to be really angry and feel let down by Social Services!

(75 Posts)
JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 10:48:55

My sister has serious mental health problems (drug induced psychosis) and is also a pretty horrible person who has made many, many poor choices when perfectly well.

Her first DD was removed at 3 months and placed with my Mum, after my sister had all the help and support in the world thrown at her she still failed to show she would care for her DD appropriately and my Mum applied for and got a special guardianship order (which is basically an in family adoption).

This process was an utter nightmare for my Mum and Dad as I'm sure you can imagine, they not only took on a baby from 3 months old (my Mum was 58 at the time) but they also had to try and deal with my sister and the problems she had at the time (including being sectioned etc). They excelled through all the assessments and were praised by everyone from the foster panel to the final hearing judge and told that SS wished they had more Grandparents like them come forward. However, they were never supported financially by SS, they managed to source all the items they needed themselves for my DN (with help from family members) and then finally when the SGO had been given they began recieving a small weekly allowance.

Fast forward 4 years and my sister is again pg angry sad and despite having more help and support than anyone I know my sister has failed to engage and continues to make poor choices (not mental health related she is perfectly well at present) and so her unborn child has been placed on the at risk register and will be removed at birth and placed again with my Mum as a family foster placement who will then again begin the process of applying for an SGO.

My sister is due in 6 weeks and SS have said all the way through that they would do what they could to help my Mum financially so she can buy all the bits she needs for a newborn. My mum has said they need help to buy the pushchair, cot, mattress and car seat as these are must haves. The rest they have said they will fund themselves.

My Mum has now been told they won't and don't have to provide and finances to help my Mum get the equiptment required. angry She has been asked what she did with all DN's stuff and my Mum made it clear that they never expected this to happen again and so gave away the baby stuff when they moved house (she also made it clear that she had paid for and provided everything last time as well) SS then asked whether the rest of the family could provide for the baby angry angry

So my Mum is stuck with nothing, her and my Dad are both pensioners on state pensions with no spare cash lying around. The family cannot afford to pay for all the new baby stuff.

I am due to give birth myself in 10 weeks and so we have just had to buy all our own stuff and yet my sister who has applied for and recieved the £500 sure start grant has spent it all and not bought a thing for the baby.

AIBU to be furious that SS won't help out even a little bit financially towards all the equiptment you need with a newborn.

I say all this as a trainee Social worker by the way and I feel quite ashamed by it. I would also like to say that the anger I feel towards SS at the moment is nothing compared to the anger I feel towards my sister at the moment but that is an entirely different thread grin

Sorry for the epic ranty post, so AIBU? Be gentle please smile

Dannilion Fri 08-Feb-13 11:39:42

Jaqueline I have no idea, but I've just left a message with my friend as to how she went about it, will let you know as soon as I do smile

Dannilion Fri 08-Feb-13 11:43:32

In the meantime, this is the one I was going to buy before DB bought me one

cheap seat

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 11:45:50

Thanks Dannilion, I have bookmarked that carseat to show my Mum later.

Tryharder Fri 08-Feb-13 11:50:50

I don't agree that newborns need mountains of stuff that costs lots of money. How do you think babies born in developing countries manage?

I would like to suggest: Freecycle, car boot sales, NCT sales, charity shops, jumble sales, Gumtree, Facebook for sale pages etc etc ......

I am not particularly poor but have never bought new stuff for any of my DCs. Just don't see the point.

There are Moses baskets galore going begging on my local freecycle. Be realistic. I am sure Social services are strapped enough for cash as it is without having to fund brand new nursery furniture and matching wallpaper for your niece/nephew.

Presumably, your mother will be able to claim the CB and tax credits once the baby is born and living with her.

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 11:58:26

Tryharder have you read the thread or just the OP.

My Mum never expected new stuff, she never has not for any of her 7 children (9 if you count my sisters 2)

She doesn't do matching nursery furniture and has already decorated (with a nice cream paint) the babies bedroom.

We are very realistic, unfortunately SS are not. They have promised and promised and promised over and over again that they would provide some finances so that my Mum could source the items she needs. They then, 6 weeks before birth, have said no sorry, no money in the budget can your family not pay for it all.

My Mum will not be able to claim CB or tax credits until the SGO has been awarded by the courts which will take about 9 months. She will recieve a small allowance to cover the day to day costs of the child until then.

I'm not sure who you are not agreeing with but no one on this thread has suggested once that babies need mountains of new stuff. I am also due to give birth in 10 weeks and nearly everything I have bought has been second hand from the places you have listed. You are preaching to the converted and in my mother's case you are literally teaching a Grandma how to suck eggs grin

PearlyWhites Fri 08-Feb-13 12:05:36

Your sister will not have received a sure start grant as you are no longer entitled to one if you have a child under 16 even if they no longer live with you, unless she lied and therefore committed fraud.

