to be really angry and feel let down by Social Services!

(75 Posts)
JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 10:48:55

My sister has serious mental health problems (drug induced psychosis) and is also a pretty horrible person who has made many, many poor choices when perfectly well.

Her first DD was removed at 3 months and placed with my Mum, after my sister had all the help and support in the world thrown at her she still failed to show she would care for her DD appropriately and my Mum applied for and got a special guardianship order (which is basically an in family adoption).

This process was an utter nightmare for my Mum and Dad as I'm sure you can imagine, they not only took on a baby from 3 months old (my Mum was 58 at the time) but they also had to try and deal with my sister and the problems she had at the time (including being sectioned etc). They excelled through all the assessments and were praised by everyone from the foster panel to the final hearing judge and told that SS wished they had more Grandparents like them come forward. However, they were never supported financially by SS, they managed to source all the items they needed themselves for my DN (with help from family members) and then finally when the SGO had been given they began recieving a small weekly allowance.

Fast forward 4 years and my sister is again pg angry sad and despite having more help and support than anyone I know my sister has failed to engage and continues to make poor choices (not mental health related she is perfectly well at present) and so her unborn child has been placed on the at risk register and will be removed at birth and placed again with my Mum as a family foster placement who will then again begin the process of applying for an SGO.

My sister is due in 6 weeks and SS have said all the way through that they would do what they could to help my Mum financially so she can buy all the bits she needs for a newborn. My mum has said they need help to buy the pushchair, cot, mattress and car seat as these are must haves. The rest they have said they will fund themselves.

My Mum has now been told they won't and don't have to provide and finances to help my Mum get the equiptment required. angry She has been asked what she did with all DN's stuff and my Mum made it clear that they never expected this to happen again and so gave away the baby stuff when they moved house (she also made it clear that she had paid for and provided everything last time as well) SS then asked whether the rest of the family could provide for the baby angry angry

So my Mum is stuck with nothing, her and my Dad are both pensioners on state pensions with no spare cash lying around. The family cannot afford to pay for all the new baby stuff.

I am due to give birth myself in 10 weeks and so we have just had to buy all our own stuff and yet my sister who has applied for and recieved the £500 sure start grant has spent it all and not bought a thing for the baby.

AIBU to be furious that SS won't help out even a little bit financially towards all the equiptment you need with a newborn.

I say all this as a trainee Social worker by the way and I feel quite ashamed by it. I would also like to say that the anger I feel towards SS at the moment is nothing compared to the anger I feel towards my sister at the moment but that is an entirely different thread grin

Sorry for the epic ranty post, so AIBU? Be gentle please smile

Floggingmolly Fri 08-Feb-13 10:52:35

Why did your sister qualify for the SureStart grant when her child was to be fostered from birth? shock. It sounds like a really difficult situation for your poor mum sad

RedHelenB Fri 08-Feb-13 10:52:42

NYANBU but I suppose rules are rules & if they haven't got the budget to give your mum the money then they haven't got the budget. Maybe they could source some second hand stuff?

diaimchlo Fri 08-Feb-13 10:54:52

YADNBU.... what a nightmare for your family, I can most probably get hold of baby goods from my family, 2nd hand of course but would gladly give them to you.... just PM me

The SS should be funding something it would be far cheaper than having to place the baby in care.....

diaimchlo Fri 08-Feb-13 10:57:27

Just as an after thought, if your sister has spent her Sure Start money on anything other than stuff for the baby, surely she can be made to repay it back from benefits that she will be in receipt of.

Dannilion Fri 08-Feb-13 10:59:04

YANBU but I guess their hands are tied, they can't just magic the money up from somewhere because your sister made some less than responsible choices. I would start looking on freecycle, placing ads in your local paper for free/cheap baby stuff etc. It won't be much longer until car boot sale season, or see if there are any indoor ones. Our local council sells new car seats for £30 and will give you a grant as an incentive to use re-usable nappies so it may be worth giving yours a call. smile

jojane Fri 08-Feb-13 11:00:45

I have a cot, if you are anywhere near south Wales?

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 11:01:19

The rules are very basic for the sure start grant flogging. She is pg, she is in receipt of the required benefit and she doesn't have any other children in her household. The fact her first child (which she also got the money for) has been removed from her care and the fact her newborn will be removed at birth do not come into it.

That's just it red, it's not rules it's just that they claim they don't have it in there budget. Which is fine I have worked with budgets (and it sucks from all angles) but to wait until now to state this is infuriating. My Mum has gone through several assessments, MDT meetings and legal meetings just to get to this point and it was only when she asked the question in the last meeting (to get it in the minutes) that everyone went all coy on the subject and started umming and ahhing about checking and getting back to her.

Second hand is the way forward, we are researching furiously to get the best deals. I am on a million facebook selling groups grabbing what I can and Mum is visiting all decent charity shops...We will get everything we need I'm sure, but it shouldn't be this difficult smile

Fairylea Fri 08-Feb-13 11:02:31

If you are in the Norfolk area I have a Moses basket, mattress and baby rocker that you can have that is just sitting here from ds 7 months who is now a big chunk ! Just message me.

Such a difficult situation.

LittleChimneyDroppings Fri 08-Feb-13 11:04:29

I'm not surprised, SSD are really cutting back on their funding. Having said that, its true that those who shout the loudest are likely to get. I would help your parents write a complaint to SSD explaining everything that you have here. They will have to respond to that, and if its not satisfactory then I would appeal it. They may get a one off payment. I would also look in the charities handbook (I assume as a student social worker you will have one in your office / library) to see if you can apply for charity funding to buy these items. Really their social worker should be doing that, but they obviously aren't.

