EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to expect

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:53 pm

Dear Nanny G

Thank you for the update. I am pleased that you have finally managed to make contact with the social worker who will be meeting with you on Thursday.

From the information you gave in your previous posts about the reasons that you had a negative assessment, you should concentrate on explaining why you do not agree with the outcome. For example, the fact that you are in receipt of benefits should not of itself be a reason for your grandchildren not living with you. However, if it is the case that you are not able to go work because of your partner’s health condition, then this would be of concern because Children Services would be worried that the children would be coming into a situation where you are effectively already a carer. Try to explain that your partner’s health condition will not impact on your ability to care for the children.

It is really a question of you giving positive feedback to the negatives that have been identified. In relation to contact you seemed to have been more in favour of your son than the mother. This would be of concern as it is important for the children to maintain a relationship with both parents if it is in the children’s interest to do so. Explain that the children’s needs are your main priority and you will adhere by whatever decision is made about contact.

Obviously, if there are issues with which you disagree, then it is important that you point this out to the social worker giving your reasons for disagreeing.

As you have been advised previously, if you wish to challenge the assessment you should ask to be joined as a party to proceedings so that you can ask the court for a further assessment to be carried out. The decision will be for the judge to make considering all the information that he or she has. I have included a copy of our advice sheet relating to care proceedings for your information.

The fact that your brother and niece live in France as you say in are an earlier post, does not mean they cannot be assessed as possible carers for your grandchildren if they wish to put themselves forward. They can be assessed as family members. You might want to find out if they are willing to help so that if you are unable to have the children there is still a possibility they may be able to remain in the family.

I hope you will find this helpful but if you wish to speak to an Adviser, please telephone our advice line. The number for the advice line is 0808 801 0366 and it is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

Best wishes

Suzie

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:12 pm

Hello Suzie,
Thank you for replying and clarifying things. Sorry if you seem to be repeating yourself, i have been trying to make sense of whole the situation and your advice has been invaluable.

We have now seen and spoken to the SW and i have to say i feel it was a very unfair assessment and that (as thought) he really does seem to have taken what we have said out of context, and /or twisted/blown out of proportion and put our answers to different questions - not the ones he asked.

I am not happy at how it has been conducted or the way in which it was written and do intend to appeal against it some how.

So, to recap -
i will talk to my sons solicitor tomorrow and discuss being party to the court and see what other help he can offer us

Shall i still speak to the cafcass officer, as i haven't yet?

Also, our finances were discussed as not being sufficient to care for a child, although he noted that we 'may' be able to get help from child benefit and/or child tax credits and possibly the parents.
I said, that whilst it was not about money, it was about the child, we had enough to keep ourselves, and as i understood it if we were to have the child we would get a fostering allowance.
We were told that no, we would not get an allowance form them unless they asked us to have the child, but if it was decided in court that we should care for her it wouldn't be them, it would be the court who decided so therefore nothing to do with them and we would not get an allowance.

Can you clarify this for me please?
They are talking about wanting a care order and taking the child into care and that, as i understood, would be why we were being assessed?

Thanks again for your help

NG

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

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:47 pm

Dear Nanny G,

The children’s guardian.

Here is some information about the role of the guardian.


As you are not (yet) a party to the care proceedings your views may not be fully known or understood by the guardian. By getting in touch you can ensure that s/he knows that you very much want to be involved in your granddaughter’s life. (Both in the short term as a foster carer and long term-if the assessments of the parents fail.)
You could also let her know that you intend to apply to be a party to the proceedings.

If you are not able to speak to her directly, then you may meet her at the next court appointment.


Fostering assessment

The social workers position about not paying foster care allowance to relatives and friends is not correct.

While there are care proceedings, if your granddaughter was “placed” with you then you would need to be assessed as a foster carer and you will be paid foster care allowance as you will not be entitled to state benefits. Fostering allowance is not a means tested allowance.

As there is discussion about your granddaughter being moved from her maternal aunt into foster care, can you be that foster carer? Children services should always consider placing children with friends and family carers before stranger foster carers unless it is not in the welfare of the child.

By the end of the care proceedings, the court will want to know where your granddaughter will live long term until she is an adult.
If it is not safe for her live with either parents, then the court will consider any assessments of relatives or friends (connected persons).
The court will also consider the type of legal order that will secure a child with a long term carer.

