Need advice

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Need advice

Post by Krob » Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:06 am

I moved in with my partner two and a half years ago. Two months later we took in my partners three step grandchildren. We have been granted a guardianship order to care for the children and PR with a CIN plan running alongside. When we were granted the guardianship order by the court, we specifically said that we always wanted Social Services - the children in need plan, as we are not on good terms with the parents and don't want to get involved in their 'troubles' - to put it politely. Mum is an alcoholic and cocaine user but is supposed to be clean at present (only have social services word on this). Dad is a cocaine user with a bad temper. Parents are no longer together but have always played one off against the other, usually putting the children in the middle. There is also history of domestic violence, which the children have witnessed.
Consequently, the children came to us with a range of needs and particularly bad behavioural problems. I am 55 and my partner is 60, we both work and have used just about all of our energy trying to get the children happy and settled and set boundaries and rules. They have been brilliant until about the last three months. The three children are now seeing their parents on a regular basis, as agreed in CIN meetings, although we are feeling that decisions are being made by social services before the meetings and we are being put on the spot to facilitate these decisions. Eight weeks ago we had our last CIN meeting where social services had decided to let mum have carte blanc unsupervised access with he children every second Sunday. This came as a complete shock to us as the previous meeting, hair strand tests showed that mum had not drunk alcohol in 'excess'? So as you can imagine the U-turn decision by them was a complete surprise. At this meeting we took a lot of abuse from both parents as usual but are just about at the end of our tolerance levels of taking this. We went along with it - we had no choice!? Eight weeks we were trying to get an appointment with the social worker. Yes, she was avoiding us and so was her manager! We had a meeting yesterday and it turns out, they want us to come off the CIN plan and just 'Get on with it', this was never an option for us as we know only too well how abusive both parents are. Can they just sign us off? I did state in the meeting that if there were any changes to the present agreement without telling us, that I would take it back to court'. We're at the end of our tether - nobody else wants to help us out because of the children's behaviour, family avoid helping like the plague!!! Mum wants the children back and we know social services would need to be involved in this. I feel like they're wanting to wash their hands of the whole thing as a cost cutting exercise? We have stated that we will never agree to being 'signed off' as we know both us and the children are going to need help and support in the future. Do we have any options??? Advice would be much appreciated

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

Re: Need advice

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:28 am

Dear Krob,

Welcome and thank you for posting on the kinship care forum. My name is Suzie and I am FRG’s online adviser. I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you and your family are experiencing.

You say that you and your partner have Special Guardianship Orders for your partner’s three step-grandchildren. Since they have lived with you they have received support and services from children’s services under a child in need plan, however you have been advised that children’s services wish to close the plan and their involvement. You would like the child in need plan to stay in place. You are also worried about the new unsupervised contact between the children and their mother.

Child in need plan
Firstly, it is not usual that children’s services remain involved with children on a permanent basis once a Special Guardianship Order has made because the order allows the children’s special guardians to make decisions for and raise the children safely. Sometimes it may be the case that children’s services do feel that a child in need plan is necessary even once a Special Guardianship Order has been made, but child in need plans are used for short to medium periods of time rather than permanently. Children’s services do not have to keep a child in need plan open if the level of need of the child does not meet the threshold for child in need services. This threshold will be detailed in your local authority’s threshold document which you can request a copy of. You can find lots of information about children in need on our website here, including information about the law about children in need and when a child might be a child in need. If the threshold for child in need services is no longer met then it may be that the local authority can offer you and your family support through the early help services instead.

However if you disagree with the decision made by children’s services to close the child in need plan then you should contact the social worker in writing asking
- Why they have decided that the children are not children in need
- For an explanation to be given in writing and within 10 working days
- For details of the local threshold document for getting help. This should set out when the local children’s services give help to children and families.

If the explanation given is unclear or unreasonable, or if no explanation is given then I would suggest that you make a complaint to children’s services. You can find detailed advice about making a complaint here.

