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Odd situation, advice please.

(34 Posts)
Dawndonnaagain Sun 05-Jan-14 16:52:48

One of dds friend left home. She is doing A levels and had good reasons for going which I don't want to go into here.
Anyway, she's here. Her social worker has approved this. She's put on some weight and looks so much better than when she arrived three weeks ago. We're happy to have her. However, we don't get any money for her (she's 16), and things add up. I don't know whether or not she should have the same pocket money as my dds, I guess she would, but that's a hundred a month which is stretching things a little. I don't want to put her in the situation where she constantly has to ask for things though. With the dds, their pocket money buys their clothes, make-up, going out. I buy all basics - deodorant, sanpro, underwear, shampoo etc. Happy to do that, but are we able to demand at least her family allowance to cover some of this.
All help and advice appreciated, thank you.

scarlet5tyger Sun 05-Jan-14 20:27:43

I'm not 100% positive on this but I think the leaving care age was recently raised to 18. That means if she is with you officially, and not under a private fostering arrangement, then you should be receiving money for her. I think you'd have to undergo a proper assessment though.

Have you spoken to her SW re finances? They should have something in place after 3 weeks, although Christmas does always delay things.

SofaKing Sun 05-Jan-14 20:31:43

A similar thing happened to my friend, she was able to get income support when she lived with us at sixteen. I know this doesn't exist anymore as that was 18 years ago but I think she should be eligible for CB if you are caring for her, or a Bursary/benefits if she is classed as an independent adult.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 05-Jan-14 20:36:56

Does she have a social worker because she has left a foster home for your home?

Because really they need to transfer the allowances over.

If she's left her own family home for yours then there may be some allowances they can process but you're going to need to put the pressure on.

Your doing a lovely thing smile

Dawndonnaagain Sun 05-Jan-14 22:57:47

Thank you folks. She left her family home and was couch surfing for a bit, she's a friend of dds, so we said bring her here. We're rural, A levels are the only way out of here!
It was the school who contacted the social worker. I don't hold out a great deal of hope to be honest, I really think they saw it as something they didn't have to deal with. It was sanctioned after a ten minute phone call with me. I admit it was about a week and a half before christmas, but crikey, I thought they'd do more checks than that!

Dawndonnaagain Sun 05-Jan-14 22:59:09

I should add, we do have the room and I don't begrudge the food, but I'd like for her to be on more of an equal footing with my dds. She needs to feel that she's an equal.

Roshbegosh Mon 06-Jan-14 06:04:32

You are wonderful to do this for her and to be so considerate too. I hope some financial assistance is sorted out soon.

Goandplay Mon 06-Jan-14 06:13:44

What a lovely way to look at things. I think you'll definitely be entitled to CB but surely there is something else you/she can claim.

DwellsUndertheSink Tue 07-Jan-14 08:12:15

SPeak to the social worker - I think you woud be considered a Special Guardianship, in that you need to have parental responsibility for this your lady, and as such, you should by law receive an allowance until she is 18. I could be talking rubbish, but thats how I understood things work.

Also if she wants to go to Uni after college, it woud be god for your arrangement to be on a formal footing, so that she can receive bursaries and financial assistance that she deserves.

TheNightIsDark Tue 07-Jan-14 08:16:10

Nothing to add but what a lovely thing to do for her.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 07-Jan-14 09:31:21

Thank you everybody. The Special Guardianship seems worth investigating. She does want to go to uni, as do my dds, so I will spend today hounding the social worker.

lovesmileandlaugh Tue 07-Jan-14 09:54:59

I think it may also depend on whether social services have deemed her family home unsuitable or whether it is seen as her choice to leave.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 07-Jan-14 16:14:37

Thank you. I have had a long chat with the social worker today and we have a meeting next week, she has also booked an appointment to see the benefits team next week, so it looks like things can be resolved. I shall be having, it seems, parental responsibility.

Panadbois Tue 07-Jan-14 16:27:50

In our county, they have friends and family fostering, which you would qualify for. However, as I understand it, they will not offer help automatically and some have had to fight for it.

I suppose you will have to go through the fostering checks and take part in courses, but well worth it for the financial and other support.

Good job Dawn :-)

DwellsUndertheSink Tue 07-Jan-14 20:43:04

thats great news. Push for it to be backdated too - they can only say no, but it might be worth asking the question.

flummoxedlummox Tue 07-Jan-14 20:54:19

As Panadbois says your LA should have a family & friends fostering option (also called kinship).

