Gransnet forums


would i be unreasonable to put my grandson into foster placement

(44 Posts)
LucyMP Sat 15-Sep-18 15:33:11

hi i need some help please

i took in my grandson 2 months ago he is 13 after his dad went to prison for assault my daughter passed away when he was just 9 months old, it has been 12 years.

he is extremely difficult i didnt see him that much before this as we live quite far and i have to as my husband is in a care home at the moment and i have to be close to him.

he came here and things were obviously very hard for him and a big big change but he expected to have things just handed to him when he arrived "you dont own an ipad" and "what the fuck will i watch on the tv" just lots of disrespect and swearing in casual conversation, i try and tell him he will not come here and speak to me like that but he just swears more and asks me "and what the fuck are you going to do about it" he has already stolen money and does not come back till very late at night and i dont know what to do.

i try and see my husband but i have not been able to see him much since my grandson moved in, he does go to school thankfully but he started at a new one this month and school phones me a lot to say i have to collect him because of him hitting and i could no believe that and told them i was sorry but i could not because i was seeing my husband.

o think my only option is to put him into foster care or some kind of home that can help him as i definitely cant,

AnnS1 Sat 15-Sep-18 15:41:57

You have got an awful lot to deal with. He is well able to understand right and wrong at that age. I really think, hard as it will be for you to do it, that some sort of care situation is needed.

Ilovecheese Sat 15-Sep-18 15:46:19

I think you are right and that care would seem to be the best option. You will be ill if this carries on, and will not be able to help either your husband or your grandson.
Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about the decision.

mumofmadboys Sat 15-Sep-18 15:50:21

Do you have a social worker? Maybe see the GP and see if he can be referred urgently to the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry dept. He has had a lot of losses and problems in his short life. Do you have other children who can offer you some support? Try talking to your GS calmly saying you are unhappy when he uses bad language and behaves disrespectfully. Try praising him for any little thing he does right.. I wish you all the best. You are in a very difficult situation.

starbird Sat 15-Sep-18 15:51:39

I think it is the best chance for the boy to be turned around if he can be placed with a family where there is a firm but kind male role model as well as a mother. The sooner the better for all concerned. Once he has settled down, if he and the foster family are agreeable, you could visit him occasionally.

paddyann Sat 15-Sep-18 16:02:31

He's had a rough ride and he needs stability with people who can offer him not just love but discipline too.Contact social work and see if they will offer any help or advice.If you dont feel able to help him then let him go to someone who can ,but make sure he knows you do love him its just that you cant cope and that when he has sorted his head out he'll be welcome to visit

luluaugust Sat 15-Sep-18 16:16:24

You and he have so much to cope with I think you should definitely talk it over with someone, maybe your Dr to start with as he will know your health position and your husbands. Do you have any AC who could help, if not you may have to get a social worker involved for his sake and yours.

kathsue Sat 15-Sep-18 16:43:49

Definitely get in touch with social services. They prefer to keep a child with a kinship care... it's so much cheaper than foster care, but they will help you in other ways. They can help you talk to him and possibly find a better way forward.

If you do decide to keep him with you make sure you claim all the benefits you are entitled to; such as child tax credit and child benefit. You can get a guardian's allowance with the child benefit if one parent is dead and the other is in prison for 2 years or more.

BlueBelle Sat 15-Sep-18 16:44:24

Oh dear Lucy what a sad tale I feel for you all but this poor kid must have a huge weight on his shoulders his mum died when he was a baby presumably he was then brought up by his father ? Is that correct? As his father is now in prison for assault do you know if his father has brought him up in this swearing hitting, no rules, hating way as you say you never saw much of him so maybe you don’t know but the house could have been very abusive to the lad, basically you are a stranger to him two generations away so nothing in common and have your own big sadness on your shoulders as your husband is in a care home
You need help and more than that your grandson needs help please don’t put it don’t to naughtiness the lad is badly damaged and you can’t help him alone You’ve had no previous relationship with him and suddenly his Dad is gone and he’s in the care of an older lady who knows nothing about him or his hobbies he’s had to change schools home carer, his head must be in a very very bleak place

As other have said please seek help for him and for you, this can’t go on.

kathsue Sat 15-Sep-18 16:56:14

Well said Bluebelle thats what I felt but couldn't put it into words.

