LA no longer providing respite!!

(12 Posts)
fostermumtomany Wed 17-Apr-13 12:37:56

Hi all, I woke this morning to an email from our area manager stating that as of today no foster carer will be provided with respite.
unless there are extenuating circumstances such as an urgent hospital situation (surgery etc) or if a close family member dies. even then you can only have respite IF you sort it out with a fellow carer yourself and the fellow carer understands that they will NOT be paid for said respite.

now I find this to be disgusting. I will tell you why.
every year we book a holiday abroad and every year I ask for a passport for the LO I am looking after. every year I am told no you cannot take the LO abroad as they are under 2.
well I booked my holiday for this august, last may. I asked if the LO (now moved on) could come with us as she would be 3 by the time we went away. no I was told by my manager.

now we are told we have to take children away with us (as it should be) but only to holidays in the uk. if we wish to travel abroad tough.

I feel an awful lot of resignations coming.
and what about the carers that are only respite carers? what happens to them?
this is a disgusting move by my LA and im sure that there must be something legal we, as carers, can do about this.

please don't misunderstand me, I believe the LO's should be coming on holiday with us but we were told that we could not take our LO with us. I have paid for my holiday, ss knew about it last may and they are now telling me that I must cancel my holiday as they still wont allow our Lo to come with us. so are they going to reimburse me for the cost of my holiday (£6240)? no they are not.
I said they other day I thought we would be resigning. now it seems I have no other choice.
I love looking after these kiddies but social services have forced my hand.
I will be writing to my m.p and I will also be contacting Ofsted as im sure this is not allowed.

what do you all think and have you ever heard of this before?

Panadbois Wed 17-Apr-13 15:43:11

We have been discussing paid babysitting service for FC this morning, three hrs a month so that FC can go out for a meal. For me, this is progress!

There are no restrictions here on respite, yet, but I limit this fir myself as I can't afford to loose wages for every night spent away from here. ( hoping I'm making sense!)

fostermumtomany Wed 17-Apr-13 16:14:49

im just so angry. I mean I have repeatedly asked to be able to take our LO's away with us and they always say no.
I rang my ssw earlier to ask for clarification on the email. she didn't even know about it until I rang her (hard to believe). I read the email out to her and she said "that's disgusting but if that's how its going to be then there is nothing we can do about it". I told her in that case I felt I had no choice but to resign as no carer is going to foster a child for 2 weeks for no payment. (as they have stated any respite sorted between carers will be unpaid).
I have not been out with my husband for 5 years, not even for a meal as our LA frown upon this. they say we made a commitment to the child and as such our lives are to be put on hold until we are between placements. however, everytime one of our LO moves on we have another coming the next day. so it has been 5 years since we went out as a couple.
I once asked for a weekends respite to attends my brother in laws wedding and this was refused. I was told that the lo was part of the family and should be going with us. I agree but not to the night do where people were smoking, drinking, rowdy etc. that would just be dangerous. so I missed his wedding.

if we want to use a babysitter they have to be over 18, have a full crb check and have a history of working with children, they also have to be approved by panel!
its daft. its ludicrous and its taking the piss.

Panadbois Wed 17-Apr-13 16:58:21

I'm surprised you have lasted so long. OMG, no meals out in five years. Bloody hell, fucking liberties!

I'm horrified for you.

The LO I have has had two one nights respite, and one four night respite this year already, and another three nights coming up May. Disclaimer - my kids also been looked after during these times by grandparents.
You need support from Fostering Network or move LA asap

musickeepsmesane Wed 17-Apr-13 17:00:44

this explains changes we are having to put up with. We also haven't been out as a couple for years. We have had 2 nights off in over a year (guess that is a lot from what else I am reading) Our family are put off by the assessment process to babysit, we have been told that they can't do respite as too many carers family members have been assessed and then haven't done respite. I also think foster kids should go on hols with carers but it is hard work, sometimes 24 hours a day. I used to get the occasional weekend break from birth children, it is necessary to recharge our batteries. I agree there will be a lot of resignations from this, I think it is pathetic the way foster carers are treated. We aren't even considered important enough to be employees and have no real rights. Then again I suppose the children in our care have no real rights either. All at the mercy of Social Services.

Panadbois Wed 17-Apr-13 17:01:27

Have you a local support group?

ComeYoniWithMe Thu 18-Apr-13 13:00:34

Fostermummy that is shocking, what LA is it?
I am a respite carer and our LA are absolutely fine about using respite. We can also have anyone we choose to babysit ( obviously within reason) but ss don't need their name or any details. Aslong as we trust someone to look after our own children then they say they can be trusted to look after fc. Am sure this is a government thing as fc were being disadvantaged by not been allowed to go for tea or sleepovers.
Fc need a break or the placement has more of a chance of breaking down! Does anyone else work 24/7 365 days of the year without a day off.
I'd be surprised if its legal tbh.

NotmylastRolo Thu 18-Apr-13 16:51:14

Advice to any newly qualified foster carers!!!!!!! Respite, expenses and services for the fc need to be negotiated (and also in writing - most important!) before each placement begins.

I think that our resignation could have been entirely avoidable if we had done that (instead of being over-eager to please and doing it all on trust).

childatheart Sat 20-Apr-13 14:06:33

Lets take a step back.

1/A child in care is the responsibility of the local authority that was responsible for removing them, not that of the foster carer.
2/ In my LA all foster carers are voluntary (not Paid and not employed by the local authority).
3/At the start of our fostering career we signed a contract with the local authority and one of the items on it was the provision of respite care by the local authority, other items on the contract included expenses etc.

I think sometimes we all get sucked in by the so called demands and requirements of the LA, but actually they are in no position to call the shots on anything ( read above). I suggest you throw it all back in there big wide laps and say this is what WE are going to do so" over to you"

musickeepsmesane Sat 20-Apr-13 16:21:48

childatheart I thought our yearly reviews renewed our contracts? I know we have had some sneaky changes put on our review papers in the past? Also, if you don't mind my asking about the voluntary side? How does that work? Are you in direct contract with the LA?

Gillian1980 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:40:03

Wow, I find this really shocking!

I cannot imagine how they think that foster carers can just keep going indefinitely with no respite... that will lead to people burning out and potentially providing sub-standard care through no fault of their own.

I would not accept this at all. You must tell them them that you ARE going on holiday on this date and that it is their responsibility to find accommodation for the child.

I don't work for a LA but I would never expect my carers to go without respite. They get 2 weeks paid per year, plus more if needed on an unpaid basis. Some choose not to use it but I actively encourage people to take a break if they can as I think it does everyone good to have a rest.

JuliaScurr Mon 22-Apr-13 11:47:28

As you can see from this report www.centreforwelfarereform.org/uploads/attachment/354/a-fair-society.pdf
the majority of cuts fall on LA social services
Maybe this is why you are being royally arsed about

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