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Placing child in foster care(36 Posts)
Hello everyone and thanks in advance for the replies. I am a long-term poster but have name-changed for this one as it's a bit sensitive. Apologies in advance as it might be long.
The situation is that my dd age 13 has been suffering from mental health/behavioural problems for some years. I have been round and round for the last four years trying to get help via the GP, school, CAMHS, voluntary self-referral to SS, youth charities, police youth offending team, anyone I can think of. However, dd flatly refuses to engage or have anything to do with anyone who could offer any help.
Despite all this, due to her refusal to talk or participate in any assessments, she has no formal diagnosis.
Her father is not involved in her life due to his abusive behaviour in the past to her, me and my son, although my daughter has made much more serious allegations about him than me or my son have. I think it is very very likely that she is traumatised by his abuse.
Her behaviour is becoming more and more difficult and challenging. She has just come out of hospital after admission to a specialist in-patient unit after her second overdose this year. She has been refusing school since February and is now on the verge of being expelled. She is getting increasingly violent, to me, my elderly parents and my son who is younger than she is.
The worst incident was in July when she pulled a knife on me and my son. She was arrested for breach of the peace but the police did not take charges forward. I report all violent incidents to the police but this isn't doing anything to deter her.
I am worried sick about the effect on my son. He has had a lot to cope with in his life but has got through it all so far, until the knife incident. Since then, he has become much more withdrawn, lacks enthusiasm for doing things with his friends, and since dd came out of hospital he won't sleep in his own bed in case she comes in to his room in the night, frequently cries himself to sleep and basically, like me, he is just plain scared of her.
I have been saying to years to anyone who will listen that I cannot keep my son (and myself) safe whilst my daughter is at home. I am also not able to keep her safe in terms of her self-harming and dangerous behaviour. I have asked several times for temporary foster care for her to give us all some breathing space and maybe help her to manage her behaviour if she is somewhere where she feels she can't physically bully people. However, even after the knife incident social services have refused to help. They told me when she was in police custody that I had to find someone else to take her or else have her back home, and eventually I managed to find a friend who took her for a couple of days but then she destroyed property and stole money so that came to an end. I begged social services to help but they told me that because I was voluntarily asking for foster care then I would have to pay in excess of £350 a week for this, which I simply cannot afford.
Despite all these ongoing issues, SS closed our case in September. I believe that officially it's opened up again due to the overdose, but no-one has made contact.
Today, the youth offending worker told me that SS had not been straight with me about the legal position on getting some foster care for my daughter.
I cannot find a local solicitor who does free half hours to advise me what the position is. Does anyone on here know with certainty if there is any way I can get (free) foster care for dd due to her behaviour towards my son?
Many thanks in advance, and if you recognise me from this please don't say anything to identify me.
Are you in Scotland by any chance OP? If you are, you could self-refer to the children's panel on the grounds that she is out with parental control. Not sure if there are similar procedures in England, sorry. Did the doctors who cared for her after her overdose not suggest avenues for care to be explored? What about charities? Sorry you're going through this.
I am sorry your going through this. It's terrible your family are not getting the help you need.
I read up on fostering a few weeks ago and from my limited knowledge this doesn't sound right to be asked to pay. It can be classed as respite care?
I think you are doing the very best you can under incredibly difficult circumstances. Have you considered contacting local councillor/mp/minister.
I do recognise you, no intention of outing you. I know how long you have been trying to get help for DD and to keep DS safe. I don't really have anything practical with regard to your question.l, but wanted you to know I'm thinking about you.
if you refuse to care for her then she would be voluntarily accommodated under a section 20. Nor saying that to sound horrible just trying to put it into plain English. sounds a horrible, upsetting and impossible situation xxx
Hi and thank you all for your replies and understanding. We are not in Scotland, and I've not heard of anything similar here in England. All the team have suggested is a re-referral to Social Services, plus family therapy (which will be me on my tod as dd will not participate, so I am not keen), plus school are taking action to take her off their register.
The lead nurse who chaired the discharge meeting said this was one of the most difficult cases he's come across, as there is no clear way forward. Several of the other agencies have also said they have no idea of how to help. I can sympathise with this, as it's very difficult to help someone who has no wish to engage or to be helped.
The only thing I can think of that will help at least some people in the family is for dd to live elsewhere, temporarily.
Thank you for your lovely message Snapespeare and I hope all is well with you too.
