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'm sorry, I don't know anything about this.
Can I hand hold until a useful person comes along?
I can't offer practical help/advice for these circumstances.
But am posting so you know that someone is thinking of you.
Sorry this is happening to you
I doubt that as are obliged to find emergency foster care if there isn't any foster care suitable
If you can find my thread about my son I went through the same thing. My son threatened me with a knife, was removed by the police and emergency fostered. He then was sectioned and spent nearly two years having treatment. Pm me if you need anything xx
Social services will lean on you though to take her back. You must keep saying no. They will find appropriate care for her. I was in the same boat. I couldn't access mental health care at a higher level until I did something by refusing to have him here (he has aspergers also). He then completely unravelled in hospital and they saw just how ill he was......
Best of luck it's a difficult road BUT my son is home, at college and well now xxx
What happens then? They can't leave a vulnerable 15yo in court cells indefinitely? Can they? And they can't release her with nowhere to go either, she's under 16...
And I genuinely can't have her back at present, to protect my younger DC's.
I'm in bits as it is and it's only come to this because CAHMS refused to see her because she hadn't finished her 6x weekly sessions with a counsellor from the Junction, 20min sessions that my DD wouldn't open up in.
Can't get her any help while she's at home, and can't protect the younger DC's.
She can't go to the only Children's Home in the area, as she has an on-off relationship with one of the long term residents. I'm quite sure that is putting a spanner in the works.
I know she won't be an easy placement, but they can't put her NOWHERE if I can't have her back yet on safeguarding grounds. SS will have my guts for garters if I don't put the younger ones first.
Feel trapped between a rock and a hard place.
Will she definitely need foster care? Perhaps the arrest will help her understand the consequences of her actions, and she'll be able to come home? Or are you not prepared to risk that for your other DC? (Which is understandable.)
Who says she can't go to children's home? Ss ?
Ok, x posted, and I see that's not an option, and probably a bad idea, to boot.
In my experience, social care will be very reluctant to take your daughter into care without a proper assessment or pre-planning. At this stage, the primary responsibility for the care of your dd is yours as her mother, albeit that you are also the victim and you are concerned at possible safeguarding concerns for your other dcs. However this doesnt negate your own responsibilities here, however difficult things are for you at the moment.
Have you spoken to your gp about a referral to CAMHS which is a mental health service for young people?
I would expect that social care or the YOT will get in touch with you today, if they haven't already.
When your dd appears in court today, it is doubtful that the court will deal with the whole court case today especially if you're not in court. They certainly wont be looking to send your dd into custody until the criminal damage case can be fully dealt with so the immediate issue for the court will be a question of where your ds goes in the meantime.
However difficult it is for you, you do need to think about the circumstances in which you can have your dd home. What support do you and your dd need from agencies? and let social care know. There are services out there to support families in these situations but there isnt a 'quick fix'. I think you probably know this yourself which is why its tempting in these circumstances just to want a total break from it all.
Sorry I know I'm probably not saying the things you desperately want to hear at the moment. Keep the lines of communication open with social care so that youre able to communicate what you need to support your dd and other dcs through this. Good luck OP
I suppose they might put her in the childrens home regardless of the relationship if there isn't anywhere else. Or a home in a different area.
Thinking of you, the situation sounds awful.
I have a few secs before I go to school bus.
She can go in care under a sec 20 if she has no-one with PR who is willing or able to take her in.
She is 15 so they do need to find her a fc place.
They won't want to do it because its hard to find placements and tbh a lot of teens think its a shortcut to a council flat so they have to be careful.
I am sorry but I don't know anything about the criminal side of it.
You've been trying to get her help for a long time, anyone who has followed your threads will know how hard you have tried.
I can't help with what the law is but can totally understand why you are having to say she can't come home and I think you have to stick with that stance, it seems to be the only way she will get help.
I'm sure you feel awful in not allowing her back but you are doing the right thing, you need to keep all your children safe long-term.
Just seen your post that CAMHS wouldn't accept referral! Thats not good. Now that things have escalated, it may open doors that weren't open. Annoys me that things have to reach this kind of stage before some services open their doors!
I have no advice but don't want to read and run, I can't imagine how tough this must be.
Wannabe, I followed your thread and always wondered how your ds was as couldn't find it again. I'm so glad to see he is doing well.
There was something on the radio about this at the weekend.
Perhaps you could use this as leverage in getting her the help she needs.
It really is a travesty that children as there most vulnerable are treated like this.
WhateverZen I think you're missing the point, the op sounds all too aware of CAMHS etc and I'm sure she's more than aware of her responsibilities. She can't have her dd back without putting the younger DCs at significant risk of harm. As they are even more vulnerable than dd, her primary responsibility has to be to them.
OP, so sorry you're in this awful situation, have you spoken to SS yourself? I know it's not even vaguely similar, but it often have to try and persuade SS to do things they don't want to in the name of safeguarding in the line of my work - I often find collecting names and names of supervisors helps get things moving. Have you called the duty SW yourself?
Are there any other family members or close friends who could have either your DD or your younger children for a few days?
