Being taken into care can be a very traumatic experience for all of those concerned, but what role does the grandparent play when their grandchild is accommodated by the Local Authority under a Court Order with the consent of the parents.
The Law is now very clear that Care Proceedings should be concluded within 26 weeks, there are some exceptions but they are few and far between. If you are a grandparent and your grandchild has been taken into care, you need to take some action very very quickly.
The Court will ask the parents if there is anyone they wish to put forward to be considered as alternative carers if the children cannot be returned to one or both parents.
They may or may not mention you as grandparents, but if you know that your grandchild has been taken into care, you need to be speaking with the relevant Local Authority/social worker/Guardian immediately, informing them who you are, what your connection is with the child and what you are offering long term.
The Local Authority have an obligation to look at extended family before they consider alternatives such as foster care or adoption. However, the Courts have made it very clear that they will not wait for family members who leave it until the last moment to say that they wish to care for those children. This used to be the case, but that has all changed with the 26 week rule.
The Local Authority will need to consider whether they should undertake a viability assessment of you and once that has been completed and if it is positive, further assessments may be necessary. It will not necessarily be an easy assessment to go through, but if you wish to care for your grandchildren it will be necessary for you to go through quite rigorous interviews and questioning with a number of professionals. There is no way to avoid this.
Action to be taken by you if you know that your grandchildren have been taken into care;
You need to contact a solicitor to take some advice on what steps you should be taking, but the message that is very loud and clear is that grandparents and other family members cannot wait to be assessed and they should give notification of their intention to care for these children as soon as possible.
The Family Law Company can assist you with this and if you would like to know more, please contact us on Grandparents@thefamilylawco.com or 01392 421777.
This blog is not about frightening people, it is about putting it in black and white for grandparents to see the seriousness of their grandchildren’s situation. To help those to realise that if they do not act there is always the possibility that your grandchildren will be adopted, and once that happens it will be incredibly difficult to have any on going relationship with an adopted grandchild.