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Post by Sisterinneed123 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:03 pm

I’m looking for some advice
My brother was removed from my family home due to my mother drug problems and they believe she has ptsd .
Fast forward it’s been a year and half .
My mother has finally stopped drugs .
My brother is 7 he’s in long term foster care , we see him 6-9 times a year for 1 hours , he social worker reduced the time even though I’m against it .
I’ve asked his social work to send me his care plan but she never does ,
I’ve also asked for her to send a list of the things my mum need to work to possibly get My brother back and yet again that has never been sent.

My mum is unsure on what to do and the fact she’s actually stopped taking crack and heroin I know she’s serious this time .
Do you have any advice on what she can do

I’m thinking she should start counseling , attend parenting class for early primary child and be more interactive with the social worker . Plus express her want to have her son back . Any other ideas ?
I’ve also contacted lawyer to see if we have case to terminate the care plan and get hi home

Sorry this is so long winded but it’s honestly getting harder know I’m missing out on my brother and the relationship is starting to deteriorate.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Help

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:58 am

Dear Sisterinneed123

Welcome to the FRG’s parents discussion board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie, FRG’s online adviser. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties your family has experienced. I apologise for the delay in responding to you.

You seem to be a very devoted big sister, trying very hard to maintain a strong relationship with your little brother who is in long-term foster care. Research confirms how significant keeping a good relationship with their siblings is for children in foster care.

You have some queries about how you as a sister can be as involved as possible and have more contact with your brother. You also ask how your mum can make sure that children’s services are aware of the progress she has made in the last year and a half particularly in addressing her drug misuse with a view to your brother being returned to her care. You have contacted a solicitor already to look into this and hopefully they have explained the legal options available to you.

Although this is the parents’ discussion board and you are not a parent I will answer here as you are also trying to support your mum to find out what she can do. If you have more queries in the future as a sibling our family and friends carers discussion board would be better for you; you might also get more support there from other siblings and family members.

Sibling contact is very important; children’s services have a duty to promote this (as long as it is consistent with the child’s welfare) and they should consider this at every looked after child review and as part of any assessment. The relationship between siblings is usually the longest relationship we have. Please have a look at the section on brothers and sisters keeping in touch in our advice sheet on contact with children in care.

I think that the local authority has a care order for your brother which gives them the power to make decisions for him including around contact with family members. It is not unusual for contact between a child and family members to be reduced when a child is in long term foster care but this, as in all decisions for him, should be based on an assessment of the child’s needs and what is best for him.

You can certainly ask that the current arrangements for you and your brother to see each other are looked at again – you can do this in writing to the social worker and your brother’s independent reviewing officer (IRO) who monitors his case. Put forward what you think the benefits will be (for your brother) and ask that the social worker considers this and gives you written reasons if they do not agree that this is a good idea. Try to negotiate around this.

If you cannot agree and want to challenge this further you could make a complaint or think about asking a court to consider this by making a court application for contact.

You are not a parent and so don’t have parental responsibility which means the social worker does not have to share your brother’s care plan with you (they would need to provide this to your mum though).

Children’s services should have a document for children in care about sibling contact which you could ask about on your brother’s behalf. His IRO should be able to confirm this.

You might be interested in an organisation called Siblings Together; you can find out more about them on their website .

Your mum still has parental responsibility for your brother and should be consulted about and involved in his care plans – she should certainly have a copy of this including contact arrangements. She should be having reasonable contact with your brother. Again the starting point would be for her to get in touch with the social worker and the IRO if unhappy about the arrangements.

The section ‘tips on arranging contact’ in the advice sheet linked to above sets out useful advice on how to go about trying to improve the arrangements for your mum to see her son too.

From what say, your mum would like to work towards having her son returned to her. Getting the best possible contact arrangements is a very good way to begin.

You have suggested some very good ways for your mum to go about this; I think that you are right that counselling and parenting classes would definitely be a good idea and would help her to work on any difficulties she has herself as well as thinking about her son’s needs. You are convinced that your mum is no longer misusing drugs; is she working with an agency that can confirm or monitor this? Or is she willing to do so? You are right that she should be proactive in asking the social worker to set out what they would like to see her doing/what changes she would need to make and sustain. Your mum could also look at the court papers including the judgment to make sure she understands fully what the concerns were and what recommendations were made.

Here is our advice sheet on reuniting children in the care system with their families which sets out how a parent can go about this. When your mum wants to ask if her son can be returned home she will need to ask for an assessment to be done to see if this is suitable and to consider what help and support would be needed for both your brother and your mum if he came home.

If children’s services don’t agree or your mother has a negative assessment then she would have to consider applying to the court to discharge the order. I know you have sought legal advice from a solicitor about this so won’t explain that process here but it is explained further in the advice sheet above.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please do call our freephone advice helpline on 0808 801 0366 (Mon – Fri, 9.30 am to 3.00 pm) if you would like to speak to an adviser and please give this number to your mum too if she would like to discuss her situation. Alternatively your mum could post on this parents’ board and you on the family and friends’ carers board.

With best wishes


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