Ensuring children stay with family rather than enter the care system
Considering extended family
Linda* lived in Jamaica and had two grandchildren living in the UK. The children were taken into the care of the local authority with a long-term plan for them to be adopted. As their grandmother, Linda was keen for the children to come and live with her in Jamaica.
There is an expectation for local authorities to consider extended members of the family before other options, such as long-term fostering or adoption. Family members are assessed by way of a Connected Person Assessment, which allows a social worker to gather information about whether a specific family member can care for a child in the short and long term. To support the adoption of the children, an Assessment was carried out on behalf of the local authority, following which the location authority deemed that letting the grandchildren move to Jamaica to live with Linda was not suitable. Instead, the local authority decided that adoption was the best option.
Challenging the local authority
At the court hearing, serious concerns about the quality and content of this assessment were raised, and the hearing was abandoned when the local authority announced that it no longer relied on its Connected Persons Assessment. We successfully challenged the local authority’s plan and the case concluded with an order to place the two children with Linda in Jamaica, and for the local authority to pay Linda’s costs.
The children now live with Linda and are settled in Jamaica. They attend the local school, enjoy playing with their friends and are growing up in a loving and caring environment.
As well as providing the best solution for Linda and her grandchildren, permanent placement in a safe, family home saves local authorities significant expenditure. In this case, the result saved the local authority tens of thousands of pounds that could then be used on higher-priority child safeguarding cases.
*All names have been changedOn to the next case study