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.

SlimJiminy Tue 15-Apr-14 15:30:43

Forgive me if I'm missing something, but does it really have to be all or nothing? Could he go into short-term care until the permanent arrangement with his GM was viable? Not that I think "sorry we're swanning off around the world for a few months first" will be considered an acceptable excuse, but it's very, very unfair to accuse you of being selfish when she's thinking of her round the world trip, not he grandson. Temporary care doesn't mean he'll be locked in a cell and let out when she's back. It will be a normal home with people looking after him. No idea if this would work, but could it at least be considered?

Mummra13 Mon 31-Mar-14 02:06:06

You have to put the needs of the child before anyone else. I realize that can be painful, however sometimes foster care or adoption is for the best. You and your family should get together and have an honest converstation of what is in your DNs best interest.

Fathertedfan Fri 28-Mar-14 23:02:19

I certainly wouldn't contemplate taking your nephew at the moment. Most children who come into care have very complex needs and attachment issues and this boy may not be suitable to live with your own child. If he is taken into care, you could ask to have regular contact with him, to build up a relationship with him?

alita7 Fri 28-Mar-14 13:34:46

also mini pie, 10 miles is a lot if you don't have a car, maybe that's the problem - it could also have a huge financial impact on the op.

anyway this is all silly as I don't believe social services would pplace him somewhere he doesn't have a room.

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 28-Mar-14 09:24:17

Bold fail

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 28-Mar-14 09:22:52

*What a bloody depressing thread. I would love to know how many people on it have actual experience of a troubled child. Sure, let's just force his feckless father (the one who can't even turn up to meetings) to look after him. Or what about his teenage aunts -sure they could give him the emotional support he needs. Or the OP could just let him kip on her sofa for a few months - ideal. As for 10 year olds not being much work -really?
Op you are not being unreasonable. Not even convinced your mum is either - taking on another 8 plus years of parenting is a huge commitment.
This poor kid needs a suitable home. This may not be something his family can provide.*

Well done BarbarianMum very wise post smile

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 28-Mar-14 09:18:41

i don't think I am mentally capable of taking him on

Why are people still saying you should do this and offering practical solutions!

alita7 Thu 27-Mar-14 22:17:47

Op you are not being selfish at all.

As others have mentioned the op would not be allowed by ss to take on the child without a room for him. And in actual fact I don't think your mother would be allowed either.

In any case the situation would be detrimental to your child and your nephew. your nephew doesn't know you well, and this child would need tonnes of attention so either your son or him would loose out. again you may not be able to go to all those meetings and he should definitely stay at the same school to keep one thing stable and constant for him.
This child could have learnt all kinds of behaviours, we don't know that he wouldn't be violent to your child, if he's been abused himself.

I don't have nephews or nieces but I would take on my cousins who are 4 and 6 if needed but I have a very good relationship with them and I wouldn't take on my 7 year old cousin who I barely know.

If your mother wants him she should give up the holiday and move. ss can support her to move. as a grandmother she would find it easier to get the relevant benefits than you. Also if your sister is 20 surely you could support her to look after him while your mum is away. It's a big ask but my 10 year old step daughter lives with us and I'm 20 (DP 31) and I care for her 50% of the time. Maybe you, your brother or your husband could go over and check on them and sort dinner or baby sit for a bit every evening and he could stay with your brother every weekend? that's if ss would even authorise him to live with your mum.

tell her to step up its not you who should. although really every one seems to be blaming everyone else instead of your brother who should grow up and be a parent! DP and i didn't think twice when dsd was taken from her mum.

minipie Wed 26-Mar-14 21:21:12

OP if you say no, do you think your DM will cancel her holiday?

in other words is she definitely set on the holiday even if it means foster care, or is she just asking you to cover the 3 months in the hope that there is a way she can take in DN without having to give up her trip... ?

also, just an idea on the housing issue - could your sisters move into your place and you into DM's - I don't really see 10 miles as a big commute...

all that said, I agree you shouldn't feel obliged or guilty here.

Owllady Wed 26-Mar-14 21:05:48

I agree with the last few posts. So.stones caring about someone means more than caring for someone if they would get more specific help elsewhere

BarbarianMum Wed 26-Mar-14 20:53:03

What a bloody depressing thread. I would love to know how many people on it have actual experience of a troubled child. Sure, let's just force his feckless father (the one who can't even turn up to meetings) to look after him. Or what about his teenage aunts -sure they could give him the emotional support he needs. Or the OP could just let him kip on her sofa for a few months - ideal. As for 10 year olds not being much work -really?
Op you are not being unreasonable. Not even convinced your mum is either - taking on another 8 plus years of parenting is a huge commitment.
This poor kid needs a suitable home. This may not be something his family can provide.

Sayjustjackwithjazzhands Sun 23-Mar-14 09:58:07

Glad some of you really understand. Thanks

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 22-Mar-14 11:07:27

No, it's not your fault. And in addition to Mrs DeVere's wise words I'd add that this is a classic case where love and blood ties just might not be enough to support this little boy.

I'm beyond furious at a GM who would still go on holiday in these sorts of circumstances, but leaving this to one side what your nephew needs is stability, security and possibly therapeutic support. Moving him around from pillar to post won't achieve this. If there is genuinely no one suitable within the extended family (and I'm not entirely sure why your brother isn't being made to step upto the plate - though in my experience SS aren't really switched on to the father being made to take responsibility), it sounds as if long term foster care may be the best option for him.

