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

JaquelineHyde Sat 09-Feb-13 16:25:43

Thebody My Mum is amazing grin as she also manages to keep all of her other adult children (apart from my sister) in order as well. My 43 year old Detective Inspector brother is still her little baby boy grin grin

JaquelineHyde Sat 09-Feb-13 16:21:47

Hello everyone, thank you again for all the replies.

I appreciate that everyone is really busy and can't always read whole threads so I shall quickly explain again.

My DM didn't recieve any financial help when she took on my sisters first DD, we as a family grouped together and bought everything that was needed for my Mum. They recieved no foster allowance for the year and a half the process took (SS should have legally provided this and didn't) and could not during this time claim CB or tax credits. Once they were awarded the SGO they could recieve CB, tax credits and a small SGO allowance.

Fast forward 4 years and here we are again, my Mum knows her rights this time and will ensure that once the baby is placed with them (probably within a couple of days of birth) they will be paid the foster carers allowance. Once the SGO has been awarded they can apply for CB and tax credits and should be paid an SGO allowance.

The problem is that SS have promised for the past 6 months that they were going to pay a small lump sum grant to my Mum so that she can afford to go out and buy everything she would need to take on the newborn baby.

This promise has been repeated several times over the months until now 6 weeks (5 weeks on Tuesday) before the baby is born when they have tuirned round and said 'Sorry no money in the budget' angry

This in my opinion is a disgusting way to behave and has left my Mum with 5-6 weeks to somehow find the money to buy everything they need. This is on top of everything else my Mum is currently having to cope with.

That is why I am angry at SS and that is what this AIBU is about.

Mimishimi thank you for your insight, my Mum is the most experienced parent and carer that I know. She should absolutley take on this new baby if it is what is best for the baby and she feels she can cope.

thebody Sat 09-Feb-13 10:57:44

So your mum is now 62 and will be effectively mum to a new born and a 4 year old.

Jesus the woman is just amazing and your dad too.

I just hope your sister doesn't continue with her bloody selfish life because they can't keep adopting her children can they?

Best of luck to you all.

Your mum can make a complaint to the local authority. It's a statutory complaints process and the social worker is obliged to tell her how to make the complaint. She does not need a solicitor to do this. She should get the response to investigation in no more than 20 working days. If she isn't satisfied then she can ask for a stage 2 investigation which is more in depth and involves an independent person who is not employed by the authority.

From the information here it does sounds as though she should get a fostering allowance for the baby until the SGO is in place because she can't claim child benefit or income support for them. As it's going through the social work process they can't argue its a private fostering arrangement which wouldn't attract the allowance.
I couldn't comment on the issue of the maternity grant, I suspect that the view would be your sister should buy the items to give to your mum or should give her the allowance.
I work in social care complaints for a local authority and have had two cases about fostering allowances not being paid in the last few months. In both cases the social work team had acted incorrectly and we upheld the complaint and backdated payment was made from the date the child came to live with them.

The grandparents association may be a helpful source of support.

lotsofdogshere Sat 09-Feb-13 08:38:10

Do your parents get special guardianship allowance for your sister's first baby? I know things are much worse due to cuts - but there was a budget for local authorities to support grandparents in exactly these situations and I have experience of many grandparents/aunts/family members who've had some financial support during the phase when they are "foster carers" to relatives children, and before the special guardianship order is made. There was a legal test case come years ago which said relative carers should have the same financial support as foster carers. Sorry, can't recall the name of the case, but a family lawyer should be able to give you that advice.

ThisIsMummyPig Sat 09-Feb-13 02:49:42

I'm not clear if the DPs are getting a fostering allowance, as the OP says that they are living on state pensions.

It may be that they intend to claim when the baby is placed with them, but that doesn't help with set up costs.

cumfy Sat 09-Feb-13 02:22:54

I think it depends a bit on how much income DP will be receiving in total.

At a guess if it's more than £7-8k/annum for both children, I can easily understand LA thinking it can be funded out of income.

