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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34899
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I fostered two boys from 2008 to 2011 when they were put up

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I fostered two boys from 2008 to 2011 when they were put up separately for adoption as agreed in a court. One boy stayed with us and is now adopted by us as no adopters came forward. The other was adopted elsewhere but the placement broke down in January 2014. There were massive issues regarding contact during this time and both boys were very damaged by the other adoptive mother not wanting them to meet up. (Social services worked with us to some extend to mend this problem but were keen to keep the placement going at the time so allowed her to cancel contact at the last minute and other very damaging acts. When the placement broke down the boys first question was 'will I still get to see my brother?' We have been making it very clear to social services that we would like to put the boys back together and adopt the other brother. They finally came to asses us in July 2014 and we were assessed as beIng able to provide for his needs. However the child's social worker has inferred that she is going to leave the child with the foster careers that he went to after the breakdown and that they will become his guardians. We donot believe that this is a good decision as one of the careers is 71 and the child is eight. Despite repeated letters to social services (all do which have been totally ignored ) we have heard nothing. We do not know when the panel date is when this decision will be finalised or how we can challenge it. The child's foster carer mentioned on the previous contact that he was still under the illusion that we had sent him away when he got adopted and was confused as to why one brother had stayed but not him. We do not feel that any decision could be made while he still has these misconceptions. Is there anything legally we can do?
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 know the identity of the Independent Reporting Officer?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Is this the same as an Independent Reviewing Officer? Both boys have had one of these when they have LAC reviews. Or do you mean the social worker who is writing the report?
I beg your pardon - I did indeed mean the Reviewing Officer?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I do know the name of the reviewing officer. Unfortunately he is the same reviewing officer that we had problems with when we were trying to ensure that the boys had the legally agreed amount of contact. He was the reviewing officer for both boys but was keen that if no contact meant that the adoptive placement did not break down then he was not going to force contact. We argued this extensively, knowing both boys and knowing that seeing each other was important. We also reported to him that the brother was overly thin and clearly not happy. He ignored these complaints and was very disparaging.when the placement broke down it was recognised that the boy had not been correctly cared for and the new career took him straight to the doctors because of his emmaciated state. It is very hard to fight authority though and it was not recognised by him that all of our concerns were grounded. He is unfortunately not our biggest fan! He has already told the careers who currently care for the boy (who wish him to stay) that they need not worry because he makes the final decision as to where he lives. It seems impossible to fight this authority figure when he clearly thinks so little about us but we know that the boys have been really affected by their separation. This is why we wondered if siblings have any legal rights or us as his carers for three years, particularly as we were assessed as being able to meet his needs. It's feels a little that we are being penalised because we disagreed with him so strongly over the boys right to contact. Contact incidentally was assessed and it was noted the the problem was not with the boys but with the other adoptive mum.
How old is the child who lives with you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The child who lives with me has just had his tenth birthday and the brother is just about to turn nine.
Do you remember who represented them/the Guardian in the original proceedings?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I cannot remember her name but I could probably find it out if this is useful.
It is likely that the same person is once again acting as Guardian for the child and clearly his or her views on placement will be o f great importance.
It is self evident that unless there is a very good reason not to keep the children together then the child should be placed with you as the children do indeed have a right to an ongoing relationship.
The other option is to contact NYAS
and see if they will take the matter on on behalf of the children
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you