calling all lancashire carers re: tiered payments and a huge whinge!

(23 Posts)
fostermumtomany Fri 30-Sep-11 03:18:32

what do you think of the new tiered payment levels?
my sw told me im on tier 2, however if i do not attend monthly support groups, to be held 2 towns away, in the evening from 7pm -9pm i will be demoted to tier one.
now i cannot physically be at these support groups, i foster babies and they are in bed at 7pm i do not have a babysitter as she has just moved to bristol, and i also have 3 children of my own. yes my husband is here so i suggested maybe just one of us could attend, no apparently we both have to attend each group or down to tier one we go.
i am furious about this, i do not need to go to support groups, if i need support isnt that what my ssw is for?
why cant we just go back to being carers that look after children and babies without having to jump through bloody hoops to appease social services. i really am annoyed at this, i am a volunteer carer, i recieve basic allowance of which every penny goes on my LO, after buying what she needs, i put the remainder into a savings account i opened for her.
it is just not possible to go to these groups, i asked if any would be provided during the day for carers who could not attend evenings and she said yes there are but they start at 3pm. so what does she imagine i do with my children whilst i am at these support groups? my mum and dad are both very ill, dad having had a serious stroke recently and mum who has polymyalgia, hubbys mum has a serious back problem and is in a wheelchair and his father recently passed away, so who exactly do i ask to watch my kids or the baby whilst being bored at support groups?
the difference in the amounts from tier 1 to tier 2 are quite significant as well and while i could manage on tier 1, why should i have to? i take withdrawal babies, and you all know how much work goes into these babies. now dont get me wrong, i would quite happily foster for nothing, but i like my babies to look like part of the family, just because they are in foster care, doesnt mean they have to look like they are in foster care, do you know what i mean?
i want them to be well dressed, well fed, warm, with plenty of toys and some money in the bank for when they leave.
quite frankly i think ss are taking the piss with all these hoops they now want us to jump though and i am seriously tempted to go to a private agency.

it isnt even just the support groups, its the amount of mandatory training we have also been told we now have to do. 5 mandatory courses on things like child protection, equality, communicating with kids, record keeping etc
i mean i understand the need for mandatory first aid training, which we did last year, but they have decided that the 9 hour course we did for that was not long enough so we have to now do a 3 day course, and what pray tell do we do with baby?
we also have to undertake nvq 3 within 2 years from now.
not just my la either, the government has made this mandatory for all carers nationwide.
why can we not just be carers instead of mini social workers?
i am so stressed out about all of this i cannot sleep, when i told my sw how i felt she told me she feels the same way but the decisions were made without any sw's or carers being involved, that it was a new thing they had introduced and that our manager had said regarding the tier payments, "if the carers dont like it they can resign" shock
lovely attitude when we are in desperate need of more carers eh, i really dont think they can afford to lose any, never mind the ones who will tell her to shove it!
oh how i wish i could name and shame her!!!!! angry

bonnieslilsister Fri 30-Sep-11 13:31:55

It is ridiculous, there is no other word for it. Do they pay for or provide baby sitters? No, I know they dont. I kow east lancs is a really poor la to be with and am so glad I moved and now live in Scotland and it really is good in this la.

Why dont you name and shame them???? If it is the truth how can they grumble?

angry or your behalf when you do such good for babies xx

NanaNina Fri 30-Sep-11 14:00:32

Fostermumtomany - I have heard some horrific accounts on here about the way foster carers are being treated, but this is the worst I have heard - the LA doesn't deserve you. You must absolutely must get together with other foster carers in your area and make a formal complaint to the Director of Social Services (in writing) and better still find out who is the chair of the Social Services in your area (you could find your local councillor on google) an he/she would tell you the name of the Chair of the SS committee. Believe me this will put a huge spanner in the works as the politicians receiving complaints from foster carers, go straight to the director and the complaint goes through the system to the relevant line manager. They absolutely have to respond quickly because the director will want to get back to the councillor asap.

Believe me I have seen how well this method works. You should have a copy of the complaints precedure for SSD but if you don't, ask for one and there are various stages to go through, but carers who circumvent this and do as I have outlined in the above para get very swift responses. They don't deserve any carers at all. Maybe you should say in your letter that if there are resignations because of this ridiculous policy then the LA will be forced to use the Independent Fostering Agencies at around 4 times the cost. This will make the politicians see red, at a time when all public services are facing huge budget cuts.

