mediation

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lumiru
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:19 am

mediation

Post by lumiru » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:55 pm

Hi all,

3 years passed and we are still "battling".

The situation is the following:
The child is under a care order placed long term with us.
LA made an application to dischared the care order and for a SGO be ordered to us.
Went to court and the legal guardian suggested to postpone until January the SGO so we can have one last attempt to "resolve" the problems with grandmother and contact.
Grandmother has fully supervised contact with the child, 2 hours every fortnight. It is supervised for many reasons but the main one are: she does not accept the placement and she undermines the child.
Because the legal gardian is afraid that after the SGO we will end up in court frequently regarding contact, grandmother already contested the SGO and placed requested a contact order, she recomended mediation.
We agreed to it but know we were asked to go to London (we live in Leeds) for mediation.
they sai that it is the best one, they can't find an alternative, etc.
How can we go to London with two kids for a few days, pay transport, accommodation, days off work, etc?

The mediator charges £320 plus VAT per hour, charges to be shared by the 3 parties, us, the grandmother and the LA...

Is this fair? Can we suggest an alternative mediator in this area or one that can come to us instead of us to go to them?

We are desperate, not sure what to do!

lumiru
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:19 am

Re: mediation

Post by lumiru » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:52 pm

I would like to add that in the last year we already tried several times mediation:
- A family conference managed by SW where family was present, legal guardian, Several social workers and the result was grandmother walking out of the room.
- mediation with "Family group conference", we attended the first meeting, they tried to contact for severel weeks the grandmother and when finally they managed to do so she said "there is nothing to mediate"
- mediation managed by SW and ended up with shouting between parties and grandmother stating that she would never accept placement and the child doen't need parents, family, etc because the child has her and that is enough.
- mediation with "relate", once more we went to the first meeting and after a few weeks we were told that they could not do it but no reasons were given.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: mediation

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:30 pm

Dear lumiru

Your further posts show that there is now an application by the local authority to discharge the care order in their favour and a special guardianship order made to you. It seems surprising because of the difficulties relating to contact and the grandmother’s refusal to support the placement that children’s services believe this to be a good time to discharge the care order.

You may of course want the order discharged so that you do not have children’s services involved with regular social work visits, meetings etc.

The children’s guardian has concerns about how things will go in the future with contact and has suggested mediation. Does the guardian support the discharge of the care order? If this is not what you want to happen you can say that you wish the situation to remain as long term fostering. In this way you would have the continued input from children’s services.

You state that you have had attempts at mediation in the past which have been unsuccessful due to the grandmother’s refusal to engage positively with the process. If she refuses to engage with mediation which the court considers necessary this is unlikely to help her application for an order in respect of contact.

The mediation that has been proposed is a significant distance from you so if you have to attend there is no reason why children’s services should not pay for you to travel to the mediation. Alternatively, rather than you having to travel this distance back and forth, has anyone considered the mediator coming to your area for mediation to take place. The costs for the mediation will be paid by the parties to the case through legal aid or privately depending on how the case is being financed for the grandmother. Is children’s services paying your legal costs?

If there is a mediation service comparable to the one already suggested in your area then you can suggest this and give the details to the local authority, the guardian and the grandmother.

I hope that mediation will take place and go well so that there can be a resolution for you, the child and the grandmother. It must be difficult having to manage the grandmother’s expectations and refusal to support the placement.

It will be for the court to make the final decision taking into account the child’s welfare whether the care order should be discharged in favour of the special guardianship order and also whether there should be a child arrangement order for contact. Please read our advice sheet DIY Special Guardianship Orders - information for family and friends carers which also gives information the order.

Should you to discuss your situation with an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Hope this is of help.

Best wishes

Suzie

lumiru
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:19 am

Re: mediation

Post by lumiru » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:18 pm

" Does the guardian support the discharge of the care order?"
Yes she does but her concern and everyone's concern is that if the SGO is in place grandmother will go to court every time that she does not agreed with something.

" If she refuses to engage with mediation which the court considers necessary this is unlikely to help her application for an order in respect of contact."
Last time that she refused mediation was about a month ago but know she accepts it... like she did before and then just walks away or does not show up... she is just delaying... we are trying to solve this for 3 years.

" Is children’s services paying your legal costs?"
They agree to pay 1/3 of the costs, and the remaining 2/3 to be divided in equal parts by us, grandmother and grandfather. It is a few thousand of pounds, plus traveling to London, plus accommodation in London, plus lost of income, plus....just to much money for something that we have no control.

