Reg 24 or section 38

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Beau
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 7:47 am

Reg 24 or section 38

Post by Beau » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:34 am

We are going for sgo, the court date is meant to be in September. GS is with Foster carers however there's been a change to their circumstances and they are asking everyrhing to be brought forward. Social worker is asking us to take him in the next couple of weeks however we both work full time. They are saying this is being frowned upon and expect 1 of us to either not work or do part time so little one is only in childminsers 2 days per week. Reg 24 and section 38(6) has been mentioned also. We are at a loss, we cannot afford not to work and we have 3 younger children of our own.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 825
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Reg 24 or section 38

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jun 24, 2022 3:35 pm

Dear Beau

Welcome back to the family and friends carers’ discussion board and thank you for your further post.

You have been aiming to obtain a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) for your grandson at a court hearing planned for September. This will give you parental responsibility for him and allow you to care for him until he is 18. As part of your assessment as Special Guardians your support needs (including financial support needs) must be assessed; I am not sure if this has happened yet and if you have been given a draft package of support?

I know that you have been determined since the baby was born, to be a part of his life and to help keep him safe in your family.

The situation has changed recently as your grandson’s current foster carers may be unable to care for him. Children’s Services are now asking you to begin caring for him sooner i.e. in the next 2 weeks, before a final court decision has been made and before you have parental responsibility for him. This would prevent your grandson having to experience another move i.e. to alternative foster carers as he would then have to move again to you if you get the SGO. They have mentioned both a Regulation 24 placement and a placement under Section 38 (6), Children Act 1989.

It is difficult to provide specific advice with such limited information. If you have a solicitor it is important that you discuss the full situation with them as soon as possible including the proposals for placement and your concern about what you are being asked to accept, with, it seems, no information about financial (and other) support. At the moment it sounds as if you are being expected to lose out financially, which is not appropriate.

If you don’t currently have a solicitor, you can ask children’s services if they will pay for you to get legal advice (they should have a transparent policy about when they offer this)
.
If you cannot get legal advice from a solicitor or want to talk things through, please ring FRG’s freephone advice line to speak to an adviser; our number is 0808 8010366, the lines are open Mon to Fri, 9.30 am to 3.00 pm.

As your grandson is subject to an Interim Care Order there are rules about how he can be placed.

It is also essential that you ask Children’s Service to set out explicitly what support they propose to give you (particularly if a Section 38 (6) placement).

As you say, Children’s Services could place your grandson with you initially under Regulation 24.This is normal practice. It would mean that you would be your grandson’s (temporarily approved) kinship foster carers initially (this would end if you obtained a SGO). You would be paid a fostering allowance for him. Has the social worker confirmed what the amount of this allowance would be? Here is a link to national minimum fostering allowances but the social worker should be able to tell you what rate you would be paid . Foster carers can also be provided with ‘setting up’ grants etc. As a kinship foster carer you should be supported similarly to an unrelated foster carer but it is important to know what this would mean in reality. Kinship foster care is usually the recommended legal option prior to a kinship carer obtaining PR through a court order e.g. an SGO.

The other proposal being discussed is for your grandson to be placed with you under section 38 (6) of the Children Act 1989 . This is unusual. It is for the purpose of assessing a child. However, it can also be a placement directed as an assessment, within care proceedings. In this situation the placement is not a local authority placement but is “under the continuing control of the court.” Your grandson would remain a looked after child but you would not be treated as his kinship foster carers although the ICO remains in place and the Local Authority have PR. You would need to ask Children’s Services to be explicit about the reason this is considered necessary and in particular how they would propose to assist you financially and practically. There are no clear guidelines for support in this situation and as it is unusual so you would need further information about this and to seek specific legal advice.

Has the Child’s Guardian been in touch with you? You could discuss this situation with them too.

You are concerned as children’s services are encouraging you to give up work or work part-time so that your grandson spends more time with you, his main carer, and less time with a childminder. This is probably due to his age as I think he is only about 4 months old and they would like him to receive consistent care and form strong attachments. However, you both work full time and are understandably worried about the impact on your employment as well as the loss of income if you give up work or reduce your hours. Statutory guidance on family and friends care is clear that the right support including financial support needs to be provided to assist family and friends carers who take on the care of children in their family. Neither you nor your grandson or your own children should be disadvantaged.

It is really important that you ask children’s services to set out in writing how they propose to support you financially . If you do stop working/move to part-time hours you would need to ask them to confirm that compensation for loss of earning will be incorporated into any financial support plan agreed, this would also need to state the timescale involved. This needs to be explicitly set out. If you are not able to change your work arrangements, will the placement with you go ahead?

Your son, as the baby’s father, has legal aid for a solicitor so he can raise any concerns or queries he has, about how his son and you as his potential carers, will be properly supported.

Please do post again or call for advice; it is important that you are able to make an informed decision.

Best wishes

Suzie

Beau
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 7:47 am

Re: Reg 24 or section 38

Post by Beau » Fri Jun 24, 2022 7:37 pm

Thank you so much for your reply. Apologies I didn't give out much information.
Yes lo is now 5 months old, so I do understand the need to have time to bond with him. However I work term time and we are due to finish for summer soon so that will be 6 weeks at home, SW has asked if I can finish 2 weeks early so will have 8 weeks at home. I do not yet have a permanent contract at work as I've only been there a year, and just yesterday got offered to extend my position for another school year - starting off part time with the look to have me full time again shortly. I have not approached my employers about this as we did not know what direction it was heading.
We have sent an email out to SW and those above them plus my sons solicitor, she has passed this on to all solicitors involved plus lo's guardian who we are talking to on Monday as a matter of urgency.
Financially not much has been mentioned, the focus was very much on me giving up or going part time, stating that they would only pay a small amount for lo to go into childcare for 2 days per week. The other thing mentioned was if sgo was granted we would receive help however this would be means tested. We have nothing to accommodate lo at the moment, there's the weekly cost plus childcare and yet we seem to be having to do it by ourselves if he does come here.
I've never heard of section 38.6 before so have no idea what it is for or why they have looked at this option.
We have had our initial viability approved and a few questions asked the other day by SW just going over 3 questions they had asked in the assessment but other than that nothing. DBS checks done and clear, medical and we've met with Los guardian also.
We received an email back from 1 of the people we copied in, this person has said - Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. I am sorry that the advice being given by our fostering service is that you or your husband may need to give up work in order to offer care to lo, Please be assured that we will discuss this request with them and look at reviewing the current situation.
So it seems to be a wait and see at the moment?

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