This could be foster care but is more likely to be a private law order (special guardianship order or child arrangements order) and adoption as a last resort.
Supporting these private law orders are in the discretion of the local authority. Any regular allowances-such as child arrangement order allowance and special guardianship order allowance are means tested. I wonder whether the social worker is mixing these up.
Ask him to confirm what the assessment is for?

Best wishes,

Suzie

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:51 pm

Thanks for the advice.
I have spoken to my Sons solicitor, who has said he cannot understand why it took CS so long to show us the report, particularly when at court last on 28/9 he said it needed to be shared with us. It has taken 3 weeks form the date of completion of the report to get round to showing it to us. Even then it was only when i emailed the SW and his Manager i got a response!
However Sons Solicitor has said he cannot act for us in becoming party to proceedings, we would need our own representation, but as it is short notice for us to get that sorted with the next court hearing on 13th if i send my response to him by email he can submit it as part of my sons case. I have now done that, and will speak to him tomorrow (Monday) afternoon to confirm details and discuss it further before court on Tuesday.

I am not sure what the SW was thinking. It would be interesting to get it clarified by him, however, as i understand right now, initially they want a care order, or an interim care order and were looking for (to start) temporary foster carers. They all seem to have written the mother off as unsuitable, in the CAFCASS report it was said she (mother) was saying she understood the need to stay away from b/f, and to keep child away from him, but felt he should be involved in antenatal appointments for the new baby she is expecting with him, however this seemed to be just a way of trying to get her daughter back to her so therefore It is recommended that they place the child in temporary foster care while further assessments are made on my son. If he proves not to be suitable, then the Guardian recommends their long term family, or adoption to avoid being brought up in care. Obviously at this point if we were to have my Granddaughter this would become an SGO, which as you say Irene, gives stability to the child and gives you control.
I do like the idea of the T Shirt too. :)

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:07 pm

Hello,
Yes, as you say Irene, the parents will always give thier version of events which will always be biased towards themselves and trying to make themselves look better in order to stop the whole thing and get their child back. When you have separate parents, they will both always say the other is worse than them... and, again, as you say, CS have been there, done that, seen the same story over and over again. It must be quite wearing for them, but also rewarding as part of their job.
So, an update
Yesterday i spoke again to my sons solicitor, who has accepted my response and will pass it round anyone who needs to see it.
I also rang the Guardian, who was quite non committal, and just said she would have to re read our assessment to remind herself of what had been said.
Today was court, i went along on advice of Sons solicitor, just in case i was asked to say anything regards my statement. I wasn't asked to speak but did get to talk with the CAFCASS guardian, as she had now seen my response. She said normally she wouldn't question CS or their judgement, as that's their role, but as i had spoken about about it al and made some good points, she wanted to discuss it with me.
She discussed my son, and what i knew or didn't know at the time of the assessment and now. I said that i didn't know then, as much as i thought i did and the story was still unfolding. That in light of what we had recently discovered/been told that yes i could see what a possible risk my son posed to his daughter, and also managed to clarify that our house could and would be made childproof if my Granddaughter came to stay and a few points about my partners health and his aspergers and his ability to care for children.
With regards to that it has now been decided that CS should re visit us and reassess us and this has to be done by 10th November. The same SW will visit, as he did the last one they feel he is best placed to assess us again, and he has been asked to talk to us both separately this time (one of the concerns he raised was that my Partner did most of the talking and i waited for him to finish before saying anything).
After that, if i wish, i can then apply to become party to the court at the next hearing.

With regards to the court hearing and the child, as our current assessment is negative we cannot be temporary foster carers for her right now. Her Aunt who she was staying with has issued a statement saying she can no longer keep her after today. CS now have their interim care order, and so the child has gone into temporary foster care this afternoon. Long term it will be better for her than her Aunts, but it is very sad she could not come here and that she has to get to know and live with a stranger.

My Son is happy and supports this decision, mum up until this morning has maintained she wanted her daughter either with her sister or herself, however was obviously told this morning she had no choice so to go with it

Now both parents have to work hard to prove themselves worthy of their daughter back and obviously they both want exclusive care of her. Hopefully i can be here to pick up the pieces for her if neither of them are found suitable.

