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5.2.9 Family and Friends Carers Framework

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Implementation of Policy

  • Impact Assessment;
  • Consultation with children, young people, parents and carers;
  • Briefings for staff;
  • Publication of policy on website;
  • Information about services and support;
    • What resources are available;
    • Information about universal services (early years provision/leisure/youth etc);
    • Information about P.F./Family & Friends carers etc. to be sent to children's centre/schools/health services/CAMHS;
    • Annex D information to be attached to policy and what local organisations can we add;
    • Signpost to benefits agencies.
  • This will replace Family & Friends Care Kinship Care.
This chapter was added to the manual in September 2012


Contents

  1. Principles and Values
  2. Definitions
  3. Entitlement to Support by Family and Friends Carers under Children Act 1989 Section 17 and Section 20
  4. Informal Arrangements for Family and Friends Carers
  5. Family Group Conferences
  6. Private Fostering
  7. Special Guardianship
  8. Residence Order
  9. Family and Friends Foster Carers (Connected Persons)
  10. Adoption Order
  11. Supporting Contact with Parents
  12. Accommodation
  13. Complaints Procedures

    Appendix 1 - Useful Organisations and Information Family and Friends Carers


1. Principles and Values

Portsmouth City Council will aim to improve outcomes for children and young people, who because they are unable to live with their parents, are being brought up by members of their extended families, friends or other people who are connected with them.

Consideration of children's welfare and best interests will always be at the centre of the work we do.

Children and young people are generally best looked after within their own family and their welfare most effectively promoted by working in partnership with families.

Children and young people who are unable to live with their parents will receive the support that they or their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare whether or not they are looked after. This includes children and young people who are living with family members or friends in the following circumstances:

  • Informal agreement with a relative;
  • Informal arrangement with friends or other family members for a period of less than 28 days;
  • A private fostering arrangement;
  • A looked after child placed with foster carers;
  • Under a residence order or special guardianship order;
  • Arrangements which may lead to an adoption order.

This framework sets out the provision of support to family and friends carers whatever the legal status of the children they are caring for. Our intention is to work with service users, the wider community and partner agencies and organisations to achieve the best possible outcomes for these children and young people in need.

We will make strenuous efforts to identify carers within the child's network of family and friends who are able and willing to care for the child. We will seek to ensure they are provided with support to ensure that children do not become looked after by the local authority, or do not remain looked after for longer than is needed.

We recognise that families sometimes needs assistance to develop their own capacity and building on existing strengths.

Children and young people will be fully involved and their wishes and feelings taken into account when adults are trying to solve problems and make decisions about them.


2. Definitions

"Care Plan" - means the plan for the future of a looked after child (in accordance with Part 2 of the 2010 Regulations)

"A child in need" - is defined in Section 17 (10) of the 1989 Children Act, which states a child shall be taken to be in need if (a) he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining reasonable health or development without the provision of services by the local authority (b) his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of such services (c) he is disabled.

"Connected person"- means a relative, friend or other person connected with a looked after child (such as child minder, teacher, youth worker).

"Family & Friends carer" - means a relative, friend or other person with a prior connection to the child they are caring for (who may or may not be a looked after child).

"Looked after Child" - means a person under 18 who is subject to a Care Order under Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 (including an Interim Care Order) or is accommodated under Section 20 of that Act.

"Foster Carer" - a person who is approved by the local authority or independent fostering agency as a foster parent in accordance with the 2010 and 2011 Regulations.

"Informal Arrangement" - means an arrangement where a child is living with a family and friend's carer, who does not have a parental responsibility for the child.

"Private fostering arrangement" - means an arrangement where a child who is under 16 (or 18 if disabled) and who has not been provided with accommodation by the local authority; is cared for and accommodated by someone who does not have parental responsibility for him, is not a relative and the arrangements continues for a period of 28 days or more (or is intended to do so). The local authority is not involved in initiating the placement or financially supporting it.

"Relative" - means grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (full blood or half blood, or by marriage/civil partnership) or step-parent, as defined by the 1989 Act (Section 105).

