Financial Worries

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Caringaunt
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Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:42 pm

Financial Worries

Post by Caringaunt » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:57 pm

Hi everyone, it has been a very long time since I have posted on here and as a result forgot all my log in details and so now have a new username. Just to refresh, my story began 2 years ago, my husband and I have now been special guardians to our 3 nephews for nearly a year, all is going great with them. I am pleased to say that alot of good has come out of a very bad situation I have fought and fought with professionals, personal struggles with parents, extended family etc, and I am still shocked and appalled at some of the mismanagement, confusion and prejudice that we have all faced but have battled to overcome. However we now face an uncertainty with our home we have with the boys and our own son. During the court process it was agreed that we were to find accomodation for ourselves and the children as the house we had at the time was not big enough to accommodate us all, and it was basically down to find somewhere or we lose the boys to adoption. And so we found a house it was the first house I found and had to have this down on paper for the final hearing. It was agreed that SS would foot the bill for the rent each month as we are in the midst of renovating our own property and could not find the money each month on top of an already huge mortgage, council tax and water rates. We were rail roaded at the last minute into giving the SS a time frame on when our house would be finished as the rent payments would not be guaranteed for a long length of time, this we could not guarantee with taking on 3 children as well as our own, work slowing to prioritise the needs of the boys and our own financial status. We were told they would initially agree the rent for 6 months and we have managed to gain an extension on that until now. And today I have been informed that my rent payments are to stop as of March, and I really do not know what to do. I understand they cannot go on paying for our rent indefinitely but also that I am aware that we could effectively be homeless within the next 2 months as there is no possible way we could afford to pay it ourselves, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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

Re: Financial Worries

Post by Help 1870 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:16 am

Not sure what to suggest other than to say this.

If you now have the SGO then the restrictions (and threats) you were under during proceedings should now be gone. You should now be in a position to make whatever arrangements you feel are appropriate for your family. As long as those arrangements dont raise any child protection/neglect concerns I dont see what it has to do with the LA or how it would affect the SGO.

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

Re: Financial Worries

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:16 pm

Welcome back to the board.
I am sorry that you have been put into this difficult financial position-due to the local authority threatening to cancel your rent payments. I assume your home is still being renovated and is not therefore habitable. Do you have any idea-either from getting a written report from a builder or from your own knowledge how much longer it will take? If it is a matter of months then you may be able to negotiate more time from the local authority. Or could you offer to pay towards the rent (if indeed you have any monies to do so)or could you move to a smaller accommodation?

The likely consequences of the local authority not paying your rent would be for your landlord to start possession proceedings which may ultimately result in you being made homeless. If your own home is not habitable then you would be approaching the homeless persons unit for accommodation from the local authority. You would not be in a position to pay rent-as most of your monies are going on your mortgage. This may not be in the interests of your children’s and also it could end up being more expensive for the local authority.
I think the best course of action would be to make a complaint to challenge the decision made. This could be done directly to the complaints department- and I would copy in the director or service manager of children’s services and also complain your MP. Have a look at our advice sheet on complaints. This sets out the process and timescales.
Complaints
In your letter of complaint ask that while your complaint is being processed would they agree in the interim to meet your rental costs. Not to do so could be seen as unreasonable. Set out a chronology of events leading up to this decision and the effects of the decision on your family. Argue that they have not taken into account the children’s needs and how you may be made homeless. Argue that being given such short notice is also unreasonable. Suggest ways of compromise-such as when your home will be habitable.
As you have a special guardianship order. Get a copy of your local authority policy on support for children subject to special guardianship orders. They are under a duty to publish this. Here is a link on our website to a list of local authorities and their kinship carer policies.
local policies
Were you represented in court by a solicitor when you applied for the special guardianship order? You may want to seek advice from your solicitor. They could write a letter on your behalf requesting more time. It is also possible that you have a case for judicially reviewing the decision of the local authority. Speak to your solicitor about this.
You may also want to call our advice line to discuss in depth whether there is any action you can take. It is open from 9:30 to 3:30pm Monday to Friday. 0808 801 0366.
Please post back if you have more questions.
Best wishes,

Suzie

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

Re: Financial Worries

Post by Kate » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:41 am

Hi Caringaunt

(trying to work out who you are, do you want to tell us your old name?)

