Court Settlement to Support Twice Winning Kinship Carer
A court action brought on behalf of two children, aged 4 and 8, has been successfully settled against troubled Rotherham. The action was started in relation to Rotherham’s decision not to provide overnight respite care for them, so as to give their kinship carer, a distant relative, aged 59, a break from caring for them.
In December 2009 Mrs N was asked by Doncaster Council to look after her distant relative Miss P and her child. On the same day Mrs N agreed the social worker transported Miss P and the child to Mrs N in Rotherham. At the time Miss P was pregnant with her second child.
Once the second child was born Rotherham MBC encouraged Mrs N to obtain a residence order for both children. This was obtained in July 2011.
Miss P and the children all have learning disabilities. Miss P is not able to look after herself or the children and requires daily help from Mrs N to complete normal day to day tasks. The children are now aged four and eight years old. They have started school but they are significantly behind their peers. They also have toileting problems which means that Mrs N rarely gets full night’s sleep. Miss P and the children need to be constantly reminded to complete very simple tasks such as getting dressed and washed and the youngest child still needs to be dressed and undressed.
Mrs N was exhausted by her caring role as she had not had a break since the family came to live with her in 2009. She asked social services to help her manage the children but help was not provided.
The case went to a judicial review hearing in January 2015 and Rotherham agreed to settle the case. Forty eight hours respite every 6 weeks has been agreed.
The carer commented:
“I constantly asked the council to provide respite care but they refused to do so. After I turned to Ridley & Hall Solicitors the council did agree to provide respite at the beginning of this year. However, this decision went before a panel meeting where the chair, who had never met me or the children, decided that respite was not needed.”
“I am delighted with this settlement! It may not seem much but to me it’s a lifeline!
“I have always been committed to caring for the children, who both have special needs, and their mother who also needs a lot of support.
“This caring role is demanding and I often become very tired. I really need regular respite care so that I can have a break and recharge my batteries. This will mean that I am able to continue to do the caring role.
“Rotherham said that I was providing the children with a good standard of care and managing the demands of their additional needs. They also considered that overnight respite was not needed because the children attend school full-time and an after-school club. The after-school club was only one day per week until 6pm. It was suggested that I used residence order allowance payments to pay for child minding services if I wanted more of a break.
“This is my second major battle against Rotherham. In 2014 I had already fought a court battle against Rotherham to get residence order allowance for the children and Ridley & Hall managed to secure these payments for us. The allowances help to cover the basic costs of caring for the children but there was no way that they would stretch to cover child minding fees.
“After I instructed Ridley & Hall Solicitors, the council eventually agreed to pay me a residence order allowance for the children. I received £33,000 as a backdated allowance and an ongoing weekly allowance in order to contribute to the cost of looking after the children.
Tracey Ling of Ridley & Hall commented:
“This is a great result for the children and their battling carer. This will really help the placement of the children with their carer long term and prevent it from breaking down. We began corresponding with Rotherham on this issue but they refused to listen.
“It is appalling that it has taken Rotherham so long to settle the matter, choosing to take it right up to judicial review proceedings before settling. This is particularly so taking into account the current restraints on the public purse the additional legal costs that will have been incurred.”
“Family and friends carers who have taken on the responsibility of caring for children at the request of the local authority are saving the council huge sums of money. They should not have to go to court to get what the law says they are entitled to.“
For any legal advice regarding care or residence orders, please contact Ridley & Hall on 01484 538421 and ask to speak to a member or our Community Care team.