69 Year Old Grandma Wins High Court Battle for Support
A Bradford pensioner has won a High Court battle against Bradford Council. She will now get financial support to care for her 11 year old granddaughter. Bradford fought the case all the way. HHJ Heaton sitting as a High Court Judge ruled against the council.
The grandmother who cannot be named for legal reasons, a 69 year old pensioner, has been caring for her granddaughter since October 2004, when the child was just aged two.
Bradford Social Services had ongoing involvement with the family and had serious concerns about the care that the parents were providing. They made it clear whilst on a visit at the parents’ home that if the grandmother did not take the child, she would be placed into foster care with strangers. The child was placed on the Child Protection Register under the categories of emotional abuse and neglect.
Following the grandmother taking on the care of her granddaughter, Bradford M.D.C. walked away. They did not provide her with any financial support. She was left struggling financially.
Commenting, the grandmother said:
“Like many grandparents in this position I didn’t know my rights. When Social Services failed to pay me any money, I assumed that they were acting within the law. I didn’t find out about the fact that I should be receiving fostering allowance for years.
When I found out the true position I took legal advice. If I hadn’t been told about Ridley & Hall I’d still have been struggling. People like me need specialist advice.”
Tracey Ling of specialist solicitors Ridley & Hall in Huddersfield was instructed to act on behalf of a grandmother.
Ms Ling commented:
“Letters were sent to Bradford to try to settle the matter and secure payments of fostering allowance to the grandmother. Bradford refused to pay an allowance, stating that the child was not a “Looked After” Child. They claimed that they had no duty to financially support the grandparent carer. They said this was a private arrangement between the parents and the grandmother.”
She went on:
“We were confident that placing the child with her grandma stopped her being taken into foster care. Bradford had saved themselves thousands of pounds and left my client and the child to struggle.
“It should have been sorted out amicably but Bradford used Council Tax payers money to fight the case all the way.
“The matter was taken to the High Court. The decision of the judge was that this was a ‘Looked After’ child and Bradford’s argument justifying its refusal to pay was rejected.
“Bradford was ordered to pay a fostering allowance to the grandmother in respect of the child. She’ll now get £177.20 per week.
“Bradford was further ordered to pay a lump sum amount of almost £2,000 and the legal costs of the grandmother.”
The grandmother commented, “I’m delighted with the outcome. It’s like a late Christmas and an early Birthday present – I’m 70 in April!
“This should never have happened. I never thought that I’d be looking after a 11 year old at my age. I shouldn’t have had to take legal advice. It’s wrong that the council have forced me to go to court to get the support they were legally bound to pay. They’ve saved themselves thousands in fostering payments and left us to it.
“Now I’m getting a weekly payment, I’ll no longer find it such a struggle to afford to buy essential items for my granddaughter. I can now pay for her school uniform and send her on school trips. She’s missed out on so much.
“We’ve had to penny pinch. Hopefully this will enable my granddaughter to participate more in activities. It will help her to socialise and to build her confidence. She needs this boost!”
For more information on kinship care, please contact Tracey Ling on 01484 538421 or by e-mail.