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Left holding the baby....

(39 Posts)
downtoearth Mon 15-Jun-15 11:21:49

AIBU to feel peed off the situation as follows
have been kinship carer to GD since the age of 4,she is now 161/2 and just completed last GCSE Friday and has now officially left school.
E has a friend also E who is 14 from a "difficult background" who has taken to running away /being thrown out of home social services and police have been involved for years and are aware of the issues,this has escalated into truancy due to bullying and mum has reported her missing twice in as many days without even attempting to look for her.
I became involved at 11.00pm Thursday eveningI was awoken by a telephone call from the local beat officer (My E knows them from the community centre youth team where she volunteers ,and is hoping to work on an apprenticeship) could I have her stay as a place of safety, s/s visited next day and arrangements where made for her to stay until a placement was sorted out,things have unravelled and my is resenting sharing her room and having to spend time with this friend and having her life curtailed,I have asked for this to be sorted today and guess who is being made to feel like the bad guy.poor girl started her work experience to day,have had to spend all day Saturday finding clothes for her suitable to wear ,her work placement is in a nursery which only works half days ,so I am keeping playschool hours and back to pick her up 3 hours later 25mile round trip,and have just had a call from the playgroup leader E has been sick and feels wobbly now I have to go and collect a sick child as well,have had to cancel my work commitments and curtail my activites and I am absolutely positive if I hadn't kicked up a fuss today I would still be waiting for a suitable placement this time next month....I feel really angry that I have been put in this position,I am a kinship carer not a foster carer I get residency payments for my E feel like they want 2 for the price of one....cant think of an appropriate smiley don't think there is one...

grannyactivist Mon 15-Jun-15 11:32:06

You are most certainly NOT being unreasonable and it's a credit to you that you took the girl in in the first place. Nationwide there is a huge shortage of foster carers and I guess the S.W.'s felt you were a safe pair of hands in an emergency, but really this should be sorted today AND you should receive payment!
flowers because you deserve them.

Mishap Mon 15-Jun-15 11:32:44

Kick SSD up the backside - they have no right to ask you to do this and you need to be vociferous in telling them that this cannot continue or (understandably with their caseloads) they will be tempted to drag their feet. Your primary responsibility is to your GD and they need to hear that loud and clear.

I am not knocking social workers (I used to be one!) but I know that they re under such pressure that if a child is safe and looked after, the case could by default slip to the bottom of their priority list! Make your voice heard!

It sounds as though your DGD has done well for herself and you have done a good job of bringing her up - you do not need this pernicious influence on your doorstep. The lass does need help and deserves our sympathy, but it is not your responsibility.

downtoearth Mon 15-Jun-15 12:37:43

thank you I know s/w are very busy,and my first instinct is for my E and her friend desperately wants a reliable mother figure and a family,exactly what my E has,but cannot be that person and don't want her to form an attachment to me ,she has already said she feels safe here and wants to stay poor little mite has had so much rejection that I feel bad that I am doing the same,if I where younger and had 3 bedrooms it might be different but OH never wanted his own children and withtin a month GD came to live,he puts up with sons partner little girl here 12 hours Saturdays /weds afternoons while she works,think he has enough family life to deal with especially as my E has issues and anger problems,he feels the brunt of those...think he may pack up and leave if another one arrives here....he spent most of weekend out of house to escape,if they ring emotional blackmail and to guilt trip me ....they have succeeded....also have a sicky teen upstairs no needing looking after ,the trip home was fraught with carrier bags as sick bags,and many stops and she cannot return to work experience until 48 hours after last vomit as the placement is with children...just hope its not my cooking...although think is stress related poor kid...

Ana Mon 15-Jun-15 12:45:06

Oh downtoearth what an awful predicament to be in! sad

I can only reiterate what others have said, stay strong if SS try to guilt-trip you into taking on this girl for any longer than absolutely necessary. Of course you feel sorry for her and she does need a secure placement, but your first priority of course has to be E and neither of you needs this sort of stress...

