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Raising my niece

(12 Posts)
JtD1999 Tue 30-Jun-20 17:08:27

So, my sister had a baby five years ago and couldn’t raise her because of her special needs. So my mother raised her age 60. Mother is now 65 and gravely ill and now I’ve found myself caring for my niece. We knew this was a possibility, but I’m scared half to death. I have one son age 15 and although we knew this could happen it’s still a huge adjustment for us all. I’m a single parent and my son has autism so any advice from anyone would be great. We’re only a few days in and obviously my niece is still unsettled. We all have a good relationship thankfully. I’m concerned about so many little things. Obviously the worst hasn’t happened to mother, but even still, she’ll never be fully well again. Anyone been in a similar situation?

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sleepismysuperpower1 Tue 30-Jun-20 18:50:12

I'm so sorry to hear about your mum. I hope she feels better soon.
It will take your niece a while to settle in, has she got her own space (her own bedroom?) If so, it might be nice to let her have a chance to choose how to decorate it/pick out a few accessories (charity shops/ebay are the places to look) so it feels like her own space.
Practicality wise, you might be able to apply for carers allowance and child benefit, so it would be worth looking into that.
All the best flowers

JtD1999 Tue 30-Jun-20 18:57:07

Thank you so much 😊

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Bridehorror Tue 30-Jun-20 19:03:43

Ask for a social worker if you haven't got one already, they can really help support all three of you, get on the list of camhs, your niece will need additional support and the early this happens the better, also ask for support for you and your son, your world has been turned upside down and getting help in early doesn't mean you can't cope rather it's a way of helping you prepare especially as your mothers illness must be adding to your worries. Good luck, it's a lovely thing that you are doing but the rewards are worth it but it's still tough.

JtD1999 Wed 01-Jul-20 19:55:12

I’m already registered with camhs and my niece has no additional needs so to speak, but any offerings of advice is always welcome. Thanks 😊

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NameChange657 Wed 01-Jul-20 20:32:29

Does your niece go to school yet? School nurses are really well placed to refer for extra support, same with health visitor if not. You will be entitled to respite care after an assessment which can make such a huge difference to you and your son. This won't be easy, but you are doing a wonderful thing and you are not alone. Charities are excellent too depending on what SN your niece has. Your local authority can do a carers assessment for you and offer advice there. You could be entitled to a disabled badge, carers allowance / CB, she could be eligible for DLA, all just little things that may make this a little easier for you. If she requires physical care / has safety risks they can even give you a health allowance to employ carers on a permanent or respite case. I am unsure of what the fostering rules are but something tells me you MAY be entitled to some kind of fostering allowance through a family placement, this would also come with respite care etc. I'm not sure if any of this is useful for you, but the key to success is support, that you should access because you deserve all the help you can get for this selfless act. flowers

bluebluezoo Wed 01-Jul-20 20:36:55

Charities are excellent too depending on what SN your niece has. Your local authority can do a carers assessment for you and offer advice there. You could be entitled to a disabled badge, carers allowance / CB, she could be eligible for DLA, all just little things that may make this a little easier for you

I read it as the o/p’s sister has SN, which is why she isn’t parenting. Not the niece...

saraclara Wed 01-Jul-20 21:04:44

bluebluezoo

*Charities are excellent too depending on what SN your niece has. Your local authority can do a carers assessment for you and offer advice there. You could be entitled to a disabled badge, carers allowance / CB, she could be eligible for DLA, all just little things that may make this a little easier for you*

I read it as the o/p’s sister has SN, which is why she isn’t parenting. Not the niece...

So did I. But now I read it again, I can't tell whether it's the sister or the niece with special needs.
OP, can you clarify?

CloudyGladys Wed 01-Jul-20 22:57:49

Niece - Who has Parental Responsibility and is able to give consent for things like routine medical treatments and school trips? You need to sort this out if she is to stay with you long term. I think you also have to register the arrangement (it's called something like Kinship Care) with your Local Authority. Is DN's father on the scene? Does she still see her DM? How will this work long-term?

Mum - Depending on her diagnosis, there may be organisations for your DM's condition or you may be able to access support services via her GP. Do you have other siblings who can help out?

Son - Ask DS's school before term ends for support or to make referrals for helping him understand and accept the significant changes in his life. You can do this whether or not he is currently attending due to Covid.

Citizen's Advice will tell you what you need to ask for (for your DM, DS and DN) and from whom - sometimes it helps to know the jargon so you can ask specifically for what you need, as it may not be offered.

You might want to think about creating a "What If" plan - What if you have an accident or are taken ill, arranging in advance who picks up the care for each of your family members? Hopefully you will never need it.

Take care of yourself. This is important. You can't care for others unless you care for yourself (metaphorically, make sure you put your own oxygen mask on first).

AMomHasNoName Wed 01-Jul-20 23:02:06

Hello OP .Another kinship carer here. Also raising my niece. Not the same circumstances as she has been here from birth and placed by children's services. If you have access to facebook there are lots of us in a support group .Just search for kinship "foster" carers . X

JtD1999 Fri 03-Jul-20 16:45:44

Yeah my sister has sn, not my niece 😊

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JtD1999 Fri 03-Jul-20 16:47:42

Thanks everyone for your kind words and advice ☺️

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