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Say 'no' to giving DD's friend a home for a year?(105 Posts)
DD has a lovely 17 year old friend. A while ago we found out that while growing up she's been abused by her parents, her earliest memory being at three years. Not constantly, but verbal and physical abuse. She picked up the courage to tell the school a few months ago (although she'd confided in DD before that without us knowing). Myself, another parent and school reported parents to Social Services and they've been involved, as well as regular support at school. She's still at home as wants to go to uni so basically needs a roof over her head while she does her A levels. The relationship has totally broken down, they don't speak, she doesn't ask anything of them, lifts, cooking, food etc.
Social Services have now told her they can't really do much else as she's free to leave home at her age and asked her if she can come up with any other options. She's told DD there are two families she would consider, one of which is us.
Pretty sure DH will be a no, but that's half how I half feel. DD has a bursary at a school away from home, so it would be just us and friend most of the time. Her friend would have DD's room and one sleep on the floor when DD comes home for hols (that part isn't an issue). I suppose we're at that age where our child is independent and we can just think of ourselves, go out when we want, put pjs on at 7pm etc etc. DD's friend is willing to cook, do her own washing, but I don't want to be working around someone else in the kitchen, queue for the shower etc. Also, feeling I need to keep the house clean more clean and tidy. We could afford to feed another, but then would have to cut back on treats.
At the same time, I half feel I'm letting her down. I've always made it clear friend can contact us if she needs to, and she's done this once late on a Saturday and come to us. This offer will continue. Another consideration is letting her just live here while doing her A levels, approx a month, so she can have a clear head without pressures from home (which there will be as she's already a failure in their books). That's not so bad, as it's only a month and DD wants to return between her exams sometimes.
How long have you and your DD known her?
I'm thinking of my own 17 year old DDs and I would definitely offer the friends they've known for years a home for the year. Surely you can still go out when you want and slob around in PJs with her there?
It's not long and it sounds like she's had a really shit time.
I had DS’s friend live with us when his family relationship broke down. I couldn’t bear to think of him in a hostel. All the things you’re worried about - you’ll still be able to do them. She’s 17, not 7. Think of what you’d want for your own DD if she was in that position.
It’s a really big ask but you could literally be the person who turns everything around for this young girl. It’s not your responsibility of course and you’re not obliged but you could make a massive positive difference to someone’s life, which she will always know. My friend lived with us for about 4 months at a similar age and I was so grateful to my parents for stepping in.
Would you hope someone like you would support your dd should she need it?
I would do it.
When I was a teen and left home(17) my friend lodged with my dm for a time when her df moved away and she didn't want to.
My dm never regretted it.
I have teen dc and would hope their friends would come to me in a crisis.
what a predicament for you, I'm sorry I don't have any useful advice but didn't want to read and run.
It's a massive decision to amake and take on no matter how nice said child is, it won't be without it's issues but due to her circumstances you could feel left with no choices once you start if it isn't working out knowing she has no where else to go!
Maybe as you say a half way house suhc as the A levels period or maybe a night now an again to have a dinner cooked for her where she is having to do it all herself etc.....soosad, she is having to grow up too quickly through no fault of her own, I can understand you wanitng to help and give her little bit of mothering
Stand alone provides support for estranged students at Uni:www.standalone.org.uk/students/
I really feel for her. It must be awful.
I know she's not at Uni but for after a levels the link might be useful. They may even provide counselling support now.
I really think you should strongly consider doing this.For he sake of one year not being able to doss around doing what you want,vs helping this poor girl turn her life around,there really is no question.
This could change her life around. It's only a year and the positive impact it could have on her would be rewarding for you too.
I’d take her .
My parents took in my brothers friend in a similar situation and he settled with them very well .
I think your concerns around shower and kitchen are easily solved with a basic schedule and also your concerns about keeping the house clean ... this child is coming from an abusive environment and will likely be happy to feel secure and safe at night .
She is very vulnerable and this next year likely could be paramount to getting her into university .
I wouldn’t want to apply pressure to you as I know you have to make the decision that is right for you here but please see if there’s anyway gob can make it work . Surely if she’s in full time education you’d be entitled to some
Child Benefit for her ?
Having heard what happens to kids at that age in hostels I couldn't do it.
She's 17 - so you can go out she doesn't need a babysitter, after all she's been through she isn't going to care about cleanliness or what you are wearing. From the sounds of it she is already pretty independent. All she needs is a safe place to sleep (and a hostel sure as hell is not that).
I look at it that if a freak accident happened and one of my daughters needed the help of acquaintances then how grateful I would be.
As an introvert who likes the peace of my home I would do it - it's not forever. And it's probably an easier decision than if the child was younger...
That said i also am cynical so would be sad that I expect many answers on here will be to put yourselves first and that's the way of the world these days...
