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7yo niece in care. Really need some help\advice

(13 Posts)
Midge1975 Wed 13-Dec-17 18:09:10

Really need some advice. My 7yo niece v was taken into care. My sister didn't tell us until over a month had passed. I managed to get two visits but in the meantime the social workers kept changing and they stopped contacting or returning call despite the fact that I had said I would apply for care if niece. Finally the latest social worker got in contact but she is terrible. I've been begging for contact for over a month, this was finally granted but at the last minute she advised that due to niece bad behaviour at her placement 20mins from where I live the visit was cancelled and they were moving her to a care home nearly 150 miles away. I was granted a visit last weekend, along with nieces grandparents. The visit went well as far as we v were concerned although I have concerns about the care she is receiving (arrived from placement to care home with no underwear, no trousers, hair matted and tangled like straw, skin as dry as sand and an incorrect medical number on her records with no note as to her previous placement so the care home could not take her to the doctors

We asked for further visits for myself and grandparents but have just been advised of the following:

"Apologies for the delay in replying to your email but this was due to needing to consult with senior management and the professionals involved in this case about your request.
The Local authority's view is that it is best for [the child] to settle into the placement and for no further contact arrangements to be made currently.
I am aware that you and your mother will be very upset by this decision and I will certainly share any responses you choose to make with the professionals involved in your niece's care."

What do we do? Niece is 7 years old. They are denying any visits or contact with anyone in her family (i was told verbally it's essentially because she plays up after contact)

I still haven't heard from the placement team assessor no matter how many times I chase it.

All I know is she is 7, has absolutely no family contact, not even with her older sister's (who are not in care) and must think she is being totally abandoned and deserted by everyone who loves her.

Help please what do we do?

OP’s posts: |
PersianCatLady Wed 13-Dec-17 18:15:38

OP - You have left the child's name in, please remove it!!

@Midge1975

pinkblink Wed 13-Dec-17 18:15:52

How awful, will they let you send her cards/letter so you can tell her how much you love her and are trying to keep contact?

Midge1975 Wed 13-Dec-17 18:24:11

I can't amend so have reported the post. Thanks and sorry x

OP’s posts: |
PersianCatLady Wed 13-Dec-17 18:27:00

I can't amend so have reported the post. Thanks and sorry x
That is OK, just want to maintain your privacy.

Have you thought about seeing a solicitor or even the CAB regarding what you can do??

Would you consider having your DN come to live with you??

You need some proper advice but I do know people who have got residence orders (now Child Arrangements Orders) in order to have their DN come to live with them.

I don't know how far your DN's case has gone yet.

Sorry, I don't know enough to advise you properly so I won't try to.

Please get some advice.

TitaniasCloset Wed 13-Dec-17 18:28:35

This is all kinds of wrong. I really recommend that you find a good family law solicitor and explain the situation to them and have them write a letter for you. You can't just lay down and take this for the sake of your niece. Show social services that you are prepared to fight and become a huge pain in their arse. But do it in a nice way of course. Unfortunately some children just get lost in the care system, you having your DN back right now is the best thing you can do for her.

Write everything down and follow up all phone calls with a short email too.

Notreallyarsed Wed 13-Dec-17 18:30:22

The SW has the power (and responsibility) to begin a Kinship Care assessment. You can seek legal advice if they are being difficult about this.

Having been through it myself, it’s a bruising and often soul destroying process, especially if you’re lumbered with a shit SW (we had one amazing one who left, and the other 2 were horrendous).

I hope you and your DN get the right result for you all.

WillowWept Wed 13-Dec-17 18:32:46

This is so awful.

Could your niece live with you? How utterly heartbreaking.

I don’t have much advice other than see a solicitor urgently and fight for that little girl.

Usedtobeanxious Wed 13-Dec-17 18:47:47

You need to be as noisy as possible!
No shouting down the phone - just calm persistence.
Find out the name of the social workers team manager & service / area manager.
Ask for their emails. If you can get them, visit office & schedule meeting.
Get the name & email address of the Independent Reviewing Officer (Independent person within the local authority responsible for monitoring care plan of your niece.)
Find out from your sister who her legal rep is & contact them & ask if they can represent you or just write to the local authority demanding assessment.
If the matter is before the court (I.e your sister hasn't consented to her daughter being accommodated under s.20, there will be a children's guardian allocated via CAFCASS. Find out, either directly or via your sisters solicitor who the CAFCASS guardian is & speak to them.
The Local Authority MUST assess anyone in the wider family/friend network who comes forward, unless obviously you have had children removed; offences against children or married/have partner who has; or domestic violence.
If you are unsatisfied with Local Authority response, make an application via your own solicitor for independent social worker assessment.
There's lots you can do, but get on with it ASAP!!!
PM me if you need more help!smile

TitaniasCloset Wed 13-Dec-17 19:05:17

Op Usedtobe 's advice is good she put it much more clearly than I could.

Midge1975 Fri 15-Dec-17 10:02:42

Well I sent an email requesting contact details for ss manager, area manager, independent reviewing officer, cafcass guardian and the placement assessor together with a few queries about dates things happened and upcoming hearings. And it worked. Had a call from the placement assessor the following morning and our first meeting is at the end Of Next Week And then An Email from The SS solicitor came through apologising for not letting us know there is a hearing at Central Family Court on Monday. I've no idea what the hearing is about but I'm going. Thank You All So Much For Your Posts, especially Usedtobeanxious. Xx

OP’s posts: |
Notreallyarsed Fri 15-Dec-17 14:26:14

Hopefully it all goes well OP smile

amsingleagain Mon 25-Jun-18 20:25:08

Midge1975
How did you get on with your nieces case??

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