Emergency Fostering - what are SS's responsibilities?

(112 Posts)
CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 02:45:41

For various reasons, mostly to do with the safeguarding of my younger DC's, and to try to get my DD the MH support she so desperately needs, I have had to refuse to allow her to come home after she is taken to court in the morning.

She is 15, with SN's and has been self-harming again (only discovered in police custody).

I had to have her arrested yesterday for criminal damage, partly for my safety, partly for the safety of my younger DC's, and partly tbh for her OWN safety.

Because it has been logged as a DV incident, and I am the victim, and for the reasons outlined above, I cannot have her home.

I thought in these circumstances, SS were OBLIGED to find an emergency FC placement?

DD has been in cells since 2.30pm yesterday afternoon. The Officer in Charge of the case has had a massive row with the duty SW as they have refused to find a placement for DD - apparently there isn't anywhere.

Tomorrow morning, she will be taken by security, with no appropriate adult, to a youth court in a town over 30 miles away, as my local court isn't open tomorrow. They didn't WANT to take her strait to court, but as SS have refused to place her, the police have no choice.

After court, she will be taken down to the Court Cells until YOTS can see her. YOTS will have to contact SS. Then DD will STILL be waiting in cells until a SW can get there.

I don't know if it will be a SW from MY area or a SW from THAT area. That area is in the South of my County, and I am in the North of my County.

I have no transport, what will I do about visiting DD?

I'm not doing this because I WANT to, but because it's the last resort, and I have to safeguard my younger DC's from her violence - as well as smashing my house up constantly for the last 4 days, and absconding repeatedly, she has also threatened to beat my 11yo black and blue and to push him down the stairs.

Are they discharging a proper duty of care to my vulnerable, depressed, self harming 15yo with SN's and Moderate Learning Difficulties??

Leaving her in cells for maybe 24 hours or more in total? She was arrested at 2.30pm yesterday afternoon, and will be taken to court at 8/9am tomorrow, to be heard at some random point after that. Then she will have to wait for YOTS (not her first court appearance for criminal damage) and THEN wait for a SW...

Is this normal with such a vulnerable teenager if the parent, for reasons of her younger DC's safety, cannot take them back home?

OddBoots Mon 27-Jan-14 09:26:51

Do I recall that you are disabled? I'm not sure if that means SS have a responsibility to protect you from her as well as protecting your children from her.

If they say they need to place your other children so she can return home they may need to be asked how they plan to safeguard your welfare too.

I don't know any of this, I'm just thinking aloud but hopefully others will know.

I think the difficulty is that they are not going to want to take responsibility for her and at the moment they don't have a duty to.

She is currently your responsibility so maybe come up with a list of people she could stay with (suitable or not) and get SS involved to help find out if they're suitable.

I can also see why they'd think about securing foster care for the younger children. Your older child has a lot of needs and you've been meeting them for 15 years - you are the only one who can currently meet her needs in any way.

With your younger children SS may genuinely think they are easier to place.

I think the problem is that SS are not going to want to bring her into the care system and they might be obstructive.

I know you've been doing this but the continued alternative (and I do appreciate how shitty this would be for you) is to have her back and the moment she is violent to you or any of the other children you call the police and have her removed. Every time, without fail.

I'm not sure if your own health is up to that though?

CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 09:43:27

My health isn't up to that. I have reached the end of my abilities to cope with her. Or help her.

And they wouldn't place my DS's in FC, as their Dad's would take them. It would mean them both (DS1 has 1 dad, DS2 & DS3 share another) moving house.

If that happened, I would lose my current ADAPTED FOR MY DISABILITIES home. I wouldn't be able to afford the bedroom tax. And I had to wait 9 years for THIS adapted home. So they would be putting my housing at risk.

I'm NOT going yo allow any of this to happen .

They LEGALLY have a duty to offer temporary emergency FC to a vulnerable minor who has nowhere else to go when their parent can't have them home.

They are trying to refuse that duty, even though doing so will put other DC's at risk.

I'm glad I have DD 's SM to advise me, and all of you on here.