"If there is a mediation service comparable to the one already suggested in your area then you can suggest this and give the details to the local authority, the guardian and the grandmother."
I don't know... the one that the Guardian found is a Solicitor and a psychologist... Any suggestions?

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: mediation

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:15 pm

Dear lumiru

Thank you for posting again and the responses you have provided to the questions raised in my earlier post.

I find it surprising that with the difficulties that exist regarding contact that the guardian supports discharge of the care order which would mean that you would not have the support of children’s services in managing contact. They have share parental responsibility with the mother (and father if he has it) under the care order and can make all decisions relating to the child in question.

Looking back at your earlier posts it is mentioned that the expert in the case was of the view that if the grandmother could not support the placement then she may need to be excised from the child’s life. Why has this situation been allowed by children’s services to continue. How old is the child, is it her expressed wishes to continue to have contact?

I am not sure why you think you will be able to manage the situation better under a special guardianship order. The same problems will continue and, as the guardian makes clear, her worry is that there will be ongoing court cases regarding contact. How is this going to be good for the child going forward? Do have a look at our advice sheet for more information about special guardianship.

You say that you are to be responsible for costs in respect of mediation. I cannot understand why you are expected to pay anything in proceedings brought by the local authority. Your position in this case is foster carer and foster carers are not expected to pay where the local authority has made an application to discharge a care order. No one would expect a stranger foster carer to pay so I do not think there is any reason why you should pay because you are related to the child. I find it extremely unusual that the court and the guardian would think it right for a foster carer to bear legal costs in this way. I am firmly of the view that as foster carers you should not be funding this case at all in any respect. You should, I think, bring this to the attention of the director of children’s services. If you are expected to travel to the mediator as a foster carer then the costs should be the local authority's not yours.

I have spoken with a social worker colleague who expressed surprise and said a foster carer is never expected to pay in a case brought by the local authority but also said it depends on whether there is more to the case than we are know.

Since the local authority are, as you say, applying to discharge the care order and you are will to agree to a special guardianship order being made in your favour, the court could make that order of its own volition. It is not really clear why you as a foster carer is involved in contested proceedings at the moment. You do not have parental responsibility as a foster carer although you may apply to be joined as a party in the court case

I am sorry but I am not able to make any recommendations regarding mediation but perhaps the person identified by the guardian could suggest someone closer to you. You could perhaps make enquiries of the local Cafcass office about mediators in your area. Try searching on the internet for family mediator psychologist in your area and see what you can find. Alternatively, you may also find it helpful to go to the Law Society’s website find a solicitor to see if you can find a solicitor mediator in your area.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 3pm.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

lumiru
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:19 am

Re: mediation

Post by lumiru » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:48 pm

"I find it surprising that with the difficulties that exist regarding contact that the guardian supports discharge of the care order which would mean that you would not have the support of children’s services in managing contact. They have share parental responsibility with the mother (and father if he has it) under the care order and can make all decisions relating to the child in question."

Legal guardian supports the SGO if the contact it is sorted, wither by an agreement between us and the grandmother (mediation) or in last resort by removing grandmother from the child's life.

"I find it surprising that with the difficulties that exist regarding contact that the guardian supports discharge of the care order which would mean that you would not have the support of children’s services in managing contact. They have share parental responsibility with the mother (and father if he has it) under the care order and can make all decisions relating to the child in question."

Both parents are deceased. Social services have being supervising contact for the last 2 years and say that they can't supervise it for longer or indefinitely.

" How old is the child, is it her expressed wishes to continue to have contact?"
The child is 5 and loves the grandmother but sometimes after contact shows signs of distress, anxiety and says things to undermine placement(witnessed by Social workrs that supervise contact).

" I find it extremely unusual that the court and the guardian would think it right for a foster carer to bear legal costs in this way. I am firmly of the view that as foster carers you should not be funding this case at all in any respect. You should, I think, bring this to the attention of the director of children’s services. If you are expected to travel to the mediator as a foster carer then the costs should be the local authority's not yours."

I am not very into the technicalities but the LA to discharded the care order and we applyed for the SGO with LA support. The all process was messy from the beginning (3 years ago) and it started as a private matter and dispite the child being orphan the La was only involved 1 year after the dead of the parents and forced to get involved by the Judged (first court hearing LA didn't sent legal team, only a SW, it was a shamble, they were forced and dragged to court by the judge).

Thank you so much for your help, this case is very messy, confusing and it is dragging for to long. We have no ideia how to get to the end of it.

Thank you

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