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If you have an agreement for ongoing financial support, how did you manage it? (long sorry)(5 Posts)
Hello all, long time lurker but infrequent poster looking for some advice.
I've DD6 and DS3 (single adopter), who have been placed for 17 months. I am yet to apply for the order, and the sticking point is basically money. I am asking the placing LA (just to be confusing, the placing LA used to be joint with my assessing LA, and now isn't, also I live in a third LA!) to put in writing that we will continue to be eligible for adoption allowance (currently get the full whack) based on DCs needs and our finances. I am worried that once the order is in and 3 years are up, when support reverts to my home LA, that both placing LA and home LA will refuse to offer any support. I am also worried that when budgets look tight, AA might look a good place for the LA to start cutting back. I have reduced my working hours to 2 1/2 days, which is the maximum the DCs can cope with, so income has reduced quite a bit.
The adoption manager in the placing LA is new, and doesn't know me or the DC at all. She has written that they cannot guarantee financial support going forward, that the are offering it for 3 years and after that time 'if necessary' we could be assessed for further support. This 3 years is news to me, that has never been mentioned as far as I remember, I was just told it'd be reassessed yearly. She has asked to meet with me 'to discuss permanency for the DC, given they have been placed with me for so long without the order and finance seems to still be a concern for me' - feels like a veiled threat but I may be paranoid! I have been asking for written assurance of ongoing support for over a year, it's documented in at least 2 LAC reviews, the IRO has always said it's been appropriate that I haven't applied for the order yet. The LAC SW is busy and nothing happens on anything I ask for at one LAC review until right before the next LAC review, we're just not a priority. My SW is useless, now belongs to a separate LA anyway, and is about to go off on mat leave.
I have little trust in the placing LA's adoption team, the manager is new and none of them know me or the DC. DD has emotional and behavioural issues (noted at the last LAC review as having significant needs), she gets higher rate care component of DLA for this. I started asking for therapy for her in July, in January the placing LA (the week of the LAC review )finally came up with fortnightly Theraplay with a SW assistant, starting in March. This is nowhere near what I asked for or what DD needs, they clearly didn't want to pay for anything and so minimise her needs. This is why I need to get the finance secure - as they are so useless I will most likely need to pay for therapy in the future myself, for DD and possibly DS who currently no one will say has any issues, as his aggression and oppositionality is within normal range for a 3 year old. DD is violent which of course he sees, and they are both only going to get bigger and stronger, I need to get this sorted and proper therapy in place and I don't trust any of the LAs involved to do anything at all helpful once I have the order.
So the point of all this (sorry it's long!) is to ask if anyone has managed to get written agreement of ongoing financial support, how you did it and how to make it hold water in the future? I have a friend who has guaranteed AA until 18th birthday, but that was in place and offered to any prospective adopters, as her DS was hard to place. I'd really appreciate some advice, before I meet with the manager. Thanks.
Yes I have , for a hard to place child. Like yours .
I got an adoption allowance , Funding for respite per year ( with a named carer ) , money for therapy
You need a lawyer . Don't trust anything from the LA, unless it's legally binding . Anything that's dependent on their assessment of your child some time in the future is worthless . Read the threads here about PAS.
If you don't get an agreement that you are happy with , just go for permanent fostering . Given that your DD is 6, with EBD bad enought to get DLA, that might be your best plan anyway .
Please don't feel threatened by the SW manager, it's all just posturing. Where else will they place the kids if you don't keep them ? With another foster carer ? That will cost the same or more than it does with you .
At the meeting , Just keep talking about the children's needs, now and in the future . You need the money for them, not for you. They will try to make you feel guilty and perhaps question your committemt to the kids, but that's just BS
ALL SS care about is money . You need to be hard headed here and think about your kids future needs. It's not the time to be sentimental about adoption vs fostering. What your children need is permanence - how that's best achieved is another matter
The new Adoption Support Fund starts in May this year too cater for long term support., is central Gov funded so will not cost LA. have too apply via LA. not sure of the criteria, see www.first4adoption.org.uk for details and help line
Thanks both, that's helpful info, and also clarified my thoughts. Reading back my OP, what it boils down to is that I don't trust the LA. So I have to act accordingly. Thank you.
Of course you shouldn't trust them, however much you might like any individuals who work there . You need a legally enforceable agreement .
This isnt unreasonable - all the social workers you deal with have an employment contract and a salary . They dont get paid according to how someone might assess their needs at some time in the future . They don't get paid for perhaps 3 years but they have to work there for 15 years . They expect to get paid for the work they have done even if the councils budget is under pressure or if the policy has changed .
Their vague promises or even good intentions won't pay for your childs therapy and keep a roof over their heads because you can't work if your child is too disturbed for childcare.
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