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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34236
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Our grandchildren (Isabelle 11 years & XXXXX XXXXX 15 years)

Customer Question

Our grandchildren (Isabelle 11 years & XXXXX XXXXX 15 years) have been placed in our care under a "Child in Need" order by Social Services in Brighton. Their Mother (our daughter Helena) is an alcoholic and in rehab in Hove with little prospects of ever beating the alcoholism. Her ex-partner (The father, Garry) is in prison for fraud for the next year or more. My granddaughter Isabelle has a younger half-sister Millie. Both children have the same father (Garry). The mother of Isabelle's half-sister Gemma is very fond of Isabelle and Isabelle and Millie are very close. Gemma has re-married and she and her husband have very kindly offered to take Isabelle and her brother Cameron with them on holiday to Greece in July which we are very happy about. They have had passports before, but because of the previous problems they have been lost. I have to obtain passports for the grandchildren, so can I fill in the passport instead of a parent? As I am a holder of a current passport is this legal so long as I provide a covering letter to the passports office? I do have the approximate month of issue of their passports as I took the photographs for them. This is my dilemma as I have no other means of applying for their passports.
Hoping you can help.
Best Regards
Robert J.F. Young
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Do you have a Residence Order for the children?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Originally Social Services wanted a Residence Order because the children were determined to be under child protection because of the circumstances. They reduced the protection to "Child in Need" so no Residence Order was taken out


My wife and I have effectively been Kinship Fosterers since July 2013 with no financial assistance from SC. I think I have had my question answered already since the children saw their Father in prison on Sunday and tell me that he can sign the passport forms himself in prison.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Does he actually have Parental responsibility for the children?
Unless he was married to your daughter being on the birth certificate would not be sufficient
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He is on the birth certificate but did not marry my daughter as he was already married when Cameron was born. He has provided a home for the children and lived with them for most of their lives and always supported them. My daughter moved out and lived in a flat on benefits with the children a few years ago before she became totally reliable on alcohol, but they have cohabited until July last year when she went into rehab for the second time. I can only assume that my daughter has signed the necessary documents before, when she has been coherent. Bob

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have just learned from Cameron that my daughter was persuaded by Social Services in 2013 to sign a document handing over parental responsibility to the father Garry. Bob

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Then yes he can sign the passport application which relieves you of the immediate problem.
However I am concerned that Social Services have left you in a position where you have no legal powers (and no funding from them either)
As things stand you have no form of Parental responsibility for the children as you do not have a Residence Order, and as a further insult Social Services are also not paying the Kinship Carers allowance that they are obliged to pay
If you want further information on either of these points then please ask
Clare
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your help. I have asked our new social worker at Brighton & Hove Social Services to look into Kinship Carers Allowance as I know that the law changed in July 2013. I have asked for any funding to be backdated to July 2013 which is when the children came to live with us. I am a very responsible carer and apart from the problems with the Passports my responsibilities have not been compromised in any way by not having the rather restrictive and binding Residence Order in place.


Best regards Bob

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Actually technically you could face problems as legally you cannot sign for medical treatment or school trips - but if you have not faced a problem yet then leave things be - after all you know where Dad is and he could sign anything necessary
Push for the funding tho!
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your help Clare. I don't need any help now but I thought I would update you on my situation. My Grandson has had his holiday in Florida and he and his sister look forward to their holiday in Greece in September. Social Services kept on insisting that the children were under section 17 of the children's act and not financially supported by SS, whereas the children were effectively homeless when they came to us and had nobody with parental responsibility for them which should have initiated a section 20 and made us Kinship Carers. SS made so many documented blunders, even supplying a permission letter signed by their father with no parental responsibility stating section 20. I add a bit of gentle persuasion by mentioning the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted. They finally gave in 2 months ago and I received full backdated Foster Carers allowance from them and they are paying for the children until they go to live with their Dad in 3 month's time. Success but it was hard work. I am paying for all their holidays.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you so much for the update - I am so glad it worked - and well done for making then give way
Clare