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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35059
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 grandchildren have just been taken by Social services from

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My grandchildren have just been taken by Social services from my daughter and I have been told I must apply for custody/Family Fostering how do I do this
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 are the children and where are they now?
Why are Social Services involved?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Cody is 5 , Imogen is 3 and Ralphie-Lee is 10 weeks old, they are with social services now, the Social worker now won't talk to me, but told me yesterday that I had to apply for custody when it goes to court on Monday. We don't know where this will be as the children were in Peterborough when the police came to take them but they are under Bedford Social Services. that all the information she gave me before hanging up.

How far away do you live and do you know why the children were taken from their mother?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I live 15 miles away and they were taken because she couldn't keep her house tidy to Social services spec's ie show home, as well as struggling to get back into a routine after the baby was born and was suffering from post-natal depression she asked for help as she had suffered from this before they stet up targets which she tried to meet but each time we had a review meeting they added more things and were not telling us everything so she became more depressed and despite my trying to keep her going and helping were I could thing were not moving at the speed they wanted them too. On Wednesday the two older children were unwell when I called her in the morning to get up and take them to School and play group at 7.30 I told her to call the school and let them know she said she would. I currently work from 6am to 2pm I called her again at nine to ask if she'd called the school she told me she had left a message. I spoke to her again that night to see how the children were she said they were still not feeling well and would keep them off school thursday too.

I spoke to her Thursday as I would usually go and pick Cody up from school and go round to check on her and the house but I was not feeling well and did not want give my cold bug to them she seemed fine and mentioned going to her partners mum with the kids and could she come to me on Friday after I finished work I said yes if I was feeling better. I got a call from my partner an 9.30am on friday to say that social services and the police were at Stephanie's and needed to get in as the school had called to say they had not heard from her or seen the children since Tuesday, i had to leave work to go and let them in I could not get any answer from her phone and keep trying until I got through at 1pm. when I let the police and Social Services in the house was not tidy and there was a lot of empty baby ready milk formula bottle left all over her bedroom floor as well as empty plates and a moldy bowl I was shocked as when I had visited on the Monday it had been tidy and clean.

When I got hold of her she had gone to Peterborough with the kids I asked Social Services if I could go and get them and was told no that they would take them and that I would have to ask for custody when it went to court on Monday

Are you able to take the children into your care on Monday - what about your employment?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I can take them but would have to give up my job, at the end of the day they are my family and come first

Will you be willing and able to restrict your contact with your daughter to enable you to have the children?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes we have already discussed this with my daughter and she has agreed to this

How long will you need to be in a position to take over their full time care (probably permanently)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have to give work a months notice I think, I will have to check, also need to find a school and play group for Cody and Imogen

So if you have to have the children from tomorrow how will you cope?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would have to take time off unpaid and get everything sorted by the end of the week and Hope as I am paid weekly that I will only have to give a weeks notice, I could find a child minder for the baby while I work my notice. we already have beds for the children for when they come to stay with us already, so it would just be re-arranging how we pay our bills.

You have already done most of what you need to do - you have a clear plan of action and you can clearly cope with the children and are willing to place their needs above those of your child - your daughter.
A Case last year made it clear that the Local Authority MUST place children with family members if there are any suitable candidates (the case is referred to as Re:B-S and is important)You need to attend Court with your daughter tomorrow.
Your daughter is entitled to free Legal Aid for this - but you are not.
It is very important that you are seen to be completely separate to your daughter - however much you wish to support her, so do tray and remember that when you are in the court waiting area.
You ask the Court to place the children in your care - the local Authority may say that they wish to do a viability assessment first.
You can try and argue against the delay but if the court supports them then ask if the issue of Special Guardianship can also be considered.
An important person to speak to is the CAFCASS officer who has been appointed as Guardian for the children - but there is a chance one has not been appointed - if not then there should be a solicitor acting for them at least.
Make yourself known to the Guardian/solicitor and make it plain that you are ready willing and able to take on the care of the children.
Do NOT repeat what you said in the question to me
You and I mat think that Social Workers have unrealistic expectations BUT they need to be sure that you understand why and agree that your daughter is not currently capable of caring for them.
You can ask for an Order that the children live with you whilst proceedings are ongoing.
Ask about the allowances you can claim as a Kinship carer
If it become obvious that the children cannot return to your daughter's care then you can ask about a Special Guardianship Order - which means that Social Services have to make a financial assessment as to what support you might need.
You can get information and support from this group,uk
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you