Would you feel able to have DD back in the house if the younger DCs stayed at an aunt/friend/grandma's for a while? I know that's far from ideal but could it work if nothing else will?
Wannabestressfree, (sorry to interrupt an important bread).
Lovely to see your son is home. I followed your horrible time when he was quite poorly.
So glad to here things have improved. It was a tread that stayed with me. X
I don't have anywhere to send them. Only their Dad's. DS2 & DS3's dad lives in a ROOM in a shared house with people with Autism, so not suitable. DS1's dad is in a bedsit, so not suitable, he can't even have overnights right now. Family not suitable, due to their neglect of me/mother's alcoholism.
So, only solution to safeguard them is for DD to be placed in FC until the services she needs have been accessed. Been told by the police officer that if I have her home, a) SS will have to instigate CP plans on all three of my younger DC 's, and b) they won't be forced to put in place the help DD needs.
And I need to do it NOW because she is 16 in 6 weeks, and will them fall outside the remit of children's services, but below the remit of adult services.
It SHOULDN'T have got to crisis point, but it has.
Oh, and it was DD's Paed who referred her to CAHMS, before signing her off from children's services as DD's next appointment would be after she was 16. That was in December.0
No she wont fall outside children's services.
Refer them to the Southwark Judgement if they try to pull that stunt.
Children 16/17 cannot be placed in a hostel by SS in lieu of a fc placement or supported lodgings.
16 is still a child.
Sent you another pm, Couthy.
I think you need to put some stuff in writing. Please record any conversations you have, on the phone or in person.
I have a horrible feeling that someone from SS is going to attempt to blackmail you to have her back by suggesting that your younger children are easier to place.
In other words they may threaten to place the younger children as you can't keep them safe from your eldest.
Please, please document and record.
I have the same concern. I'm not about to take that lying down though...this seems to be the ONLY way I can get DD the help she so desperately needs.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
Will a criminal conviction effect her college place?
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.
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.
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.
Suggest you contact your local Parent partnership who should be able too suggest the right path too take as she has SN ,
Oh, thank you! Other side of town that we moved from 6 months ago hadn't had a PP officer for 4+ years. This side of town SHOULD have one though!!
No PP officer available.
SS refusing to act unless they hear from me or DD, DD won't do it, and I can't find a flipping phone number. When YOTS ring me back, I will ask for the number. I forgot in the last call because they were about to do something totally barmy.
YOTS in town the Court is in we're going to send DD to 'go buy a train ticket' (she's never done that before) and travel ALONE by train 30+ miles to get to YOTS in our town.
This is a child with LD's who had yo have six week's coaching from me to be able to catch the bus to school in September, at the start if Y11.
She still gets off at our old house and walks from there even though there's a bus stop 10 minutes closer to the school.
WTF were they thinking?!
I pointed out that she needed yo travel with an appropriate adult, due to her LD's, and they have said that they will 'do something different' and ring me back...
Do they need their fucking bumps felt or something? A self harming teen with LD 's travelling 30+ miles unaccompanied!!
I've posted what I think is the right number on your other thread.
You can also call Essex Social Services for help, advice or information for yourself or someone you know on 0845 603 7634 - out of hours call: 0845 606 1212.
A more sensible answer from YOTS in the town court is in - they will DRIVE her to YOTS in my town, who will take DD to SS.
Took 30 minutes of me thinking WHHAAAAATTTT??!! First, though!
SS are point blank REFUSING to accommodate her. I asked bluntly "Are you saying that Social Care are willing to put my younger 3 DC's at risk of being in a DV situation, or being hurt, then?" I got a mumble , and when I asked "so is that a yes or no ?" They changed the subject.
The SW told me they can't accommodate, her manager played the guilt trip about me abandoning DD, and as I still have PR it's my responsibility to find her somewhere (there IS fucking nowhere, this week - her Dad MAY be able to take her, at some point NEXT week, but not yet)
They said about her going yo her Dad's, as he will have PR...they seemed a bit put out when I pointed out that as he's not on her Birth Certificate, and we haven't been to Court, and her Birth was registered before 01/12/03, that actually, NO, her Dad DOESN'T have PR...
I got the whole "if you don't take her home tonight, you are leaving a minor homeless, and that is neglect"
I pointed out at that point that if I am unable to have her home, in order to safeguard my younger DC's, then they have a legal duty to find an emergency placement for DD...
They have escalated it to the senior manager.
They did this to me....
My 14 year old attacked myself and my younger children. Was cutting himself and threatened to cut my throat. In the end the police arrested him. I refused to have him home as I knew he was mentally ill and no one would help me. The social worker came to me house and said they would remove my tax credits, I was negating my responsibility as his mother etc.
I stuck firm for all our sakes and he got the help he needed.
Yep , knew they'd try to push it on to you.
Better they say you're 'neglecting' her by not having her back than have her back and she hurts you/herself/the younger children.
Hope you recorded that conversation. I'd also go with having your younger children assessed/questioned about safeguarding issues so that they can confirm the violence/disruption.
Hope the senior manager gets back to you soon.
Where is your daughter now?
They've released her and told her to come home. So I either have to take her back in and risk my other DC's safety, or I have to tell her face to face that I can't have her home and LITERALLY leave her on the streets. I'm in buts here, they won't fucking help.
