Council ordered to pay woman £21,000 in missed fostering payments
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A woman who took in her nephew after concerns he was being neglected has received more than £21,500 in fostering support she was owed.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman ordered North Somerset Council to apologise for the distress it caused to the woman, Mrs X.
She had complained that the authority did not do enough to protect the boy, who has complex difficulties, when he moved to live with her parents and later with her.
The child’s mum was terminally ill and had difficulties caring for him because of her disabilities.
The ombudsman said in its ruling: “The council was not just ‘facilitating’ a private arrangement.
“The council was acting under its child protection duties and it acted proactively to arrange for Child B’s removal from his parents’ care and ensure he was placed with the wider family.
“The council has been at fault by not considering its duty properly to accommodate Child B, whereby he should have been regarded as a looked after child, and at fault in not then assessing Mrs X and her husband as family foster carers, as she had requested.”
The ombudsman said Mrs X had cared for the boy for eight years and would have been likely to be approved as a foster carer.
The council was ordered to pay her a backdated fostering allowance of £6,862.44, a transitional fostering payment of £13,724.88 and a symbolic payment of £1,000 for the distress and frustration it caused her.
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The ombudsman also criticised the authority’s handling of Mrs X’s complaint after it told her she was too late, and said it should investigate historic complaints from a similar period.
A North Somerset Council spokesperson said: “We have accepted the Local Government Ombudsman’s findings in this case and have paid out the money.
“We have also apologised to the aunt and while we can’t give out any details we can confirm that the child is still with his aunt.”