Thanks Firefly how do I refuse to care for her? Not being funny, but I have said I can't keep her or my son safe in these circumstances. What else do I have to do to get her voluntarily accommodated? I think this might be what the social worker was talking about when she said I would have to pay a large amount of money to cover the costs of this - do you know if it is true that I would have to fund this type of care? (Cannot afford anything like that amount of money!)
How is she doing at school?
Could you go down the route of EHCP and needing a residential educational placement (need of 24hr curriculum for social emotional needs)?
She has not attended school reliably since last February. She is academically very able but struggles more with the social side of school. A residential educational placement would be wonderful! No-one has ever mentioned this.
You can apply for an EHCP yourself. I would seriously consider doing that.
^ plus family therapy (which will be me on my tod as dd will not participate, so I am not keen)^ family therapy isn't necessarily useless on your own, though I appreciate why you'd be reluctant.
Residential eduction could work. There are some amazing places. I think lawyer-wise that would be a matter for an education specialist not a children's public law specialist. In case that helps your search.
Yes, statements are now Education/ Health Care Plans.
You would have to be prepared for a fight for one, but it sounds like it would really be worth it.
That is all really useful thank you and not something I had even thought about as an option.
So the EHCP is the first step in unlocking this? I will seriously look into this as a possibility. Thank you.
Would still appreciate advice on the legal obligations for fostering as I am very unclear as to what is the correct position here and suspect from what the YoT worker said that SS have been misleading me somewhat.
Am off away to do some stuff now so won't be able to reply to messages for a while, but thank you all.
Not a social worker but work in an LA and we have accommodated children under section 20 and parents are certainly not paying for it!
Could the Family Rights Group offer you some good advice?
I would say if you are unhappy with the service or advice being offered by social services, please do make use of their complaints procedure. It can force a rethink.
Under the new Code of Practice there is a category of Special Needs called 'Social, Emotional and Mental Health'. I would look into the criteria for difficulties in this category and apply under them.
Some LEAs have state residential 'SEMH' schools and there are also private providers such as Cambian and Priory.
I'm not a lawyer, but I am a foster carer.
I don't think it is foster care your daughter needs, she needs specialist therapeutic residential care. She is only 13 and already has so many difficulties.
I don't know how you would access this, but I know you would have to be the one shouting the loudest! Go to the top of the complaints systems for health, education and social care. Get your mp on board. Prove that your daughter is worth them investing in. Don't let them think that you are giving up on her and simply trying to pass off responsibility (I know you aren't!).
Good luck OP, to you and your DD!
A residential placement is very unlikely, I think. They tend to be granted for children with quite profound SN who can't cope with having two settings for care. They are extremely expensive and even for these children it often has to go to tribunal before it happens.
I don't think SS can make you pay. This blog post explains why the fact that they can ask you to pay won't translate into making you pay.
I agree with wonderpants that it is not foster care she needs but a residential therapeutic placement. They are eyewateringly expensive and you may have a battle on your hands to get it. EHCP is a good start especially if you can get the other professionals to commit on paper to the level of difficulty your daughter presents. So sorry you're going through this
X post with wonderpants. I have no idea about requirement for therapeutic placements.
My sister physically attacked us (her sisters, there were 4 of us) on numerous occasions growing up, knives were her usual weapon of choice, or scissors if knives weren't available.
Foster care wasn't an option - there was no process to put her in foster care originally. Once she attacked her teachers and took knives to school, she was deemed to aggressive and violent to be put into foster care.
She was "monitored" staying at a house with a similar aged child for a week, but she left as soon as she realised that they had no ability to make her stay, on the second day.
They said the same things to us - this is an extraordinary case, there is no provision for cases like this, they don't know how to proceed. Nobody could agree what to do.
Eventually, at 15, Social Services housed her in a B&B. She's still there now, and it's been over 6 years now. She doesn't get any help or support as she won't engage with it, but it does mean she has somewhere to stay, and she has somehow stayed out of jail.
I have worked with young people who have been in residential education who seemed very similar to the OP's daughter.
However only boys were accepted, nothing similar was available in county for girls.
Yes if your daughter is a looked after child section 20 many local authorities will require payment. However the is assessed on your income it is not a fixed amount. If you are on tax credits etc you should not have to pay anything.
I am sorry you are in this situation.
My dd2 pulled a knife on herself aged 8 , her dad had to restrain her. Camhs just told us it was " very common" and did nothing.
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