Contact from SGO

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aj456
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:26 pm

Contact from SGO

Post by aj456 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:54 pm

Hello,

We will shortly be going to court for what is likely to be the hearing where an SGO is granted. Currently my niece sees her mother 2 times a week via facetime (due to the pandemic). We've been told that this so high to begin with as there needs to be a relationship in case the child goes back home which is fine.

Sadly it looks like that isn't to be the case and an SGO is to be granted, when we've asked about contact on a long terms basis we get different amounts from different people, some are saying one a week, some are saying twice a month and there are posts on here that say 6 times in a year.

Generally speaking what's the average contact amount set up? The mum has a previous child taken off her from a different relationship for the same thing and contact there is twice a month, but a social worker on our case said she thought that was very high?!

Is it down to the SG to determine or does the judge make the final call because I think once a week is going to be two much for the child (2yo) on a long term basis.

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

Re: Contact from SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:19 pm

Dear aj456

Thank you for your further post.

I see that you are now at the stage where the court will be making final decisions about the long term care of your niece and the likelihood is that a special guardianship order may be made in your favour.

Your concerns now relate to the amount of contact your niece’s mother will have once the order is made. You say in your post that you have been told that the present level of contact twice weekly is high and the reason is so that her relationship with her mother can be maintained pending the outcome of the hearing. Since no final decision has yet been made regarding your niece’s long term care and whether her mother will succeed in having her back in her care contact has to be reasonable and depending on a child’s age could at a higher level during the court proceedings.

Regarding contact after a special guardianship order is made, this is something that the court will deal with and, if necessary, make an order specifying the amount of contact between your niece and her mother. In some cases, an order is not necessary because the special guardian and birth parent are able to work contact out between themselves.

You can discuss your concerns with the social and say how much contact you can manage but the mother will have a say as well. Even though you social worker consider the contact high, it is really for the special guardian to decide and if that works for that family then its fine.

If agreement cannot be reached then it will be for the judge to make an order for contact. It is possible even with an order for a special guardian to offer more contact or if the arrangement is not working in line with the court order to ask the court to change the terms of the order.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

aj456
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:26 pm

Re: Contact from SGO

Post by aj456 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:29 am

Thank you for your response, we have been told by the social worker that parents are not allowed contact on Birthdays and Christmas outside of their usual contact.

i.e A parent could not see the child on Christmas Day specifically as it can be too upsetting for the child, is this the case going forward after an SGO is granted or is it then down to the Guardian's discretion?

The problem we are facing is during Christmas the special guardian would go see her father who is also the young childs father (different mums). But we are concerned that it would look biased to the court if dad could see the child on Christmas and mum couldn't even though the guardian and the child would be visiting the paternal family.

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

Re: Contact from SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:33 pm

Dear aj456

Thank you for posting again.

You still have a number of issues regarding contact and as previously advised in previous post these can be discussed before the order is made by the court. If contact is going to be an issue for you in relation to the mother, it might be helpful for you to speak to the children’s guardian about these so that he or she can give their view.

There is no blanket ban on children having contact on birthdays or Christmas as this is something that can be discussed and agreed on between the persons concerned or stated in a court order. Contact is for the benefit of the child. The social worker should address concerns in the final care plan for the child which the court will consider at the time the order is made.

Do you think it might help if you are able to attend court so the judge can hear from you about contact? The decision about contact will be made in the child’s interest and what serves their welfare.

A special guardian can, as previously stated make decisions about contact in the long term even in there is a court order in place. You may find it helpful to read this information about contact

If you continue to have concerns about contact try to have a meeting with the social worker’s team manager.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

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