to offer fostering a child from our school whose mum died?

(68 Posts)
camaleon Sat 07-Dec-13 19:40:01

...the mother of a child who is a peer of one of my children in our local school passed away a couple of weeks ago.
There is no more family living in the UK. Some relatives from overseas are looking after this child at the moment. My own child has never been close to this other child.
I would like to speak to the Headteacher and tell her that she can let Social Services know I am happy to foster the child until the situation is resolved (I would consider adoption too, but I don't think this works this way). The thought of this child getting into some institutional care far away from the local community is heart breaking. The mother was a single mother, clearly in a vulnerable position.
My husband thinks this is a crazy offer; He thinks that if they take it up, it will massively disrupt our lives; that the father can show up in a few years; that she belongs to another community; etc. He would back me up if I think this is the right thing to do, but his opinion is that we should just offer our sympathy and support to the family without interfering further.
So AIBU offering to foster this girl if her family has to go back to their home country and she finds herself alone? Is it even a possibility that this offer is considered or would Social Services just 'centralise' her case and deal with it as if this offer did not exist?
Any advice welcome.

quietlysuggests Sat 07-Dec-13 19:43:16

foster parents have to be vetted and screened and taught.
Sympathy for a child is NOT a good reason to take them in to your lives when there will be other foster parents waiting for her. These may well be her extended family - why would they be any worse than you?

lilyaldrin Sat 07-Dec-13 19:43:35

A relative of mine did something similar - offered to foster a girl in the same year as one of her children when she couldn't live at home for a while. I think she stayed for about a year before going back home.

Social services were more than happy with the arrangement, but I don't think they paid a fostering allowance as she wasn't an official foster carer.

farrowandbawlbauls Sat 07-Dec-13 19:44:23

Unless you have your husbands full and unconditional support than I would drop that idea.

Even if you did, the chances of you being offered to take responsibility of that child is almost zero.

Preciousbane Sat 07-Dec-13 19:44:32

I think that regardless of legalities all your family need to be on board to foster a child, it is unfair on the child if your DH isn't.

I would ask for this to be reposted in the adoption and fostering section.

birdybear Sat 07-Dec-13 19:45:06

you cannot do it if your husband does not want it. That would be grossly unfair on him and on the child. He deserves an equal say in what goes on in his own house and family so if he says no, it is a no, surely!

lilyaldrin Sat 07-Dec-13 19:45:56

Agree you need to have your husband and children's support if you want to do this.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 07-Dec-13 19:46:08

Yes, DH has to be on board I'm afraid.

I don't think there would be any problem with phoning up and asking, but you'd need DH to at least be open to the idea. It's not going to be doable otherwise.

mamij Sat 07-Dec-13 19:47:19

You have to be registered as a foster carer and under checks before being approved by the local authority. The LA must have emergency foster carers to take the child in if there is no one to look after her. I would also expect the LA to minimise the disruption and place her close by if there is a suitable placement.

camaleon Sat 07-Dec-13 19:47:26

This is a very goo point quietlysuggest, about not fostering a child just for sympathy.

I believe the child is much better with her family. The problem is that, from what I know, the family may not be able to keep her. They may have to come back to their home country; there is nobody living in the UK. And then, she might have to be put in social care.

As I have said I have only indirect information at the moment. I want to have a conversation with the headteacher to offer my help. I understand they will not be able to give me any details. My first instinct was to offer fostering if it became necessary, that is, if at any point they were thinking of taking care of her by Social Services.

I don't know how remote the possibility is, but I don't want to offer without being sure I (and my family) are ready for it.

lilyaldrin Sat 07-Dec-13 19:49:55

I'm surprised so many people say this is not a possibility, as that isn't my experience. My relative was allowed to foster a child with the agreement of social services and the child's family.

camaleon Sat 07-Dec-13 19:52:47

We would not be expecting any money from this. We don't need the money.

instinctively I share farrow's view that the chances of being offered to take responsibility of this child are almost zero. Still, I don't want to offer if the offer is the wrong thing to do or if I am not ready for it.

janey68 Sat 07-Dec-13 19:53:49

It's a possibility that it can happen in such circumstances. But I am surprised you're even considering it when your husband thinks its a crazy idea and would disrupt your family. It's simply not fair to this child, who has already suffered a tragic loss, or your own family, to consider it when your husband feels this way.

OddBoots Sat 07-Dec-13 19:56:27

It's a lovely idea and you sound very kind but for the sake of this girl it would be a bad idea if your husband wasn't in favour. They'd have to live under the same roof in already difficult circumstances.

camaleon Sat 07-Dec-13 19:57:26

Thank you lilyaldrin.
I will speak with my husband again. I will speak with Headteacher and let her know I live very close and that I am willing to help with whatever logistics that may facilitate the life of this girl and her family.
I will tell her she can pass my details to agencies involved in the case if they need to speak with someone from the community willing to support.
I will not do anything without the support of my husband.

camaleon Sat 07-Dec-13 20:01:01

And thank you for all the answers!

TiredDog Sat 07-Dec-13 20:04:02

I found myself in a similar situation. Fostering wasn't required but the child did need mothering and I stepped into offer some support until family situation settled. The consequence was catastrophic on my family. This lovely bereaved child clung to me and turned against my own DD (previously good friends). My DD was struggling with this woman's death and then coping with a sad child attacking her whilst feeling like her mother had suddenly been given to someone else

A right muddle to sort out with no winners

camaleon Sat 07-Dec-13 20:05:54

TiredDog, I think this is the kind of thing my husband is thinking about. It is very useful to read your experience.

DeepThought Sat 07-Dec-13 20:09:57

the child is a peer, yes? older or younger than your DD? this is quite important - if older than your DD then I would expect a big no from the off; your child's natural order in the family is immovable in terms of her emotional development (forget the correct phrase atm)

solveproblem Sat 07-Dec-13 20:10:18

It sounds to me like this child would be better off going back with he relatives to their home country where the child's got family and support.

foreverondiet Sat 07-Dec-13 20:11:42

My friend had a call from her sons school saying that her son's friend's father had died and mother had been sectioned and they were looking for a school family to offer short term fostering until permanent placement came up. She ended up having him for about 6 weeks and knew it couldn't be longer (boy was 14 so was old enough to list out friends etc). However only reasonable if your dh on board. My friend couldn't do it any longer as was huge disruption to her own dc's lifes, even though it was a school friend of her Ds and even though a) she doesn't work and b) she only has 2 children.

bochead Sat 07-Dec-13 20:15:09

I don't think social services will LET you if your hubby isn't 110% on board tbh. Their vetting procedures are designed to weed out situations like yours.

Bejeena Sat 07-Dec-13 20:15:44

But the child has her family from overseas looking after her so I am sure that means she is very well cared for, blood is thicker than water and all. So if the child returns with her family overseas she will be with her loved ones so why do you need to interfere?

TiredDog Sat 07-Dec-13 20:17:38

Camal. I regretted my big hearted actions for years. I could say more but it's complicated and very personal. My action was well meant but not well thought out

camaleon Sat 07-Dec-13 20:17:40

The child is a peer, exactly same age as one of my children (6 years old). They are in the same class. I have an older sibling too. I would have never thought the age was an issue.
Solveproblem, I agree with you. Still, I am trying to seek opinions on whether or not my offer is out of order, in the case (and only in the case) this child finds herself alone in the UK.

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