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Please can you tell me whether foster care might be an option here - would children be kept together?

(13 Posts)
listsandbudgets Wed 23-Apr-14 15:51:44

My friend has been in hospital for 6 weeks now. She's a single parent with 3 children aged 2, 6 and 8. A group of her friends including me have been looking after the children. Mainly the youngest has been with one person and the older 2 have moved about a bit - a week or two in each place. We take them to school, organis`e holiday activities etc. basically treat them as we would our own

Initially we organised all of this thinking it would be short term but their mum is still in hospital and it looks like it could be another 6-8 weeks before she comes out.

We are beginning to think the children all need to be together and stay in one place. Is foster care an option and if so what do we need to do to help their mum organise it (she's on heavy duty painkillers or sedated a lot of the time). Also will the children be together and how hard will it be to get them home at the end of it all? Will they be able to carry on at same school?

Sorry for so many questions. We just want the best for these lovely children and their mum.

Their dad is worse than useless by the way - don't want to go into details here

MrsDeVere Wed 23-Apr-14 16:00:52

FC is an option.
The issue is if there is a placement available for all of them.
There shouldn't be a problem getting them back if the placement is for medical reasons and there are no child protection concerns.

Respite fostering for children whilst their parents are in hospital is common.

I believe (someone can correct me if my info is out of date) that this would be done under a sec 20 which is a voluntary agreement that the children go into care.

The other option is that one of you is supported to foster the children on a more formal basis. Would that be a possibility?

listsandbudgets Wed 23-Apr-14 21:55:32

Thank you. There is one family who may have the space and time to take them all together and they have talked about doing so. We've all agreed we can help with money and things like entertainmen and hospital visits.

Sadly we can't have them here for more than a few days as dd and ds already sharing a room so not sure another 3 children on a long term basis would work sad

Are you saying that they may be able to get some support from council to do it? We're not worried about money that's irrelevant in comparison with all else that is going on but we are worried about supporting the children emotionally. This has proven very hard for them. They are lovely children but its clear the situation is taking its toil especially on the 6 year old. We are doing our best and holding them through the tears but its hard

MrsDeVere Wed 23-Apr-14 23:16:01

Its not just about the money but you shouldn't underestimate the impact of someone taking on the care of three children.
The issue is that if the children are taken on a voluntary basis SS have no responsibility to support the placement.
This works well in some cases and people are happy with the arrangement. It would be classed as private fostering so whoever had the kids would have inform SS after a certain time (don't know off hand you would have to look that up).
If children are put into care and a family friend offers to take them with SS involvement it is more likely (though not definite) that the carer can get some support.

have info sheets

Look for 'friends and family carers' on the above website for some information about different aspects of caring for someone else's children.

I hope your friend recovers soon.

suzylee73 Thu 24-Apr-14 10:27:25

I fostered 3 children while their Mum was in hospital, it was on a voluntary order so when Mum was better they could go back home as soon as she was ready. It worked very well for the kids as they had their own rooms and space and understood that they could stay as long as they needed. It could be a good option if your friend needs time to recover after she leaves hospital too. Hope she gets better soon smile

listsandbudgets Sun 27-Apr-14 21:53:38

Just to say thank you.

All 3 have moved in with one family and the plan is to keep them there for now. We have planned a rota for weekends (during the day not over night) to give host family a break and getting them to after school activities - eg brownies, swimming.

Everything seems to be settling down. Hopefully their mum will become stable enough to have the big operation she needs this week and then she can start recovering from it.

such lovely children really hope we're doing the right thing

MrsDeVere Sun 27-Apr-14 21:58:13

Well done.
I am so glad you have updated.
I wish your friend well soon.
What a wonderful circle of friends she has. flowers

Parsnipcake Sun 27-Apr-14 22:04:25

You must notify social services if anyone is looking after the children for more than 28 days as part of private fostering regulations. They will be very supportive, but will have to do police checks etc. there may be financial and other support. It's really common for children to be fostered through illness, and the legal status can mean lots of positive things - help with education etc, so get it sorted out ASAP. -and don't worry that you will be investigated, it's not going to be like that!

listsandbudgets Mon 28-Apr-14 16:27:45

Thank you Parsnipcake I wondered about that. We will find out what to do. I hope they are helpful and supportive. Last thing these poor children need is more stress and upheaval.

Friend a bit better today. I went to see her this morning and she was sitting up for the first time I've seen in weeks. They've finally found a level of pain killers that works for her previously she's constantly had some pain sad

MrsDeVere Mon 28-Apr-14 16:46:37

They should be ok as long as you let them know. This is classed as private foster care as it was all done without SS intervention and there are no legal orders in place.

If you have a good SS dept they may offer you help as its the right thing to do. As the children have been taken on privately and voluntarily they are not legally bound to assist.

Although the children should be classed as IN NEED so are entitled to help.

It all depends on how SS want to interpret the situation.

private fostering

listsandbudgets Thu 15-May-14 09:05:19

Just a quick update.

The SS were called and informed more than 2 weeks ago but nothing has been heard from them since. Friend came out of hospital at the weekend but still has a long road to recovery so has moved in to the same friends that the children are staying at. Luckily they have a huge sprawling house with loads of space envy. Is it right to say that now she's lving in same house as her children social servies don't need to be troubled any further?

They're so happy to have her back it breaks my heart. I've only jsut realised now its gone that there was a permenantly troubled and sad look in the eyes of the oldest. Now she looks and acts like a little girl again.

LocalEditorWiganandSalford Thu 15-May-14 09:14:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LocalEditorWiganandSalford Thu 15-May-14 09:17:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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