MrsMushroom Fri 08-Feb-13 12:10:24

pearly you are wrong. I just got this off the DWP site

Re payments for Mothers whose first born child is not living or who is under 16 and not resident in the home...

*we will provide for payment to parents whose older children are not members of their
family i.e. they do not live in the same qualifying benefit family unit;*

floatyjosmum Fri 08-Feb-13 12:11:57

Hi. I am a sw and she is entitled to financial support.

Are they issuing care proceedings? - if so your mum should be assessed as a foster carer for the baby (not as a general foster carer) and she would be entitled to the same allowance paid to foster carers.

If they aren't because your mum had stepped in and this is the reason why they aren't she is entitled to financial support attached to the sgo or ro as that is the criteria as well as the financial assessment.

I would say she needs to ask for financial support prior to baby being born and placed with her. Also if your sisters mh issues are such that she can't make appropriate decisions ss need to be doing something so that either them or your parents have pr.

If they drag their heels I would advise seeing a solicitor. If thru aren't entitled to legal aid have they offered to cover the cost of the sgo?

floatyjosmum Fri 08-Feb-13 12:13:21

She can also claim cb and ctc if not receiving an allowance the same as a foster carer

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 12:14:13

She is entitled and the child does not live with her, and she has had the money.

No fraud has been committed, she was helped to apply for it by her midwife.

Her first child has by all accounts been adopted so has no link to her at all financially or legally.

itsallinmyhead Fri 08-Feb-13 12:20:24

I have a Moses basket and stand if your in Manchester? And lots of baby boys clothing.

YANBU

HecateWhoopass Fri 08-Feb-13 12:24:28

What would happen if your mum said sorry, I cannot afford this. You will have to find a foster carer outside the family.

I'm just thinking that foster carers do normally get an allowance and I think it's disgusting that if you're related to the child you're fostering, this doesn't apply. I think it should.

I'm just wondering if they think that they'll have to find a foster carer and that person WILL be paid the full allowance, etc - if they might manage to be a bit more helpful?

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 12:25:03

Hi floaty My Mum is already an approved foster carer and has gone through the new assessments needed to bring it all up to date. The Baby will be subject to a CO as soon as it is born (and they can get the court to hear it) so SS will have PR until the SGO is awarded when it will transfer over to my Mum (which will take about 9 months)

Last time round the foster allowance wasn't paid when it should have been because no one bothered to tell my Mum about it. However, this time round we are aware of it and will have it paid once the baby is placed with my Mum, probably a few days after birth.

However, the problem we now have is with the money (grant) that SS have promised my Mum for many months now to help with the costs of buying all the equiptment you need for a newborn (new or secondhand). It has all been agreed for months yet now with 6 weeks to go they are saying they have no money in the budget and have asked our family to pay for everything shock Now this would have been all fine and dandy if we had been told this from the start as we could have got all the stuff bit by bit over the following months but to do it in 6 weeks when you have nothing is ridiculous and not the kind of stress a 62 year old woman needs to be going through, when she is already caring for a 4yr old (including managing contact single handedly with my sister) and trying to cope and prepare for dealing with a newborn and seeing her daughter probably spiral out of control again and get sectioned again.

Managing peoples expectations for me is the most important part of social work as it is crucial in order to build strong relationships. Which is after all one of the cornerstones of social work. This is why I feel angry and let down not because SS can't magic the money up from somewhere.

itsallinmyhead Fri 08-Feb-13 12:30:53

Sorry hmm didn't see the post about you living down south.

floatyjosmum Fri 08-Feb-13 12:31:42

Totally agree with you - I'm just glad they're not dumping the baby on you all and running which I have heard off in some la's.

Only think I can think off if they don't change their minds is brining it up at the first lac review and with the guardian. Even if you don't manage to get the money back at least it can be brought up their not keeping to what they've said

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 12:32:24

I do have to say just quickly that if we forget this really annoying part of the whole process SS have been amazing this time round with the whole thing.

They have got everything ready to go, all organised and now just waiting for the birth. They have given my sister every chance to engage and have offered support most of us could only dream of. My Mum has jumped through all the hoops needed and SS have kept distruption to them down to a minimum.

For this they do deserve praise.

floatyjosmum Fri 08-Feb-13 12:33:00

Also there is now the 26 week rule for proceedings so should hopefully be sorted a little quicker

littlewhitebag Fri 08-Feb-13 12:35:31

I understand your anger. SW should not have promised what they couldn't deliver on. It may not be the fault of your SW who is dealing with the case but further up the chain. I have been caught out like this before and had to go and break the news to a family that we could not give them what we initially said we would - all because a manager further up the chain looked at it and said no.