Morgause Mon 27-Jan-14 09:43:41

I can't believe that people are saying you have to have her back. You don't. Just say no then SS have to do something.

She is violent to you and your other children and it's ridiculous to even contemplate having here back at the moment. You need to feel safe and feel that your children are safe.

CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 09:44:50

The only place she can go is to her Dad & SM's. But they HAVE to consider the risks to THEIR younger DC's, and we also have to consider her education.

I got her letter for her interview for her College place today - it's for the 5th Feb. sad

CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 09:46:31

I still haven't heard anything. Where would I find the number for whoever from SS would deal with her? I haven't been told a name or anything, it seems like SS are just ignoring the fact that I have said I can't have her home.

They do have a legal responsibility when a parent 'cant' have them home, I'm just worried they're going to say you 'won't' rather than can't so they avoid taking responsibility.

It would be better if you stress that your sons dad can't have them as he lives in a share rather than he could move out and have them.

Don't give them an easy solution.

I'm a fc btw who takes hard to place teens - and I've seen ss skate close to the line on what they're responsible for.

X posted

Would her dad have her then? If they would that would be great, she may not kick off against his children in the same way. Is he and the step mum more physically able to deal with it?

I know it's hard to see but she's kicking off against you because she knows you love and care for her - she may not do it with her dad or with a foster carer, it's possible that she may be better behaved like she is at school.

wetaugust Mon 27-Jan-14 09:59:04

Just refuse flatly to have her at home at this time.

It's then up to SS to find FC / farm her out to her father etc etc.

Leave the issue to SS. You cannot do more. Your are spent.

BrianTheMole Mon 27-Jan-14 10:03:28

I would make an official complaint in writing today to ssd. If you go to their website you will find the details on how to do this. You may be able to do it online. I would then contact your MP today and ask him to help you take up the case. It sounds as though your dd needs to go into an assessment unit, but clearly you need some help to fight this. Have you tried the childrens team for LD and PD? If your dd has a dual diagnosis you may be able to come under that team instead. Which would be better.

CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 10:07:59

The CWD team won't /can't take DD as she had prior CP involvement.

The prior CP involvement was from birth, because I was on the 'at risk' register still myself when DD was born due to the fact that I was only 16 when she was born.

In my area, ANY prior CP involvement, even historical from 15 years ago , means CWD pass it back to CP, who keep closing my case because I don't beat / starve / neglect my DC's.

CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 10:09:30

What's the difference between SS saying that I 'won't ' have DD home as opposed to 'can't' have DD home?

I CAN'T currently due to needing to safeguard the DS's.

Impatientismymiddlename Mon 27-Jan-14 10:10:23

You are doing the right thing by considering the risk to your younger children (both physical and emotional risk of harm).
SS have a duty to find a suitable placement if the child is unable to return home. If there are no lack suitable placements then they need to look outside of the county for a suitable placements. Lots of local authorities place children in homes in coastal towns as these are where the cost of social are is cheapest (due to Local housing costs). It doesn't matter if there re no suitable placements in your county, they will have to seek a placement in another county.
Obviously, SS are going to want your dd to return home as soon as possible (costs and lack of provision), but do not agree to have her home until suitable support is in place for all of the family.
You should also ask (demand) SS to carry out an assessment of needs for your other two children as they are at risk and therefore meet the criteria of children in need.
Do not be fobbed off.
You are doing the right thing by all of your children. I understand that it must be very hard but this is the only way that your dd will get the help that he needs.

CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 10:10:36

I'm going to write to my (usually very helpful) MP once I know what is happening with DD. Still job updates, and she must gave been seen in a Court now, as adult sessions start at 10am.

Impatientismymiddlename Mon 27-Jan-14 10:12:41

The difference between won't and can't is that the 'won't' means that you are just washing your hands because you have hot a little hurdle and are refusing to take your parenting responsibilities seriously as soon as a problem comes along. The 'cant' means that despite what you want it isn't possible to have your child at home.
You definitely sit in the 'cant' brigade, so don't let them tell you otherwise.

MrsDeVere Mon 27-Jan-14 10:12:57

You can't have her back because she would be putting your others at risk.

