Kinship assessments

kevine
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:46 pm

Kinship assessments

Postby kevine » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:05 pm

Hi

My wife and I are currently undergoing a Kinship assessment for our Grand daughter who is 6 weeks old. Have any of you guys been able to have custody of your Grand child whilst the assessment is being carried out. We have been to court 2 times so far. Ist time was when Sophie was born whereby an interim care order was granted whereby she was taken into care. We had expected to be given custody on that day only to be told there was a record over 15 years ago on 1 of our children which was never followed up and social services could not answer why.We were back in court 4 weeks later expecting to gain custody and were then told that social services wanted to finish the full assessment in Feb 2011. We are now due back in court 6th Jan as we are going for a residence order to gain custody as we have little or no faith in the system or social services. They can give no reasons and do not really understand themselves what the problem is, however, the appointed guardian has been very supportive. Does anyone out there have similar experiences?

kevin edwards

Muspark
Posts: 398
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:02 am

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby Muspark » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:16 pm

Hello and welcome....

The LA should place with the family unless their is a safe reason to do so, can I ask whether placement with you was discussed at the time of the ICO? Was the case that was still outstanding a child protection issue? At that time it would have been better for them to place with you under a Reg 38 and complete your assessments whilst baby was with you. Sometimes I am aware that "mum" does not want this or that you find out too late and the baby is in non-related foster care before you can re-act.

Once the child is in foster care it becomes more complex to get them home I find. THe SS start saying they want full assessments carried out to ensure that placements do not breakdown etc. I found out too late to get J on a Reg 38 according to the SS, but when the assessments took over 4 months and the Guardian got the hump with them he demanded J be place immendiately when we were at court one day. Suddenly the Reg 38 could happen and J was bought to me three days later! So it can be done.... they just don't like doing it.

There is also the matter of how you see the future of your Grandchild, do you think there may be a chance that Mum will get her back? Have you thought about looking after her on a permanent basis until she is 18 under a Special Guardianship or Residence Order. How is your relationship with you Daughter/Son?

The news that the Guardian is on your side is very good. It may be worth writing to the Guardian mentioning the facts of the case and asking for their thoughts. Ask whether he will support a case of immediate placement seeing as the SS are taking so long and can not even answer their own questions as to why the case years ago was not followed up.

Have you got a solicitor yet? Will you be able to get legal aid?

I know I have probably answered your questions with loads more questions but to really be of help we need to know a little bit more of the history.

Good Luck. x

kevine
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:46 pm

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby kevine » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:48 pm

Hi.
Thanks for your response.
There was a problem about 15 years ago from my stepdaughter, before I met my wife, however social services have looked into this and whilst maybe not completely satisfied, they have said that the reasons for not bringing our grand daughter home from the court the first time, were no longer an issue. My son and his partner-they have a number of issues, and it is highly unlikely that they will ever be able to care for the baby, however, they will have a team of solicitors that will challenge this and I wish them well in this, but knowing the history, it is most likely that they will be unable to have the support which they need to bring up a baby. They are also very supportive of what we are trying to do. Once their case has run its course, we will be looking at a Special Guardianship order. At this moment in time, we have chosen not to have a solicitor as we wanted to try and work with social services. Currently, both my wife and I work full time, however we have been advised that if we were successful with the residency order that we would be entitled to legal aid - I guess this would be means tested.
quote:
Originally posted by Muspark

Hello and welcome....

The LA should place with the family unless their is a safe reason to do so, can I ask whether placement with you was discussed at the time of the ICO? Was the case that was still outstanding a child protection issue? At that time it would have been better for them to place with you under a Reg 38 and complete your assessments whilst baby was with you. Sometimes I am aware that "mum" does not want this or that you find out too late and the baby is in non-related foster care before you can re-act.

Once the child is in foster care it becomes more complex to get them home I find. THe SS start saying they want full assessments carried out to ensure that placements do not breakdown etc. I found out too late to get J on a Reg 38 according to the SS, but when the assessments took over 4 months and the Guardian got the hump with them he demanded J be place immendiately when we were at court one day. Suddenly the Reg 38 could happen and J was bought to me three days later! So it can be done.... they just don't like doing it.

