reducing contact

LISALOU68
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Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:58 am

reducing contact

Postby LISALOU68 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:01 am

My grandchildren have been in my care for just over a year. The current contact arrangement drawn up by the social worker and agreed by her manager is that they have contact with their parents at weekends overnight supervised by Paternal Grandmother. In reality it has been every other weekend due to their work commitments. We are in court in January for an SGO and the local authority's SGO consultant who has done the support package says their is too much contact and has suggested 3 hours every 2 months supervised by me. The parents are not going to be happy with this, do I and the parents have to sign a contact contract agreeing to this reduced contact? Any advice would be helpful

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: reducing contact

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:45 pm

Dear LisaLou68

Welcome to the Family and Friends Forum.

My name is Suzie and I am an Adviser at Family Rights Group.

I am sure that you are happy to be looking after your grandchildren and will be able to do so with a Special Guardianship Order from January. It is really is great when grandparents such as you are able to keep children within the family.

Regarding the contact that the birth parents are having at the moment, ied53 has given you good advice about the reduction in contact. As the children will be in permanent placement with you it is best for them to understand that and not be confused into thinking that because they are seeing parents might be going home.

I suggest that you should be guided by what the professionals think is the appropriate level of contact. If the parents do not agree then they can challenge it at the court hearing and the Judge will make a decision based on the children’s welfare, which is its paramount consideration.

Best of luck with the hearing in January and hope all will go well.

Best wishes

Suzie

LISALOU68
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Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:58 am

Re: reducing contact

Postby LISALOU68 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:01 am

Hi sorry for the delay in replying, I just thought I would let you both know I got the SGO, the judge agreed with the parents that once every 2 months was not enough and included in the order that contact is once every 3 weeks overnight supported by paternal grandmother. The judge also made a sequential contact arrangements order stating the contact. Hopefully it won't lead to any problems. I am setting up a support group for Kinship Carers in my area with another Special Guardian at my children's school. The school school have been great and said we can hold it there and use their computers and print for free. Any advice from FRG would be great and I will definitely be recommending FRG to other Kinship Carers. FRG have given me some very good advice and support so a big thank you from me :-)

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Robin D
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Re: reducing contact

Postby Robin D » Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:00 pm

Congratulations. Hopefully contact will work well but you may find that in a few month's the parents begin to lose a bit of commitment to making it happen.

Re the support group, have you see this page? http://www.frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/family-and-friends-carers/support-groups. The referred too guide is very thorough.
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: reducing contact

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:07 pm

Dear LISALOU68,

Congratulations! Thank you for updating us. If you do need further advice, please do come back to the forum.

Robin-thank you for posting the link about support groups-you beat me to it!
Best wishes,

Suzie

LISALOU68
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Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:58 am

Re: reducing contact

Postby LISALOU68 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:12 am

Thanks Robin for the link about support groups I have already emailedkbryan just waiting for a reply.
I have a contact problem already, the SGO States contact is overnight at parents home but yesterday dropped my grandchildren off for contact but had to collect them after just an hour as they are having a dispute with there neighbour about them playing loud music another neighbour called the police and they were all arrested for breach of the peace.
A sequential child arrangements order was also made by the judge stating that overnight contact for parents so can I legally stop or change the contact without going back to court? Advice please although I will ring the helpline when they open.

LISALOU68
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:58 am

Re: reducing contact

Postby LISALOU68 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:20 am

To be fair this is the first police incident in a year both parents have been trying hard to sort their selves out and both now have jobs and no problem with contact otherwise but I think the contact needs to change until the problem with the neighbour is resolved but mum and dad will not be happy

LISALOU68
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Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:58 am

Re: reducing contact

Postby LISALOU68 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:36 pm

Children's services have said suspend contact but on the child arrangements order it states the contact and warns that to not comply could mean I am in contempt of court and face prison or a fine, been trying to get through to the FRG helpline all day but can't I have requested some sort of official letter advising/demanding I suspend contact. Oh dear what a nightmare :-(

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: reducing contact

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:24 pm

Dear LISALOU68

I am sorry that you have been unable to get through on the advice line today. It is always very busy.

As far as your posts go regarding contact and whether you can reduce this, as there is a court order in place, you would have to go back to court to vary the order. If the order provides for such further or other contact to be agreed then you could try and reach agreement with the parents to suspend overnight contact for the time being.

You say there has been only this one incident at the parents’ home and there have been no problems before. It might be premature to reduce contact after a single incident. If Children Services are suggesting that you suspend contact, I suggest you ask them to arrange a meeting with the parents so you can all discuss the way forward. This way the parents can understand that you are not making the decision but you have been advised to suspend contact. The parents may be agreeable to a short suspension whilst the neighbour dispute is resolved.

Would it be possible for contact to take place at the paternal grandparents’ home until the neighbour dispute is resolved?

Going back to court would mean you having to try mediation to resolve the issue so a meeting might help before going down the court route. If you suspend contact without going to court the parents could take the matter back to court to enforce the order they have for contact.

You may wish to try contacting Coram Children’s Legal Centre on 0300 330 5480 for advice about making an application to the court should you decide to go down that route.

A copy of our advice sheet about what Special Guardianship means for birth parents is included for your further information.

Please do try again to telephone the advice line again if you still wish to speak to an adviser. The line is open from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

LISALOU68
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:58 am

Re: reducing contact

Postby LISALOU68 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:40 pm

Thank you that's very helpful


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