Help with contact issues

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Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:35 pm

Help with contact issues

Post by Stitty80 » Wed May 13, 2015 7:29 pm

We have had our niece in our care since September 2014. Right from the beginning we said that we didn't want to facilitate contact between the birth father as we know that he is a violent man. He used to beat up my sister-in-law. However the children's services talked us into it saying that it would be best for our niece to do it, so for the sake of her we have been doing it. At each of the contacts she is always reluctant to go to him as she is scared of him because she witnessed the domestic violence at the home. At the last handover that we went to she would not go to him at all and got really distressed and started crying, so much so that we had to call the contact off which made the birth father get angry and he started acting aggressively. Since then we have refused to do the handover but since we live in Somerset and the local authority where my niece became looked after is Windsor, they have not been able to find anyone else to do the handovers, it is 3 hours away. The local authority keep threatening us and saying that we have to do it as we are foster carers. I believe now all along they were just trying to save money by getting us to do it all along. Can they force us to do these handovers even though there is so much animosity between the parties?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Help with contact issues

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri May 15, 2015 2:06 pm

Dear Stitty80,
Welcome to the friends and family forum!

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that there have been around contact between dad and your niece. Now it has broken down and contact is not taking place.

At this stage I would have expected there to be a further risk assessment in relation to contact before it is re-arranged. You have raised a number of issues.

First, when your niece became upset, dad then became angry and acting aggressively. This may have put your niece at risk. She would have no doubt been further upset by his reaction.

Second, you are also clearly worried about his past violent behaviour. What training and support did you receive before contact was arranged?

. Have a look at the research about contact by the Fostering Network The Heart of the Matter-supporting family contact

It is not true that you must supervise contact because you are foster carers-although a lot of foster carers will be trained and supported to be involved in the contact arrangements. This maybe something you could have training with.

I suggest you speak to the independent reviewing officer about your worries. There are different ways that dad could be supported to have contact, if it is assessed to be safe. This might be via contact centres, family support workers or social workers or assessing other family or friends to supervise contact.

It is not uncommon for children to be placed outside of the responsible local authority area. The social worker will have knowledge about how to access these resources.

Best wishes,

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