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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on fostering.

I've asked to be considered as a kinship carer

(16 Posts)
SimpleAsABC Thu 29-Oct-09 11:41:25

For my two little cousins.

Practical advice and things to consider?

I have given it lots of consideration (14 months worth) but just want to talk it through.

I have to meet with sw to discuss it further. What should i be thinking about?

NanaNina Sun 01-Nov-09 18:39:45

Hi againb ABC - how old are these children? Do you already have a relationship with them? Are they currently in foster care - how long have they been there? Do you have children of your own - if so what ages are they?

The sw will be aware of the needs of these particular children and will be looking to see whether you can meet those needs. Local authorities have a duty to consider relatives in the extended family when children can't live with their birth parents, before placing them for permanent fostering or adoption. Dependent upon the ages of the children this isn't always easier as the older they are the more difficult this is. If you are in a position to offer these children a permanent home that has to be a good starting point.

Not sure if these children are particuarly traumatised by their past and how that might affect placement with you. You will need to be able to meet their needs in all respects, physically and emotionally etc and the sw will want to talk with you about how you would do this. Mostly children who have been absued/neglected will present very difficult behaviour and this can be very wearing. I wouldn't worry too much about this discussion - it is only a first step and as well as the sw thinking about what you have to offer, you need to be thinking about whether this is something that is right for you and your family - it is a 2 way street.

Happy to help further if I can

SimpleAsABC Tue 03-Nov-09 17:52:05

Hi nina, sorry ive taken a few days to get back to you. I thought i'd checked in yesterday but must not have.

The kids are 3 and 9, I have a very close relationship with them and used to look after the youngest one a lot prior to them being taken into care.

The children have been in care for fourteen months and this is the third time in three years. The dept are going for permenancy so they will not be returning home.

I don't have children of my own im 22, and think this may present an issue, do you?

The eldest of the two has been affected by the situation undoubtedly but in relation to the young people I work with through work (I am a residential childcare worker) I would say that whilst the children definately have issues, that their behaviour (and this applies mostly to the eldest, too) is pretty normative now (given the time they've spent with foster carers). This is not to say that I think it would always be like this but just to give you some idea of where we are at.

I am quite anxious about the meeting as I want it to go well. This is something ive been considering over the last 14 months and I really want to go ahead with it.

Going to read your other post now, I have tons of questions but can't remember my op and you may have answered them there!

Thanks for getting back to me.

chegirl Tue 03-Nov-09 20:36:23

Hi simple,

Have you been in contact with www.frg.org.uk ?

They can give you excellent advice.

In your position I would make very sure that social services were going to put in an adequate finacial and practical support package.

You need to be very sure that SS are not going to consider this a voluntary placement. If they do you will not be entitled to any money. Are they asking you to be a foster carer or take out a RO?

I know it may seem mercenery (sp) to talk about money when we love our kids but its very important. Asking for proper support does not mean you dont care and it doesnt mean you are only doing it for the money.

It can mean the difference between a placement working and breaking down.

Good luck. I have been caring for my great nephew for 6 years. He is wonderful but its very different from bringing up my birth children.

SimpleAsABC Wed 04-Nov-09 16:26:37

Hi Chegirl,

I will be sure to bring that up tomorrow.

They would otherwise be looking at permenancy with adoptive parents or long term foster carers. Would this make a difference?

I don't mean to sound pernickity but would you tell me more about it being different to caring for your own children? I don't have my own children so I wouldn't know otherwise and I'm really interested.

Thanks

chegirl Wed 04-Nov-09 21:57:27

Hi Simple,

I am not sure why they are looking at permenancy with adoptive parents if you are willing to give the children a permenant home. Out of family placement shouldnt be an option if they think you are the best carer for the children.

Apart from anything else, the chance of a 9 year old being adopted is minimal. Even long term foster placements are hard to find for sibling groups. It would be pushing it to find an adoptive home for the 3 year old. Dont let them hold that over you.

