Social services

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Ely
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:04 pm

Social services

Post by Ely » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:14 pm

Hi my husband and i have been looking after our two young grandchildren aged 6 and 3 for around the past eight months after the social intervened and the children were placed on our "voluntary care" but with a protection order imposed. Ever since then the Social have been asking us to get a residency order for the two children which we did look into, and the ss said they would pay £1400 towards us doing this. My husband and i are both in full time employment on a quite low income but apparently not low enough to claim working tax credits or child tax credits, we do however receive child benefit. Looking at our financial situation and because my daughter in law has stated that she WILL contest the residency order (she will get legal aid), we told the authorities yeterday that we was not going ahead with the residency order but would like to be a kinship carer. The ss then told us that we have until October to apply for a residence order for the two children because they want to take the protection order off them, and if we have not done so they will take matters into their own hands, and apply to the courts for a care order for the children. At the moment i feel i am being bullied into something i can not afford to do, and also if they did put a care order on the children would they not then automatically put the children into our care anyway as we have had glowing reports in every meeting about the progress both children have made? Has anyone else experienced anything similar to this because at the moment we don't know where to turn.

Ely

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Robin D
Posts: 1848
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Social services

Post by Robin D » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:18 am

Sadly this seems to be happening far too frequently.

It's fairly clear that if they did decide to move to care order, you could shout loud and hard about the 'no order principle' as one is not necessary. You are also right in that they should immediately consider you as a placement .... but ... they may in their wisdom decide with the age of the children, that adoption (outside the family) is the best <strike>financial route for them</strike> option for the child.

I suggest contacting your local councillor and/or MP and take them through what you have told us. They may be better placed to ask pertinent questions about those making the decisons / holding the purse strings.

Good luck .... 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: 533
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Social services

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:53 pm

Hello Ely

My name is Suzie and I am an adviser at Family Rights Group.

You say that there is a “protection order” in place for your grandchildren. Am I right in thinking that you mean the children are under child protection plans? If this is the case, neither you nor children’s services currently have any parental responsibility (PR) for the children- only mum has this.

You say that your daughter-in-law would definitely contest a residence order. Is there a possibility that she might also remove her consent to the children being accommodated with you under the current arrangement? The legal situation at the moment is that mum has every right to remove the children back to her care. Children’s services would have to apply for an order giving them shared PR to prevent this.

It is certainly not OK for children’s services to push you into making a decision that you do not feel comfortable with but they also need to remain mindful of appropriate long term planning for the children. If the plan is for the children to remain with you long term, it would make sense for you to have PR so that you can make important decisions for them without referring back to mum, particularly if she is not always reliable.

If you do decide that applying for a residence order (or a special guardianship order) would be in yours and the children’s best interests, you could do this without huge legal costs. Many people represent themselves in these proceedings and we have an advice sheet which works through the entire process of applying for a residence order.

Although mum has said she will contest and will have the benefit of a solicitor, she may well have a very poor case, particularly as the local authority would be giving you their full support. In addition, as the local authority have committed to making a financial contribution, you could use this money to buy in the help of a solicitor at the most crucial points of the proceedings such as preparing a final statement for the court or representing you at the final hearing.

If, however, you are not sure that applying for an order is best for you and the children, you should not feel bullied in to doing this. In addition, if mum is co-operating with the current arrangement and things are going well, there may be no need for an order at all.

I wonder if the children are considered “looked after” by the local authority or if they are treating the situation as a “private family arrangement”. If the children are looked after, you should be being supported (and paid) as a foster carer already. (I suspect this is not happening as you mention child benefit). It would also mean that there are regular “looked after child” review meetings chaired by an independent reviewing officer (IRO). If they are involved, the IRO would be a useful person to discuss your concerns with.

If the children are not considered “looked after”, there may be an argument to say that they should be as children’s services are clearly involved in their placement with you.

It may be useful for you to call our helpline to discuss this in more detail with an adviser. Alternatively, other forum members are a wealth of information and experience regarding the pros and cons of different options.

Hope this helps.

Best Wishes

Suzie
FRG Adviser

Ely
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:04 pm

Re: Social services

Post by Ely » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:13 pm

Hi
Thanks for your advice, and yes the children are under a protection plan, my step daughter (don;t no why i put daughter in law previous) has threatened that she is coming soon to take the children away but the ss have told us that if this does happen, to phone them immediately and they will go to court to put a care order in place and return the children back to our care.

It isn't that i don't want the residency order its the cost involved but i also read the article you attached which was useful, the children are currently under a "private family arrangement". My husband and i are going to go for the residency order to give the children stability.

My step daughter is also seven months pregnant and living with her boyfriend who is well known to social services and to probation apparently, the children have never met him and i don't know what he has done wrong either, so there is also a case study being compiled as we speak about the unborn baby and wether the baby will stay with mother or not, I know it sounds harsh but my husband and i have told the ss that there is no way we can also take a new born baby on as well if the worst come to the worst, even though it would break my heart for the child to go into care, my step daughter is only 26 and who knows how many more kids she may decide to have in the future.

Thank you again for your advice

Ely

Ely
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:04 pm

Re: Social services

Post by Ely » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:13 pm

Hi
Thanks for your advice, and yes the children are under a protection plan, my step daughter (don;t no why i put daughter in law previous) has threatened that she is coming soon to take the children away but the ss have told us that if this does happen, to phone them immediately and they will go to court to put a care order in place and return the children back to our care.

It isn't that i don't want the residency order its the cost involved but i also read the article you attached which was useful, the children are currently under a "private family arrangement". My husband and i are going to go for the residency order to give the children stability.

My step daughter is also seven months pregnant and living with her boyfriend who is well known to social services and to probation apparently, the children have never met him and i don't know what he has done wrong either, so there is also a case study being compiled as we speak about the unborn baby and wether the baby will stay with mother or not, I know it sounds harsh but my husband and i have told the ss that there is no way we can also take a new born baby on as well if the worst come to the worst, even though it would break my heart for the child to go into care, my step daughter is only 26 and who knows how many more kids she may decide to have in the future.

Thank you again for your advice

Ely

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