It is best if you can get others to join in - I know carers will not want to "rock the boat" for fear of being de-registered but this won't happen and you need to be courageous on behalf of the children if nothing else. If you want me to write a "sample" letter, feel free to PM me. Am retired sw and tm mgr of fostering & adop team - 30 years experience in all.

SquidgyBrain Fri 30-Sep-11 18:38:39

We are on a tiered levels and we too have just been told we need to go to evening groups and we both must attend, however we have made it clear that only one of us will be going, there was more than one other half of a couple there so I hope they have come to their senses and realised that going out from 6.45 till 9.15 in the evening as a couple mid week with small kids isn't really an option

hoping you get it sorted out

maypole1 Sat 01-Oct-11 00:07:53

Sorry to hear that our la offer morning groups and evening and they provide a creche for the morning one

timidviper Sat 01-Oct-11 00:11:10

OP - which bit of Lancashire are you in? I had just been wondering about fostering but it sounds horrendous

shaz298 Sat 01-Oct-11 09:10:49

Absolutely shocking. I too would recommend making a formal complaint 'en masse'. If they want you to go to the groupls they have to make some provision for the care of the children. Should at least accept you going to one group and your hubby going to another. To expect both to go to every one is shocking.

I am with an IFA which is a charity and they offer support groups and training groups and like you to attend when you can, but it is not compulsory. Mandatory training is just that, but if you can't make it, you have opportunity to attend another...........xx

NanaNina Sat 01-Oct-11 19:40:41

I hate to disillusion you Shaz but the notion of an IFA and a charity is a contradiction in terms. IFAs are businesses and all that charitable status means is that they don't pay shareholders. That doesn't mean that the directors don't take huge salaries for themselves. IFAs recruit carers to "sell" to the LAs and charge them enormous amounts of money (yes they pay their carers much more too) but they are a business nonetheless.

I am not at all surprised that they are so much more accommodating in terms of training etc - you are worth a great deal of money to them! I don't blame carers fostering for IFAs (and by the sounds of it some LAs don't deserve to keep carers) but thought I should put the record straight. There are quite a few IFAs in the area in which I live and the directors are very wealthy.

shaz298 Sun 02-Oct-11 10:36:38

Nana, It's Barnardos I work with and they are a charity and do a lot of different work with children and young people in addition to their fostering and adoption services.

And contrary to common assumption the rate of pay is not any more than our LA, if you foster 1 child. I believe it is much more if you foster more than one child at a time though.

I am sure there are others which are not particularly 'charitable' and for directors to be making their fortune just doesn't seem right.

NanaNina Sun 02-Oct-11 14:28:01

OK Shaz - I wouldn't expect to see Barnardoes described as an IFA to be honest - they are one of the voluntary agencies and are very different from the IFAs. The LA I worked in had a partnership with Barnardoes who used to recruit families for short breaks for parents with a disabled child. I know that they run all sorts of courses but they don't have any statutory duties, which the LA has of course. The chief exec of Barnardoes has been in the news a lot hasn't he calling for social workers to remove children sooner rather than later so they have a better chance of adoption and I am in agreement with this. I think he's retired and a new woman chief exec is in post now?

Some of the voluntaries like Barnardoes, NSPCC and Action for Children (used to be National Childrens Home) are concerned about their future, given the fact that LAs (because of the huge budget cuts forced on them by this dreadful govt) just do not have the money to "buy" a service or carers or adoptors from them. You may not receive any more than LA foster carers but I can assure you that their charges to the LA are very high indeed.

Incidentally I would be interested to know if they explained to you when they recruited you, that they don't actually have any children and they have to "sell" you to a LA. Maybe Barnardoes makes this clear but some of them don't. Have you been kept going in placements?

The other thing of course is that the voluntaries get money from the govt and the public, whereas LAs of course don't get funding from the public.

I get really cross when the NSPCC contact me asking for money, because I think people still think that the NSPCC go into homes and remove children for their safety. This of course isn't the case. If an allegation is made about child ill treatment to the NSPCC, then they refer it to the SSD as they have no statutory responsibility. Like Barnardoes I know they run courses, but the thing is they can pick and choose what they do, unlike LAs who have statutory responsibilities.

