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Any adopters who live in council housing?

(39 Posts)
Bananaketchup Mon 18-Jan-10 17:23:15

I'm a prospective single adopter, and have a one-bed council flat. The VA I want to go with are very wary of assessing me while this is the case. Meanwhile the council have given me conflicting advice, I was told once that they won't reassess my housing need until I have a child placed (which the VA have told will never happen as they won't take me on in this case), and another time that they would treat me the same as a pregnant person if I am in the assessment process. I've got a meeting with the council this week to discuss, I was just hoping maybe there is someone here who has managed the same situation? TIA

breadboard Mon 18-Jan-10 20:58:11

I am sorry but I don't know enough to answer your question.
However I do think that putting yourself forward as a single prospective mother is a wonderful thing and I hope you have every encouragement and support.
I am sure someone will be along soon who can help. Good Luck

TheWorldFamousKewcumber Tue 19-Jan-10 13:09:52

I'm not aware of any single council house adopters on MN, you might be better off joining adoptionUk they have a much bigger single adopter community

wb Tue 19-Jan-10 13:16:20

I've heard of this sort of chicken and egg situation before. Agree with Kewcumber - contact Adoption UK and ask for advice. If they can't help get the council to clarify it's position and if they say they won't re-assess you until a child is placed, speak to your local councilor/MP cause that's just daft.

Bananaketchup Tue 19-Jan-10 18:49:46

Thanks for your kind replies, met with the council today and it's not good news sad.

The woman said they definitely would not help me, all she would suggest is that I give up my council tenancy and move into a 2-bed private rented property - I live in a very expensive county and private rent is about 5 times council rent so there's no way I could afford to pay that. She seemed to think I was applying to adopt on a whim - 'we can't reassess anyone who says they're thinking of adopting, they might not ever get a child'. I tried to explain the rigours of the process but she didn't seem to get it.

All I want is to be treated the same as someone who is pregnant, I'm not asking to jump the queue just not to be discriminated against cos I'm not going to give birth myself. When I said this she said she thought the adoption agency were being discriminatory, not the council!

Sorry for the rant, I feel really sad and frustrated. I'm going to write to the head of housing and also post again to see if anyone with a housing background can advise me. I have tried adoption uk too thanks for the advice.

PrammyMammy Tue 19-Jan-10 19:02:57

Can you try for a mutual exchange? We live in council housing. I got a flat when i was pg with ds, and we exchanged into a house just a few months ago, there is a housing exchange website, it is very handy.

TheWorldFamousKewcumber Tue 19-Jan-10 21:11:59

the truth is bananaketchuo is that lots of people do drop out so I can see their point. I would try to persuade the council to assess you and once you are approved as an adopter apply for a 2 bed - having been approved is more akin to being pregnant than applying. Applying is just the equivalent of TTC!

Ask the council housing if you would be given more consideration after approval and ask adoption team if they would be prepared to assess you in a one-bed flat onj the understanding that you wouldn;t be matched until you were in a 2 bed.

The otehr alternative is to put a sofa bed in your living room and say you will move in there and child will have bedroom until rehoused.

KristinaM Tue 19-Jan-10 21:19:52

if you applied to your LA as a foster carer they might be prepared to rehouse you. if they are short of Fcs

have you thought of permanent fostering rather than adoption?

AFAIK most housing authorities have the same policy on adoption. Even once you are assessed you might wait years for a placement sad

can i ask - once you have a child placed with you for adoption, are you planning to work part time and how will that work for you financially and for the child?

I know you are not asking about that but i think the whole issue of income and housing costs is linked. There is no point in finding a housing solution that means you have to work full time to pay the rent.

Bananaketchup Wed 20-Jan-10 18:24:33

Prammymammy - I have been looking for exchanges but not many people want to go from 2 beds to 1. those who do all seem to be older people who want to move due to not being able to manage stairs, and I'm upstairs in a block with no lift, so I've had no joy. I will keep looking though, thanks

Kewcumber - I agree people do drop out but people who are pg also don't always go to plan either - don't carry to term, child taken into care, relationship breakdown and child moved out, anything can happen. I would be happy to agree to relinquish 2-bed property if I don't get approved, I just want a chance out of the stalemate. I can't be assessed by the council as I work in social care and know several of the adoption SWs very well, they have said they can't assess me as it's a conflict of interest. So it has to be the VA, who have said a firm no to the me sleeping in the lounge option. Thank you for looking for solutions though.