"Special Guardianship Order" - is an order appointing a person to be a child's special guardian. Applications may be made by adults aged 18+ years and over who are:

  • A guardian of the child;
  • A local authority foster care with whom the child has lived for more than one year preceding application;
  • Anyone who holds an Residency Order in respect of child;
  • Anyone who child has lived with for three of the last five years;
  • Anyone who has consent of all those with parental responsibility for the child;
  • Anyone who has the leave of the court to apply.
"Residence Order" - is an order under Section 8 of the 1989 Children Act, which settles arrangements as to where the child will live.

2.1 Core Statutory Framework

  • The Children Act 1989 and associated guidance and regulations;
  • Children Leaving Care Act 2000;
  • The Adoption and Children Act 2002;
  • Care Planning, Placement and Case Reviews regulations 2010;
  • Human Rights Act 1998;
  • Family and Friends Statutory Guidance for Local Authority.


3. Entitlement to Support by Family and Friends Carers under Children Act 1989 Section 17 and Section 20

Child in need supported under section 17 (in an informal arrangement) Child accommodated under section 20
  • The child is not looked after by the local authority.
  • The child is looked after by the local authority.
  • The child will not have a care plan but there may be a child in need plan or child protection plan, based on an assessment of need.
  • The child must have a care plan (including health plan and personal education plan) which will be reviewed by an independent reviewing officer.
  • If there is a child in need plan or a child protection plan a social worker or other worker may visit the child and carers.
  • A social worker will visit the child and carers and oversee the child's welfare.
  • The child must be offered access to an advocacy service when they make or intend to make representations under section 26 of the 1989 Act.
  • The child must be offered access to an advocacy service when they make or intend to make representations under section 26 of the 1989 Act.
  • The carers will not usually have a separate social worker.
  • A supervising social worker will be appointed for the foster carers.
  • There is no entitlement to financial assistance; any support will be based on an assessment of child's needs. Family income will be taken into account since the local authority must have regard to the means of the child and parents under section 17 (8) the 1989 Act).
  • A weekly fostering allowance will be paid.
  • Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit may be payable.
  • There is no entitlement to Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit.
  • Support may be offered to the carers and/or child but is discretionary.
  • Training and support must be offered to the foster carers.
  • There is no entitlement to leaving care support.
  • On leaving care the young person may be eligible for ongoing support under the 1989 Act (as amended by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000).
  • Any support offered will cease when the young person becomes 18, unless criteria are met for support from adult services.
  • The local authority is able to offer continuing support (including financial support) to the carers until the young person is 21, and to support the young person in respect of education and training until they become 25.


4. Informal Arrangements for Family and Friends Carers

4.1

Where a child cannot be cared for within their immediate family, the family may make their own arrangements to care for the child within the wider family and friends' network.

The local authority does not have a duty to assess any such informal family and friends care arrangements, unless it appears to the local authority that services may be necessary to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child in need. In such cases, the local authority has a responsibility to assess the child's needs under S.17 of the Children Act 1989, and provide services to meet any assessed needs.

The majority of family and friends carers act informally by agreement with those holding parental responsibility for the children they care for. Providing they are a relative of the child as defined by section 105 of the 1989 Act or have parental responsibility for the child, there is no requirement to notify the local authority of the arrangement. Most such arrangements remain entirely private without the need for the involvement of children's social care services, although where a child is assessed as being in need, support may be provided under section 17 of the 1989 Act.
4.2 Section 17 of the 1989 Act imposes a general duty on the local authority to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within our area who are in need, and so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families, in particular by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children's needs. "Family" in relation to such a child means not only a person who has parental responsibility for the child but also any other person with whom the child has been living.
4.3 The definition of a child in need in section 17(10) is broad. A child in need is a child whose vulnerability is such that they are unlikely to reach or maintain a reasonable level of health, or development or their health or development would be significantly impaired, without the provision of services or they are disabled.
4.4

The local authority, along with Children's Trust partners have drawn up a thresholds document which guides families and professionals about how to access service.

See Initial Contacts and Referrals Procedure
4.5

Portsmouth City Council are committed to supporting children to stay within their own families and facilitate services to support any such arrangements, where this is consistent with the child's safety and well being.

See Portsmouth City Council website

We will provide support for any such arrangement based on the assessed needs of the child.

Following assessment, a child in need plan will be drawn up and package of support agreed.

