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Permenancy for Foster Children

(7 Posts)
Fosterangel Wed 12-Sep-12 17:20:24

We have been hearing rumours that all foster carers are to be asked to consider going for Permenancy with the foster children they look after. We have also heard that there may be Special Guardianships offered to foster carers too. Does anyone know about this and what the implications are?

BusterTheDonk Wed 12-Sep-12 19:15:35

only from bitter experience!!!

Run for the hills girls if they ask...

very raw and angry buster x

childatheart Wed 12-Sep-12 20:22:50

Before you agree to anything "read up" on special guardianship and find out all of the small print. Basically SG is all based down to the discretion of the LA and is means tested, there is nothing set in stone and the LA can move the goal posts as they see fit.

It makes me "chuckle" when you say that SG is to be offered to foster carers (like they are doing FC's a huge favour!)

Follow this Foster Talk link on special guardianship and LA,s and make your own mind up.

NanaNina Wed 12-Sep-12 22:14:20

Hi fosterangel I think this rumour has got a bit distorted. If you are talking about short term foster carers, then the child placed will be placed on a short term basis (although I accept that this can go on and on...) and in the meantime there will be assessments of the birth parents by various professionals and a care plan will be formulated, which in broad terms will be 1) that the child can be returned to the birth parents
2) If the child cannot be returned, will be placed with members of the extended family if at all possible
3) Dependent on the child's age (and if it is not safe for child to be returned home) the care plan will be to request a Care Order at the final hearing with a plan for permanent foster care IF suitable permanent foster carers are found.
4) If the child is under 5 the likelihood is that the request will be for a Placement Order, which means that the child can be placed for adoption IF suitable adoptors are found.

All of these matters are decided by the Judge at the final hearing. The professionals can only make recommendations and mostly these are followed by the Judge but not always. Sorry if I am telling you things you already know.

I think the rumour may be about children placed with permanent foster carers and the LA of course still retain parental responsibility and have to pay the foster carers as these allowances are mandatory. I certainly know that pressure is put on permanent foster carers to apply for an SGO as this means that PR passes from the LA to the holders of the SGO. It also means that any allowances only have to be paid for 2 years and these payments are discretionary so can be changed or stopped. Also it means that the LA can close the case and therefore make big savings.

Likewise kinship carers will be "encouraged" to make application for an SGO rather than foster care, for the same reasons.

The other route to permanency is by way of Residence Order and LAs like this even more than they like SGOs because the reports to court are quite brief and there are no regulations attached to this legislation, whereas there are Regs set out in respect of an SGO. SO my advice would be to say a definite NO to any mention of Residence Order.

I am not trying to say that applications for an SGO are wrong - in fact sometimes it provides the best outcome for the children, as their future is more secure than by fostering. I would urge anyone though to get as much info about SGOs as possible and to remember that they must make the application, because carers are led to believe that the LA make this application and this is not the case.

Childatheart says that this is "all down to the discretion of the LA, is means tested and the goal posts can be moved" and I do accept that this is how it can look to permanent foster carers in some situations. I think the link you give would be very interesing CatH but I can't get on the link (think it has to be in blue??)

I think the main thing is that if any permanent foster carers are asked to apply for an SGO they need to ensure they know exactly what the implications are and don't just take the sws word for it, as they often aren't sure themselves and give false reassurance to carers in this position.

If the child is placed on a short term basis and the plan is for permanent foster care, carers may be asked if they would be willing to keep the child on a permanent basis. IF the family are seriously considering this, it can have a very good outcome for the child, as clearly they will be staying in a familiar placement, and the carers will really want to keep the child in some situations. Again though the same applies, don't be talked into applying for a Residence Order or an SGO before you realise all the implications, especially financial ones. The only payment that is mandatory are fostering allowances, and the LA may argue that the child shouldn't be in the care of the LA for their entire childhood, which is right, but it also means that they can close the case, and you are left with disrectionary allowances
only and no support with issues like contact etc.

Hope this helps.

NanaNina Wed 12-Sep-12 22:15:11

Buster completely understand your response. Any news on the meeting tonight?

childatheart Thu 13-Sep-12 08:24:13

If you highlight this link + right mouse click it and then click go to, it will open:

Fosterangel Thu 13-Sep-12 13:14:02

Many thanks to Nananina for explaining it all so clearly, especially about the involvement of the courts etc., and also to childatheart for the web link. This is a really good website for someone like me (loads of questions and curiosity!) and I shall enjoy mooching around it for information.
We are long term LA foster carers for teens and one of the SW assistants dropped it into conversation with us (and probably shouldn't have) that the child's SW was looking at the possiblility of permenancy. I am much reassured that it cannot be done without our knowledge and am not sure it is something (as fairly new foster carers still feeling our way) we really want. We feel that we would like to walk before we run, and we want to relax and enjoy our foster teens just the way things are, so will take Busterthedonk's advice if we are approached!! Better buy some trainers!!

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