Let us know how things progress, life can be so unfair at times...angry

nightowl Mon 15-Jun-15 12:55:00

Social Workers have been doing this for years (and I have to admit, guilty as charged in the past), but it is not acceptable. Recent case law has made it very clear that by arranging this girl's placement with you they have accepted responsibility for her and have to either approve you as her foster carer (which you don't want and is not appropriate for your DGD) or move her to foster care ASAP. In the meantime they should be paying you a fostering allowance for her. I think if you tell them you are aware of the law in this respect they may move a bit quicker.

Good luck downtoearth, you have a heart of gold flowers

downtoearth Mon 15-Jun-15 13:19:18

have pushed for a removal date and told weds poss Friday, have said prefer weds aits her private spacend said this is not an open ended arrangement ,SW not happy as I think she would push boundaries,so have given ultimatum Friday latest,My E has been estranged from her paternal family due to fathers domestic violence which resulted in daughters death,I have worked so hard to facilitate a holiday with her paternal auntie so that she can meet cousins and family members she has n contact with in 12 years,she has also met dad several times as I thought in her best interest,and have satisfied her curiosity,she knows him now is wary of him,and dosent want a father /daughter relationship with him,at 161/2 and strong enough to deal with this now,will not stop this in order to look after E and my E does not want her to stay in her bedroom and with us while she s away,understandably it is her private space....thank you all for your input and flowers xx

Mishap Mon 15-Jun-15 13:38:52

There are thousands of girls and boys in the same situation as this poor lass - but she and none of the others are your responsibility.

You must be firm and not allow guilt or compassion to rule in this case. You are right to feel sorry for her, but solving her problems is not down to you and you should not feel guilty about being clear about your priorities.

It is very unfortunate that you have been put in this situation and you can only extricate yourself from it by being firm.

apricot Mon 15-Jun-15 20:40:02

Couldn't you give this poor girl shelter a bit longer? Social Services are very overstretched. Could you say to her face, "We don't want you here, you're 16, go and fend for yourself".
I had a big family of teenagers and often got up to find a waif or stray sleeping on the sofa. My daughters' friends knew they would always find a place of safety with us and they never abused our hospitality. I'd hope that, if my child needed somewhere to stay, someone kind would take them in.

Mishap Mon 15-Jun-15 21:33:35

downtoearth is not able to look after a troubled child at present - she is a grandmother (not a spring chicken) with an OH who is not happy about the situation, and a vulnerable GD needing her support. Someone kind has taken this lass in (*downtoearth*), and is not in a position to continue to do so without risking the integrity and well-being of her own family. She is right to put her family first and to establish what she is able or not able to do.

As a former SW I know that this situation will just drag on - the OP's own GD is feeling the strain of her being there, and hubbie is voting with his feet - not a situation that should be allowed to continue.

I am all for kindness, but practicality and realism have their place too. Downtoearth has done her kind action by caring for her GD.

Her circumstances are probably very different from how yours were apricot, but she has to deal with the realities of her own situation. Having this lass there is not working out, and that helps no-one, least of all the lass herself.

Time for the SWs to find a professional foster carer who is in a position to take her in.

Ana Mon 15-Jun-15 22:34:31

Well said, Mishap.

As a relatively new member apricot probably isn't aware of downtoearth's circumstances, but even so it's not fair to make comparisons based on one's own experience when younger and fitter.

grannyactivist Mon 15-Jun-15 23:11:10

Hello apricot, I too often take in waifs and strays, but would try never to do so in the face of resentment from my own family - which would seem like a lose-lose situation to me. downtoearth has been on Gransnet a long time and her commitment to her granddaughter, who she took in after a horrendous family situation, is well documented. To jeopardise the well-being of her granddaughter (who has been a very troubled girl herself) in order to let the Social Worker off the hook is unacceptable in my opinion. I do feel very sad for this other young girl, but as she's only fourteen the best thing for her is to get her a more sensible placement as quickly as possible. (Preferably back at home with some family support if at all viable as an option.)