There is also the matter of how you see the future of your Grandchild, do you think there may be a chance that Mum will get her back? Have you thought about looking after her on a permanent basis until she is 18 under a Special Guardianship or Residence Order. How is your relationship with you Daughter/Son?

The news that the Guardian is on your side is very good. It may be worth writing to the Guardian mentioning the facts of the case and asking for their thoughts. Ask whether he will support a case of immediate placement seeing as the SS are taking so long and can not even answer their own questions as to why the case years ago was not followed up.

Have you got a solicitor yet? Will you be able to get legal aid?

I know I have probably answered your questions with loads more questions but to really be of help we need to know a little bit more of the history.

Good Luck. x



kevin edwards

Kate
Posts: 2444
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:33 pm

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby Kate » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:22 pm

Hi kevine and welcome to the forum [:)] You might want to put the case politely that it is now well-established fact that it is crucial for a baby to make secure and lasting attachments early in life, and if they are moved around unnecessarily from one home and set of carers to another, this makes it much harder and serious emotional damage can be done. Social workers should be well aware of this.

If your granddaughter is likely to come to you in due course, and to remain with you longterm, there is no good case to be made for keeping her with foster carers. It's just easier for them to let things rumble on as they are than to take action now. It is not, however, in your granddaughter's best interests to do this if she has a stable permanent home ready and waiting within the family. Good luck.

kevine
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:46 pm

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby kevine » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:00 pm

Thanks for the advice Kate.
It has been extremely frustrating as of late as my grand daughter has been ill and had 3 days in hospital due to this. This has made it even more difficult for my son and his partner to have contact as the foster carers do not want to take baby out for contact. I do understand that the health safety and welfare of my grand daughter is every ones priority, but frustrating all the same. On a positive note, my wife and I are allowed contact at the foster carers home twice a week, and is very well cared for. We do feel guilty of this, as we are able to see her in these circumstances and mum and dad are unable to.
quote:
Originally posted by Kate

Hi kevine and welcome to the forum [:)] You might want to put the case politely that it is now well-established fact that it is crucial for a baby to make secure and lasting attachments early in life, and if they are moved around unnecessarily from one home and set of carers to another, this makes it much harder and serious emotional damage can be done. Social workers should be well aware of this.

If your granddaughter is likely to come to you in due course, and to remain with you longterm, there is no good case to be made for keeping her with foster carers. It's just easier for them to let things rumble on as they are than to take action now. It is not, however, in your granddaughter's best interests to do this if she has a stable permanent home ready and waiting within the family. Good luck.

kevin edwards

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ied53
Posts: 2100
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby ied53 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:13 pm

it might help if we knew a little more . Why has the child been removed from the parents? Usually a child of that age would be brought to a contact centre daily to be with Mum until a final decision has been made for the child mot to be returned to parents. Also you need to be aware you may have to distance your self from the parents in order to show the soc servs you can protect the child. By all means work with the soc servs do not however take what they say at face value. Do make notes don't rely on their comments being the same two days running. They may turn up things from the past but so long as you can answer them or say you learned from them that is all anyone can ask.

Irene
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

kevine
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:46 pm

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby kevine » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:03 pm

Hi Irene.

The parents have learning difficulties and the mother has had a baby removed from a previous relationship 3-4 years ago. The parents would normally have contact at a centre 2hrs day 5 times a week. It is difficult to distance ourselves from the parents as we are able to see baby once a week with them and twice a week at the foster carers. I agree with your comments - they do dig into the past. The different people within social services give different answers to questions. All we seem to hear is that we have a very strong case. If this was so, I believe our grand daughter would already be with us. I now believe by going for the residency order that they would have to prove us as unfit as parents or at least get things out in the open as to the reasons we have not yet got custody. I am sure it will all turn out ok in the end. It is just an emotional roller coaster ride and we just need to hang in there.
quote:
Originally posted by ied53

it might help if we knew a little more . Why has the child been removed from the parents? Usually a child of that age would be brought to a contact centre daily to be with Mum until a final decision has been made for the child mot to be returned to parents. Also you need to be aware you may have to distance your self from the parents in order to show the soc servs you can protect the child. By all means work with the soc servs do not however take what they say at face value. Do make notes don't rely on their comments being the same two days running. They may turn up things from the past but so long as you can answer them or say you learned from them that is all anyone can ask.

