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Leaving YP home alone for short periods?

(25 Posts)
freddiefrog Wed 02-Oct-13 09:07:45

I'm having a bit of a debate with my SSW about this at the moment.

I have an almost 17 year old and they've been with us just over a year and I want to be able to leave them home alone for short periods of time - not hours, 15 minutes for the school run, 10 minutes to run out for milk.

I think it's ridiculous that I have to either make her come with me, or beg friends for favours. I can leave my own 12 year old home alone for 15 minutes, but not an almost 17 year old?

My SSW hasn't done the risk assessments on our support list that he should have done over a year ago so I'm stuck.

In over a year it's only cropped up twice, so not something that we're planning on doing every day, but sometimes, with the best will in the world, stuff happens. Last time, I had to dash to school to pick up DD2 who had been sick. FC was in bed. In the end, my neighbour picked up DD2 for me, but it's stupid that I couldn't have just left FC in bed while I nipped to school

FC's SW say yes, no problem. They were surprised we hadn't already

Our SSW says no way

Am I asking the impossible here?

I trust her. I'm not talking hours and hours. 15/20 minutes in an emergency.

scarlet5tyger Wed 02-Oct-13 09:30:48

I foster younger ones so this issue hasn't arisen with me but we're constantly being told at the moment that looked after children shouldn't be made to feel any different to their peers. Also that foster carers now have the authority to make day to day decisions (which I believe this is) without having to consult social workers.

I think I'd be having a word to your SSWs team leader - and also throwing in the lack of risk assessment for good measure!

freddiefrog Wed 02-Oct-13 09:43:39

That's exactly my argument.

I want to treat her as a member of my family, yet I can leave my own DD at home, but have to make FC leave the house every time.

DH and I both work from home, so 99% of the time it's not an issue but sometimes stuff happens and you have to be able to make a judgement call.

SSW's argument was that they pay an allowance to ensure someone is always at home, and that I should have a risk assessed support list of people who I can ask to babysit should stuff like this happen.

a) I do have a support list, it's been in place for over a year, but SSW hasn't done the risk assessments so I can't use any of them

and b) sometimes stuff just happens and DH and I can't never leave the house, to ensure there's always someone in just in case one of us has to pick up a child/run to the shop/etc at short notice

Younger children, fine, but she's nearly 17. If I have to do a school run at 8:30am I'm expected to get FC up and make her leave the house, just for the sake of 15 minutes. I can be there and back before FC even wakes up.

freddiefrog Wed 02-Oct-13 09:44:55

And yes, I've been nagging and nagging about the risk assessments, but he's just not doing them.

Roshbegosh Wed 02-Oct-13 19:45:21

If think it is a decision based on whether your know the child well enough. We foster a 12 yr old that we can trust to be home alone for 20 mins or so as long as he knows there is a neighbour to go to in an emergency. We changed that when he started smoking. All bets are off now. He had been with us long term so we knew he would be ok. The SWs all know and are fine with it.

Mum2lots Wed 02-Oct-13 23:06:34

That's ridiculous 17 years old it's abuse and a misuse of power that they are not trusted to stay home for 20 mins independence skills !!!!!!!

duchesse Wed 02-Oct-13 23:13:21

Are there particular circumstances affecting your FC that SW are worried about? Of course a run of the mill 16/17 yo can be left alone for vast tracts of time (entire days here, by choice as my children are of an independent bent) but maybe your FC has issues that preclude that? Otherwise your SW is being nuts. Can you ignore your SW and go with what FC's SW says?

freddiefrog Thu 03-Oct-13 07:34:21


No, there's no issues, she's allowed overnights at friends, goes out alone, goes to college on the bus, etc, but apparently can't stay home on her own for 20 minutes

He's worried she might bring her mates round I think. I wouldn't leave her for hours, but realistically, what mischief can she get up to in 20 minutes?

LaurieFairyCake Thu 03-Oct-13 07:41:11

They do not pay the allowance to cover the fact someone needs to be home all the time, that would work out at £1 an hour!

I would kick up a fuss and complain to his manager - is he new? Or simply say you're going to and will record it when you do.

Agree that it's down to what trust you want to give the child based on your relationship and their age/capability.