I really hate it when people say a young boy NEEDS a male role model. In an ideal world everyone would have a loving M and F, but life's not like that. It feels very demeaning to all the single females who are bringing up boys as well as they can . And what sort of role model was the OP's SiL?

Luckygirl Sat 15-Sep-18 17:02:07

Talk to you local Social Services Dept - were they not involved at that point when Dad went into prison? Itis normal for them to be helping with placement in this situation. Presumably they know he is with you.

You can't do this alone - helping such a damaged unhappy child is a specialist job not to be undertaken lightly or without support.

HurdyGurdy Sat 15-Sep-18 17:19:13

Oh my goodness, this poor child. Growing up without a mum and right at an informative part of his childhood, he has lost his dad (albeit temporarily), and now he's about to be sent away by the grandmother who took him in. Not saying you are wrong to be thinking about this, but gosh, what a horrible time for this child.

You say that you didn't see much of him because you lived a long way away, and so if he is living with you, then he will have not only "lost" his dad, but also his home, his school, his friends, his activities. Everything.

I suspect a lot of the posturing and swearing and defiance will be him trying to protect himself, by trying to appear as thought he's not bothered about what's happened to his dad, and trying to appear "hard". But I'd bet that he's really scared and unsure of what the future holds for him.

There is an organisation that supports children of parents who are in prison, and understand the emotions and fears the children experience. It would be good for you - and him - to have someone to talk to. For the life of me, I can't remember their name, but I have the information at work, so if needed, I can add it on Monday.

How did he come to be placed with you? Did you offer, or were you approached and asked to care for him? If you were approached, then you should have ongoing support, whether that is from the Court (Cafcass?) or social services. I think what you are doing falls under a Kinship Care Arrangement, as you are a close relative, and I think you would have been assessed as to whether you are a suitable person to foster him, so you should have a named social worker that you can contact to talk things through with. You should also have been advised around obtaining Parental Responsibility so that if he needs medical attention, you are able to authorise this, and also advised around the financial aspects.

I think you need to contact your local Children's Services and ask for support from them, whether that is to help you keep your grandson with you, or whether it is to have him placed elsewhere.

Bluegal Sat 15-Sep-18 17:22:12

VERY hard Lucy. Sounds like you have enough on your plate tbh. I know he is kin but a virtual stranger.

I think what I would do initially is sit him down and ask what HE would like? If he wants a stable life with you there are rules.

A 13 year old from any direction is hard work but a resistent 13 year old - impossible!

You DO need to consider yourself first and foremost.

Overworked Social services will be glad to pass the responsibility on. Not exactly same but 7 years ago I was asked to take on my step grand daughter. She was only young and I really wanted to but she was suffering FAS - foetal alcohol syndrome. SS urged me to take her but it was only her consultant that advised me to do research and said my life would for ever more revolve round this child. Broke my heart saying no and my step son hasn’t spoken to me since BUT I know without doubt it was the only thing I could do.

Just be honest about what you can and can’t manage. Good luck

oldbatty Sat 15-Sep-18 17:36:07

You absolutely cannot raise a child alone like this.

Insist and I mean insist on proper help and support.

Get on the phone first thing Monday to Social Services.

JudyJudy12 Sat 15-Sep-18 18:28:31

Well said BlueBelle, nothing really to add except I feel for you and your grandson and wish you both some future peace and happiness.

Iam64 Sat 15-Sep-18 19:35:25

Hello LucyMP - BlueBelle has put it well. You don't say whether a social worker was involved in placing your grandson with you. Social workers are expected to try and place children with birth family. Research says its usually better for children and in these days of cuts to services its also cheaper of course.

13 is a difficult age for the young person and their carers, more so if the child has had the experiences you describe. Your grandson needs individual support/therapeutic work and you need consistent, well informed professional advice about how to meet his needs. I know that sounds clinical but that's whats needed here. You are trying to do what a grandparent would do in order circumstances, in what are extraordinary circs. Your grandsons father is in prison for assault, that rings alarm bells about the home environment and goes some way to explain his behaviour and language.
Please ignore the poster who says he'll be better off in foster care with a good male role model. Such placements for a boy of his age and with his behaviour are vanishingly rare. He's more likely to end up in some kind of residential placement, with other boys who behave like he does. If a foster placement or residential placement is found, it isn't a question of whether you are 'allowed' occasional visits. Maintaining contact with you would be built into his care plan.
Is he the subject of any Court/statutory involvement? If so, he should have had a Children's Guardian and a solicitor appointed for him. In these situations, its usual for the Court to ask the local authority to pay the legal fees of relative carers and to make them parties to the proceedings. there is a good website Family Rights Group you could look at. If he's placed with you 'volountary', that is without a legal order I'd be concerned as only his father will have what's called Parental Responsibility. who signs any medical or other forms?

