A Northamptonshire grandmother has been given £20,000 in fostering allowance after three years acting as the sole carer of her grandson with no financial support.
The 57-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been paid thousands in backdated payments by Northamptonshire County Council and will now continue to receive the regular allowance.
She had been looking after her young grandson without any support from the local authority since her daughter was admitted to hospital in 2012.
She said: “I had made numerous requests to social services. I never anticipated having to care for my grandson. I’d thought the days of being a parent were over.
“I found it really hard to make ends meet. Things had become so desperate for me that I even had to resort to selling some of my jewellery in 2013 in order to buy my grandson a Christmas present. Up to then having the money to buy him a present was something I had taken for granted.”
But now that the council have agreed to pay her weekly allowance, as well as compensate her for the backdated payments, the grandmother said she was “absolutely delighted.”
A spokesperson from Northamptonshire County Council said: “We are unable to comment on specific cases. However we are committed to ensuring that foster carers have the support they need in order to provide the best possible care.”
Specialist at the Grandparents Legal Centre in Huddersfield, Helen Jarvis, said: “The local authority was clearly sidestepping its duties towards my client and her grandson which resulted in her being in a dire financial situation. This is completely unacceptable. She should have been receiving £139.79 per week in fostering allowances from the day her grandson was placed in her care.
“Had my client not been willing to suffer such financial hardship in order to care for her grandson, it would have cost the local authority substantially more if he had been placed with professional foster carers.”