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Grandchildren care

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:23 am
by Messyhair
Hi. We've had a lot of issues with the LA and our caring role we played in our grandchildren''s lives. The children were staying with us due to our daughter's withdrawal from drugs. We made the mistake of talking to the LA to try to get her some help, we also wanted help with looking after our grandchildren as we both were trying to work & the children were both under school age.
The children stayed with us for a period of 6 weeks The police & LA were involved in verbally telling us that the children must stay with us until our daughter had a mental health assessment. however against this advice our daughter took the children back.

We knew from past experience that there was a strong chance that our daughter wouldn't allow us to see the children & we were right. We are worried about the impact of the sudden loss of us on the children. However the LA weren't interested in this once the children were back with our daughter. Our daughter also made unsubstantiated allegations against us.
We took the case to family court but whilst CAFCASS were very keen on us continuing to see the children as we'd had so much contact with them (they stayed every weekend & whilst there had been a gap at the start of the youngest child's life we thought that was behind us,). Unfortunately the LA were asked to proceed with the S7 assessment which was initially positive but after daughter stopped contact again we appealed & this time the LA decided that it wasn't in the interest of the children to see us. This was based mainly on our daughter not wanting the relationship & it stressing her out.

All attempts at offering family therapy or reconciliation is rejected by daughter. We are at the stage now where if we send a birthday card to any of the children we are threatened with police.
We complained to the LA however they refused to escalate our complaint saying that we should sue them instead. We ended up having a terrible relationship with them. It appears that the key documents such as records of telephone calls instructing us to keep the children with us are now missing from the files or weren't recorded at all.

We continue 2 years on to worry about the impact that this has all had on the children. My daughter always really struggled looking after the children & e were part of her support network, as she's removed everyone in the family from her life we don't know how she is or how the children are. I do continue to reach out but only get aggressive responses back. I also know that the only reason she came under the radar of the LA was because we raised it, so there's no real comfort in thinking that she must be fine or we'd know about it.
We did recently do a SAR with the LA & they slipped out accidentally we think that the family weren't currently involved with services.

Whilst we recognise that we made mistakes we definitely feel like the LA weren't helpful to the children & keeping their family network. The allegations my daughter made were never discussed with us but were hinted at strongly as if they were fact in reports. The judge took no obvious notice of these but I think it underpinned the decision. The most difficult thing to deal with is that because the LA went with these allegations this created more division within the family & daughter had clearly had developed a victim complex during the time the LA were involved.

We have taken our concerns to the ombudsman who said that because the case had been heard in court they couldn't look at our allegations about the way the LA had managed the case. We've basically been everywhere to try to get some redress but there doesn't seem to be anywhere we can go to resolve this.
Our concern is that our grandchildren''s do not know any of the maternal side of the family (we have 2 other grown up children as well), and surely they have some right to know us.

Apart from going back to family court is there anything anyone knows of that we can do? Thank you for reading.

Re: Grandchildren care

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 10:26 am
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear Messyhair

Welcome to the kinship carers’ discussion board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie and I am FRG’s online adviser. I am sorry to hear of the difficulties your family has experienced and the distress this has caused you. I am sorry that there has been a delay in my response to you.

As children’s services appear to be no longer involved with your grandchildren, they will not play a role in your current attempts to regain contact with the children.

From what you say, there have been some issues in terms of how children’s services have dealt with you i.e. you believe there is missing documentation, allegations made were never discussed with you and rather than responding to your complaint they suggested that you should sue them. You have already liaised with the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) who will not investigate as the decisions you are most unhappy about (not being able to remain in touch with your grandchildren) were made by the court so fall outside the LGO’s remit.

I think that you are right that the main way forward at the moment in terms of trying to maintain a relationship with your grandchildren and seeing them again is to continue to try to arrange this with your daughter and if need be by asking the court to decide. I can see from what you have said that your daughter is not willing to agree to this at the moment and in fact she has threatened to report you to the police if you send a birthday card to the children. In this situation, your options are to try offering mediation (again) and if refused or unsuccessful, trying to take the matter back to the family court again to seek permission to apply for a Child Arrangement Order to spend time with/see the children.. You may be able to get some private law advice about your situation from Child Law Advice or a solicitor. Family Lives is a source of advice and emotional support for family members including grandparents too.

I hope this is helpful and that the situation moves forward.

Best wishes


Re: Grandchildren care

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 5:51 pm
by Messyhair
Thank you so much for responding, it does mean a lot to us. We do know that our daughter probably won't allow any contact and feel that it is a real shame that the children lost us (this is something that cafcass said they feared would happen if the situation wasn't properly supported). We will continue to think upon what you have suggested, many thanks