Bringing up other people's children is different because they have been bought up by other people! It sounds silly but for eg. my children have been bought up from the begining with my ideals and morals. Rightly or wrongly these are our family ideals. They have also been bought up with a healthy (ish) diet, routine and knowing right from wrong. I did not take drugs or drink in my pgs and the babies were cherished and cared for from minute 1. Right from birth I had total say in how they were cared for, where they went, who looked after them and how they were fed etc. I am aware of their health background and I know the history of both sides of their family going back quite a few years. No one else outside of the family has a real say in what happens to them i.e. what they wear, how they are educated, when we go on holiday etc etc.

This is not the case when you bring an child into your home that you have not given birth to. The vast majority of children involved in the care system have suffered some sort of trauma, neglect or abuse and ALL have suffered significant losses.

They may have lived chaotic, unsettled lives, never had a routine, eaten crap all their lives or have never even slept in a bed.

They may have been ignored when they were tiny babies, not fed when they were hungry etc. these things can cause issues for a long time.

They may have significant medical issues in their families that impact on their development and you may not know about this until problems start to arise.

Apart from all that there is the practical stuff - until/if you adopt a child you are not their parent. You do not have full PR (if you have it at all), the child is the responsibility of people you dont know and who hardly know the children. You may have to ask permission to cut their hair or take them out etc.

I dont mean to make it all sound like hell but I do need to be honest.

Things have settled down a lot for us know but the first years were incredibly stressful for us and our boy. Even now we are dealing with the legacy of his birth mother's neglect. Our birth children sailed through school and were 'gifted' (silly lable but thats what its called now to be clever) whereas our little man is hardly coping at all and needs one to one support.

I wouldnt be without him and I would do it all again. BUT if I DID do it again I would make sure I knew everything I could about the child's rights, family law and the support we could get. That would have saved a lot of stress.

Thats why I am recommeding the FRG.

I am not trying to put you off at all - promise. I think you should be as well informed as you possbily can be.

Best of luck to you.

SimpleAsABC Wed 04-Nov-09 22:32:53

^I'm not sure why they are looking at permenancy with adoptive parents if you are willing to give the children a permenant home. Out of family placement shouldnt be an option if they think you are the best carer for the children.^

I only asked to be considered as a kinship carer last week. Initially my parents offered but my dad didn’t feel he could make the commitment (although is willing to support me 100%). So I think they were going for permenancy with either long term foster carers or adoption (although I did kind of think that was less likely due to age of children) as it was their last option.

^ALL have suffered significant losses.^

I think that the knowledge I have of the children and their parents relationship (which ive regularly been involved in, for the sake of the children) would help me to help them deal with this loss, if that makes sense? There would be less “Well how would you know what my mum was like” because i’ve lived through it too? I’m not saying this would eradicate the issue, I recognise that it wouldn’t but hopefully it would help?

^They may have significant medical issues in their families that impact on their development and you may not know about this until problems start to arise.^

I have complete knowledge of the mothers health but had not considered this. Its something to be mindful of.
I think I will phone the frg tomorrow once I know a bit more.
Thank you for your luck, honesty and frankness.
Will keep you posted and undoubtedly pester you with more questions soon!

ABC

chegirl Thu 05-Nov-09 16:53:28

Hi,

Sounds like you would be a great carer for these kids. Your age will probably be an issue but the fact you have your parents' support will be a huge point in your favour.

Its going to be a challenge and I would imagine that there will be some reservations on behalf of the panel and guardian ad litem BUT I think these could all be overcome.

You will need lots of support but I have known people in your position manage brilliantly and its almost always best to keep children within their birth family.

The way you have thought about my points is a great way of illustrating to SS how you will cope with the challenges of caring for these kids.

I really dont mind being pestered at all!

More good luck

x

NanaNina Fri 06-Nov-09 20:42:46

SimpleasABC - thanks for providing more info. Ithink you are being given good advice by Chegirl, but just a few more things worth pointing out:

Chegirl mentions the possibility of this being a "voluntary placement" - not really sure what she means, though it maybe that she is thinking of children not in care who are placed with relatives and paid out of S.17 budget for their living expenses. The thing is if the children are in the care of the l.a. if they are placed with foster carers (or kinship carers) the carers will have to be assessed and approved as foster carers by the l.a. fostering panel. All foster carers will receive a fostering allowance which is a mandatory payment. "Ordinary" foster carers (not kinship) are usually paid a fostering alloweance (to cover day to day living expenses) and a reward element for caring for the child/ren. Kinship carers are mostly just paid the fostering allowance, though this varies with specific local authorities.

