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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34910
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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my sister has to go to a meeting on friday where social

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my sister has to go to a meeting on friday where social services are going to ask her to voluntarily sign over her daughter to go into foster care, they said if she doesn't they will go to court and get a court order to have my niece taken away from her. I am willing to take my niece and my sister has told social services this but they have said this is not a good idea because it means a change of schools and my niece will not get to see her mum. My niece will see her mum a lot more if i have her then what she would if she goes into a foster home, none of us will see her then, it is best that she stays with her family where she is loved. Kids who go into foster homes end up changing schools all the time i have seen it happen so their reasons are pretty feeble in my eyes. My niece has not been made a ward of court yet, my question is can i bring my niece home with me now and can my sister sign her over to me and make me her guardian before social services get the chance to take her away from us all, what can we do legally to stop my niece going into foster care?????


I can't help but wonder that if this is your field of expertise as you said then why after an hour have i still not received a reply from you? Surely you would have some idea as to what i can do??  If i was able to go see a solicitor they would have answered my question straight away!!

Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old is the child and what has happened to make Social Services consider doing this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My niece is 9yrs old. Social services first got involved a few months ago because my niece was sexually abused, my sister was not aware of this, my niece told a friend and the child's mum reported it, he was someone my sister was seeing at the time. Social services believe my sister was not aware, but there are other issues as my sister also self harms and drinks. My sister has since been getting support from social services, a support worker and both my sister and niece are receiving councilling, everything has been going really well. My sister recently met someone new, my niece has not met this man as she has told my sister that she is not ready, my sister could be pregnant, she has only known this man for about 5 weeks now and as he's an african man she can not remember his name, social services have said that she is putting my niece in danger which i can understand, i was not pleased myself when i found out myself. This is why they are wanting to take my niece away but i will not let her go to into foster care. Please reply quickly, i'm going out of my mind with worry about this situation

I agree with you - it is easy to understand Social Services position on the risk factors.
I also agree with you - they are speaking nonsense - it is much better for the child to stay with you and remain safe within the family
If it possible make immediate plans for the child to come into your care - check that there is a school place for her, and make any alterations to sleeping arrangements necessary.
Indeed if the child can come into your care (in an organised way) within the week that all the better.
There is a great deal of case law which makes it clear that Social Services MUST place children with family members whenever possible
Your sister can find a Solicitor on the website here
YOU can get some support and advice from this group
But above all else - YES you are right - the child is better with you than in foster care
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My niece already has her own bed at my home, I am just waiting on a phone call with regards ***** ***** school placement which she will start after the half term break, i am looking at possibly going tomorrow to go and get her and bring her home with me, i just want to make sure there will be no repercussions from social services if i do this, my niece adores my sister and there will be alot of upset when this happens. Can theytake her back??

All of that is good - if you can get the child into school before half term all the better.
Spend a little time to ensure that you and your partner (if you have one) have thought through all the implications and also that you and your sister have also agreed a set pattern of contact and that you both understand that faced with a choice between your nieces needs and your sisters wishes then your niece comes first
Social Services need to be confident of this.
Will Social Services be upset? Undoubtedly. However provided that it is clear that arrangements have been made to keep the child safe there is very little that they can do.
You do need to consider the long term legal arrangements - you will need to consider applying for a Residence Order which will allow you to share Parental Responsibility with your sister
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you