Caring for niece

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Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 8:38 pm

Caring for niece

Post by Ja112 » Fri May 10, 2019 3:56 pm

Hi all,
I really don't know where to begin. My 17 year old niece started living with us just after Christmas. We don't receive any money for her and I wouldn't know where to begin if we could claim and how?
My niece and her mum were constantly arguing with her leaving or getting kicked out. She wanted to go into a hostel but I stepped in and asked her to live with me and my husband.

Social services have been involved in the best with my sister and the kids but haven't removed her from her mum's. I heard from them when she first left and never heard anything since.
My sister is a single mother she works and gets child benefits. She gives her £10 a week for college dinners which helps. But it's put a massive financial strain on my husband and I as we don't receive any help from anyone. My sister said she gets about £10 a week for my niece so I've never pursued her changing the benefits over.

Could anyone please help.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 777
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Caring for niece

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed May 29, 2019 3:42 pm

Dear Ja112

Welcome to the family and friends carers discussion forum and thank you for posting.

Your niece is living with you as you did not want her to go into a hostel. Although children’s services have had involvement with her mother and the children they have never taken any action to remove the children. The fact that you took your niece in and children’s services played no major role in the placement means they would treat your niece living with you as a private family arrangement.

She is still a child at 17 and as such children’s services have a responsibility to her if she is assessed to be a child in need. You can ask them to carry out a child in need assessment which could mean that if found to be a child in need they offer support which can include a financial payment. If you are in financial difficulties you could also ask for a s.17 payment. Please see our advice sheet Support for relatives and friends who are looking after someone else’s child.

As your niece is 17 you would not be able to apply for a child arrangement order (which would give you parental responsibility) and neither would children’s services apply for a care order.

Your niece’s mother should not be claiming any benefits for her. If she is the eldest child in the family she is likely to be receiving more than £10 per week for her. My advice is that you claim the child benefit so it can be paid directly to you. Please see our advice sheets relating to benefitsWhat happens to your benefits when your child goes into care or lives with someone else? and Social security support for relatives and friends looking after someone else’s child. Your sister is working so probably still claiming working tax credit with your niece included on her claim.

Your niece could ask children’s services to accommodate her and they would have a duty to do so. I do not know if this was what happened when you stepped to prevent her going into a hostel. If your niece was accommodated she would become a looked after child and with that comes other benefits when she leaves. All this will, of course, depend on when she will reach 18 as she will be able to claim benefits in her own right. See our advice sheet Support for young people leaving the care system. This would only be if your niece wanted to go down this route. She may well be happy living with you.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30 to 3pm.
I hope this is of help.

Best wishes


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