Irene

kevin edwards

Muspark
Posts: 398
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:02 am

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby Muspark » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:07 am

It is a emotional roller coster but the fact is that you have to get into the mindset that this is going to be the biggest and hardest fight of your life.

A solicitor will help you if you can get it and you will find that the SS will give you different stories from each SW. Never trust anything until it is writing. Begin by asking for your contact to be upped and for it to include unsupervised walks out etc. This will probably have to be without the parents, you will have to show that you can distance yourself from them and put the baby needs above their, they will look very closely at this.

Also ask for written reasons why the baby can not be placed with you under Reg 38. Are you already party to proceedings? If not apply to be made it and if they are supporting the SGO process then you can give the notice to start the assessments.

They will not rush, they will not see you as a priority, baby is safe in F/C so you have to push and push and push. Always be polite but follow up every phone call with a letter or a mail putting down what they have said to you.

I annoyed the hell out of my LA but they could only ever discribe me as polite and determined. The Guardian commented that if I had not been like that I would have waited much longer to get J.

Sorry to make it seem like a battle but unfortunately a lot of us have had just that. Just think of it as a very polite battle that you will win.

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Help 1870
Posts: 914
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:54 am

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby Help 1870 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:35 pm


Hi, and welcome to the forum.[:)]

Just a couple of observations. I dont think anyone has mentioned the use of a diary. If you dont already do this then start one now. Include dates/times/names/brief outline of any telephone conversations you have with SS/Guardian/legal advisors. Also keep notes of any conversations you have with the parents and notes of contacts.

I feel the joint contact may be being used more as an assessment of you than contact itself. They will probably be looking at how you cope and deal with any issues that might arise, such as, are you able to prioritse the child over the parents and can you step in and say no to one or both if required.

I think you need to start seperating in your mind the individual contact you have with the child and the contact the parents have with the child. They are 2 seperate entities at this time and should be treated as such. There are obviously greater concerns over parental contact than there are with you, which is why any restrictions you are under are less than theirs.

You may not agree with any concerns SS may have over parental contact, but the fact is if they have these concerns you have to accept this and work with them rather than against. If you are constantly batting for the other side and show too high a level of support it can have long term implications in how SS view you. They may worry that you dont take their concerns seriously and should the child be placed with you you will be unable to prioritise the childs needs over that of the parents. Many carers have had to take the difficult decision of distancing themselves from the parents and their problems in order to assure the professionals the child really does and will come first.

As there has already been a child removed in the past it would be useful to know what happened to her/him and what if any contact arrangements are in place.

I agree with Kate that you should be raising the issue of attachments. A baby of 6 weeks old will be becoming more and more alert so its a very crucial time for those attachments forming, a break in that process is incredibly damaging, even for a child so young. I agree it doesnt make sense to keep a child in stranger foster care when there is a permanent family carer ready and able.


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ied53
Posts: 2100
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: Kinship assessments

Postby ied53 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:56 pm

It is the childs human rights to be with its family (you) the childrens act says so you are able to provide a nurturing up bringing allowing the child to have a firm knowledge of family roots with a knowledgeable safe and secure upbringing. They will be watching to see how you can supervise and facilitate the contact for the parents. you must be prepared to step in at anytime. It needs to be obvious that the parents would not have free reign and that you understand this. As said by others it is essential you keep your own records. Do n ot become complacent because you seem to favored by Soc Servs they can and have changed. Be honest but be guarded in your responses.

Irene
Irene

Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire

Tough times never last tough people do


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