It didn't matter how firm I stood, they've fuckibg washed their hands of it. I can't leave a vulnerable 15yo ON THE FUCKING STREETS and they know it. They released her BEFORE phoning he to tell me that they had.
By released do you mean they've let your vulnerable kid out to wander the streets home?
Formal complaint if so.
If you said she couldn't come in would she go to a friends?
I told them that if anything happens to my younger 3 DC's tonight, I will hold their department PERSONALLY responsible. I'm in tears here.
Her only suitable friend, both parents will be out at work until 5.30-6pm, I have only met the parents once, about 4 years ago, and I don't have their phone numbers or even remember their names.
And yes, Laurie, I mean EXACTLY that.
Don't let her in and she will go and stay somewhere else.
Let her in, call her dad /someone else to take her in.
Let her in, call police immediately she kicks off - maybe she won't want to spend another night in the cells and will behave tonight.
Horrible choices though.
That is awful. From my family's experiences of SS, though, i'm not that surprised. It sounds like you have a long list of grounds to complain on, but that doesn't help with the immediate problem of what to do with your DD when she gets home.
Couthy - surely there is a duty to protect you too, given your situation? Even if all the younger DCs were accommodated elsewhere, she could still be a danger to you. Please don't play that down.
Do you have any paper trail of what SS have said to you today?
If not, then can you write an account of your understanding of the conversations and email it to them. Ask them to respond immediately if they disagree with any part of how you have interpreted wha you have said. Send it with an "acknowledge receipt" thingie (and say in the email that you have, s it's harder quibble about whether it was seen).
The moment she starts banging on the door phone the police.
I don't think that there IS anywhere else, all options exhausted.
Don't let her in, SS refused to accommodate, she stays on the street all night in January...
Let her in and HOPE she doesn't hurt DS1...
I don't have an email address, and it's all been done over the phone. MN is my best record!!
I can't leave her on the streets in January. She will be VERY vulnerable, she's easily led, someone offers her drugs, I'm quite sure that right now if I did that, she wouldn't see that she has anything left to lose.
Not commented on your threads before but is there anyway you can get your sons somewhere safe before your daughter gets home.
I wish I had a solution for you but as I haven't I haven't posted but I am really worried about your other children.
Oh Couthy. No help here, sorry, but I hope you get it sorted.
but is there anyway you can get your sons somewhere safe before your daughter gets home.
Daft idea that is totally unsustainable.
No, you let her in and the minute she remotely kicks off you ring 999.
It might be unsustainable but clearly their safety is paramount.
SS are clearly not going to help if they could they would have done so. Therefore it is a damage limitation excercise.
I worked for an LEA who would have put couthy's daughter in a residential school for children with SEN. These options were not available abd leaving her outside the front door is not safe for anyone.
I can't believe they have just released her like that. Is there any way to contact your mp in an emergency? Ss are completely neglecting your very vulnerable family.
I've updated my other thread - that was a total LIE that SW told me, DD was safe in SS reception, I only found out because I rang YOTS who share a building with SS, they have now found her an emergency placement and I've sorted out some clothes for her.
Can we ring your MP for you, ring your Local Councillors, ring anyone else and highlight how utterly unacceptably things are being handled?
x posts. Unbelievable. But I'm glad a place has been found.
I'm shocked at the response from SS. Of course they have a responsibility and the ability to find your DD an emergency placement!
I recommend creating a timeline of the recent events and emailing to YOT, SS, and the Contact Centre of SS. Do you know the names of the team managers? I work connected to SS and a paper trail is vital.
I think.you are amazingly strong.
It's really good that they have lied and claimed they've released her, more basis for complaint at them trying to put undue pressure on you to have her back.
Great that they've found a placement for her - they only did that because you were strong enough to resist the pressure. Well done
Bloody hell! Make sure to write everything with names and times down, I doubt this will be the last incompetence.
I hope she doesn't hate me. I know I'm doing the best for EVERYONE, it just isn't going to feel like that yo her.
I haven't been able to speak to her, but I've put a little note in with her toiletries to remind her that even if it doesn't seem like it , I still love her very much.
You're doing the best thing - you're trying to get her the help that she so clearly needs, and you've tried all the other options with no luck. I really hope that they actually do start getting her the help now.
Just want you to know that my DS2-16 is in local authority care as he presented a danger to my younger children. He has been in a variety of supported accommodation (and sadly YOI) since refusing to finish at his EBD boarding school. I haven't posted about him lately but we have been to hell and back with him. I am in the same geographical area as you. Just stand your ground. You have to protect your whole family.
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...
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
If they move into supported accommodation, they get Â£50 per week and need to sort their own food out of that.
They wouldn't put a vulnerable teen I yo supported accommodation as soon as they turn 16, would they?!
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.
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.
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!!
When are they having a case conference?
Is the emergency placement for a while, have they indicated how long she can stay?
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.
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'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.
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.
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!
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...
That's brilliant news. All of it. Really pleased for you.
So pleased to hear things are looking up.
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.
That sounds really positive Couthy!!!
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
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