Urgent advice needed 😪

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Unlucky7
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 10:43 pm

Urgent advice needed 😪

Post by Unlucky7 » Wed Oct 27, 2021 11:13 am

I'm in a similar situation but after 12 years of asking I'm getting a bit fed up of begging for what was promised.


Hi I'm new to this but I'm not giving up and trying to find short and information in everyday possible.
My background I'd very detailed and could take some weeks to write 😔 so il keep it as minimal as possible.

In 2009 I had just turned 18 and gained a lifetime career I'd worked so hard for. My mother was in a violent relationship and drug misuse was a big part of this family breakdown.
2009 children removed on a police protection order Concerns of neglect and children found to be alone. I attended after a call from a neighbour alerting me of the distress now I'll bullet point significant events.
•Children placed in temporary foster care on the Friday night (Day of concern)
•Monday after the above date I was informed they would be put into foster care and seperated. I was then asked if I would be willing to take them all into my care(at the time I had no place of my own and lived with my aunt in a 2 bedroomed house already ugly occupied) I agreed I would but needed some advice and support before hand. That Monday evening I was a full time carer to my siblings with no support or anything just a lot of pressure and made to belive I was "the only option before care"
•I Was promised support that would make up for the career I had given up so in my eyes and the oral information given I would become a foster parent.
•For 1 Year I received all allowances as I would as a foster parent.
•the social worker was great further 1st 3 months then she left to allocate to another place. (This is when things got changed and affected us so much from that day forward) the social worker was no more than 10 years older than me and talked to me in a way I felt intimidated and unable to dispute anything or ask for help.
•I use the term "If you don't do what is expected" "They will be removed and be taken in to care and They WILL be seperated" given the fact Id spoken so much of the fears of that happening so I did what I was told to do.
• I was told to apply for benefits and seek a SGO/RO at 18 I had no understanding whatsoever about either and wasn't able to ask why? What? Or anything. I was then advised by the same SW To agree to supported housing as this would help us (false misleading advice that I wasn't aware of)
• 2010 a care order was granted and support limited then seized with no explanation so no more festival allowances just a partial payment paid weekly that was less than a quarter of the original allowance.
•No care plan given or a way I could dispute anything
•No contact arranged for siblings or parents
•Left to leave supported housing with 3 children unsupported
•No assessments 12 years ago to date to check the welfare and safety of the Children
•No change of financial support (Apparently the plan explains what is to be given? But this plan brought to my attention only this year after a stage 3 complaint looks as though it had just been made its not signed or dated and I've never in my life seen it)
• Almost all the complaint was upheld but only a handful of things was put into the complain ( again I don't know why)
•Offers of x amounts for failing to assess wasn't close to a month's worth fostering for 1 child.
•Denied emotional support when I asked in 2015 when our parents both died and also when my sibling passed 2019
•the LA admitted fault and lied to cover up by saying they belived it was a family arrangement but they was the ones who placed the children in my care 12years ago.
•When I went to the panel nonone was aware I had proof of the past 11 years of me asking for constant support and guidance also reviews but this wasn't brought to the attention.
• I feel from day 1 we've been failed/blackmailed/humiliated and overall left to survive.

Please can anyone in the same situation or with any understanding of our heartbreaking background help atall please.
Other relevant information can be provided too
Thankyou for your patience with this.

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

Re: Urgent advice needed 😪

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Oct 29, 2021 3:40 pm

Dear Unlucky 7,
Welcome to the Friends and Family Carers forum. I am Suzie one of the online advisers.

I can see that you and the children have been let down by the local authority and your complaint has been mainly upheld at stage 3 but the award of compensation is low. Have you considered taking it further up the complaint process to the Local Government Ombudsman? There may be higher awards of compensation suggested.

Please see the Focus report, Family Values (2013 ) which looks at the experience of kinship carers who have complained to the ombudsman. It is well worth a read as it sets out different case studies indicating how carers were failed by different local authorities and what compensation had been suggested. It may be higher than what you have been offered.
You could also take legal advice from a solicitor who has experience of representing kinship carers in children law or public law. The Law Society Find a Solicitor is a good place to start.

