professionally and have a good understanding of what is going to happen and what will be expected of me, I have researched into orders etc as much as I can and have read and THINK....
CAO would mean I share PR with my sister, and enable me to claim CB and CTC, WTC etc for my niece.
This is not going to be viable as i live in a UC fully digital area and can no longer claim tax credits as she would be classed as 3rd child and you cannot claim for 3rd child under UC regulations.
I don't have a current claim in that could be updated as me and my partner work full time and therefore are not entitled to claim.

From what I have read I think it would be better financially for us to become kinship carer and enable us to claim a fostering allowance.
But I'm not sure of this is doable under a CAO???

So I think my questions are ... ..
What order is needed for me to become foster carer?
Who would make decision?
Does it matter that LA are requesting care and interim care order on paper work?

I'm aware the child.needs to be looked after in order to access foster allowance and I believe if the ICO granted this would trigger that??

One last one .... when/would I be entitled to a solicitor??

Also .... just for clarification this is not so much about money but I cannot afford to maintain my family aswell as pay for childcare for my niece.

Thank you... Pearl

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

Re: What order and who chooses???

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:45 pm

Dear Pearl,

Welcome to the Friends and family carers forum.
Thank you for setting out the local authority’s involvement with your niece.

You should get foster care allowance if your niece is a “looked after child”.
She will a looked after child if:
• she is accommodated-section 20 of the Children Act 1989,
• or if she is subject to a court order, such as a care order or interim care order.
I can see that your niece was placed with you between April and July after mum signed a section 20 agreement. Your niece has recently come to live with you again and this may also be a section 20 agreement.
During these times, she appears to be a “looked after child” and you should have been assessed as a foster carer and paid foster care allowance.
So it is possible you might be able to get backdated foster care allowance for April to July and from the date that she was recently placed with you.

The local authority have now issued care proceedings. .
The court may grant an interim care order to give the local authority parental responsibility to make decisions in respect of your niece. If so, then your niece will still be considered to be a looked after child, so you will remain a foster carer at least during the care proceedings.

Have you had a fostering assessment?
In an emergency, which may have been the case in April, when your niece came to you, children’s services should have assessed you for temporary foster care approval which lasts, usually, for 16 weeks, to allow them to place your niece with you instead of non- related foster care.
See page 18 of our advice sheet about friends and family: being assessed as foster carer.

If you are not sure, you could email the social worker and ask what the position is. You may be entitled to backdated foster care payments.

During the care proceedings, your niece will remain a looked after child.
At the end of the care proceedings, the court will be considering where your niece will live long term.
• First of all, can you go home to either parent?
• if not, then can she stay long term with you or another relative or friend?
• If that is not possible, then depending on the age of your niece, either, she will go into long term foster care or as the last resort, if nothing else will do, adoption will be considered.

If it is decided that your niece should live with you long term, then could you be a foster carer? This will depend on what is in the best interests of your niece.
Usually, a child would go to a relative under a private law court order such as a special guardianship order or child arrangements order rather than foster care. These orders would give you legal parental responsibility for your niece and both have possible financial support –which will be means tested. You cannot have these orders and be a foster carer at the same time though.

If the court thought it was in your niece’s best interests to remain in long term foster care and be placed with you, then look at the pros and cons for this arrangement on page 23 of our advice sheet about fostering linked above.

When will you be entitled to a solicitor?
In care proceedings, parents are entitled to have legal aid. However, you, as a friend and family carer will not be automatically entitled to legal aid.
If the local authority are supporting you to care for your niece long term, you may not need to become a party to the court proceedings until you apply for a long term order such as a child arrangements order or special guardianship order.
Even then, you may not get legal aid because this will depend on you passing a means and merits test.
For more about legal aid see here .
Some solicitors will provide some free legal advice.
If you decide to apply for a long term order, then the local authority may contribute to your legal costs. You should ask the social worker about this or see our advice sheet about DIY special guardianship orders and CAO’s.
To find a solicitor to specialises in children law look at the Law society find a solicitor.

I hope this advice helps. It may have raised more questions than I have answered. If so, please post again or call our free and confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,


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