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Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:39 am
by MandyLou
Well... we saw our solicitor and the decision is to go for the residence order initially.
If my step-daughter doesn't argue against it we should be sorted fairly soon. I think her solicitor will advise her to agree to it.
We will then let things settle for a while before applying for a SGO.
Our solicitor is also going to write to the local authority to clarify whether they will pay the legal fees. We have a written confirmation that they 'may' pay the fees but it remains to be seen whether that becomes reality.

None of you will be surprised that we will go ahead even if it means us paying the legal fees. We have to secure our grandson's future. Of course, the local authority will assume that is how we feel and will no doubt use that to their advantage.

Thanks everyone for the support and advice so far. We shall see what happens next......

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:46 am
by David Roth
Hi MandyLou

Just to alert you to the fact that it may be more difficult for you to get financial and other support from the council if you go for RO and then SGO, rather than going directly for SGO.

This is why. If you apply for an SGO on a child who is 'looked after' immediately before the order is made, then the local authority is legally obliged to carry out an assessment of your need for financial and other support, if you ask them to. If your grandson was under an RO, or any other legal arrangement except being looked after, immediately before the SGO was made, the local authority would not be obliged to do this assessment - they could if they wanted to, but they don't have to. Even if you don't get all the support that the assessment shows you need, it is more likely that you will get something if you go straight for SGO.

Another consideration is that you might be letting yourself in for two sets of legal fees. Even if the council agrees to help with your legal fees for the RO, once you've got it they are not very likely to help you with the fees for a SGO application.

I'm not trying to direct you toward one option or the other, I'm just making sure you have all the information you need when you decide what legal route to follow. In the end, you must pick what feels right for your circumstances.

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:25 am
by MandyLou
Hi all
Not posted for a while as we have had lots going on. We have applied to the court for a residence order on advice of the solicitor. Whilst I think we should really be applying for the SGO, our solicitor has advised that getting at the very least an interim residence order must be the priority. At the moment we have no security for my grandson at all. so, in the knowledge that we will probably be left high and dry by social services after the residence order is granted, we decided to go that route anyway. Court is not for another 5 weeks.

In the meantime, things have changed a bit. Much less contact of any sort from my step-daughter. It really did go quiet once she received the court papers. I think she doesn't understand what is happening and for a while she thought it was criminal court and that we were taking her to court so she would go to prison. The reality has now been explained to her, but suddenly she has changed her attitude towards us. Now she doesn't feel comfortable coming to visit and demanded a support worker to come with her when baby needed his jabs. She used to at least text every day to ask how he was, but we haven't heard from her in ages. And she has told the social worker that she is scared of being near my husband and has made allegations of violence about him from maybe 7 or 8 years ago (with no specifics regarding when, where, why etc - there is no substance there at all). Basically she wants her son back and if she can't have him she would rather he was in care than with us, so she has withdrawn her consent for her son to be with us.

We know that social services have no concerns about us. It took the social worker more than a week to tell us about what my step-daughter had said, and I have to assume if they were at all worried they would have been round straight away. Their position is to leave my grandson with us as it is better for him. So we now wait until we go to court and see what happens.

I'm saddened by the fact that my step-daughter has now turned against us - mainly against my husband. We tried as hard as we could at the start to give her a chance to get herself sorted out - she has screwed her life up despite our best efforts. We have supported her time and time again and we now get it all thrown back in our faces. It's going to get ugly - I'm just glad my grandson is so young he will not remember any of this.

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:56 am
by MandyLou
Hi everyone

As the court date for the RO appraoches things are far from being sorted. My step-daughter has been away from her flat for 5 weeks now - staying with the current boyfriend. We hadn't heard from her at all until yesterday.
Why yesterday? Mother's Day, of course. And she is 'devestated' that her son wouldn't be giving her a mother's day card and that she wouldn't see him. She tells everyone that we are stopping her from seeing him and it's breaking her heart. I ended up having a short telephone conversation with her yesterday where I explained that as she had told everyone she did not feel safe coming to the house 5 weeks ago, then she couldn't come to the house this week without organising it through the social worker. This resulted in her threatening me and shouting at me down the phone. We have told social services about yesterdays calls etc and they have said if she turns up at our home with plans to take the baby we are to call the police.

