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Failed viability assesment to care for my cousins can we appeal?

(19 Posts)
pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 08:52:43

I have previously posted on here how we are trying to become foster carers of our cousins.

Well we found out yesterday that we failed the viability assessment, but we dont feel that the social workers have assessed us properly. Let me explain.

We put ourselves forward in Feb to look after the girls. The SW's dragged their feet and even stated originally that they did not want to assess us as they felt we would not protect the girls from their uncle if we needed to. This allegation was based on an assumption from them that we would not stick to any restrictions; ie we would allow my uncle to see the girls even if he was not allowed. This was a totally rubbish accusation and we have always maintained from the start that we would work closely with them to ensure the best for the girls.

Our solicitor basically forced their hand into them assessing us.

Anyway when they evetually got started they did all the paperwork health checks, criminal records etc. Then they said they would visit us on th 19th and 20th of August.

As it it got closer to that date and we had heard no confirmation time from them we tried to contact them. They finally got back to us at the beginning of the week to tell us that something had come up and they were not coming. They wanted to conduct a phone interview instead.

I posted about that on here and someone said dont do it as phone interviews were not as good as face to face. But from start to finias I have tried to be as acommodating as I can to the SW. So I agreed. They told me it would take about 3 hrs.

It took 30 mins. And that 30 minute phone call is what they have based our viability on.

I feel that they only agreed to assess us to shut us up basically and I dont feel thay have done their job properly at all.

I have emailed the children's gaurdian with my concerns, but how likely is it that she can do anything? And do we have grounds for appeal.

Has anyone else been in circumstances like this before and got the descison reversed?

My Uncle is frantic that the social services want to adopt his girls out and he will never see them again. He has made some big mistakes but he loves his girls and has never and would never hurt them.
WE were the only ones in the family who could have them and he is desperate, even if he could not see them he thought that if they were with us than he would be happy.

What can we do?

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 08:54:30

Sorry I meant the girls are his daughters- he is my uncle.

nymphadora Sat 04-Sep-10 09:02:14

Have you got clear feedback on why? You'll need something specific to appeal against. They can't just say you aren't right and staying in family should always trump things like school places etc.

I don't know much about fostering assessments as I work on the Childs side but the ideal is that children remain within families if there is someone suitable to care for them ( and standards are slightly lower for families than LA FC)

p99gmb Sat 04-Sep-10 09:10:33

Hi PinkDolly,

I would appeal on whatever grounds you can - our SW told us that Social Services are 'terrified' of doing anything wrong these days, and an appeal would really rock and panic them.

How can anyone base a decision on a 30 min chat!!!!

Take it as high as you can - its crazy that kids are returned to families when all around think they shouldn't be.. and here you are - family - and not being allowed... crazy.

Good luck - keep us posted

nymphadora Sat 04-Sep-10 09:18:08

That's what I was thinking . Would have to be something really bad for them not to consider you after a brief conversation.

What did you discuss?

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 09:43:02


My Uncle only phoned me yesterday to tell me he head heard from his solicitors that we had been dismissed. So we have had no official response ourselves yet. As such I dont know what there reasons are.

But we both have totally clear criminal records. A few years ago my health was bad and I was on DLA for a bit, but we are both in perfect health now.

Dh is a youth worker and I run a toddler group with 20-30 children in it.

We discussed our religious (I hate that word) views, we are Christians and attend church every week. Our discipline styles. We do not smack, we use the counting to 5 method for our 4 year old. Firm no's for our 1 year old. And the older 2 either get sent to their room or have to do a household chore for me.

We discussed whether we would be able to do do as we are told by the SS- sticking to all their requirements. We told them 100% yes. Bu

We discussed our support networks, my mum and dad are on DLA but desperate to see the fgirls. We are part of a big church and have great support networks there.

We talked about the financial implications and our transportation. Yes we would have to get a new vehicle. And they asked what my children thought. They are desprate for the girls to come and live with us (I haven't told them we have been turned down yet, they will be gutted).

They asked about the size of our house. We have a big 4 bed bungalow, all the rooms are big doubles. And how we would sleep the girls (i said they could share a room together if they wanted).

And how we spend time as a family.

And that was it.

We do have 4 children of our our 2 youngest are the same ages as the girls (18 months and 4), I know that may seem a lot for some people, but how can they tell if we could cope from a brief phonecall?).

Can you see anything here that has alarm bells?, dh and I were so sure we would pass this.

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 09:44:02

Sorry about all the typos.

nymphadora Sat 04-Sep-10 09:44:56

Nothing obvious which it would have to have been at this stage!

Any contact discussion?