See Children in Need Procedure


5. Family Group Conferences

5.1 Family Group Conferences (FGC) are meetings held between professionals and family members at an early stage aiming to achieve the best outcome for the child or young person. They promote the involvement of the wider family/friends network to help identify short-term and/or permanent solutions for children within the family/friends network.
5.2 We will hold an FGC at an early stage where there are concerns about a child who may not be able to live with a parent. If a child becomes looked after perhaps, following an emergency, without an FGC being held, then (where appropriate) we will arrange one as soon as possible. The conference will either identify family/friends members who may be able to care for the child, or when we believe it is in a child's interests to promote reunification with their family if they are already looked after.
5.3 FGCs recognise the rights and responsibilities of families and communities to make decisions about their children and provide a framework for families to exercise this responsibility. It is a means by which the local authority and a family can work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.
5.4 At an FGC, it is the family who make a plan to meet the needs of the child or young person, after first being told what resources are available, what concerns or issues a plan needs to address, and what is the local authorities "bottom line". The role of the local authority is to support a family's plan unless it would place, or continue to place, a child at risk of significant harm which could result in a Child Protection Plan or accommodation of the child.
5.5 FGCs are a method of maximising the resources within a family and recognise the strengths within families. In maximising resources within the family, FGCs aim to bring obvious benefits to a child or young person who has the right to be cared for within the family environment where this is possible. For the local authority, they aim to prevent the need to commit unnecessary resources long term.
5.6

The key aims for this policy are:

  • To offer Family Group Conferences as a means of tapping into family resources, as an alternative to local authority accommodation where appropriate;
  • To ensure that Family Group Conferences are offered to families where children and young people are at high risk of being accommodated in the near future;
  • To ensure that Care Proceedings are not initiated without consideration of the appropriateness of a Family Group Conference;
  • To ensure that Family Group Conferences are considered when any decision is made to plan for permanence;
  • To ensure that Family Group Conferences are considered when children are already accommodated and plans for reunification are a possibility.
See Intranet link


6. Private Fostering

6.1 If the carers of a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if disabled) do not have parental responsibility for the child and are not the child's grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt (whether by full blood, half blood or marriage or civil partnership), or step-parent, and the placements continues for 28 days or more, then the arrangement will fall within the definition of private fostering in the 1989 Children Act.
6.2

A child who is privately fostered may also be assessed as a child in need and be provided with support under S.17 of the 1989 Children Act.

See Private Fostering Procedure


7. Special Guardianship

7.1 A Special Guardianship Order is an order appointing a person to be a child's special guardian. Applications may be made by an individual (or joint application of more than one such individual) who is/are entitled or who has the leave of the Court to apply. Joint applicants do not need to be married. Special guardians must be aged 18 years or over. The parents of a child may not become that child's special guardian.
7.2

A Court may make a Special Guardianship Order in respect of the child on the application of:

