A Bradford pensioner has won a High Court battle over Bradford Council’s refusal to give her financial support towards the care of her 11-year-old grand-daughter.
The 69-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, has been granted a lump sum of £2,000 and told she must be given weekly payments of £117.20 in fostering allowance after a legal battle with the authority.
The grandma began looking after the youngster when she was aged two, in October 2004, after Social Services had concerns about the care her parents were providing. She claims that she was told during a visit to the parents’ home that if she did not take on the care of her grand-daughter, the child would be placed in foster care.
However, the woman says when she inquired about whether she was entitled to any financial help, she was told she wasn’t.
She then took advice from Huddersfield-based solicitors’ firm Ridley and Hall, arguing she had saved the authority thousands of pounds by looking after the child, meaning she did not need to be placed into foster care.
“Like many grandparents in this position I didn’t know my rights,” she said.
“When Social Services failed to pay me any money, I assumed that they were acting within the law. I didn’t find out about the fact that I should be receiving fostering allowance for years.”
Tracey Ling, of Ridley and Hall, wrote to the Council on the pensioner’s behalf but says she was told the youngster was not classed as a “looked-after” child.
However, the firm continued to pursue the matter and His Honour Judge William, sitting as a High Court judge, ruled the girl was a “looked-after” and the authority should give financial support.
The grandmother said she was “delighted” with the outcome, but added: “This should never have happened. I never thought that I’d be looking after an 11-year-old at my age.
“Now I’m getting a weekly payment, I’ll no longer find it such a struggle to afford to buy essential items for my grand-daughter.”
Julie Jenkins, the Council’s assistant director for children’s specialist services, said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. However, the judge in this case was not critical of our Children’s Social Care Services and we are pleased that the settlement that we offered in this case was agreed.”