Emergency Fostering - what are SS's responsibilities?(112 Posts)
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?
I knew they'd pull there finger out when THEY had to deal with her behaviour. It's good of them to apologise to you but still doesn't make up for the years of lacking support.
It's sad that it came to this before help was accessed, when the situated could possibly had been resolved a long time before and been considerably cheaper for them
I have been thinking about you a lot and hope all works out for you and you daughter the way it did for my sister. Her and my mum have a great relationship now, its great your daughter understands why she's there, maybe it will make her think hard about her actions
That sounds really positive Couthy!!!
So glad that DD realises that things cannot carry on as they are, and that she is having a CAMHS assessment. I am a lurker but wanted to let you know i'm thinking of you and your family.
So pleased to hear things are looking up.
That's brilliant news. All of it. Really pleased for you.
Oh - also got a call from DD's science teacher. DD had neglected to tell me that it is parents evening TOMORROW! I now have to ring the school in the morning and arrange appointments with her teachers. DD has known for 2 weeks plus...
Spoke to DD. First of all she demanded her phone (lol, typical DD!), and a list of other stuff.
Then we had a breakthrough...DD said she understood why she was there, and that she KNOWS now that she needs some help.
And she said she loves me at the end of the call too.
I now feel much happier knowing that this was absolutely the right thing to do for ALL of us!
Have spoken to SW AND DD.
SW : DD had a 'kick off' when asked to go to bed last night (sounds very mild compared to the ones she has at home, mind you...). They can see DD urgently needs input from CAHMS, and DD is having a full CAHMS assessment...TOMORROW!!
(Fuck me, it's usually a 4+ month waiting list. And her kick off sounded bloody mild to me...)
The SW apologised for the previous
15 fucking years lack of support. DD MUST have CAHMS input before returning home. They have also urgently referred her to Dbit, which deals with adolescents at risk of being taken into care and/or custody. Apparently they have quite good results in these situations.
The SW said that she wants our experience of SS to be a "far better experience than those we have had previously".
I am seeing the SW at home on Thursday afternoon, and there will be a placement planning meeting within the next week.
It sounds like the placement is ok for a while.
They are looking at taxi to school. The placement is close enough that DD can be driven to school, but is rural and NOT close enough for DD to 'hang out' with her bloody mates.
I'm not exaggerating. The pocket money for a 15 year old in my area is £14.75 a week pocket money, plus £16.65 clothing allowance - so that's £120 ish a month. Plus £10 for phone.
We have just had the document for foster care allowances for the next year and they have increased from last year.
I think these stories about £60 per month pocket money in FC are somewhat exaggerated. FC allowances in some areas are actually being cut, and they are expected to buy clothing out of their allowance, and so this is going to affect pocket money to the young person.
I'm a retired social worker/manager and under the terms of the Children Act there should be a Placement Agreement Meeting as soon as possible after the child is placed. That is to sort out the day to day stuff about who does what. I would contact the duty team (as it is unlikely your DD will have an allocated sw) and ask when this meeting is taking place. These meetings are usually held in the home of the foster carer, but different LAs will have different arrangements.
I really feel for you as you have clearly been struggling for a long time. I have a horrible feeling that once your DD is 16 then SS will say they no longer have any responsibility to her. It is true that a young person is a minor until aged 18 but many young people aged 16 are made to leave foster homes and put into shared housing or hostels if there are any in the area. This was happening when I was last working 2004 and things are so much tighter now because of all the budget constraints.
It might be a good idea to contact your local councillor who will alert the Director of SS to your plight and this may help in ensuring she is cared for beyond 16 years. Incidentally are you getting DLA for your daughter, and a Carers Allowance and any other benefits you might be entitled to.
I don't think they would put her in supported accommodation. DS is as he cannot be in a family environment and can be quite abusive to those caring for him (once past his honeymoon phase of being the most charming person you could ever meet). Sometimes teens just need a bit of breathing space (and so do you and your other DC) to grow in maturity and see how important it is to be in a place (home) where they're loved. The bloom of being in FC will fade.
When are they having a case conference?
Is the emergency placement for a while, have they indicated how long she can stay?
Christ, £60 a month pocket money?! I can usually scrape together about £10-15 a month for each of the three DC's. And that INCLUDES their mobile credit, and one 'outing'.
THAT is one of the reasons I think DD sees FC as a fun place to be, rather than the boring stresses of home, where I struggle to pay the internet bill, and she is lucky to get £5 a month phone credit.
