I'm confused and a bit scared

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:05 pm

Hi - My Grandson has been living with me for 2 years and I am his kinship foster carer

He was previously in non family foster care for a year

After my Grandson had been with me about 6 months SS started putting pressure on me to go for an SGO

I wanted to make the right decision for me so took advice from some other special guardians etc and also thought about the support I had in place as his foster carer

It still felt all new to me , was settling into my role , glad of the support and it did not feel right for me to go for an order as yet where I would lose the majority of my support etc so I talked to my fostering SW and she advised me to ask for more time which I did

At the following LAC review I expressed where I was at re going for an SGO and stated I needed more time as I needed the support in place ( especially as my Grandson who is 9 has special needs and challenging behaviour ) so the LAC review officer recommended they laid off the pressure

As time went on I was getting more confident in my role and yet still appreciated the support in place as my fostering SW organised some regular much needed respite for me and was supporting me with my Grandsons difficult behaviors etc and I felt happy and comfortable in my role and with the support etc I was getting

I was then told by SS if I don't go for an SGO that they would get a care order and ''You don't want that! So are you willing to go for an SGO?'' and so I said ''yes''

The new SW then also asked me on around 3 different occasions ''are you willing to go for an SGO'' and I said ''yes'' but time ticked on and then here we are 2 years in with little man being with me they had a legal planning meeting and it seems all hell broke loose because of the timescale etc with no permanency in place even though I am 100% willing to be my GS's permanent carer for life - I just needed some time to get my head around it at first and TBH I ALSO wanted to give enough time for my daughter to have a chance to recover from her alcoholism ( Could not help that , being her Mum ) but that was not my MAIN reason for asking for more time , it was about the support I had in place and not being ready to lose that

My daughter said she had stopped drinking 7 months ago and seemed to be doing well , holding down a job , got herself a nice flat , presented sober at every weekly contact and they started talking about reunification

I still had a gut feeling 'something was wrong' re my daughters recovery hence when they asked me a couple of months ago ( which was around the 3rd and last time the new SW asked me ) am I still willing to go for an SGO I said ''yes'' in spite of how well my daughter seemed to be doing but nothing was done , no assessment process started etc and after the legal planning meeting we were told they are going to court for a care order

I am not even sure what that means in regarding the permanency of my Grandson remaining here for life which is what I want if my daughter cannot care for him

The SW found out my daughter was still drinking last week and then they had the legal planning meeting , then a meeting with myself and my daughter at which I was told that the ''yes'' I had said to the SW about wanting to go for guardianship ''wasn't a real yes'' nor were the previous ones but I DID mean it , especially the last 2 times I was asked but seems I 'lost my chance' now so much time has passed with no permanency and it all seems to be my fault for 'delaying it' and for my yes not meaning yes even though it did!!!

I asked the SW about still going for an SGO and she said I would get less money and it felt like I was asking 'too late' and I should have 'gone for it while I had the chance' even though they never told me the process would be starting or that they / we were going to get the process started

So now I feel a bit mistrusting tbh as was told we have to have a FGC and someone else in the family has to come forward for assessment! ... This got my panic button setting in and fear and worry , they said it was in case my health failed but I was not sure if that was 100% the reason as they seem to be unhappy with me / am in their bad books now because I did not go for the SGO when I had the chance and now they are in trouble for it!!!

I want to trust that the Aunty coming forward who is the only person in the family who has presented themselves ( but only to keep my GS out of care as a last resort ) will indeed only be assessed in the event that my health fails or I die ( which are the circumstances they told me ) and I do not mind that , am just a bit scared that as I seem to be in their bad books for asking for the SGO to be delayed that they are actually looking to PLACE him with the Aunt :cry: :cry:

We have agreed as a family that she will only sign something to the affect that she is only willing to be assessed as his carer in the circumstance of my death or poor health but I am in FINE health currently with no medical conditions and am 53 years old and my Grandson will be 10 next month

I may be worrying about nothing but I also do not understand why the order they are going to court for has to be a care order not an SGO???

My daughters contact has been upped to 4 times a week from tomorrow and I am worried about the disruption to my Grandsons routine and how he will deal with it emotionally / mentally as he has Autism and only partial speech so cannot ask questions and has meltdowns etc when he is upset or overwhelmed and he has been wetting himself every day since my daughter told him he has his room at her new house ( she wants him back ) but I am complying fully with the arrangement and will just have to deal with any behaviours around it but if it is not mild but really BAD and ongoing then I will have to have a word with them and I will be letting the school know about the changes

It is a bit stressful to say the least right now as they do not seem to be fully behind me any more re an SGO but what is the alternative? He has been happily settled with me now for 2 years , there have been no concerns whatsoever with my care of him in fact the fostering team were 'impressed' they said at panel and I did well on my 1 year assessment and the school are VERY pleased with how my GS is doing so I just need to ensure that he will NOT be moved and will remain with me for life if necessary ( ie if my daughter does not pass her parenting assessment ) as I am willing , able and happy to bring up my Grandson for the rest of my life and I have told them that in previous e-mails before the legal planning meeting happened but maybe they expected me to be more proactive and get the ball rolling with the solicitor but tbh I was waiting to be instructed from them to do so ie we are going for it , get the solicitor sorted and we are starting your assessment now but that never happened :cry:

All because it 'seems' my 'yes' was not a real 'yes' when it WAS and even more so now it has been confirmed my daughter has still been drinking but even with her presenting well I had my suspicions all along for the past 7 months hence saying yes when asked if I was willing to go for an SGO and it's not entirely my fault NOTHING WAS DONE :(

Does it have to be a care order they go for or can it be an SGO instead? If it has to be a care order can they then go for an SGO with me afterwards?? They seem to feel I am too keen too late but I was just being honest and hate being pressurised into things I am not ready for!! :?