Chegirl is quite right in talking of making sure that you are properly financed if this goes ahead and a word of warning here - a fostering allowance is mandatory but a lot of l.a.s are now pressing relatives to apply for a Residence Order or a Special Guardianship Order. You would have to be assessed inthe same way, but the Orders are made by a Judge in court not by a Fostering Panel. SSDs are very fond of R.O and SGOrders because it means the children are "off the books" and there is no further involvement from the dept. Sometimes this is the right thing, as it gives the children greater security but it also means that allowances attached to R.Orders and SG Orders are discretionary and so can be withdrawn or revised at any time. They may tell you that this won't happen but this is not always the case. I have known cases where these allowances have been significantly reduced, causing hardship to the carers.

I also think chegirl is giving excellent advice about the needs of fostered children as opposed to birth children.

The thing is that you will have to be assessed as to your suitability (or otherwise) to take over the care of these children on a permanent basis. I have to say that I would be a little concerned about your age - you are stil very young and I assume single. You are almost certain to meet someone in the future and maybe live together or get married and there could be problems in this respect. Also you will be tying yourself down to the care of young children at a very young age yourself and is this fair to you I wonder.

I appreciate that you have experience as a residential worker, but presumably of older children as younger children are mostly cared for in foster homes. Also of course working with children is not the same as looking after them 24/7 for 365 day per year, as you can't go off duty! I was also slightly concerned that you did not really realise the difference between caring for birth children and caring for children who have been abused/neglected in the past, as this understanding is absolutely crucial for would be foster carers.

I am really not trying to put you off, just pointing out some of the things that would be of concern to me as an assessor of foster carers and adoptors. However all of these things will be covered in the assessment and a decision made about whether it is right for the children to be placed with you. The final decision is made at a Fostering Panel.

I know you have been thinking about this for a long time, but maybe the assessment process if it goes ahead will allow you to think again about all of the issues related to your proposal.

Chegirl is right that it is difficult to find adoptors/long term foster carers for children of these ages but your first consideration needs to be whether you really can cope with these children, not just now but you need to "run the tape on" and consider coping with all the ages and stages of their development, and the age you will be at those times. You must not allow your heart to rule your head!

I hope you will accept this in the spirit in which it is written and I have no doubt that you are well motivated in your desire to do your best for these children.

Happy to help further if I can

chegirl Fri 06-Nov-09 22:57:41

Nina makes some very good points and adds some more technical stuff that I cannot hope to match.

I mentioned the voluntary thing because it has been used in the past with several KCs that I know. Its been tried on even when the child is clearly involved in the system.

You age will be a concern and I agree with all that Nina says. I do think its entirely possible that you will provide a good home for these children but it will mean you sacrificing more than you can imagine.

Of course that is true of all parents regardless of how their children arrive. smile

Just a small example perhaps. I gave up work when it was clear that DS would be staying with us. His early life had been so utterly chaotic I felt it was in his best interests that he had one parent at home. As it happened I was unable to return to work for 5 years because my DD then fell ill. I am unable to work full time because DS's additional needs would make this pretty much impossible. I have two appointments regarding him next week and this is fairly typical, even 6 years after his suprise arrival.

DS is a fairly classic case of a child who enters the system as a baby. Neglect but not gross abuse. He differs in that he was removed very early. He has several problems and needs a LOT of time and attention. I love him and wouldnt be without him.

I was an experienced parent by the time he arrived and he was a baby. These things helped me a lot.

Again I am in no way trying to put you off. I am a strong advocate for Kinship care.

Like Nina I am more than happy to offer you any support I can. I hope you manage to talk to the Family Rights Group too. I am sure they can help.

Sincere good wishes.

SimpleAsABC Wed 18-Nov-09 19:01:28

Hello

Sorry I haven't been back on to check in, I've been waiting for more info tbh and still don't have it.