If she has been assessed as being unable to return home then the LA have to treat as a "looked after child" unless she herself does not want to be considered as such. If she is "looked after" for more than 13 weeks prior to her 18th birthday (there's a couple of caveats) the LA will have to provide a leaving care service to her.

If you did go down the SGO route then she may not be eligible for the above, but you would have far less involvement with the LA which you may prefer.

If you cite The Southwark Judgement you may get some traction with the social worker and her management.

floatyjosmum Sat 18-Jan-14 23:17:47

If she was 16 when she left home and you have offered a permanent home my understanding is the southwark judgement wouldn't fit.

There's two ways of doing it - if you are entitled to benefits and get housing benefit etx my advice would be to claim benefits for her.

If you don't qualify for anything then my advice would be for her to claim income support and housing benefit to pay you for being there. There used to be a limit of £40ish per week for young people for housing benefit.

steppemum Sat 18-Jan-14 23:26:57

I think you really need something official, what if she had an accident and you needed to sign a form or something?
What about parental consent for school trips etc? Or does that no longer apply post 16?

floatyjosmum Sun 19-Jan-14 01:21:54

This is where being frasier competent comes in.

At 16 she can live independently and many do

NanaNina Mon 20-Jan-14 21:39:17

I'm sorry to say but I don't think that Social Services will pay anything for this young woman. If the young person left home and asked Social Services for help, it would be unlikely that she would get much of a service at the age of 16. Leaving Care Grants wouldn't be available as she has never been in care (which I am assuming is the case) I think the advice she would have got would be to find a private rented place and claim HB from the DWP and Income Support or JSA for herself, though of course if she was doing A levels she wouldn't be available for work.

People have mentioned Family & Friends/Kinship Fostering but this is when the LA actually place (the legal term is accommodated)the child or young person with the family/friend carer. They are allowed to place a child in such a placement for a period of 6 weeks before assessing the family/friend as suitable and then they have to be approved by a Fostering Panel and would then be entitled to be paid a fostering allowance. If people make their own arrangements and they are not relatives then they are perceived as Private Foster Carers and there are regulations concerning this status. LAs are meant to assess these private foster carers as suitable but this doesn't always happen. Funding is meant to be provided by the parents of the child.

Special Guardianship has been mentioned, but at 16 I think she is too old for such an application, although it wouldn't be a great deal of help as by the time the assessment was completed and the matter had been heard in court the young person would be approaching 18 and there would be no funding available. Also I doubt the LA could spare the social work time for such an assessment for this young person because of her age.

I always feel sorry for people who take in these young people out of the kindness of their heart and then find they are left "high and dry" as far as funding and support is concerned. I think the parents should pay the Child Benefit to the OP but I'm not sure of any remedy if there is no agreement about this.

BettyBotter Mon 20-Jan-14 21:56:50

Seems like child benefit would be what you should be getting for her.
Are her parents claiming child benefit for her? Is this fraudulent of the parents if she isn't living with them and they are not responsible for her?

NanaNina Tue 21-Jan-14 01:45:41

A young person is not supposed to leave home at aged 16 without the parents consent but there is no way that the police are going to be bothered, and at that age they pretty much can do as they like. Even kids in the care system who are meant to be in care till they are 18 often return to parents or friends and there isn't anything anyone can do really.

I'm not sure about the Child Benefit - does it continue till child is 18 if they are in full time education. I would have thought it was fraudulent to claim if child no longer living with them.

ghostinthecanvas Tue 21-Jan-14 19:39:12

what about taking her in as a lodger? Someone mentioned housing benefit? Glad you are getting it sorted. Can you come back and let us know the outcome? I am curious about the system for that age group.

Pickles79 Tue 21-Jan-14 19:45:03

What a lovely family you are. Take my hat off to you.

NanaNina Tue 21-Jan-14 23:00:45

Yes taking the girl in as a lodger would almost certainly mean that you could claim HB for her. Just a word of caution here. You have to prove that it is not a "contrived tenancy" and this means that you have to state that you are charging the person rent on a weekly/monthly basis and not just when the person is not working and is in need of Housing Benefit.

SHELTER are the experts in these matters and there is a great deal of information on their website but you can also e mail them or contact them by phone.

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