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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33275
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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We are a couple in our 60s. We took on our grandsons in July

Customer Question

We are a couple in our 60s. We took on our grandsons in July 2010 and have a Special Guardianship order, granted in 8/8/11. We were pushed into going this route by social services, they said if we did not take our 2 grandsons, now 8 & 9 they would be split up and the oldest placed in a home (has autism). We were told that we would have parental responsibility, emotional support and financial assistance. I retired last year as I was unable to hold down a job of 19 years and look after the boys, getting them to two separate schools (oldest attends a special school) and deal with the tantrums and very difficult behaviour, (just too old I guess).
We have just had a financial assessment completed by the council and have been told that our money has been reduced to £2 a week and we will have to bear any and all costs for these two children. Can they do that?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I shall do my best to help but I need some further information first
Were there ongoing Care Proceedings when you agreed to take the children?
What financial assistance have you had until now?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No care proceedings. In July 2010 their parents were found unconscious due to drugs and the police and ambulance were called, the next door neighbours brought the boys to us or the police would have taken them to social services. The parents were given 1 year to clean up their act and they were both charged and convicted of 4 counts of neglect. In the meantime we were told we had to go through the foster care process, which we did (and passed). We were being paid £100 per week per child, but when we faced the Foster Panel and they enhanced the payment by 150% , we did not ask for this, we were told due to what we were taking on, this would be the payment. The Parents did not improve so 8/8/11 we got the SGO.


We do not in any way expect the same amount of money, but we feel that we should not have to bear all the costs ourselves.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
So you were actually being paid a Foster Care allowance - may I ask what excuse was given to make you apply for the SGO
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They told us we would be in a much better position, have parental reasonability, emotional support (from SGO social worker) and financial assistance.


We should be enjoying life now, I gave up a very good job to do the best for the boys and I am just dumbfounded that they say we are only entitled to £2.


 


Can they really do this??

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
When they did the report for the Court what did the LA say about your financial position?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not sure what a LA is and nothing was mentioned during the hearing regarding our financial position.


How would we know what was in the report provided by social services. We were never given copies of any reports. We just received the SGO a few days later in the post.


 


We had 3 grandsons at that time and the youngest now aged 3 and he went to his aunt on the same date (in the same hearing ) also with a SGO. She is in the exact same position as we are.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
My apologies -LA meant Local Authority - Social Services.
May I just check - you never saw the report that was sent to court.
Were you in court on the day?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No we were never shown any reports.

 

Yes we were in court apart from solicitors, social services, there was, myself, my husband, the aunt that took the 3rd grandson and the parents.

I did try to amend one my last comments. WE never actually decided to apply for a SGO. We were told this was the next step to put us in a better position i.e. parental responsibility, emotional support and financial assistance.

 

Sorry Claire, I have just pulled out my copy of the SGO and I have a report headed Fact and Reason. It does state in there that the boys were subject of interim care order. It then goes on to states what happened and that the boys had suffered and were likely to suffer significant harm if the orders were not made. Nothing in there relates to anything financial. Was that what you were referring to

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi Sue
As part of the report the Social Services gave to the court (which you should have seen)they had to deal with the financial issues.
Your starting point is to demand (and I use that word specifically) a copy of the report - the one you should have been given prior to the hearing.
It will be interesting to see what it says about finances in that.
It is also worth contacting the Solicitor who acted for the Children (I can guess you were not represented) and explain what has happened.
What has been done is not unusual but that doe snot make it acceptable.
One option (and I appreciate that it will be hard to do) is to make it clear that if you do not receive the extra funds then you will simply not be able to keep the children - which would mean Social Services explaining to the court why the arrangement they said was best failed because they were not willing to support it
The way you (and many other grandparents) have been treated makes me so angry that it is hard to be polite about what is happening
This group
http://www.frg.org.uk/
May be able to support you - and do not be afraid to involve your MP - you and and your grandchildren have been let down
Please ask if you need further details
Claire

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