Ward of court sibling contact

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BrotherOfWardOfCourt
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:47 am

Ward of court sibling contact

Post by BrotherOfWardOfCourt » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:08 pm

Hi folks
I'm a new user. A few questions for the board.

My sister recently was removed as a ward of the court at birth. Whilst my father and his partner undergo 12 week assessment. Family members currently are undergoing viability assessments for fostering the child.

During this period SS have told me in no circumstances during this period are extended family members permitted access or contact. Even through a contact centre or under supervision from SS.

My reading through various forums leads me to conclude that SS have a duty to ensure contact of siblings under an interim care order and to maintain contact is best for both baby and siblings.

Both siblings are adults. Aged 28 And 29 years.

Any advice grateful recieved. Can I see my sister??

Brother of ward of court.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 678
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Ward of court sibling contact

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:49 pm

Dear BrotherofWardofCourt

First of all welcome to the Family and Friends Carers discussion board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie, FRG’s online adviser. I am sorry that we were not able to respond to your query sooner.

Congratulations on the birth of your baby sister. I am sorry to hear that the situation is quite difficult and that you are not currently having contact with your baby sister.

Although you describe the baby as being a ward of court I wonder if you mean that she is a looked after child and that she is currently looked after under an interim care order (which you also refer to)?

My advice therefore is based on this understanding but if this is wrong please do get back in touch.

I am glad to hear that family members are being assessed as potential carers for the baby. Are you and your adult sibling amongst those being assessed at the moment? Here is a link to information about viability assessments which may be helpful to family members. I don’t know if a Family Group Conference (FGC) was arranged before the baby’s birth but if not it may be a good idea and it is something the baby’s parents/the court can ask for.

You are right that children’s services have a duty to promote contact between a looked after child and their siblings, unless it is not consistent with their best welfare. In your sister’s case, as she was removed from birth and therefore no current ongoing relationship has yet been established it may be that the care plan currently does not allow for contact until assessments have been satisfactorily completed when that will be reviewed. Contact is based on the child’s needs but must be regularly reviewed.

You could ask the social worker to give you a reasoned explanation for this and you could also let the Independent Reviewing Officer for your baby sister know that you would like contact to be arranged and what would need to happen for this to be arranged. It is best to begin these discussions with children’s services and to see if you can reach an agreement about future contact. A further option is to apply to the court for a contact order.

Our advice sheets on duties on children’s services when children are in the care system and contact for children in care explain in much more detail about care plans (including for contact) and how to seek contact with a child in care, and include a summary of guidance about sibling contact.

I hope this is helpful.

With best wishes

Suzie

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