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Left holding the baby....

(40 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...

jollyg Thu 18-Jun-15 19:40:15


As there seems to be a medical issue here PMT,

Have S/S thought of seeking medical advice, for both, of course Drs have a duty of confidentiality , and that would not impinge on Mums job with kids.

Just a little thought.

Glad you have progressed

downtoearth Thu 18-Jun-15 08:53:30

and just a final word I have insisted that mum dosent meet me or know my address,tha way both of our anonymity is protected and mum dosent feel emabarrassed if she where to bump into me...we live in a village which is a longish trek so fear of turning up unexpectedly is remote as we have to taxi my E back and forth by car...will pick little E up in a near her home supermarket car park...

downtoearth Thu 18-Jun-15 08:42:56

thank you all for lovely comments and support...just to add a final touch to the story,E has been completing her work experience completely by coincidence at the nursery where my youngest adoptive GC attends they have formed a connection,I look after little A 12 hours on Saturdays,and other minor babysitting,I have suggested that E accompany us to the park/picnics on some Saturdays so that I can observe unobtrusively,and if concerned will contact S/W,I have made it clear a stay is settee only for one night,then home in morning,I would rather that than have a phone call in the night again from police,I will feel more in control,she will also of course come by invite to have dinner with my E as and when....lets hope for peace and quiet for a while ....sunshine

loopylou Wed 17-Jun-15 21:12:48

downtoearth, you are exceptionally generous and big hearted, flowers
I hope that I might be so in such circumstances x

nightowl Wed 17-Jun-15 20:34:22

You are a very kind and generous person downtoearth, but then we already knew that smile

They are all very lucky to have you.

Mishap Wed 17-Jun-15 10:48:11

I think you are right Ana - a lass with such a disorganised life is unlikely to have any concept of boundaries, so there may be times in the future when, once again, you will have to make sure that you put your family first. Well done for all that you have done in the last few days.

Ana Wed 17-Jun-15 10:38:30

I'm glad the SW contacted you and put you in the picture, downtoearth. It does sound as though the girl in question and her family are well known and under supervision, they must think it's OK for her to go back home.

I think you're taking a lot on, offering to have this child overnight in the future and having so much contact with her. I fear both she and her mother (and indeed SS) might take advantage of your kind-heartedness...

whenim64 Wed 17-Jun-15 10:38:01

That's all sounding sensible and reassuring, downtoearth. How considerate of you to offer a bolthole for emergencies.

downtoearth Wed 17-Jun-15 10:02:47

Beyond that I don't know what else I can do ...

downtoearth Wed 17-Jun-15 09:58:47

we have some movement,S/W contacted me late afternoon,yesterday but she is adamant that E is going home,and E is happy about this ,she will be returned to mum,who will be monitored and supported in her relationship with her daughter,obviously I am only told what I need to know and am unable to insist on more information,I guess I have also not be given complete situation.It appears that these blow ups occur monthly when mum and daughter both have period/pmt at same time BOTH are volatile personalities,I have learned that E hits mum and mum restrains and the bruises are restraint bruises,E also hits her brothers and sisters,E has admitted this to be true.It appears that the family struggle financially no more than the rest of us and some of this is a deeply unhappy child wishing to gain attention,they have a family support worker,and also E has a key worker so does appear that they are not under the radar of those able to whistle blow.I have got caught up in this tense situation without full facts and have responded to the immediate drama and safety of the child as you would in this situation.I have assured E now that we have established a relationship that she has my contact number,I will act as a safe haven for the night if she needs respite but it will be only for a night,unless I believe her to be at risk/danger then obviously S/W will be contacted immediately as I have her and office contact details,if any evidence of bruising I will photograph it and call police immediately,I will also contact E on a weekly basis,have round for a meal etc as my E's friend and keep an eye on situation. E is being given money by S/S to choose paint etc for her room so that she can take back some control in her life,she will also be given some money to choose some clothing etc for herself,I feel satisfied that this is being dealt with at that the child is safe,and will have a safe haven and protection by me as a responsible adult.

nightowl Tue 16-Jun-15 18:03:03

downtoearth that is shocking, and I'm sorry if I gave the impression I thought it was your responsibility to sort out the bruises as well - you have more than enough on your plate. I agree with Mishap - contact everybody and don't omit to mention your concern about the bruises. It is doubly worrying that the girl's mum is a teaching assistant as this would have to be taken into account. I'm sorry if that puts her job at risk but is someone who regularly bruises her own child really a suitable person to be in that role?

Jollyg I don't think downtoearth is covering anything up; it seems the S/W is aware of the bruises but nothing is being done about them.

Mishap Tue 16-Jun-15 17:35:21

If these bruises are being ignored and glossed over as part of the "normal" functioning of the family it is entirely disgraceful. There is indeed a child protection issue here.

I think your plan of action is good - today is Tuesday and there is time to find a proper placement before Friday is you make enough noise. To be honest I would contact the lot all in one go - SW, line manager, SSD director, MP, local councillor - or one or other will just drag their feet.

Leaving this young lass with you to begin to establish a relationship (both ways) is cruel when you and SSD know that it cannot continue. They are playing on your and her emotions - it is quite wrong. You have to kick ass and do it now!

jollyg Tue 16-Jun-15 16:21:11

And if the girl died of far more serious injuries?

How would you feel then?

By your actions at present you are being complicit in covering up.

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

nightowl bruises were caused by mum who has done before,but covers it up as she dosent S/W involved as she is a teaching assistant and may lose her job,this has come from child but S/W is aware of this.what she is doing about this I am unaware as obviously I am not on a need to know basis,there may be other things I don't know about,these are questions that need to be asked but what weight would I carry,and although I am now in the awful position of knowing it seems that there is a whole can of worms waiting to explode,and I am the person opening the tin re social worker and family...

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.

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

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 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 ...

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.

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

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.

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 10:04:21

Try complaining to your MP. NOW

You cant be put upon like this

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 ...

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.