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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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I have taken on my neice and am in the process of completing

Resolved Question:

I have taken on my niece and am in the process of completing the fostering process. My partner and I are on low income jobs so that we can manage child care for own child. Our Daughter would be going to secondary school sept 2016 and we were both looking to get better jobs. However due to our niece being 6 we would have to continue in the jobs for a longer period of time. This was the reason why we chose foster care for the financial assistance. We have been receiving this. However our fostering social worker and other agencies are starting to push special guardianship order. We have been looking after our neice for 3 months now and have said that it is not something that we are looking to do. Our fostering social worker has then said that her manager has said that it may reach a point where we do not have a chaoice.... I would like to know if this is correct, and if we can be forced to change from kinship foster care to special guardianship order? ??? Also what rights we have. Thank you.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 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.
has a Care Order been made in respect of the child?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The final hearing is on Monday the 1st of June. Social services and CAFCASS have recommended that she stay with our family until maturity. This is being carried out with us being kinship foster carers.

However we are worried as the fostering social worker and CAFCASS and the independent reviewing officer are pushing special guardianship.

This is a big concern to us due the financial implications. Also the fact that our fostering social worker has said that her boss has said that it may reach a point where we do not have a choice in the matter.

So we would like to know if this is the case, etc.

My Niece was removed from her parents in January, and lived with a local authority carer for 6 weeks before she came to us. This was on the understanding that would be kinship foster carers as we would need the financial assistance.

The second court date was in March where the judge ruled that she could come to live with us. My Niece has been living with us since the 10th of March. We have been undertaking the full fostering process and are ready to go to panel in a couple of weeks.

I hope this helps,

Kind Regards,

Emma.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I have to ask (and I apologise in advance) if you do not qualify as Foster Carers and the Special Guardianship is the only option - will you still go ahead?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

we are of the understanding the Fostering process should be okay. We have had all the medicals, references etc pass. We are now just waiting to to go before the panel. The fostering social worker has said that if she or her manager did not think that we would qualify then the process would not have gotten this far and they would not put us before the panel..

If we were not able to qualify as Foster Carers then I do not think that we would be able to due to financial restraints. Bringing up children is expensive and it is important that they are provided with extra curricular activities, for instance our child does Jujitsu, swimming and drama. We feel that we would need to be able to make sure that both children have the same opportunities and are treated fairly. So it would be unfair to our own child to have to miss out and would lead to resentment. But also our niece would have to have the same opportunities as it would be unfair to have her live with us and not offered the same opportunities.

We both work myself full-time term time in a school, and my partner ful ltime our total income is about £30000 a year, and find it hard to manage. This is why we have decided that being kinship foster carers would be best. Also help with contact etc...

What we would like to know is if we qualify as kinship foster carers, and we continue to care for our niece can we then be forced a year, 5 years etc down the line to change to special guardianship, as this is where the query stems from. As fostering social worker has said that her manager has said that (at some point) it may get to the stage where we do not have a choice.

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Emma

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
The simple answer is that there is no way of knowing that at present.
That is because there is going to be new legislation regarding Adoption and Fostering AND because as the Budget cuts gather pace this COULD be an area that The Local Authority looks at.
Having said that I do not think it will be easy for them to actually force you to go for Special Guardianship - not least because if you refuse what options do they have?
You can get help support and information from the group here
http://kinshipcarers.co.uk/Home.php
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
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