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Can you voluntarily put child into care?

(38 Posts)
MyAngels Sat 23-Feb-13 13:21:02

What will happen if you try?

The relationship between my SIL and her 14 year old DD has broken down to the level that SIL is happy her DD to go into foster care. My niece does not want to live at home (usual 14 year old stuff) and her mum is not brilliant at discipline (admits to the "anything for a quiet life" school of parenting). SIL is taking her DD to granny's this afternoon and leaving her there with £100 and their social worker's phone number.
Social services appear only to want to help with pointing SIL in the direction of parenting classes at times she can't go to because of work.
I don't have teenagers yet, so don't know what to suggest to help the situation.
Any ideas?

FireOverBabylon Sat 23-Feb-13 13:27:55

Sorry, but I think my first action would be to call granny, warn her, and then take her out of the afternoon so she isn't mixed up in this. Not her child, so not her problem.

Your SIL needs to go back to Social Services and explain that she can't go to the classes and what else can they offer? Dumping her daughter on granny is not the answer and leaves granny sorting out the mess if SS say that she's alright because she's with family.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 23-Feb-13 13:31:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 23-Feb-13 13:32:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stargirl1701 Sat 23-Feb-13 13:32:49

Please PM MaryZ. She is fantastic with advice in these situations.

Booyhoo Sat 23-Feb-13 13:45:27

where is the child's father? is there other family that could take the girl temporarily to let mother and daughter have a bit of space from each other? does granny want the girl with her?

Meglet Sat 23-Feb-13 13:55:08

A week with her Gran might not be a bad thing. I stayed with my grandparents for a week when mum chucked me out, she'd tried to leave me at the SS office but they wouldn't take me.

I certainly wouldn't put a child into care whatever they're doing, I don't think anything good will come of it. Our home was a battle ground but it came good in the end, going into care would have done more harm than good.

Maryz Sat 23-Feb-13 14:00:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FashionFail Sat 23-Feb-13 14:21:48

Does your SIL think a care home will act as a wake-up call? That her daughter would come back after a week or two with a more constructive attitude?

perceptionreality Sat 23-Feb-13 14:27:07

I can't believe anyone would just dump their child tbh. How awful.

mindfulmum Sat 23-Feb-13 14:34:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsDeVere Sat 23-Feb-13 14:41:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

theredhen Sat 23-Feb-13 15:00:15

By not re arranging her work to go to parenting classes, your sil is not really trying everything she can first in my opinion. She's basically saying that work comes before her daughter.

I'm sure some sort of respite would be good for both if them though and give them some time out. I know social services do this.

Could sil find the time to commit to parenting classes and find some sort of family counselling first though?

HecateWhoopass Sat 23-Feb-13 15:10:26

Does the grandmother know that this is happening?

I am not an expert, my boys are only just teens, but I did used to work as the residential support at a project for young women with behavioural problems. This doesn't make me an expert or anything, but I do have some small experience with families in crisis and with troubled teenage girls.

If the grandmother has agreed to take her, then I would suggest you do nothing beyond supporting them all and perhaps finding out where they can go for help at this point. If she's agreed to help out in order to give them both some space then that's ok. They can work from there, get some help, get talking.

If she's just planning on dumping her there without agreement, then the grandmother must choose whether to accept that and turn it into the above, or phone social services and report the child as abandoned or something.

If I had a say, which I know I do not, I would advise against telling social services she's abandoned her at her grandmothers.

Your sil should not dismiss these classes. She should move heaven and earth to make it work. Find out if she can swap shifts, or if there are classes anywhere else at other times, etc. She has to make the effort. She's the adult here and if she's not in control or doesn't understand how to parent a teen, or is really struggling - the onus is upon her to learn and to change.

perceptionreality Sat 23-Feb-13 15:12:41

'She's basically saying that work comes before her daughter'

Exactly. I'm afraid I do judge someone who would do this to a 14 year old. I am sure things are very difficult but someone who really loves their child will do everything to work out difficulties - this doesn't appear to be the case. Parenting is bloody hard but you don't just get to throw the towel in. I can understand that sometimes children need to go into care when their parents are too ill to look after them but because they are getting in the way of a work commitment? The mind boggles. Childrens homes are horrible, unstable places for a child to be. However difficult and or hostile the dd is, underneath she must be very hurt to know her mother wants her gone.

flow4 Sat 23-Feb-13 15:17:25

If it's really just "usual 14 year old stuff" plus "anything for a quiet life" parenting, then the chances of your niece being taken into care are almost zero.

It costs hundreds of pounds a week to keep a child in care, and it is a very, very last resort.

