Negative Special Guardianship Assessment

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inyan555
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:20 am

Negative Special Guardianship Assessment

Post by inyan555 » Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:02 pm

Hello:
My husband and I have received both negative Viability and Special Guardianship assessments. Our granddaughter has been in foster care for the last 5 months. Last month she was moved to a foster to adopt home. We, maternal grandparents have been prevented from having contact with the baby from the age of 10 days. Childrens Social Services have been relentlessly biased and discriminating towards us from the word go.
They have lied and made false unsubstantiated allegations about us in every court hearing which we have been excluded from. The result of the SGA was negative in the Independent Social Worker's opinion because we are old (69 & 68 years old); I have arthritis (well under control), my husband who runs his own business has COPD (again well under control); and very importantly we do not have a "young" local support network that could lend a hand if needed at short notice. They way she is portraying us in her report is we are old, decrepit hermits.
We have sent letters and emails to local councillors, head of social services and even contact our local MP expressing our dissatisfaction at the way the whole case has been handled. We have been threatened with contempt of court and possibility of imprisonment if we make our case public. The appalling record of Childrens Social Services in our area has been featured in the local press and TV news.
We are now told that if we want to challenge this report, we have to write to the court, the local authority explaining the facts we are disputing by 4th October by 4:00pm. They urge we get a solicitor to represent us. We contacted one after the negative viability assessment who after charging £160 for 1hour conversation told us "we have no legal rights" and we should contact our daughter's solicitor who should work along with us. We did but she would not do so. Two months or so ago, she up and left the firm without notifying our daughter. We have made enquiries again and not only we don't qualify for Legal Aid but have to pay before even being considered on top of extra £12 per person so that a third party company carry out a people search.
Can you advise us as to whether we can represent ourselves and challenge without having a solicitor ?

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

Re: Negative Special Guardianship Assessment

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:47 am

Dear inyan555

Thank you for your post and for outlining your situation to us.

To respond to your last question first, individuals can represent themselves in court without a solicitor and you have said that you have been advised to write to the court before next Monday.

It may be a good idea to set out in your correspondence exactly what you are challenging in relation to the ‘fairness, impartiality (and as you have said) comments about your age’ of the social worker’s assessment. From what you have written it may be that you have had two assessments, if, however the individual assessing you was not ‘completely independent’ from the local authority you could mention this to the judge. We have some information set out in our publication guide. May I suggest you compare your assessment with what we have outlined in our guide from page 16 onwards: you will see there that we discuss the carer’s age, health and network/family connections etc.

You have said that your grandchild has been moved to a foster to adopt placement, this suggests that children’s services may consider adoption as the outcome of the care proceedings. May I (strongly) suggest that you read our advice sheet called “Foster for adoption: information for birth parents” and pass the information to your daughter too.

For your information we have information about contact with children in care proceedings.

For more information about Special Guardianship Orders and the ‘regulations’ around them please have a look at this Government guidance, see page 28, point 105. There are two other charities who may be able to advise you further, one is Family Action the other is Kinship (formerly Grandparents Plus).

If you would like to speak with one of our advisers on our confidential service our lines are open Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 3.00pm on 0808 801 0366. Alternatively, we have a suite of advice sheets that cover all aspects of kinship care, you can find them here.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

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