(She could use the landline for mobiles, my phone package includes calls up to 59 minutes even to mobiles without me paying extra, but she refuses to use it...)
I can only afford to buy clothing when it's absolutely necessary, when someone has grown, or an item of clothing has worn out. And I can't afford any brand names either...
Today as both DS1 AND DS2 have grown, I've had to buy 4 jumpers and 4 t-shirts out of £50. Which is no easy feat when they both wear adult sizes...
She HATES the fact that a lot of our clothes have to come from the charity shops, and are never the brand names that she covets.
What she doesn't notice is that I wore boots with 2-inch holes in for 2 months over the winter (got some new ones today for £10) so that I could buy them bloody Christmas presents.
She never sees what I DO manage to do for her, only what I don't.
If I won the lottery (difficult when I don't buy a ticket...) then yes, she would have comparable 'things' to her friends.
I didn't ask to be disabled, and to have to leave my career when she was 5, but it happened. And that's my fault too.
She doesn't realise how much it upsets me to see her feel like she doesn't fit in because I can't afford the stuff she wants. I wish I could.
But anyway, I have spoken to the SW. She offered me the FC phone number, but I gave her mine to pass on instead (DD won't remember it!). I will leave it up to DD when to call me.
She is bound to be angry and stressed, but no matter how much I miss her, I don't want to put her on the spot by ringing her, I want her to feel ready to call me, so that it doesn't stress her out too much.
It's hard, because even when DD is away at her Dad's, I ring her twice a day. But it's not about how I feel, it's about how DD feels.
God, no matter how necessary this is, for ALL of us, I bloody miss her!!
Laurie I agree with you. I think the kids are being set up to fail with the amount of money they get.
It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job.
It must be like banging your head against a brick wall sometimes.
They shouldn't do that.
They might try if she gets a good FC placement now she would be able to stay.
Supported accommodation can be like FC, it doesn't have to be a group flat or a hostel.
In fact you have case law behind you if they do try and stick her in a hostel.
But try not to worry about it now.
They wouldn't put a vulnerable teen I yo supported accommodation as soon as they turn 16, would they?!
If they move into supported accommodation, they get Â£50 per week and need to sort their own food out of that.
You've definitely got a point about the extra 'stuff' FC get - dd gets £60 pocket money a month, £60 clothing allowance, phone paid for. All activities paid for (4 dance classes/ scouts/music lessons/ice skating every week). This is the minimum we have to give her - and I think it's loads.
Worst of all in my opinion though is the fact she's been told by SS that she will get a flat and £2k to furnish it when she's 18.
We counteract that though by not letting her out til she's done her homework (12-15 hours a week as she's Gcse year) and by explaining and showing her what the working world is like - we both work at weekends and evenings and she has to as well to get her homework done. We think our goal is to get her independant and able to support herself financially.
There are other foster carers though who just give them the money and don't supervise adequately in my opinion.
Hopefully she will get the type of carer who is sensitive to her needs and won't let her run rings round them.
She probably knows my DS. He would brag about these things and make it sound rosy even though he also steals these things (including from me and others in the family) and then sells them.
It doesn't help that the side of FC DD has seen (and she FOES have a few friends in FC) are iPads, out far later than I allow, money to go to the roller rink twice a week (I can only afford once a month, as the other three DC's need to have a social life too), new clothes that are named brands, not just Tesco best IYSWIM...
She sees the grass as greener.
Oh Couthy, my sister thought foster care would be fab. No rules and personal allowance and all a bit Tracy beaker. After 2 weeks she was begging to come home, as soon as she realised she still had a curfew, still had to tidy her room, still had to go to school etc
She'll want to, even if it takes her a while to back down enough to admit it. Social services have barely any resources they will try it on as long as they can until they realise you definatly mean no
You didn't have a choice, you've done the right thing for all your children (and yourself but it's clear you're intentions were the care of your children).
There will be issues, maybe the ones on your mind, maybe others but you have done all you can do in the situation you were in so try not to dwell on them.
I'm a bit worried that she won't WANT to come back - her friends in FC seem to get things I can't begin to afford, as I'd have to do them 3 times over, for DD , DS1 AND DS2.
Her friends in FC all seem to have a £20 a week allowance, new, named clothing all the time, iPads and iPhones...things I've not got a cat's chance in hell of affording...
That's been playing on my mind last night...
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