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Fostering a relative's child

(29 Posts)
OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 19:59:11

I've done a username change for this to protect identities. I will not be posting any information about the child other than to say they have a child in need plan

A direct relative (sibling) of mine has a non-biological child that is their partners. The situation is dire. I am considering contact the child's social worker and offering to look after the child until such a time that the home becomes stable, if that times comes.

Because the child is already known to social services I cannot be a family and friends carer without involving social services. I have no fear of social services, however, I have a mental health condition that my family are unaware of (PTSD). I found this information on a website (below):

"The social worker might want to make some checks on you before the child moves. This would be so that the social worker could feel sure that it would be safe for the child to live with you."

Please could someone tell me what checks these are?

Please could someone tell me if PTSD is going to automatically stop them from looking at me as a potential for looking after the child? Or whether it would be something that was viewed as "workable with (maybe with me satisfying some points)"? Would type of thing would they look for?

Please could someone also tell me, if this went to a child at need meeting (I think this is the term) and was discussed, would my PTSD be made public to the family (this is not a deciding factor, I just want to know whether my medical information will be kept confidential from my family members)?

The AIBU comes in because I am just trying to see if this would be viewed as totally unreasonable by social workers, or, after giving it some more thought, I should put my name forwards.

NavyandWhite Wed 14-Dec-16 20:05:32

Where are the child's parents?
Why aren't SS involved if the situation is dire?

Mummamayhem Wed 14-Dec-16 20:05:50

Firstly, does your siblings partner (and the other birth parent) want to loose custody of their child, on a temporary basis or otherwise? Without their agreement, if the situation is 'only' child in need, then childrens services might not be looking for alternative care.

In the event you were assessed, they would check you and your partner/those in family home for any criminal convictions - DBS check and child protection involvement/issues with you and your own family. They would assess along the lines of, are you able to meet the child's needs emotionally and practically and can you protect them from their birth relatives and ensure any contact is appropriate and safe.

You could always inform the social worker that in the event alternative care was needed you would be willing to offer this, on a temporary emergency basis or long term, or both.

Mummamayhem Wed 14-Dec-16 20:10:54

And yes, social services would be aware, especially if decision was contested by birth parents.

And it depends on risk/need to know basis about your PTSD, are you currently well? Are you on medication? How does the diagnosis affect the you/your daily life and capacity to meet a child's needs? Would your GP have concerns? It certainly doesn't rule you out but it should not be overlooked in the assessment.

Leanback Wed 14-Dec-16 20:12:00

PTSD should not stop you being able to foster this child if you can demonstrate that you are re managing this condition and are recieveig support. 100% disclose this to social services. It'll be much worse if they find out later on and you haven't informed them yourself. A health assessment from your go will probably be required.

Hardshoulder Wed 14-Dec-16 20:12:38

The adoption board will have more specialised knowledge.

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Wed 14-Dec-16 20:12:59

They are involved Navy, the child has a CIN plan.

OP, you can definitely put your name forward, if you feel it's something you could do. From what I understand though, you're not biologically related to the child - how long have you been involved in his or her life?

It varies in different LAs, but if the situation hits crisis point and the child is removed from the family home, the social worker may start putting feelers out for any family or close friends who could look after him or her. You could let them know that you are prepared to step up, but there may be other people they feel are more suited to do so.

bloodymincepiez Wed 14-Dec-16 20:13:30

I think you would only be eligible to foster the child if it was deemed the child should be going into foster care.

Given the child isn't a biological relative, I'm not sure how that would work, truthfully.

OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 20:15:43

Navyandwhite Social services are involved. If they weren't involved I would be able to offer the parents this without going via social services.

Mummamayhem Thank you very much. I may have used the wrong terminology with 'child in need'. With regards to the parents - only one is around. They are very against social services removing the child (again), but they would be happy for the child to live with me I think (I actually haven't offered this or discussed it with them. They did mention it to another family member). Thank you for the advice regarding informing the social worker if alternative care was offered.

Mummamayhem Wed 14-Dec-16 20:23:42

Child in need tends to be about supporting parents and children where there is a family difficulty.

Child in need of protection whereby there is a child protection plan, parents are supported and advised how to safely parent their child and keep them at home but with the knowledge that should the plan not be complied with, alternative care may be sought. In which case parents consent may not be required but sought through a court process.

If the parents are in agreement with their child being voluntarily accommodated, court process is not necessary. But in both instances family and friends options must be explored. It is irrelevant that you are not biologically linked. In the event it went to court be prepared for everything laid bare.

OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 20:25:43

Mummamayhem Yes, currently well. I take my medication, I don't self medicate, I go to therapy twice a week and I have a good track record at engaging with support. I have brilliant self care, I manage my finances well, I don't drink/smoke/take drugs, I regularly exercise and I have learnt how to handle with my PTSD triggers and which parts of my support network to access as necessary to stop me from becoming "unwell". I've never been hospitalised and I've never self harmed or attempted suicide. I have a full-time job as well as working as a support person for young people.

Leanback Yes - I would disclose fully at the start. I would actually go to my GP first and speak to them, discuss it with my therapists, and then take it forward if they were onboard. I would not even be thinking about this if I wasn't comfortable with disclosing it from the start. That would be an automatic warning sign to me that something was not right with me offering. I also don't think social services can make the right decision for the child when information is not fully disclosed as soon as it can be.