Sorry as you can probably gather I am riding one of my hobby horses and so will stop now!!

catsrus Sun 02-Oct-11 18:37:55

Hi Shaz

I'm thinking of applying to do respite with Barnados - in my area they do a lot of that for children with disabilities. Not just yet though, have to get a dd through A levels without too much disruption first :-)

I have a friend with an adopted son with (among other things) attachment deficit disorder and he comes to stay a few times a year so i have a pretty good idea of how disruptive it might be!

bottersnike Mon 03-Oct-11 10:11:45

Definitely make a fuss, fostermum!
We pointed out to our FSW that we couldn't both attend the mandatory training (whatever time it is) as we too have small children of our own, and foster a baby. She was lovely and confirmed that as long as one of us has done all the training (so we can split the topics between us) that's fine. It sounds like your LA is being totally unreasonable and they need to be told so!

shaz298 Mon 03-Oct-11 10:13:46

Nana, Barnardos was very upfront re 'selling' us to LAs. We only went to Barnardos after our initial contacts with our LA convionced me of their incompetence.............I do have a social care background ( children's units, residentual school and Who Cares?Scotland) so was aware of potential isssues but tried to give the benefit of the doubt...............

bonnieslilsister Mon 03-Oct-11 12:52:21

How are you doing Shaz, have you got a placement?

fostermumtomany Mon 03-Oct-11 13:56:51

oh my god i hate social services.
im so bloody angry, im say here sobbing, i do not want to have to quit but i feel im am being given no choice.
all iwant is a bloody bed to keep her from breaking he rneck climbing out of her cot in the middle of the night and they wont provide one. yes i could buy one myself but why the hell should i? id ont work i get a shitty allowance and cannot afford to buy her a bed and its their job to provide basic equipment anyway.
i have had it with this la but i cant trasnfer to an agency cos i dont have a spare room, im going to have to quit arnt i.
th ebloody bastards. i hate lancashire county council, i really really hate them.

shaz298 Mon 03-Oct-11 16:32:21

Fostermummytomany - have you tried getting in touch with the local children's rights service. They may be able to negotiate on behalf of the child... xx

Bonnieslilsister - No placement yet. Thanks for asking. Our details have only started being circulated. Luuk was in hospital at the end of August and we thought it would maybe be a long haul so asked them to wait. Thankfully it wa splain sailing so not the real waiting begins. Am expecting it to take a while since we are hoping to care for a a very little LO ( under 5). We are happy to look after a child with disabilities so hopefully that will speed it up a little. Am using my time now, to go to all and any training smile. I already have my HNC and SVQ so can't do anything on that front. xx

bonnieslilsister Tue 04-Oct-11 19:15:32

Or you could try fostering network = https://www.fostering.net/resources/advice Fosterline - a dedicated advice line for foster carers, fostering services and anyone interested in fostering. Covers all aspects of fostering. Call 0800 040 7675 Monday to Friday. Calls are free from UK landlines; calls from mobile networks may be charged

Best of luck fostermum and also to you Shaz xx

NanaNina Wed 05-Oct-11 21:02:44

Hi bonnie - how do you do that clever linking thing in blue. Mind my IT skills are very limited so I don't hold out much hope for me.............!

NanaNina Wed 05-Oct-11 21:03:14

Woops - sorry for hi-jacking the thread.

bonnieslilsister Wed 05-Oct-11 22:33:39

see under the message box it says 'convert links automatically' well i just copy and paste and then tick the box!

but then i am really clever! xx

Feelslikeamug Tue 13-Nov-12 20:58:48

Can sympathise with you its awful and not to mention all the contact thats been placed with carers sometimes 5 days a week where is the foster family's
Consideration and what happened to a child should fit in and gain from a stable family not change what has worked for years somethings going to give to many unthought out changes which is causing resentment

I don't go to support group and I'm on level 2. It's not true that you have to go.

And I do all the training online so I can do it at home. Is that not an option for you?

Gucci2507 Fri 03-Jan-14 22:39:13

Hello
I'm a single carer, but also work full time, I have a long term placement with young 11 year old boy, had the same placement for 2 years, everything is great apart from the pain in the arse support meetings that I simply can't not attend due to the hours 10-12 during week days whilst I am working, then 6.30-8.30 evening in towns miles away from where I live, I don't have any local family support or baby sitter etc, I have just been put on tier 1 from tier 2 for not attending these meetings ...
Obviously I am furious, angry and disappointed, SW say it's not their decision, recently spoke to one of the managers and they say resign if you don't like it, just give 28 days notice !!!

How it is that other carers are saying that they don't attend these meetings and stay on tier 2 ??? I'm very confused

Who can we talk to in order to rectify this?
Is there any point in talking to HR local authority ??

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