I always record when I've done this on the diary sheets or anything out the ordinary.

At some point you have to do what works for you and say you're doing it - if they don't like the way you're doing it they can move the child/adult - which they won't by the way.

Mum2lots Thu 03-Oct-13 09:46:37

So we make the rules so tight !!! "Worried she may bring friends round" is be stating strongly that trust is a major skill to develop in any child /young person. Even if she has brought friends to a previous placement she needs to show she's learnt

freddiefrog Thu 03-Oct-13 15:29:51

I don't mind if she does bring her mates round. We've met most of them, they're alright. She has a few that I don't allow in our house, but I trust her not to bring them home.

She's been with us a year now, at the beginning - no way, but now? I trust her

He's not new, is a senior SW. I've long argued that he doesn't give her enough credit but he doesn't listen

I really don't know what he thinks she's going to get up to. Run up a 20 minute phone bill is likely to be the worst of it


Mum2lots Thu 03-Oct-13 21:52:59

Haha stick to your guns and tell him to shut up xxxx

NanaNina Fri 04-Oct-13 19:31:55

I agree that this is quite ridiculous and think you should complain to the SSW's team manager. In any event the YP's sw and yr SSW should be "barking up the same tree" regardless of the issue. Can you get the YP's sw to talk to this ssw of yours. He has a real problem I reckon and he needs to get real!!

Many 17 year olds are parents and caring for a baby FGS!!

TwoMuchTwoYoung Sun 06-Oct-13 21:58:45

Don't you have delegated authority?
I can leave any of my fc with anyone I choose!
If I trust people with my own children then I trust them with fc.

I thought this was a national thing that had been brought in so fc aren't disadvantaged and treated differently.

It's not often I do leave them with anyone else but have done so a handful of times.

freddiefrog Mon 07-Oct-13 09:18:12

Yes, I do have delegated responsiblilty.

But, here they insist that anyone who is going to be left alone with a FC has to be on a risk assessed. Which is fine, if they do the bloody risk assessments!

I've got a meeting with SSW this afternoon, I'm going to hammer it out once and for all as it's ridiculous.

I understand his concerns, but it's my house and I trust her so it should be up to me


TwoMuchTwoYoung Mon 07-Oct-13 09:37:30

Well then they are treating the fc differently.
It's ridiculous, I'm frustrated for you!

BookFairy Mon 07-Oct-13 09:44:00

They're faffing over 15/20mins? Oh my days. I work with care leavers and this possibly explains why many struggle with their independence. You should be able to pop out for milk without it being An Issue. Definitely persue this with the SWs.

BookFairy Mon 07-Oct-13 09:44:08

They're faffing over 15/20mins? Oh my days. I work with care leavers and this possibly explains why many struggle with their independence. You should be able to pop out for milk without it being An Issue. Definitely persue this with the SWs.

BookFairy Mon 07-Oct-13 09:44:18

They're faffing over 15/20mins? Oh my days. I work with care leavers and this possibly explains why many struggle with their independence. You should be able to pop out for milk without it being An Issue. Definitely persue this with the SWs.

freddiefrog Tue 08-Oct-13 21:32:21


Finally got the SSW to agree to us leaving her for up to an hour providing I sign an insurance waiver

Such a ridiculous fuss, but sorted now. On to the next thing!

Mum2lots Tue 08-Oct-13 23:54:41

Well done Freddie xxxx. She is a lucky young lady to have you in her corner x

Roshbegosh Wed 09-Oct-13 06:48:33

What are you agreeing to in the insurance waiver exactly?

freddiefrog Wed 09-Oct-13 08:01:20

Just that we won't claim anything from them should she damage anything when left at home alone.

Roshbegosh Wed 09-Oct-13 08:09:15

What does your house insurance say about this e.g. If she smoked and caused a fire? What about your liability if she falls down the stairs or something. Her parents might be so upset by that they could sue you if the LA is not taking responsibility at all when she is alone. Think carefully before signing stuff like this.

freddiefrog Wed 09-Oct-13 09:00:47

We're covered on our own insurance, we've checked it out already.

It's for stuff like if she invites all her friends round while we're out and they trash the place we won't claim anything from them.

He's supposed to be emailing it over to me so I'll check it out carefully


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