Kristina - I haven't considered fostering TBH, do you not have to do it as a full-time job? As I have to go with a VA (see above) they are very proactive at matching as they spend money assessing and don't get it back til they place a child, which is why they are being so rigid about this - they don't want to spend money on me and be out of pocket while they wait ages for me to be rehoused, I can see their point. I am looking for a school age child and am lucky to be able to earn an ok amount working school hours 4 days a week, so that side of things is ok. As you say, if I move to private rented I would have to work FT to afford it, so that isn't an option. Thanks for you suggestions.

Thank you to everyone for trying to help, I'm feeling very down about it ATM but will come back and tell you if I manage to make it work!

KristinaM Wed 20-Jan-10 22:50:24

Hi banana - your LA cant just refuse to assess you because you happen to know some of the adoption Sws. They have a statutory duty to provide this service, if necessary they can just sub contract it to an independent Sw or another LA. If you want to consider this option, you should put your request in writing to the Director.

Lots of Fcs also have a part time job, especially if they are caring for school aged children. Though if its a couple some agencies insist that one is full time. Basically it depends on the contract you have with your agency. certainly you couldn't work full time and you woudl need time off work for meetings, contact visits, illness etc etc

If the LA are short of FCs they may be prepared to rehouse you, even if you did respite etc for a while while looking for a permanent placement

Also it would provide you with another income stream. For example, for a 5-10 yo child you would receive about £600 p/m in allowances plus whatever fee they pay, I would guess about £800 -£1,000 p/m. The fees vary a great deal between agencies and are taxable, the allowances are fairly standard and are not taxed.

10poundstogo Wed 20-Jan-10 23:13:56

I live in Bristol and I know that once someone has been approved for fostering or adoption they are given top priority. I dont think you should stop here, you ought to take this further. Shelter are v good for free legal advice on housing issues and will be aware of you local authorities policies and proceedures. I would certainly ask for the decision to be reviewed by a senior manager and ask what the situation will be once you are approved. If you are not satisfied with this then I would complain to the relevant ombudsman, they are obliged to give you the details of how to contact them on request. Its a total bloody nonsence that socail services are crying out for foster carers and adopters and the housing policy does nothing to address this. You could approach your local councillor or MP on this issue if it proves to be the case once you have gone thru all the hoops. Best of luck.

Bananaketchup Fri 22-Jan-10 17:23:12

Kristina - that is really useful info, thank you. I will definitely go back to the LA. The info on fostering is very helpful too, I am going to give it some more thought.

10pounds - that's very helpful thanks, you've given me the idea of quoting other council's policies on this in my letter to housing, I've been online all afternoon finding useful quotes! Haven't been able to get through to Shelter yet but am going to keep ringing and see what they suggest.

If I get no further with housing my next stop is going to be my district counsillor and MP and see if they will support me. Thank you for all your help.

KristinaM Sun 24-Jan-10 15:01:05

good luck smile

AfterAdoption Fri 21-May-10 11:27:51

Hi - there are many myths surrounding adoption, despite many people thinking so you do not need to own your own home. What you do need to have is enough space for the child - where the one-bed might be an issue.

Adoption UK, BAAF and After Adoption are a good source of information.

If you are not happy with the way the local authority is dealing with the situation you can always try another local authority of a voluntary adoption agency - BAAF will have a list of these on their website.

EricNorthmansmistress Wed 02-Jun-10 20:33:12

Pregnant women don't get moved to two beds either The logic is exactly the same as with prospective adopters - the baby might die plus babies can share bedrooms with parents until they are five.

I think your best bet is either move into the living room and pursue it with the agency pointing out that you have a bedroom for the child (what you would have to do anyway, however you become a parent, having a child will not entitle you to 2 beds) OR do something crafty with subletting your flat. That might not be possible though if the rent would be too high for private letting.

The agency should not disallow you based on your flat being one bed - unless you have a gas fire in your living room then your flat is actually classed as having two sleeping rooms.

LexieKJ Thu 29-Jul-10 15:12:41

This might be a bit late to answer this, but in some areas, pregnant women DO get moved to 2 bed flats/houses. Sometimes it really is done on a case by case basis. There don't seem to be national guidelines, or if there are, they certainly aren't followed religiously. There is a case to be made for discrimination if you live in an area that WILL rehouse pregnant women, as becoming approved as an adopter does imply that you are becoming a parent. I would get help from citizen's advice, your MP, literally anyone who will help or you think can help. Kick up a fuss and make as much noise as you can. Sounds relaly juvenile, but sometimes it's just about getting the right people to pay attention to you. It's such a shame when children are crying out for families and yet people are being put off or blocked for extremely arbitrary reasons. Good luck! Let us know how you get on!

choufleur Thu 29-Jul-10 15:18:13

If there is a shortage of housing where you are (and i guess there is as there is almost everywhere) you won't be considered for re-housing due to overcrowding until you have a child. The same goes for pregnant women. It's in case anything goes wrong and you don't actually have a child.