FellatioNels0n Fri 08-Feb-13 12:42:55

Good God your poor parents, what a bloody nightmare. sad I can't add anything of practical use, I'm afraid, where the finances are concerned, but are they determined to have this child live with them? I can't help thinking in situations like this that it would be better for this unborn child to just be adopted outside of the family at birth. Your sister clearly hasn't changed and it is unfair on your parents and both of the children for them to grow up with this constant unresolved baggage all around them. However good a job your parents do, those children will grow up in the knowledge that their mother was dysfunctional, and a constant source of pain, frustration and disappointment to the family. That can't be a nice thing to carry your whole life. Almost everyone I know (there have been a few) who have been brought up by relatives, knowing full well that their parents were either not capable of doing it properly, or just not willing, have been emotionally scarred by it one way or another. I think it's misguided to always assume that keeping a baby in the birth family is the best thing for it.

And your parents deserve a rest from all the stress - not to just have it all repeated ad infinitum. Where will it stop? People like your sister have an unhappy habit of repeated PGs in spite of being told that they will not be allowed to keep the child. sad I'm sure your parents will love the child just as much as the first, but the circumstances were different then - the bond was already there I guess they hoped your sister might just be going through a bad phase and that she'd come right in the end.

As it's clear that won't happen I can't help thinking it would be fairer for everyone if this second child went straight to a permanent family who will be young enough and financially stable enough to cope with the responsibility. That child should grow up without the confusion and the stigma of having its useless mother discussed in hushed voices.

Shellington Fri 08-Feb-13 12:47:58

OP - where do you / your DP's live?
We have a travel system we may consider passing on smile
PM me if easier.

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 13:09:31

Fellatio They thought long and hard about this and have swung between doing it and having to walk away.

They/we are very, very careful not to discuss my sister ever within earshot and my sisters relationship with my DN is a healthy, sisterly relationship (although you cannot trust my sister to be alone with any children)

I think all the concerns you have raised are valid and it makes me feel very sad, however, these issues are not linked only to kinship care but to all children cared for by anyone other than the birth parents so most of those issues would remain regardless of who adopted the child/children.

Anyway, if my parents decided they weren't going to take on this child I suspect I would have put myself forward as I am not sure I could cope seeing a direct blood relative of mine go into care. Luckily, I wasn't faced with having to make this decision smile

KenLeeeeeee Fri 08-Feb-13 13:51:26

If you can get to Bucks to collect, I have a Quinny Buzz 3 pushchair with carrycot you can have.

FellatioNels0n Fri 08-Feb-13 16:32:56

I understand Jaqueline. It is a very hard, unenviable situation for your family to be in. I realise that abandonment issues are complex, and may raise their heads in all adoption cases, but I feel there is more of a likelihood of it when a proper mother-child relationship with the birth mother is dangled like a carrot on a stick; always tangible but never an achievable reality. Whereas in straightforward adoptions outside the family the child (hopefully) would never feel they were stuck in limbo and that mummy might one day sort herself out iyswim.

When they are old enough to start analysing the whole adoption process I hope for their sakes that they would start visualising the BM as someone wonderful and loving who gave them up for wholly altruistic reasons, even if that is a fantasy (and let's face it, these days it probably is, in most cases) whereas it is sadly inevitable that in your DN's situation she will learn the truth about who her mother is, and feel let down, and not lovable enough to cure her of her need to put herself and her addictions first.

I would hope that any newborn baby of a known unfit mother would go straight into the arms of loving adoptive parents. It breaks my heart to think they may languish in care for any length of time because of the rights of feckless, dysfunctional parents, who may or may not exercise their right to change their minds, and take their time, while totally neglecting all their responsibilities, and ruining that child's chance of a decent, early adoption and a happy, normal life.

I applaud, and empathise with what your parents are doing, but I can't help feeling it's not a rational decision. Rather that is one based on some sort of primeval need to keep the family together and to try to somehow make sense of, or make up for of what has gone wrong with their daughter.

But I understand, and I suspect I would make the same choices in the same situation. smile

SirBoobAlot Fri 08-Feb-13 16:41:26

OP you say you're iin the South East. I'm just outside Brighton. I have a cot and mattress here that is yours if you can get someone to collect it.

HelloBear Fri 08-Feb-13 16:42:44

Just wanted to say that I'm so sad that as are not living up to promises. It's disgusting makes me angry.

But I promise you there will some poor SW who is really sad at having to break this news to your parents. They won't be able to express it to them because of keeping la face but obey they have had a good old rant at how upset they are to be letting your parents down. It will be a managers decision.

Speaking from bitter experience...hence looking for a new job.

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