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 09:52:05

Sorry yes. They were really pushing us on whether we thought my uncle should be able to see the girls or not. We have limited information about how the girls have been affected by the issues surrounding them being taken into care (which we told them), we said originally that maybe supervised visits could be arranged but if the girls would be traumatised by seeing their dad tha maybe some form of letter box contact would be more appropriate. We said we would be totally willing to comply with whatever the social workers wanted us to do regarding contact. But this wasn't enough for them, they pushed us and pushed us for an answer on whether we thought my uncle should see his girls.

In the end we had no choice but to say given the limited information we have then no he shouldn't.

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 10:00:55

They also asked if we could keep our distance from him if they asked us to. We agreed to this. They asked how we would feel if he tried to pressure us into allowing him contact. We said we would be firm and stand our ground. We are not push overs.

TBH- the SW have messed us around right from the start and we have been nothin but courteous and patient with them.

One thought tho- could they have turned us down purely on our location. The girls live in Wales and we are in Cornwall.

nymphadora Sat 04-Sep-10 10:45:46

Location shouldn't be an issue ( they are little if I remember from other threads?) family placements should be more important than schools etc. I know of a few families where child is out of county with family.

Sounds like you said right stuff re contact too. I know one case who said that an abusive parent was fine in their eyes so wouldn't prevent it ( obviously the child didn't go to them.)

When they get back to you officially then ask for proper feedback & who you can go to higher up.

Do you know about special guardianships/ residence orders? My LA is pushing families to get these instead as they are cheaper and it's less SS involvement which is better for the children long term.

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 10:51:44

I have heard of them, but the girls have been in a foster placement since November. Is it still possible to get one after that length of time?

If so how would I apply for that, would I just ask my solicitor to start proceedings for it?

nymphadora Sat 04-Sep-10 11:09:42

They would come to you originally as foster children then change over, at least that's how it's being done here ( I'm working with children who have been in care a while).

I just wondered that if you discussed them with the SWs/guardian etc as well it shows commitment and that you aren't just doing it for the money( sad how many do ). There is still an element of support from SS but you get parental responsibility

nymphadora Sat 04-Sep-10 11:10:50

Is it possible your uncle is wrong/confused?

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 11:17:58

Thanx Nymph for you input. It has to be worth a try. Dh and I are definately not in this for the money. Although unfortunately we are not in the position to take on 2 extra little ones without some support. Even if we could get the extra tax credit or child benefit that would be enough. I dont really know how these things work. But we would never dream of taking the girls on just to line our own pockets (I know you were't insuating that we were).

Although if we have been turned down at this early stage are they likely to consider us for any other residency position as you have outlined.

I have emailed the girls special Gaurdian as if I understand rightly it is her job to make sure the social workers have done their jobs correctly. And not dismissed us unnecesarily (Im I right?). I have told her a little but about ourselves and how the sw has been up to now (I have not been slinging mud tho, and was v.polite about them).

I have also told her that we have the girls very best interests at heart and that if she does look into the case and finds the sw has acted appropriately and we are not viable then we hope they do manage to find a really good family for them.

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 11:23:34

I dont know- he said that he had had a conversation with his solicitor yesterday and that both us and the childrens grandmother had been refused (we knew that she would be due to various issues).

His solicitor said it was a very lengthy document and he would forward it on to my uncle but he could not pick out one reason why we turned down. He just mentioned something about family history.

Now that could mean anyhing I suppose. I was ill a few years back, I also had some mild postnatal depression when my youngest was tiny. But nothing serious.

My dad (my uncle's brother) is concerned that my other uncle's past could be the problem (as I had to give details of all my uncles siblings).

I haven't seen my other uncle since I was tiny and I dont remember him, I could walk past him in the street and not know who he is and vice versa. My parents stopped him seeing us when we were tiny because of some child sexual offence he committed (I know nothing at all of the circumstances).

I made it clear to the sw tho that we have no contact with this man.

pinkdolly Sat 04-Sep-10 11:28:01

I have to go out now, but I will be back later, I very much appreciate your advice.

nymphadora Sat 04-Sep-10 11:40:28

Like I say it's not my side of the fence but I can't see any reason so far.

There is a poster on here who used to manage a fostering team , might be worth looking out for her.

Good luck

Housequeenbee Thu 28-Jul-16 20:39:11

Hi we had schedule 4 assesment for my grandsons sister as we already have him on SGO and they have told us we failed as we both work full time and as the little girl was born prem she may have medical needs even though as present she is developing normally so they are going to put her up for adoption how can this be right they knew I worked before I was assessed and have not even asked if I would be prepared to give up work. I have been told to go solicitor and apply privately for her don't know what the hell SS mean

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