I seriously doubt the council will do anything to move you, even if your councillor and/or mp gets involved.

Could you afford to move into private rented accommodation?

Bananaketchup Thu 29-Jul-10 18:47:35

To update - my local council consider a pregnant woman to be entitled to 2 bedrooms from 24 weeks of pregnancy, however they have no policy for adopters. Since this a) makes no sense and b) is discriminatory, I am still arguing with them about it.

I am having ongoing discussions with the corporate head of housing, who is currently 'taking legal advice' as in my last letter I pointed out that under the Allocation of Accomodation guidance for local authorities 2002, the Children Act 1989 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002, they have a statutory duty to promote the upbringing of children in adoptive families. I'm not going to give up, if a 24 weeks pregnant woman is entitled to 2 bedrooms, they need to have an equivalent policy for adopters.

If anyone else is reading this in a similar situation, I've got loads of info I've dug up to support my case which I am happy to share.

LexieKJ Thu 29-Jul-10 21:42:35

Thanks for the update Bananaketchup! I was curious how far along you'd got. It looks like you have a case with their pregnancy policy. This kind of thing really annoys me, we are always encouraged as a society to treat adoptive and birth children exactly the same and yet the authorities by default discriminate. Absolute lunacy!

For what it's worth, the benefits system (mainly child benefit in your case, but also with maternity grants) seems to treat adopters the same as they do pregnant women, so you might be able to use that as a point with the council. Don't know if it would help your case much in the official sense, but it would give them food for thought.

From what I can see, in your last post alone you have made your case. I think it's awesome you wish to make a home and a family for a child and I quite agree, they need a policy that is both fair and non-discriminatory.

Best of luck, and please do keep us informed. You have me very intrigued with this!

KristinaM Sun 01-Aug-10 20:19:55

good for you for taking them on smile

however i would caution you to have a plan B in place

i suspect that you will get them to agree to allowing prospective adopters to apply for a 2 bed property once they are matched with a child. in practice this wont make any difference to you as no one will match you with a child unless you have a 2 bed room property already. after all, you coudl wait years on the waiting list to move, even once you have the extra points sad

Bananaketchup Mon 02-Aug-10 19:48:40

I want the council to agree that once matched I will be in the top priority band for rehousing - this is the policy in several councils who do have a policy on housing adopters. My local council rehouse people in the top band who have a connection to an area before those who don't, so I would then be at the top of the list for the village I live in, the village my parents live in, the village my brother lives in and the town I work in. This gives me plenty of scope and would realistically mean I would be rehoused within 3 months or so.

There is no plan B. I can't afford to rent privately here and even people a lot richer than me can't afford to buy here. So if this doesn't work I will not be able to adopt. Unless my mum wins the lottery.

KristinaM Mon 02-Aug-10 21:27:39

I hope you get this policy changed. it woudl be great if you could get rehoused in 3 months. the only thing is that any matching SW would probably delay introductions until you were rehoused as they woudln't want a child to have to move house twice and family once within a few months

have you considered fostering for your local authority for a while first? It would give you excellent experience and a better idea of what issues you could / could not cope with. And you would have to be rehoused now as you need a spare room

you could do respite for another foster carers or birth families and have a child/ children at weekends regularly

just a thought smile

Bananaketchup Tue 03-Aug-10 18:49:45

I would really like to do respite and I have thought about it a lot. As you say, it would give me good experience, and hopefully make me attractive to the LA as a prospective adopter.

But the council don't have a housing policy for foster carers just like they don't for adopters, so I come up against the same problem. The county council have have the LAC and the district council have the housing, and they really don't seem capable of joined up thinking sad

skyeplusbump Tue 03-Aug-10 19:20:07

im so sorry that i have nothing useful to say,
i just wanted you to know that im utterly appalled by this.
there should AT LEAST be a way for you to start on this ladder,
the fact that there are a large number of school age children who need nothing but a home and love and understanding,and are being denied this by utterly idiotic red tape is astounding!
why is it ok for biological children to live in 1 bed flats with loving parents,but not adoptive?!
im just so angry for you!
good luck with this!!

Bananaketchup Wed 04-Aug-10 20:34:07

Thank you Skye, hopefully I'll have good news to share one of these days!

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