I am currently the foster mum for 3 siblings , who came to live with my husband Peter ( Names Changed ) and I – with another sister over 7 years ago . Alan, now 20 and the Rhiannon who is 18 have places at University. They are both being told by their respective Local Authority workers that a change of manager and commissioning policy within the Local Authority means that it is unlikely that they can be staying put while at University, even though the eldest has only been in halls of residence for 5 months in the past 16 months.
With just two weeks to the start of her University Course Rhiannon is saying that she will not take up a place to study at a red brick university unless she can come back here for holidays, weekends etc when she needs support – which she knows will be frequent. She wants the same as her brother has had for the past two years – we want it too.
For the past two years we have had a weekly staying put agreement for the older boy . From that allowance we paid for his University Accommodation as an act of goodwill. As yet we have not been informed of the decision and no meeting is planned to discuss his situation before 1st September.
Given the awful data * re the % of Care Leavers ending within the prison system and the associated cost, we are aghast that for the sake of a relatively small investment they are effectively taking away the only family that these
( successful ) children have. We definitely want to continue the support- they desperately want to continue living in our home but unless we foster more children or down-size our home we will be unable to meet our mortgage payments over the course of the next 12 months. We strongly suspect that the Local Authority, knowing that we love the children, are depending on our goodwill to support the care leavers. Sadly love does not put food on the table or a roof above their head.
At the moment Alan is unable to get access to the keys for his accommodation ( as are another 6 young people who will share his house ) as I am being instructed by my supervising social worker that I am not in a secure enough financial position to stand guarantor for him. His Social worker is telling him that it is my choice to stand guarantor or not – but the Local Authority cannot do it and it is looking doubtful that the University can.
His Staying Put agreement with us ends on 31st August but the meeting to determine next steps and the financial future of us all is not set to take place until 1st September. He has spent 11 of the last 16 months at home with us – much of that time he had University Accommodation available to him – but chose to be here – as he did not want the isolation when his peers went home- he wanted to be with his family too.
Key people have been regularly updated as to the situation since last October – but are all currently unavailable – on leave. We are wholly stuck!
*”While those in the care system account for just one per cent of children, a quarter of those in prison were in care as children.”David Cameron, 22 October 2012 https://fullfact.org/crime/were-quarter-prisoners-care-children/
Jayne Robbins – A Blogging Foster Carer.