Battling Immingham Grandparents Win First Round in Fight for Financial Support
Immingham grandparents have been given permission to bring a legal challenge to North East Lincolnshire. The fight is over the failure of social services to provide any financial support after they took on the care of their grandchild.
In 2008, Mr and Mrs G were asked to care for their grandson by North East Lincolnshire social services. Social services had been involved with the child for 2 years but repeatedly failed to step in to protect him.
Their grandson was just 4 years old at the time. They asked Mr and Mrs G to look after the child for 6 weeks. They then transported him to their house. Six weeks passed. Social services again asked them to look after the child for a few more weeks.
Around four months after social services had placed the boy with Mr and Mrs G, the social worker asked them to obtain a residence order.
Commenting, Rebecca Chapman, a specialist solicitor at the Huddersfield based Grandparents Legal Centre, part of Ridley & Hall Solicitors said, “The council had more than enough grounds to start care proceedings. They saved themselves a fortune. Care proceedings are costly and paying foster carers gets very expensive.
“Mr G is 68. He’s not long retired and had not planned to take on the care of a chid in his retirement. He and his wife are on a very low income. They found it difficult to meet the financial demands of raising a child with emotional problems. Unfortunately their grandson had some serious behavioural difficulties which resemble an attachment disorder and ADHD. My clients think the council waited too long to act.
“At no point did the council offer any financial support to Mr and Mrs G, even though they had asked my clients to care for the child. They had a duty to tell Mr and Mrs G that they were entitled to a residence allowance – but they stayed silent!
“Five years passed before the council were challenged to face up to their responsibilities.
“My clients asked the Council to conduct a residence order allowance assessment but the local authority did not respond to their request.
“Mr and Mrs G then instructed me and after a very detailed letter was sent, the local authority conducted the assessment. The assessment appeared to be factually incorrect and stated that Mr and Mrs G were not eligible for an allowance.
“The local authority were not willing to review the assessment and high court proceedings were issued. The high court in Leeds has now granted permission for the local authority’s failed to conduct an adequate assessment to be considered by a judge.”
Mrs G said “Like many grandparents we stepped in when the council asked us to help out. When the social services then asked us to get a court order we did as we were told. The council never told us that we should have been paid an allowance.
We were struggling to cope with our grandson’s behaviour. The local authority had failed him and then they just left us to it. We are pensioners having to cope with unexpected financial demands. Our lives have been made more difficult with the council’s lack of action. It is a total failure to fulfil their duties both to us and our grandson adequately.”
Rebecca Chapman said “It is disappointing for Mr and Mrs G that they have to go through the process of a judicial review in order to compel the local authority to do what they are already supposed to do. The local authority’s actions are not consistent with their duties to this child.
“There has been a bizarre lack of response from the local authority in relation to this claim. This means that they will be sleep walking into a hearing which could end with a large bill of legal costs.”
For more information kinship care, please contact Rebecca Chapman at Ridley and Hall Solicitors either by e-mail or on 01484 538421.