Child given placement order after special guardianship arrangement lasts two weeks

A judge found one of the child's special guardians had used an allowance to "fund the purchase of drugs, alcohol and for gambling"

separation
Photo: Bernard Jaubert/imageBROKER/REX Shuttershock

A placement order has been made for a seven-month-old child after a special guardianship order broke down only two weeks after it began.

The child, who had been in foster care since birth and began a special guardianship order with his maternal aunt and uncle on 15 September 2015, was neglected by his special guardians. The uncle had also misused their special guardianship allowance to “fund the purchase of drugs, alcohol and for gambling”.

The child, referred to as R, returned to his previous foster carers on 1 October 2015. He had started to live with his aunt and uncle on 17 August.

“On his return to foster care, it was clear that R had suffered neglect in the care of his maternal uncle and aunt. He was though fortunate in being able to return to his original foster placement and appears to have recovered from the neglect he had suffered,” the judge said.

Positive assessments

The special guardianship arrangement ended despite “positive assessments of two possible placements” being made for R with his maternal and paternal aunt and uncles.

“R returned to his foster placement at the request of his maternal aunt following the breakdown of her marriage to the maternal uncle caused by his misuse of the special guardianship allowance to fund the purchase of drugs and alcohol and for gambling,” the judge found.

His paternal aunt and uncle, after the initial placement broke down, did not think they could provide the care for R. The authority made an application for a placement order after deciding his mother could not meet the child’s needs, even with support.

Lack of support for mother

The father did not say he could care for R, and did not seek to oppose any decision that could have been made by the court. He had previously “inflicted serious injuries” on an older child, and had been convicted of an offence of causing grievous bodily harm.

An assessment of the mother found that the neglect and abuse that she experienced during her own childhood “meant that she has difficulties managing relationships and struggles to show empathy and compassion”, and the judge noted she had “yet to receive professional support and therapy”.

“She can present as distant and removed, she was susceptible to forming negative personal relationships highly likely to have an adverse impact on her own wellbeing and that of any child in her care, and she was resistant to working with professionals,” the ruling said.

3 Responses to Child given placement order after special guardianship arrangement lasts two weeks

  1. Adam Birchall February 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    So tragic.

  2. FosterCarer1964 February 19, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    Surely this can’t be the only discovery like this?
    Three of our foster children went to family against our advice.
    We had reported drugs, alcohol, violence, lack of supervision, unsafe internet use (pornography), neglect and allowing unsupervised contact with banned persons. All of those concerns were reported before the kinship order was granted. While the assessments were ongoing. Overnight stopovers made our concerns even more pressing but we were ignored (even when the children confirmed our fears to the Social Workers).
    Money was at the heart of ignoring us as was ending a troublesome case. A bigger house and money were the reward for one family. They were supported to get a bigger house. One of the families were already on Social Services radar for not getting their children to school and the other was provably allowing a dangerous adult into her home.
    One of the children (who still keeps in touch with us) came back into care when the family gave him up voluntarily after two years. He ended up in a children’s home and then prison where he met the other ex-kinship child we had tried to warn Social Services about. Three of the nicest children we’d fostered (two years each. six years of our lives). Two out of three ended up in prison.
    Multiply that by the number of children who go to kinship carers. I’m sure this isn’t the first time a kinship case has gone wrong because saving money and ignoring warnings take priority.

    • kinship carer March 5, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

      Fostercarer1964 I think its rather sad that this is your only view of kinship care placements. There are hundreds, yes hundreds of successful placements, I have met many families along our 7 years as kinship carers. You are right some social workers appear to ignore what is right in front of their eyes. For us sadly we had a bloody awful social worker and her manager that tried everything to stop us becoming SGO for my nephew. We passed every assessment they did, 1 viability, 1 RO and 2 SGOs, all but one of the assessments were undertaken when my nephew was in foster care. The longest 10 months of our lives. We know that they were planning on adoption but thankfully the judge told them to stop messing us about and let him come home to us and for him to live his life within his paternal family where we love and cherish him. It makes me so sad to read stories like these where one bad case tarnishes other kinship carers.