downtoearth Tue 16-Jun-15 08:03:59

Thank you all for springing to my defence ,I have taken the girl overnight Apricot, and she is still here,this morning I have had to get my OH 7 miles to the bus stop for his journey to work ,have to threaten,cajole,almost drag said teenager out of bed get her to take a bath as she hasn't had one for 4 days or washed,has worn same bra since Thursday despite me offering each night to wash it and her other underwear,she went to work placement yesterday was there an hour was sick I had to return another 25mile round trip to collect her 50 miles in all as no suitable bus service,sunday was spent trying to contact her mother to arrange for some clothed for her and I got an earful off her,saturday alongside having my 2 year granddaughter for 12 hours was spent on a shopping trip to buy suitable clothing an allowance of £30 was given to me and was told to get receipts by S/S Friday was spent waiting in for s/w I had to let people I volunteer with and clients I have booked in down,each night I make a return journey to pick OH up from bus stop,I am trying to sort out my GD and keep her on the straight and narrow,I haven't got the energy or the esources of a younger woman,I have taken in waifs and strays all of my mothering years including family,in fact am known as nanny P to all of them,now I am 62 and tired of the the battles of fighting everyone elses cause,financially we are crippled through giving up work to fight for my GD 6 years through high court and numerous other court cases take its toll healthwise and energy wise....and guess what I am beating myself up because I know this poor kid needs help,love and support and I am not able to help hersad

Iam64 Tue 16-Jun-15 08:25:25

Your tough. experiences tell you to let this one go downtoearth. It's so hard when you've spent your life putting the needs of others before yourself. I agree with you, this poor kid needs help, love and support but you aren't in a position to save everyone. It's always been tough for troubled teenagers and children's services usually attempt to find a solution within the family or the community. That's partly based on research that confirms teenagers who go into the care system don't do very well, of course they don't because they usually arrive with all kinds of emotional/psychological and sometimes psychiatric problems.

The other reason is resources. The local authority I worked in 30 plus years ago had various resources for teens, none of them ideal but at least we could always find a bed in an emergency whilst we worked out a better, longer term solution. All the family group homes, small children's homes and many of the older foster carers (who had elastic walls in their houses) are gone now.

None of that is down to you downtoearth - don't beat yourself up, it's time to hang up your rescue outfit flowers

Mishap Tue 16-Jun-15 09:00:22

You are doing a grand job - but you have your limits.

SSD need to find a long-term stable placement for this girl. You cannot be all things to all people. Your immediate family MUST come first.

downtoearth Tue 16-Jun-15 09:32:36

alongside the above issues the girl has stolen money from her home and was warned as a parting shot from a quickly retreating S/W to watch our valubles,she truants and have been asked to make sure she gets to school there again my responsibility to get her there on limited funds again a long bus journey with which there is chance of escape and disappearing so guess who gets the 50 mile round trip alongside ferrying my E and my partner as we have only one car live in a village with limited bus service,but even then would have to pay fares for her along with my E,I was given £50 Tesco vouchers after explaining to S/w that it was doubtful wether I could get groceries for all of us as since E has turned 16 all child tax credits have been reduced drastically and I am fighting with NCC to keep my residency payments for her already this is apart from OH low age all we have,I will receive pension in October but will lose OH working tax credit am having to deal with this also....I feel angry not with the child but police and social services for putting me in this position until Thursday had never seen or met child and new nothing of her life ...

jollyg Tue 16-Jun-15 10:04:21

Try complaining to your MP. NOW

You cant be put upon like this

downtoearth Tue 16-Jun-15 10:12:56

thanks jollyg might have to try that if I ever get out of the car again,feels like I have been in the car or kitchen since Thursday,driving and taxiing about,although not sure that S/s are answerable to him...will give until Friday as an absolute deadline but by then S/S will have a duty S/W over weekend and it will be Monday again and the whole sorry week will start again....and thankyou to all above for your kind and supportive comments for each of you xxxx

jollyg Tue 16-Jun-15 10:49:58

MPs are responsible for your care and needs.

YOU are one of his constituents, and he has a duty of care for you .

I would not wait till Fri to contact him, make him aware of the situation now.

They normally come down to their constituencies on fri so you could tell him face to face then, only if you make an appointment beforehand.

Im presuming its a HE.

