Is my fault he's going into care?

(115 Posts)
Sayjustjackwithjazzhands Fri 21-Mar-14 08:25:06

Very long story but don't want to out myself so will try make it brief but understandable.

My nephew is 10 and is under the care of social workers. He is 'd'b's son and due to db having various personal problems we have not been in touch properly for a few years. My nephews mum has had lots of issues over the years but it came to light recently that she is not a stable mother and cannot be trusted to care for her son. I have seen my nephew a handful of times in the past few years due to the bad relationship between her and db. To prevent him being taken into care a few of her family members have been interviewed etc but are not deemed stable to take care of him full time. Db has refused to step up, been avoiding calls, breaking promises to attend meeting etc and being generally unreliable.

DM is understandably devastated and wants to put herself forward for full custody, however she has planned a once in a lifetime trip with her partner that will last at least 3 months. She has asked me to take responsibility for dn until her return. I thought about it for a while and although I haven't said officially said no, I think this will be my answer.

I live with dh approx 10 miles away and our 1yr old DS. It would mean effectively moving into dm's house for that length of time. Dm lives in a tiny 2 bed flat with my younger sisters so it would be cramped with us all there. My dh works local to our home so couldn't move in with us, let alone not having the space.

This is awful and I feel like its my fault dn will have to go into care. Dm is refusing to speak to me and says that I'm being selfish. I've tried telling her that its not me who has caused this and its at db that she needs to direct her anger not me but its falling on deaf ears.

Why doesn't she understand? Am I being selfish? Not sure what I'm asking but feels good to write it out.

diddl Fri 21-Mar-14 09:09:37

If your mother is serious about custody & you having your nephew for three months would ensure that then I think that you should give it serious consideration.

But I would have thought not cancelling the trip won't do her any favours.

Were the other family members automatically approached or did they "put themselves forward"?

expatinscotland Fri 21-Mar-14 09:10:25

There may be very valid reasons why the OP is unable to take him, none of which are our business.

Poppylovescheese Fri 21-Mar-14 09:10:42

Actually from someone who has been in this situation and short term fostered my niece until she returned home I do think you are being selfish. I wouldn't normally say that to anyone but if you have to ask a bunch of strangers you clearly know it anyway

Tobagostreet Fri 21-Mar-14 09:10:45

To answer your question, it is 100% not your fault that he may go into care.

In your position, if you have a real desire to be involved, I'd look at offering him temporary care at your own home until something can be sorted on a more permanent basis (long term foster care/mum sorting herself out/adoption - though unlikely at 10 yo).

If your not in a position to make this commitment to your nephew, then don't get involved. It will only cause you and him even more heartache.

No judgement on you at all, but similarly to other posters above, I would do anything to make my own DN feel loved and wanted, including rearranging my own family life to make it 'fit'.

In most cases though, that would be easier said than done, so I appreciate that everyone s different.

I really hope for this wee lads sake that he finds some security in his home life soon.

I'm sorry that you have been put in this position OP.thanks

HopefulHamster Fri 21-Mar-14 09:14:38

Poppy, OP has a one bed flat and a baby. It's not easy for her to say no or yes! Whereas her mother could just cancel her holiday. It's easier to change a holiday arrangement than where you live.

MaryWestmacott Fri 21-Mar-14 09:17:45

It is not your fault. Your DM might have to make a decision about what she wants most, and the 'trip of a lifetime' might have to be cancelled. Or could she speak to SS, they might be prepared to arrange foster place for him until she's back...

Plus she would be overcrowded, has she looked at the possiblity of getting a bigger property? does she own or rent? if she owns, she could rent out her flat and rent something larger that's more suitable. If she rents, would she be entitled to any financial help to get a larger property if she takes responsibility for DN?

millymolls Fri 21-Mar-14 09:18:25

of course its easier to say than do. I am aware of that. But I still personally believe that I would not hesitate and would make the best of it to avoid putting my own 10 year old nephew into care.

Sorry, but I can't personally comprehend the notion of allowing that just because it would be an upheaval for me. I know not everyone will agree with that notion.

