Fairy Tale Ending for West Yorkshire Grandma!
The grandmother who cannot be named for legal reasons began caring for her two grand daughters in 2010. The police had attended at her daughters home and found no food in the house. Their parents were arrested for a suspected criminal offence and the children were removed. They were placed with their grandmother.
Commenting the grandmother said, “Social services asked me if I would keep on caring until my daughter sorted herself out. The local authority began working with her. I was told very clearly that the children couldn’t go back to their mum as she was not in a position to be their full time carer.”
“Sadly she didn’t change and I’ve looked after them ever since. I never received a penny from the local authority. I didn’t do it for money. But I’ve got older and the children have got more expensive to care for. Taking on the care of the children cost me a lot. I had to give up work. The children needed me at home. They had had a very poor start in life – I had to be there for them.”
She went on “I didn’t know my rights. The local authority never explained that the children were looked after children and that I should have been assessed as a family and friends foster carer.
“Last year I went to a kinship care support group and met Nigel Priestley. He explained to me what the duties of the local authority were. I was shocked. We agreed that Mr Priestley would challenge the local authority about their failure to pay me a fostering allowance for the children. He explained that if they failed to pay, we could apply for a judicial review.”
“I couldn’t believe it when I was told that I would get a back payment of £110,000. It was like something out of a fairy tale. Things like this don’t normally happen to ordinary people like me. I took on the children because it was the right thing to do – and it saved the Council thousands.
And in addition the council will be paying me a weekly allowance of over £350.”
“Kinship carers need expert advice. Ridley & Hall’s ‘Looked After Children’ team know what to do. Their actions have changed my life.”
Nigel Priestley said “This case highlights the importance of kinship care support groups. There’s one locally at the Brian Jackson Centre in Huddersfield, and groups in Leeds and Bradford – but they meet in towns across the country. Carers need to know their rights. In this case the local authority behaved very responsibly once they had been reminded of their legal duties.
They have agreed to fund the cost of the grandmother applying for a special guardianship order so that she can have parental responsibility for them”
“Some may be shocked at the amount my client received. But her life was turned upside down by taking on the children. She gave up her job and put the children first. But if she hadn’t done so they would have gone into care – a huge financial cost to the council and a massive emotional cost to the children.”
For further information please contact Nigel Priestley via email or by telephoning 01484 538421. You can find out more about Ridley & Hall’s specialist services supporting and assisting kinship carers across the UK by visiting our Kinship Care, Community Care and Carers page.