Good luck. and please persevere.

Marelli Tue 16-Jun-15 11:19:50

downtoearth, I'm with jollyg in this. Contact your MP as soon as you can. I had to do this for something regarding my DD a couple of years ago, and he acted immediately.
I'm so sorry you're having to go through all this, as you've had so much to deal with over the last few years. Often thought about you and wondered how things were with you. flowers x

NanaDenise Tue 16-Jun-15 12:08:37

Oh downtoearth, most of the comments I have read indicate that you need SS to get their act together fast to deal with this sad young person. Years ago, I was in a similar situation as a foster carer and ended with three related young girls in my home together with my own two daughters. Two of the girls were pregnant, one had been charged with shoplifting, one, unbeknown to us had been removed from a children's home for violent behaviour, the third was a treasure who had put herself in care as her stepfather had tried to sexually abuse her. He had abused both other girls. It worked for a while, but didn't end well. You need to speak to the Social Worker's senior (preferably followed by an email so there is written evidence) and say you must have this other girl in a new placement by a specific date. I know difficult teens are hard to place, but you must think of yourself so that you can care for E properly.

If you have no joy with SW's senior, get in touch with the Director of Social Services and again, follow up in writing.

I did this with one of my foster-daughters and although I didn't make myself very popular, it was effective.

You need all your strength and resilience dealing with teens as a mature lady - I know as I have seventeen year old twin GDs living with me. Take care of yourself. Good luck.

downtoearth Tue 16-Jun-15 13:20:37

nanadenise you are correct it is S/S who are falling short,and an overworked police department who didn't have resources to look after her.It is not the child, it is the system I feel torn in two as my mothering instinct is still strong,if I where 10years younger uand had three bedrooms it would work,but have had a stressful year 11 with E and would be going back 2 years in school life and poor little mite is a mixed bag of neediness,rejection,and not much expectation of the adults who are unable to support and care for her,my heart is heavy I could (and have) given her big hugs and sat and listened as she in a short time learning to trust me,but again that is not fair on her and have managed to have discussion with S/W whilst she was out of house,it is not right that she gets to form an attachment and think of me as "nanny" if this is only temporary a secure loving placement is needed now,she already indentifies with this as E naturally calls me nanny as does little A when she is here even thought she is not my biological GD ...

Nonnie Tue 16-Jun-15 13:45:44

Yes, get onto your MP now!

You have no choice but to choose what is best for your GD, you need to show her she is your priority.

If the SS let you down tell them you are no longer prepared to let her share your Dg's room and that she will have to sleep on the sofa from now on. Hopefully that will motivate them. Best of luck

downtoearth Tue 16-Jun-15 14:11:19

my plan of action will be

speak to S/S will initiate the call as not holding my breath for tomorrows deadline.
if there is no suitable arrangement or dragging of heels,then will insist on speaking to line manager or higher ,will make a call this afternoon to discover names etc or will google.
will follow S/S procedures for complaints.
if not dealt with in a timely manner enlist the support of my local MP.

All of this will take time so I hope that something suitable is found before I need to escalate ...feel like my weapons are being bought out of storage again,otherwise another child falls by the wayside and in to the system....BTW family support has been involved for many years and E has a key worker already although I am not privy to these details,so I think it unlikely E will return home and now she is of an age to have a voice,and is old enough to walk out although in this case mum had already packed her bags days before,and threatened to give what little she does have to the charity shop,she arrived with bruised upper arms which the S/W noted and I was told that these blow ups normally happen on a 6 weekly cycle, family dosent seem able to function without a whipping boy.....and now I am involved and worrying confused

nightowl Tue 16-Jun-15 15:11:25

My advice would be to go to your local councillor before your MP as they are the social workers' employers. A call from a councillor to Children's Services usually gets a quick response.

Also, if the child had bruises on her upper arms, what are they doing about it? Never mind making a note of it, has the social worker spoken to her about how the bruises were caused and has she discussed it with her manager? Sounds like a clear child protection issue to me if these bruises were caused by a parent. All too often such matters are ignored when dealing with teenagers, and it's not good enough.