This lad must be really scared, sad and lonely now wondering what is going to happen to him.

nipersvest Fri 21-Mar-14 09:19:22

op, you have my sympathy, we have been through similar recently with my sil's dc's. to those saying they would instantly take on nieces/nephews if it was needed, can i just say it is never quite that straight forward. it would be great if it was, but having gone through a lot with social services recently with regards our nephew, the whole process was a nightmare. there is a heck of a lot more to consider than a simple 'oh, he can come and stay here'.

"10 year olds are not that much extra work" - it's not just the 10 year old though, in taking him on, you end up embroiled in social services, weekly meetings, care plans, if the parents retain parental responsibility every little decision has to go through them (even a haircut), his parents personal problems etc...

snoggle Fri 21-Mar-14 09:20:24

What arrangements has your mum made for your sisters while she goes on holiday? Has she just assumed you can look after them or had she planned something when she arranged the trip? Her priorities sound a bit odd

giggly Fri 21-Mar-14 09:20:52

I would expect my family to accomadate my children should ever the need arise regardless of the size of their home, as I would theirs. Despite the best efforts of great foster carers I believe families should intervene. I would be looking at the grans cancelation policy. Sorry but holiday of a lifetime or caring for grandsonshock , shocking.

Jinsei Fri 21-Mar-14 09:21:07

I'd do it in a heartbeat if I were you. However, if I were your mother, I wouldn't think twice about cancelling my holiday either.

NearTheWindymill Fri 21-Mar-14 09:21:32

This boy has been let down by:

His mother
His father
His mother's close and extended family
His paternal grandmother

If your mother is the sort of woman who will not cancel a holiday for her grandchild then it is perhaps not surprising her son has grown up with an inadequate sense of responsibility.

You sound very grounded in the circumstances OP and are rightly putting your family unit and dependent infant first. That is what you should be doing and if others had done that for dn nobody would be in this situation at all.

You are way way down the pecking order in the blame game and should stick to your guns. You are not responsible for the decisions of your brother and your mother but you are rightly and properly taking responsibility for your own child.

Those who say otherwise are, I think, being unkind and unfair.

Higgledyhouse Fri 21-Mar-14 09:26:17

I don't think you are selfish - however in your shoes I would 100% take my nephew in to my home for a period of 3 months, longer if needed to prevent him going into care, regardless of any of the issues you have raised.

I think your mum is very caring to compromise her life in this way, after all she has parented once and is now prepared to do it again. She may feel she could do with a few months to prepare for this long term commitment, get her head around it all etc. After all she will be unlikely to go on another holiday like this for another 8 years or so.

If I were you, I would support my mum with this.

Good luck - it's sounds very sad for you all.

nipersvest Fri 21-Mar-14 09:29:07

my mil had to cancel going on holiday the day she was due to do as sil had been arrested (again) and her 3 dc's needed care. 3 weeks later, mil was at breaking point with all the stress and we got involved albeit at a distance as we don't live in the same part of the country.

iit is not as straight forward as having a nephew to stay. it is messy and hugely complicated.

EverythingCounts Fri 21-Mar-14 09:37:19

Your mother should cancel the holiday. And she should be having strong words with your brother, not you, about how he is letting his son down with his unreliability. Poor kid. But this would be a massive upheaval for you, OP, compared to the changes others would have to make but are not prepared to. Not your fault.

titchy Fri 21-Mar-14 09:52:50

How in earth are SS going to agree to OP's mother having him anyway - there is no spare bedroom for him. Or are your sisters going to move out? I assume they're old enough to live independently if your mum's not having anyone in to look after them?

Booboostoo Fri 21-Mar-14 09:59:50

Your mum is being incredibly selfish, she should cancel the holiday.

You are being a bit selfish, this is the rest of a boy's life that's at stake, three months is not such a long time for a sacrifice on your part.

Having said that, I also can't believe SS would agree with this plan.

Lancelottie Fri 21-Mar-14 10:14:26

I don't see why ANYONE is saying the OP is being selfish. Why does her blood relationship to this boy make her automatically a better choice for this child than someone who wants to foster him?