I can see that the children were placed with you in 2009 and later care proceedings were taken which were completed in 2010. From the time they were placed with you in 2009 until the end of the care proceedings, you should have received foster care allowance at the same rate as unrelated foster carers in your local authority. The law say that children services should not discriminate against kinship foster carers. Were you made party to the care proceedings, and did you have a solicitor representing you?

At the end of the care proceedings, did you remain a foster carer for the children? If so, you should have continued to receive foster care allowance. If the court made private law orders such as special guardianship orders or child arrangements orders, then you may have been entitled to “discretionary allowances”.
Please see information about child arrangements order allowance and special guardianship order allowances.

I hope my advice helps. If you need further advice, please post again or call the advice line on 0808 801 0366 to discuss your complaint with an adviser.
Best wishes,
Suzie

Unlucky7
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 10:43 pm

Re: Urgent advice needed 😪

Post by Unlucky7 » Thu Nov 04, 2021 12:23 pm

Hi Suzie thanks for your reply. Yes I've contacted the LGO 3 months ago but as yet not had an update. I was still seen as a foster carer in my view but tbh there is a hell of alot I didn't even understand at 18 I just wanted my siblings to be with me an not in the system. I've read so many different stories, visited heaps of sites contacted numerous advice companies for 12 years an I just feel I'm never going forward. We did have a solicitor but the form is closed down and mysolicitor is no longer available typical of course. Thankyou

HeartBroken
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:04 pm

Re: Urgent advice needed 😪

Post by HeartBroken » Sun Nov 07, 2021 2:39 pm

Hi, I need some advice as soon as possible if anyone can help. Basically I am having problems with contact with my granddaughter. On the 27th May 2021 the court ruled that I was to have 1.5 hrs every week to see my granddaughter who at the moment is with foster parents. I have missed several contact sessions due to my granddaughter going away on holiday with the foster family. During the time when my granddaughter was on holiday the foster mother set up a short FaceTime session however recently the foster mother is now saying that she won't facilitate FaceTime sessions as this is their time away from normal duties is this acceptable? as the foster mother keeps changing the rules, I have never had anything from social services setting out exactly how contact should work. Unfortunately our contact day is on a Friday so we have missed these sessions due to the family choosing to go away on a Friday, I have never been offered an alternative day to compensate for this.
Please can someone advise me on this issue. Many thanks.

HeartBroken
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:04 pm

Re: Urgent advice needed 😪

Post by HeartBroken » Sun Nov 07, 2021 2:52 pm

Sorry more advice needed. During my last contact session with my granddaughter she told me that she had asked her foster parent ( dad / male ) if he could drive past where I live she gave him the directions, I was just wondering if this is normal practice because I think this may (although my granddaughter had asked for this to happen ) may upset her later. We had been looking after my granddaughter before her mother decided it would be better if her daughter went into foster care ( basically mother chose to do this out of spite against myself, because she didn't want me or my partner looking after her daughter) although we had helped to bring my granddaughter up for the first 7 yrs of her life.
Also can I make a complaint against the foster dad? When he came to collect my granddaughter as he was putting her into his car as he bent over ( he was wearing loose fitting shorts ) I could see basically his bottom hanging out , not a pretty sight. My point is obviously my granddaughter didn't see this, but if he is wearing things like this and he is bending over to do things and my granddaughter is seeing what I saw is this appropriate, my granddaughter will be 8 next march. Can I broach this in a meeting with social worker and the foster parents?
Hopefully someone can advise me as soon as possible.
Many Thanks

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

Re: Urgent advice needed 😪

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Nov 15, 2021 2:53 pm

Unlucky7 wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 12:23 pm Hi Suzie thanks for your reply. Yes I've contacted the LGO 3 months ago but as yet not had an update. I was still seen as a foster carer in my view but tbh there is a hell of alot I didn't even understand at 18 I just wanted my siblings to be with me an not in the system. I've read so many different stories, visited heaps of sites contacted numerous advice companies for 12 years an I just feel I'm never going forward. We did have a solicitor but the form is closed down and mysolicitor is no longer available typical of course. Thankyou
Dear Unlucky7

Thank you for your further post.

I can see that you had to take on a lot of responsibility for your siblings, with very little support, when you were only 18.