  • Any guardian of the child;
  • A local authority foster carer with whom the child has lived for more than one year immediately preceding the application;
  • Anyone who holds a Residence Order with respect to the child, or who has the consent of all those in whose favour a Residence Order is in force;
  • Where the child is in the care of the local authority, any person who has the consent of the local authority;
  • Anyone who has the consent of all those with Parental Responsibility for the child;
  • Any person, including the child, who has the leave of the Court to apply.
7.3 Where a relative, friend or other connected person proposes to make a long term commitment to caring for a child, they may apply for a residence order or a special guardianship order. The effect of either such order will be to give the person in whose favour the order is made parental responsibility for the child. A special guardian may exercise parental responsibility to the exclusion of all others with parental responsibility (although the special guardian cannot consent to the adoption of the child), and is responsible for all aspects of caring for the child or young person and for taking decisions to do with their upbringing. To support the stable placement of children within their families, the 1989 Act has been amended by the 2008 Act to allow relatives to apply for a residence order or special guardianship order without the permission of the court after caring for the child for one year, instead of three years as was previously the case.
7.4 In the case of a child who was looked after immediately prior to the making of a special guardianship order, the child, special guardian or parent has a right to receive an assessment for support services, which may include therapeutic support, advice and guidance re: contact arrangements, counseling and in exceptional circumstances financial support.
7.5 Portsmouth City Council will support and facilitate Special Guardianship Orders and support services as legislated under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and the Children Act 1989.
7.6 Portsmouth Services for Children and Young People acknowledges that Special Guardianship provides, for some children and young people, an appropriate permanency option to Adoption and Residence Orders and, therefore, are to be viewed similarly in terms of process, decision making and support.
7.7 The Court may also make a Special Guardianship Order in any family proceedings concerning the welfare of a child if they consider an order should be made. This applies even when no application has been made and includes adoption proceedings.
7.8 When considering whether to make a Special Guardianship Order, the welfare of the child is the Court's paramount consideration and the welfare checklist in Section 1 of the Children Act 1989 applies.
7.9 Any person who wishes to apply for a Special Guardianship Order must give three months written notice to the local authority of their intention to apply. The only exception to this is where a person has leave of the Court to make a competing application for a Special Guardianship Order where an application for an adoption order has already been made. This is in order to prevent the competing application delaying the adoption hearing.
7.10 On receipt of notice of an application, or if the Court makes a request, the local authority must investigate and prepare a report to the Court about the suitability of the applicants to be special guardians. The information to be included in the report to the Court is set out in regulation 21 and the schedule of the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005. The local authority may arrange for someone else to carry out the investigation or prepare the report on their behalf. The Court may not make a Special Guardianship Order unless it has received the report covering the suitability of the applicants.
7.11 Before making a Special Guardianship Order, the Court must consider whether to vary or discharge any other existing order made under section 8 of the Children Act 1989. This could include a Contact, or Residence, or Child Arrangements Order. The Court will also consider whether any order regarding contact order will be made at the same time as the Special Guardianship Order.
7.12 At the same time as making a Special Guardianship Order, the Court may also give leave for the child to be known by a new surname and give permission for the child to be taken out of the UK for periods longer than three months.
7.13 The special guardian is entitled to exercise Parental Responsibility for the child, subject to any other order in force with respect to the child, to the exclusion of any other person with Parental Responsibility for the child, apart from another special guardian. However, unlike adoption the order retains the basic legal link with the parents. The birth parents are legally the child's parents, though their ability to exercise their Parental Responsibility is limited. They retain the right to consent or not to the child's adoption or placement for adoption. The special guardian must also take reasonable steps to inform the parent if the child dies. The special guardian is not entitled to provide consent to key decisions where statute or case law requires the consent of more than one person, e.g. in relation to circumcision or sterilisation.
7.14

While a Special Guardianship Order is in force, written consent of every person who has Parental Responsibility for the child or the leave of the Court must be given:

  • For the child to be known by a different surname;
  • To remove the child from the UK for longer than three months (s14C3) Children Act 1989.
7.15

Unlike adoption orders, Special Guardianship Orders can be varied or discharged on the application of:

  • The special guardian (or any of them, if there are more than one);
  • The local authority in whose name a care order was in force with respect to the child before the Special Guardianship Order was made;
  • Anyone with a Residence Order in respect of the child before the Special Guardianship Order was made;
  • With the leave of the Court:
  • The child's parents or guardians;
  • Any step-parent who has Parental Responsibility;
  • Anyone who had Parental Responsibility immediately before the Special Guardianship Order was made;
  • The child (if the Court is satisfied that the child has sufficient understanding).
7.16 Where the applicant is not the child and the leave of the Court is required, the Court may only grant leave if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the Special Guardianship Order was made.
7.17 The Court may, during any family proceedings in which a question arises about the welfare of a child who is subject to a Special Guardianship Order, vary or discharge the order in the absence of an application.
7.18 Local authorities are required to make arrangements for the provision of Special Guardianship support services. These include counseling, advice, information, and such other services (including financial support) as are prescribed in the regulations and determined by the needs of the child.
7.19 In the case of a special guardian who was previously the child's foster carer, financial support (allowance and fee element minus benefits) will be paid for up to two years. After two years it will be dependent on assessed needs of child and will be means tested.
7.20

At the request of any of the following persons, a local authority may carry out an assessment of that person's needs for special guardianship support services:

  • A child with respect to whom a Special Guardianship Order is in force;
  • In the case of a special guardian who was previously the child's foster carer financial support (allowance and fee element minus benefits) will be paid for up to 2 years (except in exceptional circumstances). After 2 years payment will be dependent on assessed needs of child and means tested;
  • A special guardian;
  • A parent.
The regulations provide for the circumstances in which a local authority must comply with a report for assessment.
7.21 Where, as a result of an assessment, a local authority decides that a person has needs for special guardianship support; it must then decide whether to provide any such service to that person.
7.22 If the local authority decides to provide any special guardianship support services and the circumstances fall within the prescribed description, the support plan must be kept under review.
7.23 The local authority may provide special guardian support services through another local authority or a person as defined in the regulations.
7.24 The local authority may carry out an assessment of the needs of any person for the purposes of special guardianship at the same time as an assessment of her/his needs is made under any other provision of the Children Act.
7.25

