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Advice needed for writing to ss

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:05 pm
by NannyLoz
In October my 8 week old granddaughter died, ss and the police were informed by the hospital and from then on my our lives changed. That night my husband took the children to our house were ss let them remain for 4 weeks, in this they got a interim care order and made our lives hell, made us sign an agreement so we would have no contact with other members of the family unless they said so, even though stated we could have respite care sw turned down when asked,calling every other day insisting we go to hospital appointment at a moments notice, asked what we required i.e.beds that arrived to 2 days before they decided we could not cope and place then children in foster care, without the children even meeting her before hand, sw has now stopped our assessment stating that on her last meeting with us,when she told us she already had a foster care on retainer waiting for the children that my husband was aggressive and intimidating (although she was in the house for over an hour).

My daughter and her partner we told by their solicitors this is because we would not commit to having the children long term i.e. adopting and they never leave the children with family to long. They have also had 2 other family members assessed 1 has already been turned down as she is a single parent with 4 children, the other is still being assessed but have been told there may be issues as one smokes and they have also been asked about adopting. Daughter solicitors says this is normal and just do as they say.

Today we went to the law centre for some advice and were told we needed to write to ss and request a full explanation as to why we were turned down not just the 6 lines in the letter sent by the
sw and also request that we continue the assessment. Please please need advice on how to do this.

Re: Advice needed for writing to ss

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:15 pm
by Robin D
Hi NannyLoz and welcome here despite the tragic circumstances.

The first thing I would suggest is that you ring the FRG advice line on Monday. Its a free call on 0808 801 0366 and is totally confidential. The Local Authority have a legal duty to place the children within the family where possible unless its contrary to the children's interests. It appears that they were aware of this hence starting the assessment with you and your husband.

As someone who has also been accused of aggressiveness by SW's in the past, its still sadly very true that a valid challenge to their views is deemed as aggressive so don't let your husband beat himself up.

You need to consider if you should apply to become 'party' to the care proceedings. I would strongly suggest you do not discuss this with the SW but make the application directly to the court office. The SW will do all they can to stop you from applying, but by applying direct, then the court decides.

You also do not say how many children are involved, but its is worth considering what would be needed in the way of support to allow you to bring up the children within the family.

Your daughters solicitor has either been misquoted or is wrong. Courts are very reluctant to allow adoptions by grandparents as it upsets the family dynamics. A Special Guardianship Order is generally preferred. More details can be found on the advice sheets at http://www.frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/advice-sheets.

It is absolutely true that they will be looking for permanence for the children as soon as possible although if criminal charges are possible, that can delay things hence you need to speak to the advice line.

You and your husband need to decide if you are willing and or able to give these children a permanent home. If you are not, then your fight will be to maintain contact. If you are you will have to fight SS all the way as it sounds as though they have already made up their minds to place the children outside the family which if they are young, may well be with a view to adoption.

One point is that you MUST start writing everything down in diary form, and I mean everything, Things will move so fast that you will not remember them. SS will be making notes but these are often opinionated and the only way to fight back is with facts, so make notes on every phone call including data and time, what was said etc. Although its still come down to two views of what was said, it will carry much more credence in court if you can produce the notes you made at the time!

You really do have my sympathy and I really wish you the best of luck. If you want to bring up your grandchildren, you will have to fight long and hard and it will be emotionally very difficult. However quite a few here have been through similar and have come out the other side, although some have lost their grandchildren to adoption. However feel free to come back here to sound off, rant or for sympathetic advice.

So in summary:
- Work out what you want to do long term.
- Ring the advice line.
- Log everything.
- Act quickly and decisively.

Best wishes ........ Robin

Re: Advice needed for writing to ss

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:54 pm
by Kate
Hi NannyLoz,

I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby granddaughter. What a traumatic few months you've had. I can't add to Robin's excellent response, just want to second his welcome to the forum and to emphasise the importance of documenting everything as he advises.

Wishing you strength as you fight the local authority and please stick round - you'll find it invaluable.

Re: Advice needed for writing to ss

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:24 am
by nanaJ
First of all, my condolences to you.

Robin's advice is excellent; you must write to SS as soon as possible. I suggest the SW's immediate line manager and also Head of Childrens' Services in your area.

In addition to the FRG helpline, Childrens' Legal Services is also an excellent source of advice although somewhat cold and clinical. I don't think this is a free phone number however.

I also second what Robin says about any challenge to their process is seen as aggressive, unfortunately "complaining" is also a character flaw which "damages the children". Sad, but true.

You need to take this weekend to really consider what you want to do. It is a long and arduous process taking on social services and you have already had an early taste of what is to come.

With regard to the solicitor's comments, he/she is representing your daughter and not you. Another point to consider is whether you may wish to visit a local solicitor for a free half hours advice. Make sure they are experienced in family law and particularly experienced in public law children cases. This will give you advice relevant to your situation with the children. I don't know whether you may qualify for legal aid but the solicitor should be able to advise you. Otherwise, legal fees are exorbitant and more and more families are self representing in court. Judges do not like this particularly as they end up refereeing in court - but it is now a fact of life.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide.

Re: Advice needed for writing to ss

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:01 pm
by NannyLoz
Many thanks to everyone that has replied, we have decide that we would have the children permanently. They are aged 2 and 4 this would mean me giving up work as I also have a 13 year.
We have been to the local law centre and they have advised we would not be able to apply for legal as I work part time and we own our own property. They say that in the first instance to ring the ss
and see if we could work through this, if no good write to department manager and request an independent assessment and if they we still get no where then get a solicitors letter ( cost approx.£350+VAT).Since the children were removed we have had no contact with ss, but I have seen the children every week for half an hour at the contact centre.

Re: Advice needed for writing to ss

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:40 am
by Kate
I can only imagine the hell of not only losing a grandchild but then having to face losing the two remaining, and only to be able to see them at a contact centre for such a short time. You are having to deal with so many emotions and pressures, and at the same time you need to keep a clear head as you strive to secure the future of your grandchildren with you.

Whatever else you do in the nex