I can't help thinking that it is not in my grandson's best interests to see her at all now. She has been mostly absent from his life, and totally absent for the last 5 weeks. He is only 5 months old. I doubt he would even recognise her now. And I'm concerned about any impact on his now settled routine. He is a very happy baby and he is thriving in our care.

I'm saddened that despite all our attempts to remain on good terms with my step-daughter she now blames us for her not having her son. It is as though she can't remember that the social worker, health visitors etc all said she was not able to look after him. All she sees is that it is us who are to blame. Alongside this she has not made herself available for any assessments or any contact at all, but she thinks that she is just going to be able to get him back.

Is this the usual pattern for a parent who has been told she cannot look after her child? I don't know how worried to be. :?

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:15 am
by MandyLou
ied53 wrote:It is amazing how they remeber they are Mothers on Mothers day but forget the rest of the time.

Yeah. Having seen nothing of her son for 5 weeks the one time she remembers is on the day when she is upset she isn't getting a card!

Spoke to the solicitor and social worker yesterday. It could very well be a long drawn out battle now if she opposes the RO application, but we will be pushing for at least an interim RO when we go to court next week. I know we are doing the right thing for the baby. That is what keeps me going.

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:15 pm
by Robin D
I concur with Irene. We've all seen those that don't care blame us, and many here have also been victims of malicious and false allegations in an attempt by birth parents to 'win' as they see it.

I think though the most difficult bit is when you see/hear nothing of them, then they just want to walk back in (and out) of the child's life on a whim to suit their own emotional needs.

Good luck .... Robin

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:01 am
by MandyLou
Irene, Robin - THANK YOU.

It is so helpful to be able to hear other people's stories and to know that you're not alone. This discussion board seems full of heartache and trouble, but the underlying feeling is that here is a group of people doing their very best for the children in their lives.

Court can't come soon enough for me. Just got to get through the next few days.

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:24 pm
by MandyLou
Court adjourned for reports. No order today.

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:59 pm
by Robin D
Hi Mandy Lou.

That's not a great surprise given the uncertainties. It's likely to trundle on through the system for some time I'm afraid, but the good news is that the court are unlikely to order a change to the status quo while its being looked at. The drained feeling is also par for the course. You gear yourself up for something and then it all falls flat on its face and nothing happens!

As its being contested, it's probably only fair to let you know that I would expect at least another 3 hearings and possibly many more:
- The report is unlikely to be ready for the first so it will either be adjourned at the last minute, or it will be a five minute hearing to explain to the judge why they are not ready. If it goes ahead on the first or a later date, its a lot of sitting around only to hear reasons why someone couldn't do something. :(
- The next will review the reports and see what other evidence may be required. Only then is it listed for a final hearing.
- The final hearing itself.

Whilst this may seem a bit daunting, it does have its up sides. The longer the child is with you, the more difficult any decision by the court to move them becomes. Also, the professionals involved will, in my experience, try to manage the expectations of all parties and get them to think of the needs and welfare of the child first.

Feel free to ask any questions if you have any. between the regulars we've been through or seen most things! :roll:

The important things are to spend time with the child, and to find ways to regularly recharge your own batteries.

Good luck .... Robin

Re: New and sounding off!

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:40 pm
by MandyLou
Thanks Robin

I'm more positive about the process now I've been able to relax for a few days. I keep having to remind myself that we are in this for the long game and I'd much rather that we got all i's dotted and t's crossed so there is little chance for real comeback later.

Step-daughter has reverted to type. I think there are 4 or 5 lads she has seen in the last week all after the one thing that young lads are always after. She really has a reputation and she seems to think it is a good one!

We will see what happens next... at least we know the social worker is going to supervise any contact going forward. The social worker came to the court to support our 'private legal matter' which helped.

Onwards and upwards. In the meantime, baby is doing great.