Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I have nowhere to go...?

Hi Sam, I have lived with my aunty for the past 4-5 months due to my mum being an alcoholic and attempting suicide occasionally and it was causing me to self harm so I moved out. The plan was for my mum to sign over guardianship to my aunty so she could recieve child benefits and stuff for me but my mum is refusing to sign me over or give my aunty any money at all to take care of me so my aunty cannot afford to have me here permanently so she has told me I need to leave but I don't have anywhere to go and I go back to school in a few days and have no idea what to do. Please help me?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing in and I am sorry to hear about the problems with your aunty not being able to afford to look after you because your mum won’t sign over your guardianship. It’s important that you get help to sort this out and hopefully it will not come to you having to move out of your aunty’s home. 

You and your aunty should go to social services as soon as possible. A social worker should carry out an assessment of you as a child in need and they should also assess your aunty as your carer and whether it is safe and appropriate for you to stay with her. If you both agree that you should continue to stay with her, and social services approve the arrangement, then social services should pay your aunty a foster allowance for looking after you. They should speak to your mum too and advise her that it is your aunty who should claim the child benefit as she is the person you are staying with.

The effect of your mum signing over your guardianship to your aunty would mean that your aunty will then have ‘parental responsibility’ for you. Ideally your aunty should take legal advice from a family law solicitor about that.

If your aunty won’t go to social services, you should go to social services yourself and ask for help. You can get an advocate to speak alongside you and go with you to social services and you could contact the National Youth Advocacy Service to ask for help with this. You might also want to contact Shelter for advice and you can call our free advice line on 0808 800 4444.

I hope that helps.

Take care, and good luck.


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