Special Guardianship Support Package
As you feel that you still require support from children’s services it may be helpful to request that your Special Guardian support plan is reviewed. You can find more information about this on Advice Sheet 2e.

You say that recently children’s services told you that they had ‘decided’ to let the children’s mother have unsupervised contact every fortnight. The fact that you have a Special Guardianship Order means that you have parental responsibility for the children. Children’s services do not have any parental responsibility for the children and whilst they can be offering support and advice around contact they should absolutely not be making any decisions about contact. Some Special Guardianship Orders explicitly spell out contact arrangements, and other Special Guardianship Orders leave it up to the special guardians to manage this themselves. From what you have said it sounds that in your case the contact arrangements were not set out by the court and were left for you to manage informally. As I said, children’s services should not be making decisions about contact; if you do not consider that this new unsupervised contact would be in the children’s best interests then you do not have to agree it. If the children’s mother wishes to have more contact than you are willing to allow then she can make an application to the court, and you would then have the opportunity to tell the court why you do not agree to increased contact. Before any application to court is made it would be necessary and beneficial to arrange some mediation if you are unable to come to an agreement with the children’s mother independently.

Adoption Support Fund
You say that the children have a range of needs and behavioural problems due to their past experiences. It may be worth looking into possible support from the Adoption Support Fund which pays for therapeutic support for children cared by eligible special guardians. You can find more information about this on this webpage. It describes the eligibility criteria and how to go about requesting this funding.

Other support
It may be helpful for you and your partner to seek support from other people who are also in similar situations caring for children who are not their own. You can find information about local kinship support groups here.

I hope you find this helpful and should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday. You can also post again in this forum.

Best wishes


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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:20 am

Re: Need advice

Post by inyan555 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:10 pm

Negative Special Guardianship Report.
My daughter's baby was removed from the mother's care and put into foster care in April. Then in July - X Children's services moved the baby to a "foster to adopt home". We, maternal grandparents have been prevented from having contact with the baby since she was 10 days old. No matter how many emails and letters to Council, local Councillors, MP, Head of X Children's Services, we have not received a justifiable reason why we can't have contact. The Viability and Special Guardianship reports carried out on us (grandparents) were negative based on unsubstantiated and false Allegations. These hearings are carried out behind closed doors and extended families are prevented from attending? Why? Because Social workers, support workers and their cohorts lie and embellish any comments or statements made by parents, grandparents,etc. If the judge decides the baby is to be adopted, how long will the process take place? Can this decision be challenged? We were threatened by the Council's Legal Dept. with contempt of court and possible imprisonment if we go public.
Last edited by Suzie, FRG Adviser on Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moderated to protect confidentiality

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

Re: Need advice

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 20, 2021 10:33 am

Dear inyan555

Thank you for your further post regarding the difficulties you and your family are currently experiencing with your granddaughter being removed from her mother’s care.

I see that the response to your of 30th September addressed some of the points in this post. It was suggested at that time that you write to the court setting out your concerns regarding the negative assessments. It appears that you may have had a positive first assessment (viability) since you went on to have a more in-depth special guardianship assessment. If your viability assessment was negative, you may have challenged this to have another one. As you said you were unhappy about the outcome of that assessment it was suggested that you inform the court of the reasons why.

Whilst court proceedings relating to children are private and not open to persons who are not part of the case, it is possible, in some situations for grandparents or other family members who have an interest in case for example because they want to care for a child, to ask the court to be part of the case (joined as a party).

Please see below a copy of part of the response to your earlier post which you may wish to look at again:

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. ‘
If the court’s decision is for your granddaughter to be adopted, then a placement order would be made which allows a child to be placed for adoption. The adoption would be completed when the prospective adopters make an application to the court for an adoption order. The prospective adopters decide when to make the application it can be 10 weeks after placement or later. Please see information relating to adoption.

Regarding contempt of court, as stated above cases involving children are private and no one is allowed to share information except in certain specified circumstances to obtain advice. Any publication of information about a case without the court’s permission would not be acceptable and persons could find themselves in trouble with the court.
I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes


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