Support for someone with mh and children outside the family

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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:13 pm

Support for someone with mh and children outside the family

Post by jenny50 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:28 pm

Hi, a lot of last year we spent talking to my step daughter, social services, lawyers and other people when due to my step daughters self-harm, overdoses, illegal drug use and high prescription medication for anxiety and depression (and suggestion of borderline personality disorder) custody of her young children at the time was awarded to their father providing he moved 200 miles away to live near his parents and brother. The children had been taken into care from our house according to the belief of the child protection social worker who suggested we were unfit to look after any children in spite of the fact that we were approved foster carers and also respite carers for severely disabled children. Her views were investigated and our suspension lifted, our complaints investigated and an apology sent to us which changed nothing re the shocking high handed methods of the local child protection team. My step daughter then underwent two pregnancies and two abortions, one exceedingly late -the result of her continued meetings with the father. She moved the 200 miles to live near the children although unable to see them without the company of a family member for more than 2 hours. This didn't work, after the 2nd abortion she lived with us but had to move out whenever my husband was "caring" for the L.A She is allowed to have them for holidays providing that is at our house, the house cp said was totally unsuitable. The biological father wants every other weekend off and all half terms and at least a week of the summer and Xmas holidays. This is all down to us and my step daughter expects us to do it all despite of the fact that we have only got to know her at all since she came to us complaining of domestic abuse from the father in 2013. We have our own 3 children(one at home, 2 at home only in the university holidays) and a very low income, my step daughter says she has no money left. My husband, her father. feels responsible as her biological mother is dead but I am finding things very stressful. My stepdaughter has all the classic signs of a borderline personality disorder, and I find it hard while doing a degree in my late 50s to have her here with 3 young children so often, she has no acceptance of her bpd and insists it was all her partners fault who abused her. If anyone confronts her about any of her behaviour she o.ds/cuts herself/walks out While I can believe her partner was often controlling towards her she is seriously mentally unwell. Can we get any practical help from anywhere? She is now living in a sheltered housing room, too small to accomodate the children even if she was allowed to do so.

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

Re: Support for someone with mh and children outside the fam

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:47 am

Dear Jenny,

Welcome to the friends and family discussion board.

I am so sorry to hear about the very difficult few years you and your family have had. It must have been very stressful and exhausting to have to go through all this. You and your husband have to be admired that you can continue to provide the support that you do.
However, I can see that the amount of contact that you are facilitating without support must be very difficult.
I assume that dad has a private law order-residence order? Mum will still have parental responsibility.
Both Mum and dad are financially responsible for the children. However, dad as the main carer will be in receipt of any state benefits. Are either parents working? Can you negotiate with them about support? The Grandparents Plus should be able to provide advice about this as well.

As Mum is living in sheltered accommodation, is she is getting support from adult services?
As a parent she could ask for an assessment for support to assist her with her parenting? Have a look at our advice sheet about support for disabled parents .

You could also contact Mind for advice about support that might be available for parents who suffer from mental health problems. There may be local resources that Mum and the children could access when she is having contact with her children.

Finally, I am assuming that Mums contact is supervised by you and your husband? Are the children safeguarded against any possible emotional abuse by Mum? Do children services need to be aware of mum’s contact-to see what support she could be getting-such as supervision?

I hope this information helps but please post back if you need further advice.

Best wishes,


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