Children who were looked after by a local authority immediately before the making of a Special Guardianship Order may qualify for advice and assistance under the Children Act 1989, as amended by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002. In the context of Special Guardianship, to qualify for advice and assistance, Section 24(1A) of the Children Act 1989 provides that the child must:

  • Have reached the age of 16, but not the age of 21;
  • If less than 18 years old, have a Special Guardianship Order in force;
  • If 18 years old or above, have had a Special Guardianship Order in force when they reached that age;
  • Have been looked after by a local authority immediately before the making of the Special Guardianship Order.
7.26 The relevant local authority is to make arrangements for children who meet these criteria to receive advice and assistance in the same way as for any other child who qualifies for advice and assistance under the Act, as amended. Regulation 22, of the Special Guardianship Regulation 2005, provides that the relevant local authority is the one that last looked after the child.
7.27 The special guardian and child (if appropriate) are to be made aware of their rights with regard to care leavers' support at the time the Special Guardianship Order is made. This information should be provided by the social worker who prepares the Court report.
7.28

If a child is in receipt of regular Special Guardianship support services, other than finance, they should be reminded of their right to care leavers support through their annual review.

See Intranet link


8. Residence Order

8.1 A Residence Order is an order under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989, which settles arrangements as to the person with whom a child will live.
8.2 A person in whose favour a Residence Order is made automatically acquires Parental Responsibility, but the order does not discharge the Parental Responsibility of others, such as the child's parents.
8.3 Where Parental Responsibility is shared, each person may act independently of the other when meeting that responsibility. Thus, although the making of a Residence Order may curb a parent's ability to act independently to the extent that in practice the day-to-day care of the child is largely controlled by the person with whom the child is living, at least when the child is with the non-resident party he or she may meet their full Parental Responsibility without the need to consult with the other person, except in respect of certain restrictions outlined below.
8.4 While the making of a Residence Order has the effect of conferring Parental Responsibility on the person to whom it is granted for the period while it remains in force, the degree of Parental Responsibility is limited to the extent that the person does not acquire the right to consent to adoption or to the making of an adoption order, or the right to appoint a guardian.
8.5 An effect of the making of a Residence Order is that no person may cause the child to be known by a new surname nor remove him/her from the United Kingdom without the written consent of every person who has Parental Responsibility for him/her or leave of the Court.
8.6 Residence Orders usually end at the point when the child reaches age 18 years. The granting of a Residence Order discharges a Care Order if one is in force.
8.7

A Court may attach directions to a Residence Order which:

  • Direct how it is to be carried out;
  • Impose conditions, which must be complied with;
  • Set out that it is to have effect for a specified period;
  • Include other provision as the Court considers appropriate in the circumstances.
8.8 The making of a Residence Order by a Court will be subject to the principle that no order shall be made unless positive benefit to the child can be demonstrated; in other words, unless a satisfactory outcome cannot be achieved without such an order.
8.9 A Local Authority cannot apply for or be granted a Residence Order, although the authority may wish to express a view to the Court about whether such an order would best serve a child's long-term interests.
8.10 When a child is in care, the Local Authority will be a respondent to a Residence Order application. When a child is accommodated (under section 20 of The Children Act 1989), the Local Authority will not automatically be a party to the proceedings but is entitled to notice and may apply to be made a party.
8.11 Services for Children and Young People will encourage and support relatives and significant others to make applications for Residence Orders as a possible alternative to children being 'looked after' as long as this is consistent with the child's welfare and having regard to his/her wishes and feelings.
8.12 In doing so, the department acknowledges that Residence Orders provide, for some children, an appropriate permanency option in addition to Adoption and Special Guardianship and, therefore, are to be viewed similarly in terms of process, decision making and support.
8.13 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Local Authority's policy on permanency planning.