Please don't feel guilt tripped into continuing to care for him. It sounds as though you have a lot to contend with. Legal advice in these situations is always helpful. Find a solicitor who is approved by the children panel.

FlexibleFriend Sat 15-Sep-18 19:54:15

BlueBelle put it so well there's not really a lot to add except you didn't say if he has contact with his dad or how long dad is away for. If he has contact with his dad maybe he can talk some sense into him while he's reflecting on his current situation. Has his dad been in touch with you at all since going away?

Willow500 Sat 15-Sep-18 20:58:30

Such a sad situation for everyone concerned. He lost his mum before he ever knew her, his father has obviously had problems which will have reflected on his behaviour and he has now been sent away from home to live with someone he hasn't really had a bond with. You lost your daughter and now also have your husband in a care home which is hard enough to cope with and have now been given the responsibility of this damaged boy to try and look after. It's little wonder you're struggling. Please don't give up on him - he's still a child regardless of the bad language and disrespect he's showing and he's your daughter's son. There must be help from social services available out there - do you have other family members who could possibly help out too?

Deedaa Sun 16-Sep-18 14:04:09

You definitely need help. A boy of this age staying out late at night is at risk of so many dangers. He is obviously very unhappy and heaven knows what sort of life he has had with his father. A foster home with people who are experienced with unsettled teenagers would be the ideal, but is probably too much to hope for but social services should be more involved.

OldMeg Sun 16-Sep-18 14:46:45

Sad though it is, you simply cannot have this boy living with you. If he swears at you and stays out late he is beyond control. Had you known each other better or had a closer relationship then that would be a different matter, but he is a virtual stranger to you.

His father is in jail for assault and this boy is already showing signs of aggressive behaviour towards other children. You might be next.

Take your life back. Look after your husband by visiting him when you can and look after yourself.

I heard of a very similar situation recently from a family friend and, they too had to give up on a grandchild who simply would not meet them half way.

Bridgeit Sun 16-Sep-18 15:06:13

Are you able to sit with him & have a proper conversation about how he feels about the whole situation ? He is badly in need of counselling, does Social services provide this or any back up for you? If he is already past accepting any help ( if there is any available) it will only become more difficult, you certainly should not be thrown in the deep end without any support from social services,they are letting you both down if they are just leaving you to get on with it. Good foster care is probably the way forward, best wishes big hugs, it’s a very difficult situation & if you became unwell he would then be moved on to social services anyway. You have done your best .

loopyloo Sun 16-Sep-18 16:29:38

Get all the help you can. Go and talk to the school. Talk to your gp and social services. Flag up that you need help and advice. It sounds as if he needs special residential services.

BlueBelle Sun 16-Sep-18 16:56:47

Not sure if this will show

MissAdventure Sun 16-Sep-18 16:59:42

I'm sure that for as long as you are seen to be managing (even if you aren't) you'll be left to cope alone.
Contact social services and tell them how much of a struggle it is, as they are obliged to help a child who would otherwise be in care.
Good luck!

mostlyharmless Sun 16-Sep-18 17:04:17

I’m not an expert on this, but many teenagers go through a difficult stage and one whose mother died when he was a baby and whose father is in prison needs lots of support from family and professionals.
It’s not clear whether his father is in prison for just a few months or for years.
You must seek help from social services, the school and CAMHS (Child and Adult Mental Health Services). Perhaps there is a way that he could live with you part time (rather than feel he has been rejected) but have a skilled carer/mentor to share much of the caring in some way?
Perhaps there are charities that could help? He should be having support in making prison visits to maintain his relationship with his father in the long term.
What a difficult situation for you and for your grandson.
I do hope you find the support you need Lucy.