S/Services agreeing to keep a placement open - how likely is it?

(11 Posts)
freddiefrog Mon 11-Feb-13 19:32:07

My FC was given a 4 month custodial sentence in a YOI today

I'm gutted to be honest, she was doing so well in recent weeks, she had just started to get much needed support from a new social worker, so it seems a little short-sighted and premature to me, but hey ho

Anyway, her SW and I have been in contact this afternoon, and the upshot is that the SW is going to put in a request to her management that her placement here is kept open for her, but she's not really holding her breath

Does anyone have any experience of this? How likely is it?

Thank you!

NanaNina Wed 13-Feb-13 17:28:49

All LAs are struggling with finance as the govt has made huge cuts to the budgets of all public services. I don't know what your approval is for - do you just take teenagers? The girl will probably only have to serve half her sentence won't she and come out tagged. However I can't see the LA agreeing to keep the placement open if there is another child or yp needs a placement in the meantime.

I'm not sure if the sw is asking for you to be apaid fostering allowances and if so that's a definite NO NO. All LAs are different and some pay retainer fees for 8 weeks, but others have different arrangements.

You sound very committed to this girl especially as she has received a relatively long custodial sentence. How old is she btw as that might have a bearing on things.

freddiefrog Wed 13-Feb-13 18:40:04

We've mainly had teenagers, this one at 16 is the oldest so far

Tbh, she was very lucky to only get 4 months, the Magistrate was gunning for her, but she'll serve 2 months in the unit and 2 months out on licence

SW was talking about paying us a retainer, but it's more keeping her place here open so she knows where she stands and knows she's got somewhere to come back to, and to stop the LA closing her case. Once a child goes into a YOI, our LA routinely treat them as they're no longer a looked after child, so when she comes out she'll have to start again in the SHort Term Team, which took nearly 3 months and several official complaints from me, my SSW and the IRO to get her out of and put into a LAC team

Our LA is a mess (recently judged inadequate in all areas by Ofstead) and we had just started to get the support we needed since being put into the correct team so I'm concerned for her that she's going to be back to square one

NanaNina Thu 14-Feb-13 00:20:44

Hmm - not sure I understand this thing about your LA treats them as no longer a LAC if they have been in custody. What does being in the short term team mean? A yp is looked after officially until she is 18, but many LAs move them from foster care and set them up in their own flats, which is horrendous, as these kids are in no way ready to live independently. They can get support for the Leaving Care Team, but it's still far too young to move them on, but again it's about money.

Not sure what you mean about going in a short term team (where does the kid live in these circumstances) and moving to a LAC team. You may not want to say but do you by any chance foster for Birmingham City Council as I know they have been found not fit for purpose. I understand if you'd rather not say.

freddiefrog Thu 14-Feb-13 01:00:24

Our LA treats yp as no longer 'in care' while they're in a YOI. Once the yp is released, they become a lac again

The way our LA works is that a child is put into the Short Term Team when they first come into care, they either go into foster care, a family placement, supported lodgings, a hostel, or whatever is available. Then within 72 hours we have a meeting and the yp is then transferred into a lac team.

It took nearly 3 months to get her transferred into the lac team

Major cock up from the start.

So, if her placement here is not kept open, she'll no longer be considered 'in care', so when she's released she'll have to go through all the rigmarole of being put into the short term team again, then being placed, then being transferred

Hope that makes sense!

I don't mind PMing our area if it helps, but I'd rather not post it up on an open board

Thank you!

NanaNina Thu 14-Feb-13 13:20:05

Ah I see what you mean FF - yes of course a yp cannot be Looked After by a LA when in custody, but I think there is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen to her when she is released. You say she is 16 - when is she 17 as that will have a bearing I think.

I'm still confused about these different teams. If children and yp are in the short term team you say they canbe placed in foster care, supported lodgings, hostels or whatever. This transfer to the LAC team - I think it must mean that while the child/yp is in the short term team, fcs don't get much support because the short term team is probably dealing with anything that is deemed to be short term work.

Once the child's case is moved the long term team of LAC team then it has been decided that the child/yp should have a social worker allocated to him/her. Does this sound right?

I suspect that the delay is caused by the short term team attempting to move cases to LAC team, and them saying they can't take anything else on, so case has to remain in s-t team

Anyway regardless of all that I would be very surprised if the LA would "keep her place open" because as I said before if they are in need of a plct for your age group then they would expect him/her to be placed with you. Empty beds cost money!!

If she is nearer 17 I suspect that they will offer at best Supportive Lodgings or hostel etc. You could of course offer to keep the girl on the basis of SL (there isn't usually any assessment of FCs wanting to keep a yp on the basis of SL, it just means you get less money!

No doubt your sw will be back with an answer soon.

freddiefrog Thu 14-Feb-13 18:27:57

FC was 16 middle of October, a couple of weeks before she came here

Yes, that's pretty much it re STT and LAC team. Short term is just like a holding bay while they decide where a yp is going. There is no support for anyone when you're in the STT, youre only supposed to be in it for 72 hours, as you can imagine, being in there for 3 months when you have drug and alcohol issues and are extremely vulnerable, is very difficult all round

Anyway, I heard back this afternoon and I am very surprised and very pleased that they've decided they will keep the placement open.

NanaNina Thu 14-Feb-13 23:36:49

Oh that's really good new for you and the young person. I'm also surprised but very glad you have the right outcome.

floatyjosmum Sun 17-Feb-13 09:09:38

There's been a lot of talk recently that they should be lac even in a yoi - I'm not sure if its in place yet though

freddiefrog Sun 17-Feb-13 23:41:01

My SSW said that he thought that it had changed so that yps stay lac when they went into a YOI, but FC's SW said no, she had to put in a request to keep her placement open, for them to keep her file open.

Perhaps it hasn't changed yet.

It makes sense, as it ensures continuity of support, as in our la you end up starting the whole process again

floatyjosmum Mon 18-Feb-13 23:11:44

Would also depend if she's s.20 or on an order. If its the latter she will def remain lac and will need stay visits.

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