Is it possible to foster a child within your family?

(12 Posts)
delmonton Mon 07-Jan-13 07:41:58

Hello, I am hoping to find someone with some expertise or knowledge about this. Over two years ago my DP's nephew came to live with us. He was orphaned as a baby, has been brought up by DP's mum until his behaviour at school became a problem. He has now just turned 15.

There has never been any social services involvement. When his parents died he and his sister went to live with his grandparents and stayed there.

We have thought about applying for legal guardianship but have never done it.

Is there any way we could foster him, without him ever having been in care? We don't get any financial help for him at all, or support. I would like him to have the benefits of being a looked-after child (particularly when it comes to tuition fees) but I would not like to disturb his life in any way as after much turbulence he is doing well.

I would love some advice!

LoveMyBoots Mon 07-Jan-13 07:57:41

I can't offer advice as I know nothing about fostering, but just wanted to say that you sound like a really nice person, and I hope this all works out for you and your nephew.

delmonton Mon 07-Jan-13 08:12:38

Thanks Love, it has been a bit of a journey, but it working out well now.

LaurieBlueBell Mon 07-Jan-13 13:39:13

Yes you do sound very caring.

I'm sorry to say though that I doubt SS would be of much help to you. Your dn is 15 so wouldn't come under the remit of a LAC for much longer. To foster him you would have to undergo an assessment, medicals, police checks etc. I would be surprised if SS would be willing to do that given his age and that he is in a stable home.

Do you receive child benefit, tax credits etc?. If no-one is claiming the benefits you are entitled to maybe they could be backdated.

I wouldn't do any harm to speak to someone at your LA though.

Good luck smile

ledkr Mon 07-Jan-13 13:50:31

You can get a special guardianship. Contact the fostering team ASAP.

NanaNina Mon 07-Jan-13 14:49:29

Hi there Delmonton I think I remember your post back along and so glad everything is going well for you. The problem is that SSs were not involved in this placement - had your dn been taken into care and then placed with you, they would have had to assess you as kinship carers, but as it is they have nothing to do with the case. So no there isn't a way he can be fostered as he has never been in care and this was a family arrangment.

There is no such thing as Legal GUardianship now, but there is relatively new legislation "Special Guardianship Order" - I honestly don't know how the LA would react to a request from you to make application for this Order. The legislation was made for cases like yours, but it is usually done at the time the child is placed. Also under the Regs the LA only have a duty to find for 2 years once a SGO is made, where he was in the care of the LA beforehand. SO it doesn't seem very likely, as you are in need of financial support and I understand this perfectly, but any Order has to be in the best interests of the child and it could be argued that financial help would be in his best interests. As someone has already asked - are you in receipt of Child Tax Credits, Child Benefit etc because you should be eligible for these benefits.

However I think you need to contact the SSD and ask for their view on this. Also I think it would be helpful for you to contact a lawyer for advice. SGOs are carried out by the LA SSDs and are very time consuming, and I am a bit concerned that SSD might just fob you off because they are so inundated with work at the moment.

You could also contact British Agencies for Fostering & Adoption (BAAF) or Adoption UK, or Fostering Network. They should be able to give you advice.

delmonton Mon 07-Jan-13 17:38:44

Thanks everyone for posting, and to NanaNina for remembering me! DN has changed beyond recognition from the shy school refusing tearaway we were given two years ago. He is now happy and working reasonably hard at school. I might add he read Great Expectations over the christmas holidays which for a 15 year old is a bloody miracle! grin

In answer to your question, no we don't claim any benefits for him. We are not hard-up, but I have found out from my brother (who is a foster carer) that foster children do not pay tuition fees, and I just thought, wow, how brilliant for DN who is very keen to go to university, that would be great, he wouldn't come out in so much debt. <thwarted emoticon>

I agree SS are unlikely to be very interested considering his age and the absence of any problems at home or school (I can say that now).

Would a special guardianship order entitle him to free tuition at uni I wonder?

I have been very lucky, though, that although not officially 'looked after' both the LEA I have dealt with have given me the pick of school places, so I'm really not complaining.

NanaNina Mon 07-Jan-13 20:03:48

Oh wow - you must be proud as punch and with good reason too. As for a 15 year old reading any book is amazing!!

No I don't think a SGO would entitle him to free tuition at uni. I didn't know LAC were exempted from fees. You could get some advice from the organisations I mentioned or a lawyer.

But well done you...........

delmonton Tue 08-Jan-13 19:24:57

Thanks Nana. I have to say, he is a great kid who deep down really wanted to be saved. So that made the job a lot easier.

I will check out those organisations.

splashymcsplash Fri 11-Jan-13 01:24:42

Someone may correct me, but as far as I know being an orphan qualifies you to be an 'independent' student. This means you are given maximum funding to cover all costs (mix of loans and grants).

LoopsInHoops Fri 11-Jan-13 01:50:38

Children with no living parents do count as independent students and receive the same 'deal' as LAC. smile

delmonton Fri 11-Jan-13 09:05:36

Thanks so much for this! smile

I am going to look into it later - what brilliant news to start the day.

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