Just want to wish you all the best with this. It's shocking that you are being put in this position. Thinking of you.

Caringaunt
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:42 pm

Re: Financial Worries

Post by Caringaunt » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:25 pm

My old user name was Angeleyes!! Thankyou Suzie for your advice, we have done all of those things you suggested, move to a smaller property, help with the rent but have heard nothing back they have suggested that maybe they would consider a loan to help us fund our renovation project, however the amount we would need to finish is thousands and therefore is not a realistic figure for them to be able to loan to us, they have said it is definite that the rent will stop, but will not give us any indication of definitely loaning us some money for the short term. So the situation as it stands is the rent is to stop in 2 months and we have to find it ourselves or else be evicted if we can't

Kate
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Re: Financial Worries

Post by Kate » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:07 pm

My old user name was Angeleyes!!

Now that's familiar, welcome back :)

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Financial Worries

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:32 pm

Hi Caringaunt,
Have you asked that the local authority put their responses or proposals to you in writing- including the loan that they are proposing-how much they are offering and the how long you have to pay it back? You need to have this in black and white so that you know what the position is. Also if the loan is for you to complete work on the home quickly-what are the timescales for this. Is 2 months enough? Do you need a lot more time?
You can then challenge it better by a written complaint and consider with legal advice whether or not you have a case to challenge them.
What about asking for a re assessment of your situation under the Special Guardianship regulations?
There also needs to be a practical solution to this problem. Can you have a meeting with children’s services to sit down and discuss the proposals?
There is a real risk that you will be made homeless but I can’t give you the housing advice that you need. Can you speak to the shelter advice line about this- they can be contacted here
Shelter
This is a complicated area of law and I really I think it would also be helpful to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in administrative law or you could go back to your solicitor who obtained the order for you in the first place.
Here is a link to the law society find a solicitor
law society
These are some more pointers that I hope will be helpful.
Best wishes,
Suzie

Caringaunt
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:42 pm

Re: Financial Worries

Post by Caringaunt » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:06 pm

We have put to them once again that we would be willing to help towards the rent, and so we are awaiting a response from them, I have told them we feel they are being unreasonable by stopping our rent completely, and that I ahve sought legal advise, to which their reply was we are trying to work something out and we are hopeful that it will be a positive outcome.

And on another issue I have had real issues with the LA with our decisions on contact with parents, and have been informed that any significant changes that take place regarding parents and their contact with the children should be made clear to their department, and I am getting so fed up with all this can we, can't we game, I was under the impression that once an SGO is granted the LA are no longer there to make decisions for us only to advise but we have had them back in our lives questioning our decisions because they believed there to be concerns. When will they leave us alone????

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Financial Worries

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:03 pm

Dear Caringaunt,

I am glad the local authority is considering your suggestions. I would still be exploring other avenues and keeping an eye on the date-2 months can go past quickly.

In respect of your question about contact-you are right to suggest that you should be free-subject to any contact order- to decide on what is safe contact for the children. After all, you have been assessed by the local authority and approved by the court. It must be very frustrating for you that the local authority is questioning your decisions.
There is one proviso- if the local authority is concerned that the children may be put at risk of harm by contact then they can ask and assess the contact arrangements.
This can happen in any parenting situation-but in your situation-because of the history –and because they have extensively assessed them-the local authority has a lot of past knowledge about the parents.

I think you need to find out what part of contact worries them. I would ask them to set out their concerns in writing, so that you know what they are worried about and can act upon it, if need be. Is contact supervised enough, for example? Is there too much contact?
The court would have had to consider whether to make a contact order when making the special guardianship order in your favour. Contact would have been explored quite deeply. This could be a starting point. What was the courts view on contact? Did they think it should be supervised? What about the regularity of contact-did they indicate how much contact was in the interests of the children? Was any order made?
If you decide to ask the local authority to set out their concerns around contact you could also ask them about what support they may offer- to help with the contact arrangements. Under the Special Guardianship Regulations they may provide support to help with contact arrangements-including cash to cover costs and mediation services to help with the arrangements.
Here is our advice sheet on Special Guardianship Orders. See page 35 onwards which details support that might be available around contact.
Special Guardianship Orders

I hope you manage to get the issues sorted out but please post back if you have any further questions.
Best wishes,

Suzie

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