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:38 pm

I know it's a long post but I could really do with some support with this! :cry:

I need to ask if the contact can be reduced without it backfiring on me as I have only just got SS back on board , just about , as when I go against them or challenge a decision they become unsupportive about me getting an SGO

I suppose all I can do is ''voice my concerns'' but even that get's their back up as they seem to expect 100% compliancy ''or else''

I don't have any support and the FRG helpline is always busy when I ring but am doing my best and will bring up my concerns ( in a gentle way ) at the LAC review as I can't not tbh x

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:11 am

I don't fully understand why as my daughter's recovery is failing would they UP contact?

Even an ex social worker friend of mine said ''hang on , they find out she has been lying about not drinking so up the contact as a result?'' but I understand it is for evidence gathering etc but why drag my GS with special needs into all that??

I have to take steps to ensure the placement works and I KNOW that at 4 times a week my HEALTH WILL FAIL as 3 times a week will be pushing me to my limit as a human being ( just dealing with all the behaviours afterwards ) three days in a row every week of dealing with little mans behaviours is TOO MUCH and I have told them that as it is too much for him as well and I may have no power as you say or no ''say in it'' but I am insisting it is reduced to 3 times a week as when the SW called me she said it was 3 times a week but then at the meeting we were told 4 and even my daughter feels 4 times a week is too much for her son!

I am not doing it , am not going to carry on letting mine and little man's health suffer over this to the point it pushes me to a breakdown as I have lost count of how many meltdowns and 'situations' I have dealt with this week along with an UNHAPPY boy on my hands who was HAPPY for the past 2 years until his Mum said he has his room at her house and then the upped contact started

I have told them I HAVE MY LIMITS and although as a fc I ''don't have a say'' I DO have a say about my own HEALTH at least if not little mans and this is 100% too much for both of us and if there is a backlash for refusing to do 4 and sticking to 3 then so be it as am heading for a breakdown if it stays at 4 as the AMOUNT on meltdowns and behaviours around it is TOO MUCH for any normal human being to cope with and I actually do well with him considering the extent and scale of his behaviours , but anyway , they will probably threaten to remove him but I am at the point where I know I cannot do it ( 4 times a week and deal with the FALL OUT of that and can just ABOUT deal with the fallout of 3 times a week but that is my HUMAN LIMIT ) and IF they want this placement to work there has to be room for a small compromise or manouvre which is actually at the level the SW TOLD ME IT WOULD BE ON THE PHONE!!!

If I have no rights and my GS has no rights then I am just a HUMAN PUPPET WHO HAS TO DO WHATEVER THEY TELL ME TO DO even if I CAN'T health wise because I am human and actually do have LIMITS and 4 times a would push both me and little man over the limit as we have no time to recouperate even between the bouts of distress etc

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:42 am

Irene , thank you SO much for your support - I reached out on some other forums and was totally ignored!!! lol

He has been with me for 2 years , he is 10 next month and at a special needs school for children with moderate to severe learning difficulties

They said he was shouting more at school and that's it ( but he shouts when he is upset )

I asked for their support on the matter of the contact being too much and they said they will support him in class ( that is all they were willing to do )

I asked my fostering SW for support on the matter and she just rang me to say there was nothing she could do

But I TOOK THEM ON ALL BY MYSELF and INSISTED it was changed to 3 times a week and listed my reasons and his SW ( who is from the disability team ) just rang me to say it has been agreed it is changed to 3 times a week instead of 4 from today

Three times a week is still a bit much and the MAX I feel we could cope with and he hates contact centres so it is more of a natural , relaxed environment at his Mums house and it seems they want me to look for evidence of her drinking as the SW when she did attend contact to make notes etc asked me if I saw any alcohol in my daughters cupboard when I made myself a cup of tea!

I am sure that's not in my job description! [wink] lol

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:46 am

He has no court appointed guardian as yet

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:03 am

Thanks Irene , indeed I do , he is so unsettled currently , well I settle him back down only for him to become unsettled again ( too regularly imo ) and we have to take his Autism into account poor thing :cry:

They were previously going to recommend contact set at once every 3 months under an SGO but my daughter was not fighting for him then , she will fight for more contact and carry on fighting to get him back ( but then ruddy well do the work on yourself first love and stop tricking people into thinking you are in recovery when you are clearly NOT ) ( mini rant lol ;) )

They said I would get support from the children and disabilities team after and will not just leave me to it ( but I have my doubts about that ) the main thing I want it my respite to remain in place even though it has not started yet 2 years in as family used to do it very occasionally but I said I needed it REGULARLY ) and of course a financial package till he is 18 which they told me VERBALLY but will want it in writing plus I may need help from some sort of mental help team as he gets older and if there is any further disruption in his life or a bad fall out after the court decision etc ( or if the meltdowns after contact get more intense ) just 'getting older' and hitting the teen years in itself with Autism and a complex family life / history is enough in itself to possible need some extra emotional support for him!

