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Social workers say my grandchildren are going into care, what can I do?

The law says that when a child is looked after in the care system, children’s services must:

  • First look at placing the child with their parents, but only if they are assessed as being suitable to look after the child and this would be in the child’s best interests
  • If a placement with parents is not possible or suitable then children’s services must place the child in the most appropriate placement. When deciding this, they must give priority to relatives, friends or other people connected with the child who are approved as foster carers.
  • Only where this is not possible should a child be cared for by unrelated foster carers.

It might be that the social workers did not know about you when your grandchild first came into care. OR perhaps they did not have time to contact you because it was an emergency. Whatever the precise situation it is important to urgently:

  • Contact children’s services or the particular social worker straight away and to
  • Let them know you would like to care for your granddaughter.

They will want to do an assessment before they agree she can live with you. But a quick assessment can be done to give temporary approval as a foster carer. This will mean the child will be able to move quickly, if this is in their best interests.

If the arrangement is to continue in the longer term a full fostering assessment will need to be done. A grandparent, or other relative caring for a child in this type of situation is called a kinship foster carer. This is a type of kinship care.

For more helpful information about kinship care see our Kinship carers page. This includes a section on Kinship foster care. And for further advice options include:

  • Posting a question for one of our expert advisers on our Advice Forums, and if needing further or more detailed advice
  • Contacting us – call Family Rights Group’s specialist legal and practice advice line on 0808 801 0366 (the advice line is open Monday to Friday, from 9.30 am to 3 pm excluding bank holidays).

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