9. Family and Friends Foster Carers (Connected Persons)

9.1 Where a child is looked after by the local authority, we have a responsibility wherever possible to make arrangements for the child to live with a member of the family. They will need to be assessed and approved as a foster carer (Sect 24 of the Children Act 1989) the child can be placed with the family members prior to such approval, whilst the assessment is taking place, for a period of up to sixteen weeks. This temporary approval can only be extended by a further six weeks in exceptional circumstances. The carer is referred to as a connected person, and will receive level one fostering allowance on a regular basis. They will be expected to take part in relevant training events, attend the child's statutory reviews as required and meet regularly with their supervising social worker, as well as promoting the child's education and health needs.


10. Adoption Order

10.1 Adoption is a process by which all parental rights and responsibilities for a child are permanently transferred to an adoptive parent, by a court. As a result the child legally becomes part of the adoptive family.
10.2

Assessments of the need for adoption support services may be made to the adopted child, adoptive parents and their families as well as both relatives. The support will be set out in an Adoption Support plan, which on occasions may include financial support.

See Intranet link


11. Supporting Contact with Parents

11.1

The local authority will promote contact for all children in need. This will differ depending on whether a child is looked after or not.

  • Where the child is not looked after, contact will be promoted "where it is necessary to do so in order to safeguard and promote his/her welfare". Information will be provided about local contact centre's and family mediation services if required;
  • Where a child is looked after, contact will be promoted between the child and his/her family "unless it is not practicable or consistent with the child's welfare". The overall objective of the contact arrangement will be included in the child's Care Plan and the specific arrangements will be set out in the child's Placement Plan. Contact may be limited through a Court Order.


12. Accommodation

12.1 Priority is given within the authority's housing allocation scheme to enable family and friend carers and approved foster carers, living in inadequate housing to move to suitable accommodation if this will prevent the need for a child to become looked after.


13. Complaints Procedures

13.1

How to make a complaint about Children and Families Social Care

 

This information is for children, young people and adults who have a complaint to make about children and families social care.

You may be:

  • In a children's home;
  • With foster carers;
  • At supported lodgings;
  • In respite care; or
  • Helped and supported by social care;
  • A parent, carer or relative.

13.2

What can I complain about?

 

You have the right to complain about anything that makes you unhappy, upset or angry. It's ok to complain you, won't get into any trouble.

That might be:

  • Feeling that your race, culture, religion or sexuality is not being respected;
  • Being moved from where you live without anyone talking to you about it;
  • Being bullied;
  • Feeling uncared for;
  • Being touched in a way that feels wrong;
  • Having no say in important decisions about your life, or your child's;
  • Our staff's attitude or behaviour;
  • Anything to do with the way social care looks after you or your child.

You can contact us in the following ways.

  • By phone on 023 9284 1172;
  • In person by making an appointment on the above number;
  • By writing to:
    The Complaints Manager for Social Care
    Portsmouth City Council
    1st Floor
    Civic Offices
    Guildhall Square
    Portsmouth
    PO1 2EP
  • By using our pre-paid comments, compliments and complaints form, Your Shout! which can be obtained by calling the above number or by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page;
  • By sending an email to socialcare.comments@portsmouthcc.gov.uk;
  • By telling your advocate what the problem is.

13.3

What will happen next?

 

The complaints manager will write to you within two working days of receiving your complaint, to let you know we have received it and how we plan to investigate your concerns. We may also telephone you or invite you to a meeting to try and sort things out.

We take complaints very seriously. While we try to provide a good service, we know that sometimes things go wrong. We have developed a complaints procedure in response to this. We aim to sort out complaints quickly and fairly and we will try to sort out any mistake or misunderstanding straight away. Sometimes it may take longer but we will let you know how long it will take.

It is always helpful from the beginning to know what you want us to do to put things right.

13.4

What if I am not happy with the manager's response?

 

If you are not happy with the manager's response to your complaint, please come back to either the manager or the complaints manager straight away and we can discuss why you are still unhappy and what we can do to put things right.

This may be a meeting to talk over your concerns to try and sort things out or if we cannot do any more we may ask an independent person that doesn't work for social care to investigate the matter further.

If this happens, the investigator will first meet you to discuss your concerns and then also speak to the staff. The investigator will then write a report about what they found in their investigation and may advise us what they think we can do to put things right if they are wrong. We do not have to do what the investigator says but we would take their advice very seriously.

If you are not satisfied with the independent person's investigation, it may be possible to arrange for a review panel to look at the investigator's work. The complaints manager will discuss this in more detail with you if this should happen.