It's a tough conundrum but actually while writing this i have realised for me there could only be 1 option for me to be able to live with my own conscience - I would have to try... :-(
Do you know the other family she named? Could you share the time with them? e.g. terms with you and school holidays with them or weekdays with you and weekends with them?
I think you should do it, frankly. She needs help. But have very very clear 'rules' in place spelling out costs, household rules, expectations etc. e.g. for you it might be obvious that a house guest should do their washing up or pick up their towel from the bathroom floor, but if she has come from a chaotic background then that may not havce happened in her house.
It is 8 months until June when A levels will end which sounds more manageable.
It's still a huge responsibility even given that she would look after herself for the most part.
But, I honestly couldn't imagine leaving a kid like that to fend entirely for herself knowing what she'd been through.
I'd say if you have younger kids to consider then it would be more difficult but if you have the space, and I do mean physically and mentally, I'd give her a roof over her head.
If you are really concerned how it would work out perhaps you could say you'd do a trial period but I realise that probably wpuld make it more difficult to subsequently say no.
It's a tricky one, op.
You could request to be assessed as connected carers by social services and this would mean you’d be paid and given money for her keep. This would. Also mean she would be entitled to support from the leaving care team when she turned 18. She would need to have been looked after by you for more than six months though.
I think this is a really easy thing to say you would do when it's all in the hypothetical. Of course it would be a wonderful thing to do for this girl but you have a right to consider the impact it would have on you and your family.
Based on her past abuse this girl might require significant support and you would be opening yourself up to involvement from SS and possibly unpleasantness with her family.
Personally I would think long and hard before going ahead with an arrangement like this.
I think social services need to be pushed a bit; she is a child and they do have a responsibility to her. They do help children in her position including providing supported lodgings which can be family environments but they need a push as they will try to protect their budgets
Another one saying you should do it, if you possibly can. It's a great compliment to you and your family that she feels safe among you, especially when her own family are so awful.
She's an outsider now, but if she's as nice as you say, she'll feel like one of the family before long.
If you don't want to cook around her, why not just include her in family meals? I'm sure she'd be willing to take her turn cooking and helping with chores.
Also, look into fostering her formally - I think SS are obliged to pay allowances until she leaves full time education, which would help with the cost of hosting her.
Finally - don't do it out of guilt. It's a massive ask, and not for everyone. But if you can do it willingly you'll have done a very good deed.
It is a really big ask.
I have 3DC at home so I wouldn't consider it but I think once my lot have flown the nest, I might consider it as I'm single parent and know I'll miss having someone to 'look after'.
I think I'd feel differently if I had a partner and was looking for 'us' down time.
You've done your bit OP, so whilst it's sad, I also think it's long holidays when DCs are home from uni and logistically where does their stuff go whilst at uni if someone else has their bedroom, as they'll leave most of their stuff behind for those 3 years til they get their own place. They can only take so much to student digs.
It's difficult as a 17 y.o. is very vulnerable and it'd be a shock for your average 17 y.o. to have to live in a bedsit whilst doing A Levels and worrying about bills and rent so young.
I have no answer other than it is a huge ask, one that your OH might not want either. It's definitely one for a family discussion before you talk together with DD. As she won't fully appreciate what is being asked of you.
The fostering is a good idea, as it's help with costs and practical support. But I think that comes with assessments etc which might be a tad intrusive.
It is a huge thing to take on but as someone who had to leave home in similar circumstances I would say think if you could possibly do it. Equally if social services feel she can't stay they should be putting something in place. They do have legal responsibility to deal with homeless under 18s. In my area there are supported lodgings and some supported flats but this will vary around the country. Perhaps you could talk things through with her social worker they may offer funds or support to make it more workable for you.
@MsForestier I wish I had access to that info/support when I was at uni. The lack of support emotionally, practically and financially was the main reason I dropped out of uni. I remember the first easter holidays when everyone else in my block in halls went home and I spent 3 weeks literally going to work and then coming home to a dark empty block of flats and sitting on my bed every day. It was awful and very lonely. During the summer I moved in with 2 managers from work (older men) as I had no where else to go and it wasn’t a good situation for a young woman to be in.
As someone who was in the position of the girl in the post but who was lucky to get a scholarship and bursary to go to boarding school when I was 15 I would say that without doubt any help and friendship you can give to this girl will make such a difference.
I'd do it in a heartbeat. A friend's parent did similar for me and it changed my life entirely. However I may be biased! But definetely give it some thought. It's wonderful that she feels so safe with you.
If you can manage in any way to help this young person I would urge you to do it. I have teenagers and we have had friends to stay indefinitely at times. Support at this age can make such a difference to the future. It is for a limited time. Please think about scheduling things like bathroom time etc.
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