Mimishimi Sat 09-Feb-13 02:05:30

YABU to be angry at Social Services but YANBU to be worried about your parents. They probably should not take on the child. My cousin was one of three dumped by her mum on her parents. We all pitched in but particularly one of my great-uncles.

nailak Sat 09-Feb-13 01:58:35

hi, are your parents in touch with their local sure start centre? as I know mine recently gave sacks of toys and equipment to those in need through some funding it had, maybe yours has a similar scheme that you are unaware of? They dont generally advertise these things, it is given to identified in need or at risk parents who attend the centre.

cumfy Sat 09-Feb-13 01:50:39

I've not read complete thread, but am concerned whether your DP are getting appropriate financial support.

www.rbkc.gov.uk/pdf/special_guardianship.pdf re SGOs states:
----------------------------
Financial support
No one should be disadvantaged through offering a ‘looked after’ child a permanent
home. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will ensure special guardians have
enough money to provide for a child until they are 18. The allowances are generous and
all special guardians will receive one unless the gross household income is more than
£50,000. If the gross household income exceeds this amount they will not get a special
guardianship allowance.
------------------------------

May be worth finding out what the specific policy is for your council.

JeeanieYuss Fri 08-Feb-13 22:59:25

I see pearly and mushroom have already discussed what I said, lol..

Good luck OP, hope it gets sorted smile

JeeanieYuss Fri 08-Feb-13 22:49:18

I thought you only got the sure start maternity grant for your 1st child now and not subsequent other children...
If so how has she managed to get it again, a midwife has to sign the form so surely she would of known the circumstances that the baby is going to family/care?

As sad as this is social service budgets are being cut to hell and back. We are losing our social worker who is our safeguarding specialist so as awful as it seems in terms of what is happening this will not be a huge priority for them.

jackierussell Fri 08-Feb-13 22:23:32

Pm me I am on the south coast and have some bits that might be useful, well done this must be hard for all of you.

Pigsmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 20:39:15

PM me, I can send some clothes. You and your parents sound fantastic x

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 19:58:44

Thank you everyone for all the posts on this thread, the offers of items, bits of advice and pointing in the right direction, but most of all for the support and just letting me vent.

Isabeller the SureStart grant will not be paid to my Mum as she already has a child under 16 in the household (my sisters 4yr old) we have checked and tried to get around it but to no avail.

I will go through and investigate all the suggestions and pass it all on to my Mum. The baby won't go without anything of that I am certain but this should have been handled so much better.

Now I am going to get back to caring for my 3 DCs and enjoying the last 10 weeks of my pg and maternity leave. grin

Isabeller Fri 08-Feb-13 19:13:13

I just had a look at the government website for the SureStart grant and you can claim as a foster carer (within 3 months of the baby's birth) and I can't see where it says it can't be claimed twice for the same baby which you'd expect but as you say it's not the most subtle application process.

Just a thought.

frustratedworkingmum Fri 08-Feb-13 19:03:19

If you are in the southeast have a google for "necessary furniture" they are a charity that sells secondhand furniture at very low prices (not sure if free or not) to those in need of it. Maybe they can help. I have a cot if you need it.

Try not to be angry with your sister, i know it must be hard and frustrating but how awful to not be able to care for your own children.

redandblacks Fri 08-Feb-13 18:55:42

I just wanted to suggest freecycle - in an average week you can get hold of all these essentials and what is not listed you can request

NatashaBee Fri 08-Feb-13 18:54:28

It's lovely to see how many people have stepped up and offered items on this thread. I hope you are able to take at least some of the items and save your parents buying them - they are doing an amazing thing.

notnowbernard Fri 08-Feb-13 18:42:22

Apologies if this has been said already, but try Freegle for the baby stuff

PearlyWhites Fri 08-Feb-13 18:37:44

Thanks mushroom didn't realise that, it's very selfish she claimed knowing she wasn't keeping the baby

goldenstarpine Fri 08-Feb-13 17:25:50

Your mum could try applying for a community care grant.
She can get the application form from her local jobcentreplus.

HelloBear Fri 08-Feb-13 16:45:02

And obey was supposed to be I bet. Sorry typing with baby in arms.

Oh and good luck with your birth!

HelloBear Fri 08-Feb-13 16:43:14

Sorry as was supposed to be ss

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