We had the meeting after a delay as James’ (name changed) social worker couldn’t log in. Eventually, with the help of her IT department, we could make a start. It began with me revisiting the conversation I had with Mum and the subsequent chat with James afterward.
I laid out the whole scenario regarding James’ education and what would happen if he was to return home. I pointed out that Mum realised that she couldn’t guarantee either her success at rehab or that she would be able to look after James’ best interests at home.
The Social Worker and Link Worker listened until I had finished and I made sure that I covered everything I had written down. The Social Worker said that they had already planned to give Mum support when James returned home both practical and financial.
This hadn’t been discussed with Mum so she was unaware that support was available when she spoke to me. I asked what steps would be taken to keep Mum away from her associates, who were an unhealthy influence on her.
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The Social Worker said that they couldn’t really do anything other than to recommend to Mum that she didn’t see them. I asked about rehab and the Social Worker replied that there was a shortage of places, at present, and that it was unlikely to happen until late 2022.
I stated that I thought it would be in James’ best interests to have some security and certainty in his life rather than not knowing what his future held. He can focus on his education and what he wants to do in the future.
My Link Worker agreed and it was decided to reconvene later in the week after the Social Worker had spoken to her manager. We said our goodbyes and finished the meeting.
My Link Worker then called me to ask what I had thought of the meeting. We both agreed that the LA would agree to James staying long-term but may insist on there being an SGO in place. With an SGO the LA can devolve some of the parental responsibility to me and they can leave most decisions to me.
The SGO can then be revoked when James’ Mum is able to assume responsibility again. I have always had an issue with SGOs as they had a reputation as an opportunity to pay a Foster carer less for looking after a young person. However, they can be beneficial if you strike a fair deal, financially, with the Local Authority.
Sure enough, the next day I had a call from the Social Worker asking if I’d be prepared to consider an SGO for James until he finished his education and Mum was able to properly look after him.
I asked what the terms of the Order would be and she said she’d email an offer through the following day. I told her that I wouldn’t accept a reduced allowance for doing the same job, basically.
I updated my Link worker and told James the gist of what had been agreed. He seemed excited but a little concerned about how it all worked. I said that I would run through the whole procedure once it had been agreed upon.
He seemed happy with that.
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