13.5

Someone to help you make your complaint

 

If you are a child or young person under 25 years old and would like some help making a complaint, the National Youth Advocacy Service can help you. Either you can ask the complaints manager to find you an advocate or you can call them yourself on 0800 616 101 or email them at help@nyas.net. See the NYAS website for more information and advice.

If you are an adult making a complaint about children's services and need help in making your complaint, please contact the complaints manager and they will try and put you in touch with an advocacy agency.

13.6

Local Government Ombudsman

 

You may contact the Local Government Ombudsman at any time. Their contact details are:

Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry
CV4 8EH

Tel: 0300 061 0614
Email: advice@lgo.org.uk
Website: Local Government Ombudsman
Text: "call back" to 0762 480 4299


Appendix 1 - Useful Organisations and Information Family and Friends Carers

Action for Prisoners' Families

Works to reduce the negative impact of imprisonment on prisoners' families. Produces publications and resources, and provides advice, information and training as well as networking opportunities.

Action for Prisoners' Families website

Address: Unit 21, Carlson Court
116 Putney Bridge Road
London, SW15 2NQ

Tel: 020 8812 3600
E-mail: info@actionpf.org.uk
Advice line: 0808 808 2003
info@prisonersfamilieshelpline.org.uk

Addaction

Offers a range of support developed for families and carers affected by substance misuse.

Addaction website

Address: 67-69 Cowcross Street
London EC1M 6PU

Tel: 020 7251 5860
Email: info@addaction.org.uk

Adfam

Works with families affected by drugs and alcohol, and supports carers of children whose parents have drug and alcohol problems.

Adfam website

Address: 25 Corsham Street,
London N1 6DR

Tel: 020 7553 7640
Email: admin@adfam.org.uk 50

Advisory Centre for Education (ACE)

Offers free independent advice and information for parents and carers on a range of state education and schooling issues, including admissions, exclusion, attendance, special educational needs and bullying.

Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) website

Address: 1c Aberdeen Studios,
22 Highbury Grove,
London N5 2DQ

General advice line: 0808 800 5793 Exclusion advice line: 0808 800 0327 Exclusion information line: 020 7704 9822 (24hr answer phone)

BeGrand.net

Website offering information and advice to grandparents, plus online and telephone advice.

BeGrand.net

Helpline: 0845 434 6835

British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF)

Provides information and advice about adoption and fostering and publishes resources.

British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) website

Address: Saffron House,
6-10 Kirby Street,
London EC1N 8TS

Tel: 020 7421 2600
Email: mail@baaf.org.uk 51

Chat (Portsmouth)
Family Information Service
Chat Offers a wide range of free information on childcare, activities and services for families and children ages 0-19 years.

If you are looking for childcare, activities for children and young people, want to work in childcare or looking for information on parenting classes, family support, health and a wide range of other information Portsmouth Chat can help you.

Address: Portsmouth Chat
Central Library
Guildhall Square
Portsmouth PO1 2DX

Tel: 023 9268 8830
Email: chat@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Children's Legal Centre

Provides free independent legal advice and factsheets to children, parents, carers and professionals.

Children's Legal Centre website

Address: University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester
Essex CO4 3SQ

Tel: 01206 877 910
E-mail: clc@essex.ac.uk

Child Law Advice Line: 0808 802 0008
Community Legal Advice - Education: 0845 345 4345

Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)

The Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) is a review process which prospective or existing foster carers can use when they do not agree with the qualifying determination given to them by their fostering service provider. The review process is conducted by a review panel independent of the foster service provider.

Address: Contract Manager
Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)
Unit 4, Pavilion Business Park
Royds Hall Road
Wortley
Leeds LS12 6AJ

Independent Review Mechanism website

Tel: 0845 4503956
Email: irm@baff.org.uk

Citizens Advice Bureaux

Helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice through local bureaux and website.

Citizens Advice Bureaux

Department for Education

Lists details of telephone help lines and online services to provide information, advice and support on a range of issues that parents and families may face in bringing up children and young people.

Department for Education website

Family Fund Trust

Helps families with severely disabled or seriously ill children to have choices and the opportunity to enjoy ordinary life. Gives grants for things that make life easier and more enjoyable for the disabled child and their family.