I am glad to hear that you have been in touch with the Local Government Ombudsman. However, I am sorry to hear that you have not had an update yet. Have they given you a timescale for response? It may be that you are still at the assessment stage when they decide whether they can look at your complaint in more detail. They should write to you to let you know the outcome of their assessment process and whether your complaint has been allocated to an Investigating Officer for further investigation. You can find out more about these processes on the LGO website here.

I am unsure if you did obtain a private law order such as a Residence Order or a Special Guardianship Order at the time. If you did, as you had previously been a kinship foster carer for the children you should have been assessed for the relevant means-tested and discretionary allowance (RO or SG allowance). You have probably set this out in your complaint to your local authority and the LGO.

You could try to discuss your situation with a new solicitor (please see the ink provided in my earlier response) or discuss with your local MP or councillor if you wish. Here is a link to further information about this.

I hope that you hear back from the LGO soon and that your situation moves forward.

Please post back or call the freephone advice line on 0808 8010366, Mon to Fri, 9.30 am to 3.00 pm if we can help.

Best wishes

Suzie

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

Re: Urgent advice needed 😪

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Nov 16, 2021 2:26 pm

HeartBroken wrote: Sun Nov 07, 2021 2:52 pm Sorry more advice needed. During my last contact session with my granddaughter she told me that she had asked her foster parent ( dad / male ) if he could drive past where I live she gave him the directions, I was just wondering if this is normal practice because I think this may (although my granddaughter had asked for this to happen ) may upset her later. We had been looking after my granddaughter before her mother decided it would be better if her daughter went into foster care ( basically mother chose to do this out of spite against myself, because she didn't want me or my partner looking after her daughter) although we had helped to bring my granddaughter up for the first 7 yrs of her life.
Also can I make a complaint against the foster dad? When he came to collect my granddaughter as he was putting her into his car as he bent over ( he was wearing loose fitting shorts ) I could see basically his bottom hanging out , not a pretty sight. My point is obviously my granddaughter didn't see this, but if he is wearing things like this and he is bending over to do things and my granddaughter is seeing what I saw is this appropriate, my granddaughter will be 8 next march. Can I broach this in a meeting with social worker and the foster parents?
Hopefully someone can advise me as soon as possible.
Many Thanks
Dear Heartbroken

Welcome back to the Kinship Carers’ forum and thank you for your posts.

I am glad to hear that the court directed that you are to continue to have regular contact with your 7 year old grand-daughter who is currently in foster care. I think the care proceedings in relation to your grand-daughter are still ongoing.

I am sorry that there have been some problems with contact and that a number have been missed. I think that the first thing to do is to contact your grand-daughter’s social worker about this and explain your worries about missed time with your grand-daughter. The social worker should be able to confirm to you how this should be managed and you definitely should ask for written confirmation about the contact plan. When details about contact are unclear it can cause confusion and distress so do highlight this.

I am not sure about whether the foster carer would be expected to arrange Face Time contact when they are away enjoying a holiday with your grand-daughter although your query as a loving grandmother is reasonable. Again this is something to raise with the social worker – they can clarify with the foster carer’s supervising social worker if necessary. The foster carer has what is known as delegated authority to make day to day decisions for your grand-daughter’s care but not major decisions.

As your grand-daughter’s social worker is her key worker, they are really the first point of contact for you in relation to your grand-daughter. I think it would be a good idea to talk through all of the issues you mention including about the foster carer driving past your home at your grand-daughter’s request and your worries about his presentation. The foster carers also have a separate supervising social worker either in the local authority fostering team or in a fostering agency if they are employed by a foster care agency . They would be the first point of contact if you did make a complaint against the foster carer. The foster carers are playing a significant role in caring for your grand-daughter at present, though, so if possible, try to find a way of discussing and working through any difficulties. It can be really beneficial for children to feel that the key people in their lives are working together to help them.

These tips about how to talk to a social worker about the plans for contact may be helpful to you.

Have you been invited to any of your grand-daughter’s Looked After Children Reviews or met with their Chair, the Independent Reviewing Officer? If the social worker does not respond to your queries or you remain dissatisfied you might want to copy in their team manager and the IRO to any email asking for a response and clarification or to any complaint you make.

You can find out more about contacting an IRO to ask questions or raise concerns here.

I hope that this helps and that your time with your grand-daughter is well-managed and positive for all.

Best wishes

Suzie

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