Hardshoulder Thank you. I will go and search who they are.

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay No, I am not biologically related. I did read that didn't matter. I've been involved in the child's life for two years now. However, I am more involved now than I was in the start. By involved, I mean the child knows me, is comfortable to go to the park with me, eats with me. No overnight stays. Thank you for the advice.

bloodymincepiez To be honest, I was wondering if this would avoid the child going into foster care - at least on some websites that is how it comes across. However, it may end up that the child is removed as well. I will have to read a lot more as a couple of you have mentioned the biological link now, which means I may have misinterpreted some of what I have read. Thank you for your post.

OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 20:27:32

"Child in need of protection whereby there is a child protection plan, parents are supported and advised how to safely parent their child and keep them at home but with the knowledge that should the plan not be complied with, alternative care may be sought. In which case parents consent may not be required but sought through a court process."

I am 100% certain it is this one. I cannot post why as it could identify the child. Thank you for the advice regarding everything getting laid bare in court.

Mummamayhem Wed 14-Dec-16 20:28:04

You sound like a great friends and family candidate. Good luck, I hope it works out for the little one.

OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 20:37:53

Thank you Mummamayhem

NavyandWhite Wed 14-Dec-16 20:38:39

Sorry I meant are they involved now in this dire situation. What are they proposing to do (if anything) ?

ghostyslovesheets Wed 14-Dec-16 20:39:29

Just to say - even if SS where NOT involved you MUST inform the LA if a child that is not your own lives with you/your family - it's the law.

SS will have to consider lots of factors OP - I'd discuss it with them informally

OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 20:41:20

Navyandwhite I haven't had a direct conversation with social services. I think the child is going to be removed, but I don't know if they will warn the parent and step-parent, or if they will remove the child immediately. I don't understand the process.

The situation has been dire for the child's lifetime. There has been a lot of social services involvement.

NavyandWhite Wed 14-Dec-16 20:47:15

Advice Tel: 0808 801 0366
General Enquiries: 020 7923 2628
Office Fax: 020 7923 2683
Email: office@frg.org.uk

Have you heard of Family Rights Group OP?
They give advice to all kinds of people with either a child in care or a family member wishing to care for it.

They are worth a call.

Good luck.

OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 21:08:17

Navy Yes, been on the website. I will give them a call. Thank you.

lellio Wed 14-Dec-16 21:28:20

Child in need = child is at risk of harm email. each. Eg substance abuse in one parent. Child protection plan = child is likely to suffer significant harm eg abuse, substance abuse of both parents without other support. Generally only children on protection plans get fostered in my LA.

You sound like a good candidate and most services would bite Yorkshire hand off.

user1471538980 Wed 14-Dec-16 21:35:04

In theory if the parent if the child agrees to them living with you they can do and you are better off looking at private fostering to see whether you come under this - certain relatives including step relatives can look after a child without there being an assessment.
If a case is child in need it would be unusual for a child to be removed unless there was a specific incident that increased concerns. They are more likely to be progressed to child protection first.

Friends and family carers that are assessed by social services are assessed differently to regular foster carers - you have to meet the minimum standards but they take the fact that you're family into account.
If you ptsd is well managed this shouldn't be an big issue but will be part of the assessment.

OnMountains Wed 14-Dec-16 21:44:35

lellio Yes, sorry, my mistake previously - it's child protection not child in need. Thank you for explaining the terminology.

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Wed 14-Dec-16 22:03:15

Agree that you sound like an amazing candidate. Good luck

OnMountains Fri 23-Dec-16 16:40:25

Thanks everyone. Supportive GP.

I've spoken to the social worker teams where we live (different areas for the child and I), it would be much simpler if we were both under the same council it seems. Initially they said it would not be possible as we live in different areas. Then they came back to me and said it is possible, but that it would be a few months before any decision on the child was made (which is totally fine).

Where the child is they want an assessment course and would then place me as an 'emergency carer'. I need to do an assessment training course.

Where I live, they like the assessment training course, and "encourage" working towards an NVQ Level 3 and there is a post-placement assessment. I was totally unaware that there were all of these components for known foster care, however they are all manageable. I am unsure if I need to do the training courses with each council or I just go with one, or I can use an external agency that would satisfy both councils?

Is there any place that is better to do the course?

Also, this NVQ thing - is there a place that is recognised as providing a better course (preferably online so I can do it in the evenings).

I've found some online learning things for child development etc. From what i understand it's all sort of portfolio / reflective judgement based - is that correct?

We spoke about the PTSD and it is not an automatic "no" but they are going to check what I have said is correct and that I am engaging with services etc. They did say that as the PTSD resulted from sexual violence it would not be mentioned if this went to court as it would identify me as a victim of sexual violence and supposedly I'm granted lifelong anonymity with that.

slkk Fri 23-Dec-16 16:52:28

Just do be careful. Fostering a child with attachment disorder (I don't know if your relative does have this but I would expect some attachment issues given their home life and the fact they have already been removed) can be VERY hard emotionally and physically. Please be sure that you are strong enough to take this on and understand that it may not be temporary.

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