Address: 4 Alpha Court
Monks Cross Drive
York YO32 9WN

Family Fund Trust website

Tel: 0845 130 4542
Email: info@familyfund.org.uk 52

Family Rights Group (FGR)

Provides advice to parents and other family members whose children are involved with or require children's social care services because of welfare needs or concerns. Publishes resources, helps to develop support groups for family and friends carers, and runs a discussion board.

Family Rights Group (FGR) website

Address: Second Floor
The Print House
18 Ashwin Street
London E8 3DL

Tel: 020 7923 2628
Advice line: 0800 801 0366
Email: advice@frg.org.uk

The Fostering Network

Supports foster carers and anyone with an interest in fostering to improve the lives of children in care. Publishes resources and runs Fosterline, a confidential advice line for foster carers including concerns about a child's future, allegations and complaints, legislation and financial matters.

The Fostering Network website

Address: 87 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8HA
Email: info@fostering.net

Tel: 020 7620 6400
Fosterline: 0800 040 7675
Email: fosterline@fostering.net 53

The Grandparents' Association

Supports grandparents and their families, especially those who have lost or are losing contact with their grandchildren because of divorce, separation or other family problems, those caring for their grandchildren on a full-time basis, and those with childcare responsibilities for their grandchildren.

The Grandparents' Association website

Address: Moot House
The Stow Harlow
Essex CM20 3AG

Tel: 01279 428040
Helpline: 0845 434 9585

Welfare benefits advice and information: 0844 357 1033
Email: info@grandparents-association.org.uk

Grandparents Plus

Champions the role of grandparents and the wider family in children's lives, especially when they take on the caring role in difficult family circumstances.

Address: Grandparents Plus
18 Victoria Park Square
Bethnal Green
London E2 9PF

Tel: 020 8981 8001
Email: info@grandparentsplus.org.uk

Mentor UK

Promotes the health and wellbeing of children and young people to reduce the damage that drugs can do to lives.

Mentor UK website

Address: Fourth Floor 74
Great Eastern Street
London EC2A 3JG

Tel: 020 7739 8494
Email: admin@mentoruk.org 54

National Family Mediation (NFM)

Provides mediation services to support couples who are separated, and their children and others affected by this.

National Family Mediation (NFM) website

Address: 4 Barnfield Hill,
Exeter EX1 1SR.

Tel: 0300 4000 636
Email: general@nfm.org.uk

Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group

Operates helpline and provides a variety of services to support anyone who has a link with someone in prison, prisoners and other agencies.

Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group website

Address: Valentine House
1079 Rochdale Road
Blackley
Manchester M9 8AJ

Tel: 0161 702 1000
Offenders' Families Helpline Tel: 0808 808 2003
Email:
info@prisonersfamilieshelpline.co.uk

Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT)

Provides practical and emotional support to prisoners and to their children and families. The Kinship Care Support Service provides support and advice to family members and friends who care for children whose parents are in HMP Holloway.

Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) website

Address: Park Place
12 Lawn Lane
Vauxhall
London SW8 1UD

Tel: 020 77359535 55

Parents Against Drug Abuse (PADA)

Delivers support and services to the families of substance users, including a national helpline.

Parents Against Drug Abuse (PADA) website - to follow

Address:The Foundry
Marcus Street
Birkenhead CH41 1EU

Phone: 0151 649 1580
National Families Helpline: 08457 023867

Parentline Plus

Provides help and support in all aspects of family life, including information, an online chat facility and a 24 hour helpline.

Family Lives website

Address: CAN Mezzanine 49-51
East Road
London N1 6AH

Tel: 020 7553 3080
24hr Advice line: 0808 800 2222
Email: parentsupport@familylives.org.uk

TalktoFrank

The government's national drugs helpline which offers free confidential drugs information and advice 24 hours a day. Information and advice is also available via the website.

TalktoFrank website

24 hour advice line: 0800 77 66 00 Text: 82111
Email: frank@talktofrank.com

Voice

Advocacy organisation for children living away from home or in need.

Voice website

Address: 320 City Road
London EC1V 2NZ

Tel: 020 7833 5792

Young person's advice line: 0808 800 5792
Email: info@voiceyp.org 56 57

Young Minds

Young Minds Works to improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people and empowering their parents and carers.

Young Minds website

Address: 48-50 St John Street
London EC1M 4DG

Tel: 020 7336 8445
Parents helpline: 0808 802 5544

End