They don't have the money, there are serious cutbacks for children actually in care (I'm a foster carer).

There are plenty of ways to get hold of free baby stuff from friends/jumble sales/free cycle. Ongoing money they need but they really don't need new stuff.

It's just not a priority. This baby is one of the luckiest in the world as it will be surrounded by its loving family who it's actually related to and brought up with its own sibling.

Will they get child benefit? That will go some way towards the babies needs if so won't it?

Sure, if they put it into care it would get a bit more cash spent on it but it wouldn't get the priceless gift you can offer.

If your sister spent the SSMG then why should SS be paying now?

They probably should have stepped in and ensured that your sister didnt get the money in the first place.

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 11:06:27

Thank you for the offers of items it is greatly appreciated. We are on the South East coast so not near enough for collections.

I am certain we will get everything we need second hand close to home, my Mum is amazing at sourcing bargains (she has to be after having 7 children, well 9 if you count my sisters 2) it is just annoying we are having to do this now.

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 11:08:12

Yanbu. If baby went into normal care they would fund these things.

When this happened to my mum's neighbour she got it twice as there was more than a two year gap and they couldn't have reasonably foreseen another child.

Where in country are they?

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Feb-13 11:08:13

It's not Social Services fault to be fair. They just don't have money to give. Your sister and whoever got her pregnant should be the ones giving your parents money.

Either way, it's very wrong that your parents are expected to fund the things this baby will need.

MrsMushroom Fri 08-Feb-13 11:08:20

Its awful but I am so glad the baby will be going to people who care for her/him and to be with a sibling too. Your poor parents. It's very hard....thank God some people know the importance of family.xxx

Dannilion Fri 08-Feb-13 11:08:44

JaquelineHyde.. We're from the same town! If you don't already have one..furniture now by ESK have a cot for £30. Also ring the council, I haven't got the carseat or grant myself, but a friend said she got it about a year ago so it may still be going smile

I also have been given an abundance of babygros etc, not really big stuff but more than I will need. Your DN is more than welcome to them smile

Eebahgum Fri 08-Feb-13 11:08:52

If you give a rough idea of the area you're in I'm sure you'll find lots of kind people in here willing to donate things to your mum. X

Eebahgum Fri 08-Feb-13 11:10:05

Sorry - was so slow posting I see you've already said where you are. X

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 11:10:22

We have a charity near us that helps in these situations, is there anything like that nearby, local churches/salvation army can be very good.

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 11:18:16

LittleChimney I am on maternity leave now until Jan 2014 woohoo so don't have access to my office but I shall get my Mum to ask about the charity book etc.

Laurie yes the baby will have something that no money can buy and I wish that all children could have this. However, SS should never have promised somethng they had no intention on following through on. My Mum is making a formal complaint, the only new things she wanted were a car seat and mattress as we are all told over and over we should buy new. The rest would have been second hand (well maybe the pushchair new if money allowed but we knew that was wishful thinking grin )

Child benefit and tax credits will not be paid until the SGO is awarded which will take about 9 months (it took a year and half half first time round but the process has been speeded up thankfully) until then my Mum will get a small weekly allowance...Which actually she didn't get last time as no one told her she was entitled to it but with my new knowledge and her work with the fostering network she is more prepared and knows what she is 100% entitled to grin

wannabe SS have nothing to do with the sure start grant and no one can dictate what the money is spent on. It is awarded on the criteria I stated above. I don't understand why my sisters inability to provide for her child should mean that the child and my parents should go without. Actually my Mum could apply for her own sure start grant once the SGO has been awarded and she has full PR of the baby however, because she has a child under 16 in the household (my sisters other child) she would be refused it angry pretty wank really I'm sure you agree.

GetOrf Fri 08-Feb-13 11:19:05

Jesus what a bloody awful situation for your family. Your parents sound great - good on them for stepping in in this hideous situation.

It seems really off that SS cannot help in any way - presumably if the baby went into foster care the foster carers would be paid to get some supplies (I have no clue how it works so I may be talking shite). Your poor parents. Will they get an allowance for looking after the baby - not just child benefit (which won't help much).

I can't help with stuff as I don't have a baby but I can ask family members who have just had a baby if they have any stuff they can spare.

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 11:24:50

Dannilion Hello <waves> I got my cot in furniture now for £25 it's lovely a Mamma and Pappas with changing top grin I shall grab my Mum this afternoon and shoot down to see if the other one is still there. I know she is in a few times a week anyway. Didn't think to contact the council I shall give them a buzz and find out, it would be great if she could get the carseat sorted as that will be the most expensive thing I'm sure.

Just to point out my anger is more about how this has been handled. If we had been told 6 months ago that the money wasn't there we would have been prepared and sorted all this before now. I understand budgets, and how badly the cuts have effected services, I worked with it everyday in my training and previous jobs however, I have always managed people expectations which to me is one of the most important aspects of this kind of job...I just want to stop my Mum feeling any additional stress, she amazes me with everything she has done.

JaquelineHyde Fri 08-Feb-13 11:31:10

Dannilion any idea which council department I need to speak to as no one appears to have a clue what I am talking about grin Could it be the county council?

littlewhitebag Fri 08-Feb-13 11:37:40

I am a SW (but in Scotland). I know that all the SW budgets have been cut so much that departments have literally no money to buy such items, as much as they might like to. Foster carers generally have equipment at the ready and they get allowances for each child. This is the carers job so it is only reasonable. Families are expected to sort things out themselves which might seem unfair but there is just not enough money in the pot. I really wish there was more we could do. I always feel so mean saying we can't help.

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