Viability Assessment done-how long for the outcome and what happens next?

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Viability Assessment done-how long for the outcome and what happens next?

Post by auntyR » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:42 am

So xxxxxxCS contacted me last week after my cousin put my name forward for her 2.5yr old who is currently in FC, basically she has been told that unless a viable family member steps in as SG that he will be adopted out which CS is very likely unless a miracle happens, so last weds had viability assessment now waiting to hear on the results of that, assuming the assessment is positive noone has said what happens next as from my understanding from reading online either he is placed with me under temporary approval and an assessment is made within 16 weeks or I am assessed without him in my care then given SG by the court after that point, anyone with experience of xxxxxx CS that can advise??
Last edited by Suzie, FRG Adviser on Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Post moderated to protect anonymity

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Viability Assessment done-how long for the outcome and what happens next?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:07 pm

Dear auntyR

Welcome to FRG’s family and friends’ carers board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie and I am FRG’s online adviser. I am sorry that we were not able to respond to your query sooner.

I hope that you have now had a copy of viability assessment and that the outcome of assessment was positive. However, if for any reason it was not then please see the information below about how to challenge it:

If the assessment is negative, then the council would not agree to continue with a full assessment of you. They should give you a letter that explains to you all of your options at that stage. Those options are likely to include:

● Accepting the decision;
● Writing a letter that explains why you disagree, or whether you think things in the report are wrong. That letter can then be attached to the report so that anyone who reads it sees your side.
● Getting independent legal advice. You can ring Family Rights Group’s free independent specialist advice line. You may wish to seek advice from a lawyer on the Law Society Children Panel, although this may not be free, and it will therefore be important for you to find out first what it would cost to get this advice;
● Going to a court hearing to ask the court to make a legal order that the child come to live with you if the child can’t be with their parents.

It may be that you would want to pursue more than one option, and if you disagree with the outcome of the assessment it is likely that you will want to explain that to the local authority, get independent legal advice, and perhaps also attend court.

Your cousin’s child is currently in foster care; you don’t say if that is currently a voluntary arrangement under section 20 or more likely if there is an interim care order in place and that there are ongoing care proceedings.

In answer to your question about what happens next, the usual step following a positive viability assessment is that you will go on to have a full assessment. This normally takes a few months. It might be done by the same person who did the viability or it might be a new person.

The assessment could be a fostering assessment - as you mention in your post you would have to be temporarily and later fully approved as a foster carer for the child to be placed with you as part of a fostering arrangement. Or if the child is to remain with their foster carer until a permanent decision is made at the end of the care proceedings it is more likely to be a special guardianship assessment. Sometimes family members who are caring for a child will have both a fostering assessment and a special guardianship assessment take place at the same time.

The court will decide what happens next and this decision will be based on the best interests of the child. It may be more likely that you would be assessed as a special guardian (if you are willing for this to happen) so as to minimise placement moves for the child but this will depend on the child’s individual circumstances and will consider how long they have been in foster care etc.

Children’s services will consider adoption when they are doing parallel planning for the child but if the court decides that an order should be made it must consider the pros and cons of all reasonable options for the child’s care (including family options). They can only permanently separate a child from their family as a last resort. In some cases this does mean that the court will make a placement order allowing a child to be adopted if a parent or family member cannot safely care for them.

Your cousin was right to put you forward and you have cooperated with the viability assessment and are now waiting to find out if it was positive or not.

If you are going to be assessed further, the following advice sheets should help you understand what to expect:

Care proceedings
Family and Friends care: becoming a foster carer[/b[
DIY Special Guardianship Orders: information for family and friends carers.

Make sure you have a copy of the local authority’s family and friends care policy; hopefully you can find a copy of here. If not, ask the social worker to give you a copy.

Start thinking about what support you would need if the child is placed with you. If the child came to you under a SGO from foster care children’s services would have to assess your support needs, including for financial support.

Also have a look at these two advice sheets on support (a) from children’s services and (b) social security support.

Please do post again or call our freephone advice helpline on 08080 8010366, Mon to Fri, 9.30 am to 3.00 pm, if you have any further queries once you know how the viability assessment went.

With best wishes.


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