SGO advice needed

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PSKLM21
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:43 pm

SGO advice needed

Post by PSKLM21 » Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:57 pm

Hi there,
This is not easy to write or even think about but we are struggling...
We have had my niece since she was 2.5years old. She is going to be 12 years old very soon. She has never been easy to care for but we tried our best. People would always say, oh dont worry, they get easier. That never happened and over the last few years, she has become increasingly difficult to live with. School noticed her behaviour getting bizarre and they saw similar behaviours to us. I contacted many support agencies, CAMHS, mindmate, fostering surgery, counselling etc and we seemed to be going in circles. Some advice received was brilliant and we followed it well, bought extremely helpful books and it turns out she has attachment disorder. Despite all of this, she is not easy to live with. Every day she wants to pick a fight, cause arguments, has hit me 3 times this year, lashed out at my partners mum, almost pushed her BM down the stairs "because she made her angry". I have been keeping a diary of the more strange and hurtful behaviours over the past year. She wants full control of everything... what we all do and where we go. I give her the ability to choose sometimes but nothing is good enough. She will change her mind at the last minute and gets very angry when she doesn't get what she wants.

On top of caring for my niece, we have my 3 biological sons. My eldest son is in the same year as my niece. She picks on him at school, and he is withdrawing into himself. She wants to pick fights with him when we are out and about so i have to walk in between to keep her away from him. My youngest son has started to copy my nieces behaviours which is extremely concerning. My sons have asked my niece to stop talking like she does and be nice to mummy on many occasions. It feels like noone is happy even though we try hard to get everyone to bond. We do family activities, day outs, bonding one to one... still not good enough.

She lies about absolutely anything.. can be something very small to very big (like a man grabbed her and said awful things to her. I got police involved and the only thing the CCTV showed was that she almost got run over...).
We are all feeling drained in every way and cannot see how we can cope until she is 18 years old.
The only person or people she gets on well with are her maternal grandparents. When she stays with them in school holidays, she is calmer and overall easier to care for.

Where do we stand? We cannot afford court proceedings and the stress that put me through last time caused me to have a premature baby. I don't feel like i can cope with court again. I have no idea if her BM could be considered as her main carer. Grandparents live over 1 hour away but we feel if my niece was going to be happy then they would be better than us.

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

Re: SGO advice needed

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Nov 26, 2021 9:39 am

Dear PSKLM21

Welcome to the kinship carers’ forum and thank you for your post.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group and I can see from your post that you have been experiencing a lot of difficulty coping with your niece’s increasingly challenging behaviour.

You say that you Have been caring for your niece since she was 2.5 and she is now 12. It is not clear from your post if your niece was a looked after child or had any children’s services involvement prior to you assuming care of her or subsequently. As a special guardian, if you have not asked for support from your local children’s services then, I suggest you ask them to carry out an assessment of your niece you can request a child in need assessment under s.17 of the Children Act 1989. here Children’s services at the end of the assessment would decide if support and what kind would be offered to the family.

The impact of your niece’s behaviour on your children’s emotional well being is significant and children’s services should take this into account in their assessment since the needs of all the children should be considered by them.

It may be that your niece requires some therapeutic work to help her deal with issues that she experienced prior to coming into your care. Sometimes, early childhood trauma can have significant impact on children’s behaviour. If your niece was a ‘looked after’ that is, in local authority care under a s20 agreement or a court order, you can request funding through the adoption support fund. The request is made to children’s services for an assessment

It might also be helpful for the family to have a family group conference (FGC) to work out the best plan for your niece. The conference is for the family to work out a plan together which could prevent your niece being in the care system. You can ask children's services about arranging one. You can read about FGC here

If you do decide that you can no longer care for your niece, you should inform children’s services so the options available can be discussed. Children’s services may offer you more support to manage your niece’s behaviour, this might include respite or you agreeing to your niece being accommodated (under s.20) for a short period whilst they carry out assessments. Another possibility might be, if the maternal grandparents are willing to have your niece, they could be assessed with a view to taking on her care. Her mother, if she wishes to care for her could also be assessed to ensure she can safely do so.

You may find it helpful to contact your local kinship care support group see link here

Children’s services may decide, if there is no family, and you no longer wish to care for your niece that they need to apply to court for a care order so they can make decisions about your niece. As you are special guardian with parental responsibility, you would be involved in the court proceedings automatically, you would be entitled to legal aid to have representation. You can read more about care proceedings

It may be that with the right support your niece’s behaviour improves and she can remain in your care. If not, a special guardianship order can be discharged, and you would make an application to the court to do so. I understand that you had a difficult time in previous court proceedings, but this is likely to be more straightforward. Unfortunately, only the court can discharge the special guardianship order. You can represent yourself in court and you may find it helpful to speak to Child Law Advice on 0300 330 5480 for more information and advice if you decide to discharge the order.

Should you wish to speak to one of our advisers, you can telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366.

I hope you find this information useful.

Best wishes

Suzie

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