If your niece's granny has her, then SS will not take her. Granny will have to throw her out too. Even then, SS's first, second, third and fourth resort will be to try to get your niece back with her mum, or failing that, another family member (including you).

If everyone connected with the girl refuses to have her, then she is most likely to end up in B&B accommodation in the short-term, and a hostel in the medium-to-long term. Placement with a foster carer is very unlikely.

I would never judge a parent in this situation - it is almost impossible to know just how awful a teenager is behaving at home, because almost all of them behave better elsewhere and save their worst stuff for 'behind closed doors'. It might be that your SIL is really desperate. If you want to help, giving her direct support, or helping her access it, is probably the most useful thing for you to do.

Greensleeves Sat 23-Feb-13 15:22:05

Not everyone can "rearrange" work to accommodate other commitments, some employers simply won't have it. Many many jobs in fact wouldn't allow for this. She presumably has to prioritise feeding the family and keeping a roof over their heads hmm

How awful for them all. I'm not judging your SIL either btw.sad

Maryz's advice is excellent as usual. The girl has no idea what being in care at 14 is like.

Are there any other relatives who could have her for a few weeks and maybe host some mediative talks between mother and dd?

MrsDeVere Sat 23-Feb-13 16:08:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

perceptionreality Sat 23-Feb-13 16:15:26

A 14 year old can't possibly know what's best for her though.

'A teenager, bent on a certain course of behaviour, can cause total chaos.'

I don't doubt this, honestly. But who could let their child go into a children's home, knowing that they are only likely to end up worse off and a target for further problems? I couldn't walk away not knowing where my child was or what was happening to them each day, no matter how hellish things were with them at home. And there must be a reason why the dd is behaving this way - a child cannot be blamed for their behaviour imo.

This is not to say that I don't empathise with the SIL.

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 23-Feb-13 16:29:30

I should think they absolutely will take her - my DD got it into her head to go and "live" with her BF when she was 15. Things were fraught at home but on reflection it was teenage angst - so no serious behaviour, no involvement from SS before. Anyway - I refused to let my DD stay at her BFs even though his mother was condoning it (i was a terrible mother that took away my DDs hair straighteners because she was literally unable to turn them off hmm so she actually bought my DD a new pair angry ) So i called the police - the police agreed with me that my DD was not to stay there but she refused to come home (the cow!) So the police said that the alternative was for her to be taken into temporary care - as it was i asked a friend if DD could stay with her over night and it was fine. I think it all shocked DD that it escalated to that point so quickly - she was home the next day grin and soon dumped the twat boyfriend.

So yes i woudl have thought tht they would do so - it does sound like your SIL and her DD clash terribly, its not uncommon and teenagers can be a bloody nightmare - my DD has left home now - she is 22 and is doing ok, has lovely DP a job and a nice little flat together (on the sea front how jealous am i!) We have a good relationship but in all honesty, i don't think we can live together - doesn't mean i don't love her and wouldnt die for her though!

MrsDeVere Sat 23-Feb-13 16:31:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

perceptionreality Sat 23-Feb-13 16:38:37

I do know that teens can be a nightmare. A friend of mine had terrible trouble with her dd who had been doing very well at school and was a responsible girl who suddenly started hitting her and getting in trouble with the police. It turned out that her father (who never saw her) was stirring up trouble by sending her messages on FB about her mother. It was eventually resolved though and everything ok now as far as I know.

So I suppose I am saying is there an underlying reason for all this? Could it be unpicked somehow? (the reason for the girl's behaviour)

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 23-Feb-13 16:40:21

My dad put me in care, he refused to take me back, refused to let me stay with his mum and I refused to to go with him. He literally left me at ss offices and didn't give them a choice. There was good points being in care like being able to do whatever you want and no one able to do fuck all if you felt like staying out for a week/getting drunk and fucked up/ refusing to go to school but it was awful knowing no one actually gave a real shit about you.

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 23-Feb-13 16:42:56

All those who think that she should rearrange her work do go to "parenting classses" - maybe she thinks that the parenting classes are a waste of time and quite frankly i don't think you can learn how to parent really. I think what they need is one to one family therapy and help to relate to each other as you can't pigeon hole people into a one size fits all mentality. So just because she doesn't think she will benefit from parenting classes (i would rather stick a fork in my eye to be honest) it doesn't mean she doesn't love her daughter.

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 23-Feb-13 16:45:39

perception - i think you are right there. Although my DDs behaviour was not that bad in the scheme of things there was a reason i think. We had not long lost my dad (he was like her fatehr to be honest) and I had just had another baby (within weeks) i think all of that happening in a 15 yo life was going to have an affect.

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