Battling Northamptonshire grandmother secures pay out for unpaid allowances
A Northamptonshire grandmother has won her long standing 3 year battle against Northamptonshire County Council to get money to help her care for her grandson. Northamptonshire have now paid her over £20,000.
The 57 year old grandmother had her 3 year old grandson placed with her in August 2011 by the County Council. Her daughter was admitted to hospital due to a violent relationship.
Despite the professionals involved in the case admitting on numerous occasions in 2012 that the child should be classed as ‘Looked After’ and that the grandmother should be provided with financial support, no support was forthcoming. Commenting the grandmother who cannot be named for legal reasons said
“I had made numerous requests to Social Services. I never anticipated having to care for my grandson. I’d thought the days of being a parent were over.
I found it really hard to make ends meet. Things had become so desperate for me that I even had to resort to selling some of my jewellery in 2013 in order to buy my grandson a Christmas present. Up to then having the money to buy him a present was something I had taken for granted.”
Helen Jarvis, a specialist at the Grandparents Legal Centre in Huddersfield commented “I was shocked at the position my client was in. An initial letter was sent on 7th February 2014. It took the County Council almost two months to respond confirming the child is a ‘Looked After’ child. This means that the County Council must financially support the child. He should have been classed as one since he was placed with my client. It was not until three years after the child came to live with his grandmother on 3rd May 2014 when Northamptonshire finally agreed a figure which was to be paid to my client as back pay.
“The Local Authority was clearly sidestepping its duties towards my client and her grandson which resulted in my client being in a dire financial situation. This is completely unacceptable. My client should have been receiving £139.79 per week in fostering allowances from the day her grandson was placed in her care.
Had they assessed her as a foster carer there was also the possibility to her receiving additional allowances after completing training courses. She missed out on these opportunities. Had my client not been willing to suffer such financial hardship in order to care for her grandson, it would have cost the Local Authority substantially more if he had been placed with professional foster carers”.
The grandmother commented “I cannot thank Helen Jarvis from Ridley & Hall solicitors enough! After spending years battling with Social Services, I needed specialist advice. I finally sought advice from the Grandparents Legal Centre. Their professional advice and the quality of service was excellent.
Helen has managed to get the Local Authority to admit my grandson is a ‘Looked After’ child. They are going to pay me a weekly allowance plus a backdated payment to cover the last 3 years.
Helen has kept me updated every step of the way and I am absolutely delighted with the result”.