I'm sorry you are all in this position. I've come close to it a few times myself, and know that it really really isn't as easy as some people make out to "just take them in".

MrsDeVere Sat 22-Mar-14 10:12:36

I am a passionate advocate of kinship care. I believe that children are most often better with a good enough extended family member than they are with even the lovliest of adoptive parents or foster carers.

BUT it is not always the best solution, much as it pains me to say it. It has to be what is best for the child and sometimes the amount of disruption, trauma uncertainty and lack of resources does not stack up against the advantages of being with family, particularly if when the family are unknown to the child.

I don't know what the deal is with this sad story. None of us do. I hope it works out for the boy. At least he has got family who are thinking of him. There are plenty of kids in and out of the care system who have no one.

Technical Sat 22-Mar-14 07:43:01

To be clear I never said I thought OP should take the boy, I actually think she shouldn't, as others have said he will have complex needs and challenges which she (or GM) is not well placed to met.

My point was that the practical problems she raises as reasons she can't take him, living arrangements, schools could be overcome if it was decided that was in the best interests of all concerned and she wanted to.

MrsDeVere Fri 21-Mar-14 21:25:35

But it is unlikely that this will be considered a fc arrangement in which case SS may well get round the whole family carers being entitled to the same allowances (in any case the allowances do not include any 'enhancements' for training/experience etc).

SGO allowances are means tested.

scarlet5tyger Fri 21-Mar-14 21:17:23

Friends and family carers are entitled to the same allowance as other foster carers in their local authority, providing the fostering arrangement is through social services (ie not a private arrangement). It's no longer a cheap alternative to foster care.

OP I don't think you're being selfish, just realistic. Your nephew is sadly very likely to be badly affected by his chaotic home life and could very well be difficult to handle. I wouldn't take in a ten year old with a 1 year old baby - and I foster. It wouldn't just be your nephew moving into your flat either - for the first few months of a placement there are meetings galore and a stream of new faces in your house. I'm two months into a new placement at the moment and next week is the first week that I get a day with no appointment.

You'd also be expected to facilitate contact with your nephew's family - who may resent you for "helping" social services "take" their son.

All things that need considering.

Sayjustjackwithjazzhands Fri 21-Mar-14 20:16:49

Thank you suzylee

suzylee73 Fri 21-Mar-14 18:50:57

I'm sorry you have had a few negative responses. I suspect they are from people who have had no experience of this kind of situation so pay no attention smile
Obviously none of us know the full details of your families situation but if you can't look after him then don't beat yourself up about it.
Foster care is the best option sometimes and I see damaged children thrive with the right carers all the time. Staying with extended family isn't always the right thing for the child as there are constant reminders that makes it hard for them to move forward.
His needs should come first not family doing things out of guilt or social services looking for a cheap alternative to foster care.
Hope it works out

MrsDeVere Fri 21-Mar-14 18:43:36

Financial support for family carers is patchy, hard to come by and means tested.

Other kinds of support are even rarer. This boy is likely to need a lot of support and we don't know what sort of contact, therapy, review, medical schedule he is going to have.

In a three month sample period my DS (who I was fostering at that time) had SIXTY appointments.

I paid all expenses. I had to accompany him to all of them. I had no say in when or where these took place.

expatinscotland Fri 21-Mar-14 18:38:13

This child needs someone who is experienced in working with a child with the types of issues he has. A young woman with a toddler in a one-bed flat is not.

Yes, plenty of 19 and 21-year-olds are mothers, but not foster carers to 10-year-olds with troubled backgrounds.

SuperScrimper Fri 21-Mar-14 18:26:01

I can't believe anybody would actually put a crappy holiday above their own Grandchild going into care shock

People like this actually exist?

Technical Fri 21-Mar-14 18:22:41

You've quoted me out of context - I did finish by saying I thought OP was doing the right thing and that things are rarely as simple as they seem in the scenario I described at the beginning of my post.

The children didn't want to change school but they could have if that was what was necessary to get them the best possible solutions in other areas of their lives. I wasn't suggesting they could change schools for the 3 months GM is away but if OP took them long-term

I think there is financial support for familial fostering within certain income limits but I apologise if I'm wrong

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 18:15:32

You don't get financial support if you are family one. My friend took on his grandson and they (ss) t left him to it. He bas adopted him now, so it was the best short and long term plan for the bit BUT it isn't always that straightforward

nipersvest Fri 21-Mar-14 18:12:03

"If she were to foster the boy she would get financial support to do so. He could change school"

really? we couldn't take our 2 younger niece and nephew as neither wanted to change school, and it was decided as school was the only constant in their lives at the time, it was best they stayed in their area and went into foster care so they could stay at the same school than move away temporarily to stay with us.

and financial support?? where from? my mil had 3 grandchildren for 3 weeks, then continued with the older one for 5 months. she didn't get any help or support financially or otherwise from social services. they were quite happy to just leave her to it despite her being 74, and our oldest nephew came with a whole heap of issues, smoking, repeatedly being excluded from school, fighting, bunking off etc.

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