I appreciate all of your support and advice and understand that your only trying to make me consider everything.

Honesty is the best policy!

In relation to the question about the differences between birth children and caring for relatives, I only asked because although I can anticipate what the answers may be, I wanted to hear it "from the horses mouth" so to speak. I did realise there would be differences and sometimes difficulties and just wanted to try to gain some insight.

Appreciate the sentiment re running the tape on too. This is something which I may need to find out more about. Would there be formal implications of perhaps living with someone (i'm presuming disclosure checks but I mean more than this) in the far away future if I were caring for the children??

I intend to go ahead with the assessment and do hope that I can care for the children. I would be upset if a placement with me were not deemed appropriate but at the same time would understand and just hope that it was for the best for the children. At the end of the day thats all I want. What's best for them.

I'm unclear which route the dept want to go down in terms of how, if I were to care for the children, I would be "classed" and looking after the children i.e. under what order. However, I do know that I would still have social work support as the social worker explicitly stated that this would be one of the differences between me caring for or adopting the children.

NanaNina Wed 18-Nov-09 20:25:42

Re the implications of living with someone in the future, this would depend on what basis you cared for the children. If you were approved as a foster carer, then the children would remain as "Looked After" by the SSD and they would still have parental responsibility for them, so they would I think want to assess any partner you may have, in the same way that they will assess you.

You say you are unclear about the route the SSD want to go down, but you have a say in this you know. As I said before, many SSDs are putting quite a bit of pressure on relatives to apply for a Residence Order or a Special Guardianship Order, because they can then "back out" - sometimes this is best for the children because then their future will be secure with you and they won't spend a lifetime still in the "Looked After" system However as I said before allowances attached to Residence Orders and Special Guardianship Orders are discretionary and can be reduced or ceased at some point in the future. this can't happen with fostering allowances. Thing is it is YOU that has to agree to make application for a RO or a SGO and the SSD can't make the application for you. A lot of prospective kinship carers don't realise this and just go along with what the SSD advise. If you do get one of these Order (which are made in court) then SSD will no longer be involved with you and so if you do meet someone in the future they will not be involved.

I'd take some are with the notion that you will continue to get support. You will do (to a point) if you foster the children but not if you get a RO or SGO. It is possible for a Supervision Order to be attached to a SGO for 1 year to make certain things are working all right, but then you are on your own and to be honest it is debatable just how much support you would get with these Orders.

SimpleAsABC Thu 19-Nov-09 17:43:37

Nana nina,

I'm really sorry but I'm not sure I understand.

Could you outline exactly what each order would mean?

I will speak to the SW tomorrow and clarify what she said.

I am doing a MSW in SW just now and I'm finding this difficult. Its easy to see how kinship carers without any ssd knowledge could just accept what they are told - but very unfair!

yorksmum01 Tue 01-Dec-09 21:57:48

Hi ABC.

I've just picked up this thread.

I'm a permanent kinship carer who has also worked professionally in social work and the family courts'care proceedings system.

So i've been in your situation and know it from both inside and as a family member.

If you need clarification re the different orders and what they mean (practically and financially) let me know.

auntedee Mon 22-Aug-11 19:20:26

hello..im new to this as well, but i was asked last october by a my sister to her her daughter whom i have helped off and on for the past 6 years with her now 3 kids...dhs took them there are 3 of them 3,5, and 7 my kids are 16, 18, 20 it was not even a question we found out on friday night prayed all weekend and was at dhs monday morning got the background checks started, set up for home study and a miracle we had everything done by court on thursday where we got them into our home that night after court...but it has been a long road for us all now some hard feelings on their part toward us but we love them and will continue to help as we can if they will allow us too they were placed back in the parents home this month... so i kinda understand but i am having a hard time understanding why they are upset with me for taking them in...

auntedee Mon 22-Aug-11 19:22:48

it was difficult understanding what i was supposed to do vs what the family wanted me to do..lol
but we had dhs, counselors, and case managers, and now casa and att at lidem very confusing as to what we were to do sometimes

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