At the last hearing it was asked that mum make a statement to back up her claims that my son assaulted her or was not a suitable parent.
Her statement today said whilst she had made allegations in the past against my son for assault, 'she had now put it behind her and did not want to go into details', but instead went on about various rows they had had, and how she felt my son was an unfit parent and she had concerns for his ability to care for their daughter on his own - which he now has to talk to his solicitor about and make a statement himself regards this.

Next court date is 29th January, and mum is due to give birth to new baby on 21st, the case is due to be settled by March, so we will wait and see what happens next.

NG

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:07 pm

Thanks Irene,
I am still fuming, and in some ways disgusted with my sons behaviour, as, still, the story unfolds! I cannot believe he lied to us to that extent, surely if you feel the need to keep what you are doing form someone, then maybe you shouldn't be doing it... in the circumstances, the way things were going on, i can see why he kept it form me, as had i known just how bad things were, i would have said something...
He is saying the right things now, and i do believe he realises how close he is to loosing his daughter altogether, but i am still not sure he realises the commitment he has to put in, to be with a chance of dragging his backside out of the fire!

I am working, bit by bit, on my partner to 'prepare' him for sw visit (lol don't want to overload him) but we don't yet have a date for when the visit will be. One of the concerns was our house was too cluttered, and did not look toddler proof enough to be considered safe, and his (sw) take on it was as it was an announced visit and we hadn't made it childproof then we lacked motivation! My response to that was we had less than 24 hours notice and do not have a toddler in the house so have no need to toddler proof it. I did explain to him that we would clear up, and that i was also in the middle of turning one of the rooms out when he came, but that seemed to fall on deaf ears... so now, with a little more notice, i am going through the house, room by room and 'de-cluttering' and will write down a list, for the sw to take with him, of what we will do to toddler proof it if we needed to, just so this time, there should be no misunderstandings.
Yes, as you say, ideas on childcare change all the time, so that would be a good idea to go to parenting classes to see how things are done now.
Thanks again for the advice, its good to know i am not the only one in this situation,

NG

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:35 pm

Hi,
a quick question to ask regards SW assessments and child's beds...
We are expecting a SW assessment again soon and i have been discussing this with my son. The bedroom that would be my Granddaughters room is a small almost box room and has a custom built bed in it, that is currently just under 36 inches off the floor at the top of the mattress, and like it is has space underneath for a hidey hole/play house and as the room is such a small room also has a small chest of drawers underneath as space saving.

so the question is, should we remake the bed to a lower height (which could be done) or would it be acceptable to cs to leave it the height it is with a guard rail and steps?

We would be happy to do it if needed, but personally think it is fun, as well as space saving as it is, but on the other hand don't want to jeopardise our chances of being carers over something as simple as the bed height...
What are your experiences of this sort of thing?

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:44 am

She's coming up to 3 1/2 .
The next court case is Jan, so unless CS decide to move her sooner, she will be closer to 4 by the time she came to live with us

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:20 pm

Thanks Irene,
That was pretty much what i was thinking, but wanted to check as you have more experience of SW's and 'the system' than i do.

SW rang today, he is coming back to see us on Wednesday now. He said he has to come back and discuss with us the points raised in my response to the court, then write a letter to send to add to the report. I guess it is those points that need to be readdressed, but was under the impression he had to re-do the assessment. The Solicitor said he had been told to talk to us separately this time.

Yes, the room was built for my teenage step son, but as he isnt here much now, we decided we would move him on his occasional visits to the spare room i use as a crafting room and use his little room for my Granddaughter if she came. When i cleared the room out, i realised just what fun it could be in there if you were little girl (like i am at heart) rather than a teenage boy, who used it as a hide for empty drinks bottles, and sweet wrapper/malteaser boxes (which had to be hidden as we tried to keep him on a fairly low sugar diet due to 'teenage' behaviour), and of course the obligatory teenage dirty clothes...!
Now its cleared, properly and not by a teenager, I want to set up camp in it!

will let you know what happens re the SW
thanks for your help,
NG

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:34 am

Hi Nanny G,

Irene is giving you lots of sound advice and support. I know you have our advice sheet about fostering assessments for friends and family carers which you could look back on before the social worker visits you.

You could also seek advice from the Fostering Network . They can also give detailed advice about fostering assessments.

Good luck on Wednesday.

Suzie


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