Sudden custody of 13yo Niece

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Sudden custody of 13yo Niece

Post by cgm1624 » Fri Mar 20, 2020 6:23 pm

Good evening,

My 13yo niece was placed under an SGO with her paternal grandmother(PG), however, she was not suitable and my neice made multiple attempts to leave resulting in hours spent in the cold and a runaway to B*. My sister, her birth mother who still has parental rights, spent hours trying to hunt her down as the PG did not care and has stated she no longer wants her. We collected her on 7/03 and brought her home.

We have taken her in and luckily been able to source a 2 bed house to rent (we were very lucky and have great landlords) however until today the Social Team have given us little guidance or support. They are now finally putting things in motion after much chasing.

My question is can we foster her to not only secure guardianship but to ensure we are financially supported. She loves being with us and wants to be here (my sister is extremely unwell and classified as disabled now so is not an option) but from many of the other options we have seen there is little to no financial support unless assessed and placed as her foster carers.

Any guidance or assistance is appreciated

edited by Suzie to remove name of town

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

Re: Sudden custody of 13yo Niece

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:50 pm

Dear cgm1624

Thank for your post and welcome to the family and friends carers discussion forum.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group. I am sorry it has taken some time to respond to your post due to volume of work.

I see you are now looking after your niece who has been having a difficult time in her previous placement with her paternal grandmother under a special guardianship order. Children’s services (the new name for social services, would have carried out an assessment of the paternal grandmother before recommending her to be a special guardian. It is unfortunate that things did not work out for your niece.

It is of course very good for your niece that you were able to give her a home and take care of her. The issue for you now is how best you will be able to continue caring for your niece and whether this could be as a foster carer. You do not mention in your post if children’s services is treating the placement as a private family arrangement or if the paternal grandmother as the special guardian with parental responsibility has agreed for her to remain in your care by signing a s.20 agreement. Children’s services you state is putting things in motion, is that to assess you as a foster carer or to treat your niece as a child in need.

If your niece is being looked after by children’s services with the special guardians agreement, then they will assess you as a foster carer and your niece will be treated as a looked after child. If, however, children’s services consider it to be a private family arrangement she would not be a looked after child. As a foster carer you would be entitled to receive the same level of foster care allowance as any other foster carer. If you are not a foster carer, you can ask for financial assistance from children’s services under s.17 of the Children Act 1989 (as amended. Children’s services will carry out an assessment to decide whether to make this payment to you.

Please read our advice sheets Support for relatives and friends who are looking after someone else’s child and Family and Friends Care: becoming a foster carer

Children’s services would, if your niece is treated as a looked after child do an assessment to see whether you could continue with her long term care as a special guardian. In this situation they would do financial means assessment to decide on the special guardianship allowance you would receive. If she is not a looked after child then may assess you and this in within their discretion.

If children’s services wish to treat it as a private arrangement and you disagree then you may find it helpful read our advice sheet Relatives and friends taking on the care of a vulnerable child in an emergency

You can consider whether you wish to apply to the court of an order that your niece lives with you. There are two orders:

• Child arrangement order
• Special guardianship order

In both cases the court would discharge the order to the paternal grandmother and you can ask children’s services to carry out a financial assessment. You would have parental responsibility but no children’s services involvement (unless they are paying an allowance or support any additional needs your niece may have) .

It is important for you to consider if it would be more beneficial to your niece to be a looked after child with the benefit of children’s services having specific duties towards her as a looked after child. Please read our advice sheet here Duties on Children’s Services when children are in the care system for more information.

You find it helpful to look at the information for family and friends carers on our website here

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope you will find this information helpful.

Best wishes


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