I have found a place who do therapeutic work with children but not sure if he would have to be referred

I want everything in place before I make that step hence sticking with kinship care for as long as I could etc

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:29 am

Hi P17613P,

Just to let you know that we have been experiencing technical difficulties recently and so I replied to your post by private message last week, as we were unable to post at that point. If you have trouble picking it up, please let me know and I'll explain how to do it.

Best wishes

Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:34 am

Dear P17613P

Thank you for your posts, I will refer to all of them in this response. From what I read I understand why the process feels like it is spiralling out of your control. However, I have read positives in your post too such as Children’s Services taking your grandson out of stranger foster care and placing him in your care – can I assume that they did an assessment of you and were completely satisfied that you could meet his needs.

From your original post I understand some of the reasons that you were being cautious about taking on the full time care of your grandson and I think that the social workers responsible for him understood too and as you say agreed with you. I think, however that there was going to be a point where the local authority had to make a decision about his long term care and from what you describe the series of events that led to this were:

(a) timescales – three years as a looked after child may be considered rather lengthy and permanency must be considered.
(b) your daughter’s sobriety – if a parent is or has addressed the issued which affected their parenting to the satisfaction of a local authority reunification may be ‘on the cards’.
(c) your daughter’s lack of sobriety – you have indicated that your daughter has again misused alcohol this too ‘has forced the local authority’s hand’.
(d) perhaps too, in a very small way, the fact that you were not able to wholly convince the current social worker that you wanted to become your grandson’s special guardian.

In terms of the process, the family group conference (FGC) and the naming of another family member who will be assessed. The family group conference will be a good opportunity to talk about and make decisions about the future care of your grandson, please read our advice sheet. In terms of assessing the aunty, perhaps your daughter was asked by the social worker if there is anyone else who could care for the child and she named her aunt? Your idea that the aunt agree to be assessed only if something should happen to you may not, at this time, be agreeable to the local authority. At present you say that you are in good health and have been so since you began caring for your grandchild, so assessing the aunt only if you become unwell may not fall within the timeframe of the court case. Do have a wider discussion about this at the FGC.

With regard to contact, I understand your concern about your daughter disrupting your grandson’s schedule but Children’s Services have a duty to your grandson and promoting contact with between parents and their children is one of them. However, it might be useful for you to document the affect contact has on your grandson and discuss this with his social worker. In your later posts I read that your grandson’s behaviour is becoming more difficult to contain after contact with his mother, please do speak with the social worker about this. In terms of support for managing your grandson’s autism and other needs, if you become a special guardian your grandson may qualify for help/support/assistance from the Adoption Support Fund.

With regard to care proceedings and care orders, a judge can make the decision to grant an SGO as an outcome of the proceedings, our advice sheet, Care (and related) proceedings will tell you more. Please also read our advice sheets about special guardianship orders, what they mean for birth parents and support available when care for someone else’s child.

I hope this response answers your queries, I have touched on some of your later posts within it. If you would like to discuss the matter in confidence, do try and call our advice line (which has been busy of late). Our advice line is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.00pm, on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes

Suzie

P17613P
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Re: I'm confused and a bit scared

Postby P17613P » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:37 pm

Hello Suzie , thank you for your informative response

The trouble I am having is because I m so emotionally tied to my Grandson and love him to pieces my EMOTIONS ie fear , anxiety , worry etc naturally come into play!

So I need to seek support with that as well as find my way through what is to me a legal minefield in a RATIONAL way but it does not help if I do not UNDERSTAND what is going on as SS are not making it clear to me at present! ( and tbh are being a bit evasive )

I had a LAC review and the LRO decided for my Grandsons sake to reduce the contact further 2 2 times a week which is much more manageable even though my GS is still showing signs of anxiety and appears to be insecure and unsettled atm :-(

It would help if at least I understood what is going on as at present we both don't ;-)

I have been told by the SW that she was asked to find some 'failings' about me as I ''looked too perfect on paper'' ... I do not particularly trust this to be true as she has submitted a report to the court about me adding some very negative points now about some concerns they had before my GS was placed with me ( there have been no concerns since he has been in my care )

I have also had 2 unannounced visits close together by the SW which is unusual and the sceptic in me wonders if they are trying to ''catch me out'' and find something to use against me??

She said they will be firing questions at me at court and to be prepared and she said she was not sure that I was going to be party to the proceedings but the addition of the 'concerns' they have a bout me were added after I asked to become a party to the proceedings

To me it feels ''I had my chance to go for an SGO and blew it'' and so now they are going for a care order and do NOT seem to be supporting me going for an SGO now :-(

So it FEELS like I will be 'fighting' both them and my daughter in order to go for guardianship now


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