It is not in THE BEST INTERESTS of your younger children to be removed from the home and they would have a bloody hard job persuading the courts that was the case.

If you were refusing to protect them from their DS they could argue the case but you are not.

SS do take 15 year olds and find fc or group placements for them.

They could argue that you 'won't' take her back but you have a strong argument that you 'can't'.

I have seen a lot weaker 'can'ts' in my time e.g. they don't get on with my partner.

Things have reached crisis point even though you have been trying to prevent it getting this bad.

Time for other agencies to step in. Its what they are for.

BrianTheMole Mon 27-Jan-14 10:17:09

That is annoying as cp aren't able to meet your dd's needs. MP and big complaint it will have to be then.

Well they're going to try to make out you can have her home so that they don't have to bring her into care.

It is very expensive to bring a kid into care and I just think they will try to avoid it. Firstly by saying you are a good mother ( which they have evidence of as they keep closing cp cases against you), her previous safety for years in the home. Then they might try a different tack - by offering support - what this may mean in reality is a visit from SS, an offer of family therapy etc.

All to avoid the most expensive option, taking her into care.

I'm not criticising SS in any way, the social workers I know have their hands tied by budget constraints.

Livvylongpants Mon 27-Jan-14 10:20:47

Couthy I followed your last thread for a while and am so sorry it has come to this. If SS say they can't have her because she is over 16 they are lying. Until they are 18 they are still a minor in SS terms and must be placed accordingly,,you just have to refuse, refuse, refuse. They will try everything but once they know you CAN'T have her back they will amazingly find a place for her (my sister was a child like your DD at one point my parents were even paying for her to live in a b&b just to have her away from the family home)

SidandAndyssextoy Mon 27-Jan-14 10:23:35

Couthy, I'm a sad veteran of some of this. I suggest calling your MP's office today if s/he is helpful. Don't write and don't wait. Also your councillors can be surprisingly useful. Demand assessments for the younger siblings immediately. We had to threaten to abandon a seriously disabled child at social services to get the help we needed. We were actually told to do this by three professionals. Social services are so stretched that they are firefighting emergencies all the time, and you have to create that emergency.

Livvylongpants Mon 27-Jan-14 10:27:53

I also want to reassure you. My sister was like this from about 8 upward. Abusive, running away and generally a terror. She has stints in b&bs and foster care. She got pregnant at 15, gave birth at 16 and shacked up with a (female) heroin addict. Had her daughter removed by SS. Had another child at 18. Sounds awful right?

She is now 25 and a lovely person, who is genuinely remorseful for her actions, a fabulous mother to her now 3 children. She has a steady job, a nice partner and a lovely home. She is responsible and mature and we are all very proud of her. She is also doing an OU course to become a counsellor for teens who were like she was.

All is not lost Couthy

TheXxed Mon 27-Jan-14 10:35:26

Will a criminal conviction effect her college place?

CouthyMow Mon 27-Jan-14 10:43:26

Very possibly. sad

I didn't have a choice though. It was why I wasn't sure about the police taking her , at first they were leaving it down to me , and her College place WAS the reason I was conflicted. But she continued punching the walls (have a massive hole in plasterboard, WPC estimates £200-£300 to fix). So the police took the decision out of my hands, and charged her with criminal damage.

She already HAS been in Court for criminal damage, outside the home, I'm paying a fine of £477 out if my benefits because the school refused to sign the paperwork for her to get a job to pay it, due to being Y11 and SN's.

She has also threatened my 11yo with violence twice in the last two days. I can't keep him in his room permanently just to protect him.

So I have NO choice but to refuse to have her home without PROPER support IN PLACE from CAHMS and other agencies before I even consider it. And her Dad & SM say the same - none of us can have her living with us , due to safeguarding younger DC's, without the support already being in place and being delivered.

TheXxed Mon 27-Jan-14 11:03:32

I only say this as its something you need to consider in looking at her long term care. It opens up the opportunity for foster homes further away.

TheXxed Mon 27-Jan-14 11:06:07

That didn't come out the way I meant it to, if she isn't tied to a particular college as will have more than options in terms of foster placements.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now