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Permanent Fostering/special guardianship

(34 Posts)
sarahhoppity Tue 02-Dec-14 11:49:25

We have been approved as permanent Foster Carers for 3 siblings who have been with us for well over 3 years. We have always been very clear we want to be long term foster carers. LA repeatedly ask us about special guardianship. There are a number of reasons we don't want to go down this route, one is financial but other important considerations too, which we have put in writing. Do we just have to keep batting this back or can we say "enough" we'll let you know if we are ready to move to special guardianship? Has this happened with anyone else? We foster through LA

Goldenlab Tue 02-Dec-14 21:31:50

Yes, we were pressurised in the past to change to special guardianship for a long term placement. We were badgered by the child's social worker over several weeks. I eventually snapped and said ' we are professional foster carers doing a professional job. Would you like to do your job for no pay?' the subject was not mentioned again. Other carers said that thy had been emotionally blackmailed into going down this route.

SoonToBeSix Tue 02-Dec-14 21:35:10

Golden is that really how you view the children in your care as your job? Naively I assumed foster carers fostered out of love not profit.

Littlefish Tue 02-Dec-14 21:39:58

You can foster out of love and still need to pay the bills!

Many foster carers have multiple, regular appointments to attend for the children they are fostering which would not be compatible with working. Slme children who are fostered have serous attachment issues which mean that the foster carers need to be with the child full time.

Crikeyblimey Tue 02-Dec-14 21:44:00

Se LAs pay special guardianship allowance (until the young person is 18). It is means tested but can be anything upto normal boarding out money less child benefit. Might be worth asking about (depending on household income obv).

fatterface Tue 02-Dec-14 21:46:29

Of course foster care is a job! Would you do your job for love instead of money Soon?

Crikeyblimey Tue 02-Dec-14 22:25:49

Obviously my post should have started with the word 'some' not 'se'. Ooops.

Goldenlab Tue 02-Dec-14 22:39:47

Absolutely it's a job. It is certainly a vocation too, but the financial implications can be enormous. There has to be one parent at home at all times. We have to travel for huge distances to contact, meetings, all manner of appointments. Fostering is a world away from looking after your own children, especially in the early days of a placement. We work hard to be treated as professionals as part of the team who care for the child, the difference between us and social workers being that they go home at the end of the evening and we do our job 24 hours a day, every day of the year (and now we aren't allowed respite)

Goldenlab Tue 02-Dec-14 22:48:45

Absolutely foster caring is a job. You are part of a professional team supporting the child, the same as the other professionals (social workers, reviewing officers, teachers etc). One parent has to be at home at all times. THere can be constant appointments, contact with parents and siblings to take the children to, and this can be daily in some cases. Many children aren't in any form of regular schooling. It's a world away from looking after your own children, especially in the early days with a placement. It's a vocation too, and can be very rewarding, but it's certainly a job and should be recognised as such.

Goldenlab Tue 02-Dec-14 22:50:36

Thought my first post had disappeared before posting so had another go! Bloody I pad!

SoonToBeSix Tue 02-Dec-14 22:57:23

I think there is a difference between receiving a small allowance to enable a foster carer to stay at home and a wage. I would like to foster when my own children are older but I would never view it as a "job".
Fatter face I am a sahm I also do volunteer work.

sarahhoppity Wed 03-Dec-14 08:07:09

Thank you all. Other carers have been pressurised into special guardianship and later regretted it ( the decision not the children). I think I'll keep a copy of my formal response printed out and hand it to the childs SW next time she mentions it again (probably next week!)
I have heard many times "we don't foster for the money, but we need the money to foster". We're not doing it to make a profit.
I don't view it as "work" but in order to foster left my job, and consider myself a professional with high standards. As my fostering commitments take priority over many personal issues, it is as much a "job" as the social workers in respect of the care of the children, ditto Goldenlab.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Wed 03-Dec-14 13:25:50

So only people with a high earning partner should be able to foster?

It's a difficult, specialised job, why would you expect people to do it for free? Don't you think their time is valuable?

And I'm not a foster carer by the way.

Goldenlab Wed 03-Dec-14 15:44:19

Well done Sarah, stand your ground. I think that many people have a rose tinted view of foster care, and have absolutely no idea of the challenges we have to face. Thank you Girlswhowearglasses for your post.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Wed 03-Dec-14 16:31:39

Bollocks, fostering absolutely is a professional role and should be treated as such. As a social worker I would prefer a carer approached it as a professional and understood the high standards they are expected to adhere to rather than a wooly do gooder who thinks they just have to love kids and that's enough.

fatterface Wed 03-Dec-14 16:52:42

Soon - how lovely for you that you don't need to work for a living! Most people aren't so fortunate.

fatterface Wed 03-Dec-14 16:53:54

Maybe social workers, teachers and nurses should only get a "small allowance" rather than a wage too?

Crikeyblimey Wed 03-Dec-14 18:48:26

The special guardianship allowance is not a 'small allowance'. As I have said, although means tested it is normal fostering allowance minus child benefit (which special guardians can claim). So whilst I agree fostering is and should be remunerated as the profession it is, so is special guardianship (agreed, not always but can be). Worth asking I'd have thought for permanency for the children (and no more jumping through fostering regulation hoops).

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Dec-14 19:12:23

I wouldn't call it fortunate fatter- I have several disabilities that make it impossible for me to do anything other than a few hours volunteer work.

sarahhoppity Wed 03-Dec-14 19:15:34

Thanks Crikey Blimey, but finance isn't the only consideration, relatives and contact: trying teenage years and I want to know I have as much support as possible available should it be a trying time. I'll stand by our decision to be foster carers.

Crikeyblimey Wed 03-Dec-14 19:32:30

Good point hoppity. Stick to your guns then smile. I certainly get what you mean.

suzylee73 Wed 03-Dec-14 23:22:19

I haven't opted for special guardianship myself but all the carers I know that have regretted the decision.
There are financial implications and lots of problems with contact. It's still quite a new system still with creases still to be ironed out.

Soontobesix, I would keep your uneducated opinions to yourself and get off the foster carers section and find somewhere else to offend people smile

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Dec-14 23:53:57

Suzy hardly uneducated I know a great deal about the foster care system.

sarahhoppity Wed 03-Dec-14 23:57:11

Thanks Suzylee.

Soontobesix, please don't think being fostercarer is a soft option, you will personally be challenged on inner self, and it is a far cry from being a SAHM.

wonderpants Thu 04-Dec-14 07:24:27

I don't view looking after the children as my 'job', but I do consider that attending formal review meetings, social worker meetings, multiple appointments, liaising with many other professionals,working with parents on most days of the week my job. I can't do anything without speaking to the social worker (complex legalities) and it generally 6 days a week. Being a looked after child is not a normal childhood, as much as we try our damnedest to buffer and protect.
We have considered adoption and sgo in order to get rid of social workers, but you have to balance it against getting the generally very damaged needy children's needs met.

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