He might be very distressed at living with an almost unknown aunt, who will necessarily be distracted by her own young baby, at a time when he needs considerable help.

nipersvest Fri 21-Mar-14 10:23:59

foster care can be a positive experience. the youngest 2 of sil's dc's went into care for 5 months and their behaviour improved, school work improved, self confidence improved. the foster carers were fully supported and trained.

Anniegetyourgun Fri 21-Mar-14 10:27:02

I miss the bit where SS asked the OP to consider taking the nephew in. As far as I can tell that has not happened so to say she's selfish for not doing it is a little premature if nothing else. In fact her mother hasn't been asked to either; she "wants to put herself forward" and has thought up this wizard wheeze where her daughter fills in the gaps, which sounds really quite impractical and not at all in the nephew's interests. However, if SS don't buy it she will of course be able to blame her daughter for not going along with the holiday cover plan.

As for a strange ten-year-old who has had heaven knows what upbringing so far, I am surprised to learn he wouldn't be much trouble to look after. He will if you're doing it right! I might have taken on a nephew had the circumstances arisen (they didn't), but that's because I had a couple of boys around the same age; one more would have made less difference than it would to a family with just a one-year-old baby who arguably have no experience with 10-year-olds. (And, let us not forget, a one bed flat to keep him in.)

Cut the OP some slack for goodness' sake.

Sayjustjackwithjazzhands Fri 21-Mar-14 10:33:11

Thanks for your thoughtful replies, I'm grateful for all.

I can't talk to anyone in RL so its good to get it off my chest. Its heartbreaking and I've been in tears all morning thinking of my dn. Its a horrible horrible position to be put in and I wish it wasn't the case.

In DMs defence this has happened v quickly, she wanted to assume custody as a last resort expecting dn mothers family would come through, and was told after the first the SS meeting that she 'is the best person to have dn, and is very likely to get custody'. So way after the holiday had been booked and paid for.

I have my own personal probs to deal with and as expected poor dn is very troubled, and I don't think I'm mentally capable of taking him on, especially without dm being around to support me. He spent lots of time with me as a baby but in the last 3/4 years I've seen him a handful of times. I love him dearly and I would be willing to offer some help a few days a week but being his full time carer sounds would be very difficult for me.

littlebluedog12 Fri 21-Mar-14 10:37:46

I think you ALL need to decide what is really in the best interests of DN and do whatever is reasonably in your power to make that happen. Only you know whether your mum is actually in a reasonable position to take him in.

In your situation I think I would be chasing down your brother and forcing him to take some responsibility for his son.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Fri 21-Mar-14 10:38:54

If your mother won't give up a holiday for this, then she isn't the right person to take in your DN. She's full of sentimentality and short on real commitment.

If your mother is angry at you, but there's little comment on how this is actually the fault of your arse of a brother, then she's also not the right person to take in your DN, as she's unlikely to be able to appropriately protect your DN from being messed about more in the future by him. How will you feel when your mum beamingly announces that her dear darling son has come good this time, honest, and is going to start trying to look after DN again?

And most of all, if at this absolute crisis point your mum's solution to the problem is to go on holiday but it's all ok because YOU, with a baby to care for, will be moving in to look after all three other children...well, prepare to be on call and expected to step in from now on, I'd say.

I would think hard about taking in your DN yourself, but from what you've posted I'd never assist your mother to do so. She seems unlikely to be able to cope with a situation like this if even appreciate how hard it is likely to be. And the person to suffer for that will be your DN.

Tell her that when she sulks at you. And that before she plans anything to talk to SS because holidays or not, the fact that she's already overcrowded will probably mean she can't be considered anyway.

Lweji Fri 21-Mar-14 10:39:02

OP, I don't think you are being selfish and I understand your reluctance given the circumstances.
However, I'd consider approaching SS to enquire about possibilities, such as getting extra funds for a bigger place, knowing the child better and what would be involved. You may well decide in the end that you can't or won't.

In the end it might be better for him if he gets good foster parents than inadequate care by his relatives.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Fri 21-Mar-14 10:41:43

X-posts. If she's been told she's likely to get custody-turn you simply reply to the emotional blackmail by saying 'Mum, if you are the right person to get custody you'd be cancelling the holiday, sorry. If the holiday's more important to you, maybe that's a sign that he needs to be somewhere that takes his situation more seriously.'

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