assessment and normal proceedures

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fernypops
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:35 pm

assessment and normal proceedures

Post by fernypops » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:50 pm

Hey I am new to this and need some advice. Our nieces were taken into care back in March under section 20. We put ourselves forward to take the girls but were told they wouldn't consider assessment unless it was going to be a long term thing as we live nearly 250 miles away.

The social work took it to court and the girls are now on an interim care order and parents are undergoing a 10 week parenting assessment. However we got a phone call around 2 weeks ago asking us to come for an assessment next week. We are now confused as we don't know if we are being assessed just in case for viability or if they are actually thinking the girls need to come to us.

Also we asked if we can see the girls whilst we are there as we are travelling nearly 250 miles would be good to see them at the same time but we have been told we can't have contact until the assessment is over and done with I don't really understand why!

What is the normal procedure and can anyone give any advice on what to expect from an assessment?

Thank you :D

Concerned2013
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:52 am

Re: assessment and normal proceedures

Post by Concerned2013 » Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:41 am

Local Authorities have a duty to promote contact
The Children Act 1989 (CA 1989) and case law, [decisions of the higher courts] identify contact as a right of the child - birth parents, relatives and others do not have a 'right’ to contact, although local authorities have legal duties to provide and promote contact, as set out below, unless it is not in the best interests of the child.
http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/gui ... lation.asp





Article 8: Right to Respect for Private and Family Life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

This element of Article 8 protects your right to respect for your close family relationships and matters relating to those relationships, for example how parents choose to discipline their children. The question of whether a relationship will fall within the ambit of ‘family life’ for the purposes of Article 8 will depend on the nature of the relationship and the existence of close personal ties. In addition to the relationship between a mother and father and between children and their parents, ‘family life’ will include unmarried couples and the relationship between an illegitimate child and either parent as well as other family relationships, for example relationships between siblings and between adopted children and adoptive parents
Article 8 is qualified right. This means that an interference with the right can be justified in certain circumstances. Where the interference is justified, there will be no breach of Article 8.
The circumstances where an interference with the right can be justified are set out in the second part of the article (Article 8(2)).

For an interference to be justified it must:
Be ‘in accordance with the law’ - this means that there has to be clear legal basis for the interference and that the law should be readily accessible.
Pursue a legitimate aim - there are six legitimate aims set out in Article 8(2), including ‘the prevention of disorder or crime’ and ‘the protection of the rights and freedoms of others’. A public authority which intends to interfere with a person’s rights under Article 8 must be able to show that what they are doing pursues one of these six legitimate aims. This is rarely a problem, as the legitimate aims are so widely drawn.
Be ‘necessary in a democratic society’ - This is usually the crucial issue. There must be a good reason for the interference with the right and the interference must be proportionate which means that it should be no more than is necessary. If there is an alternative, less intrusive, way of achieving the same aim then the alternative measure should be used.
Article 10 protects your right to freedom of expression. This includes the right to hold and express opinions yourself as well as to receive and impart information and ideas to others.
http://www.yourrights.org.uk/yourrights ... -life.html

Rights of the Child
Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.Family life.

Article 13 (Freedom of expression): Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others. In exercising the right to freedom of expression, children have the responsibility to also respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others. The freedom of expression includes the right to share information in any way they choose, including by talking, drawing or writing.

Article 4 (Protection of rights): Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

Remind them of these duties and Human Rights and if you get nowhere make a complaint.


Regarding the assessment. record it, ask a friend to takes notes of questions asked and answers given or better still make an audio recording of the conversation just like the police do when interviewing you.

Protect yourself because just like we have seen with the Police , so called professionals like Social Workers are not beyond lying, making inaccurate statements or whatever term you want to use.
Signed

disillusioned with the whole process, but will continue to fight for justice to the last breath.

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David Roth
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: assessment and normal proceedures

Post by David Roth » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:21 pm

It sounds as though the local authority are doing 'parallel planning', i.e. they are doing an assessment of the parents to see if your nieces can stay with them. But in case that doesn't work out, they are looking at alternative options for them at the same time - in parallel.

There are often two stages to assessments of family and friends carers. The first is a viability study, which is really basic, and just checks whether it is worth going on to the full assessment. The full assessment involves a number of visits to your home, background checks and references, and in-depth discussions about your past, your child-rearing experience and the methods you use, relationships in the family, plans for the future, etc - so that they have a full picture of exactly what you would have to offer the child.

If more than one family member comes forward, sometimes all the potential carers go through a viability study, so the local authority has some sort of basis for deciding who would be best placed to meet the children's needs. It could be worth your while asking whether anybody else is being considered for your nieces.

With regard to contact, if you are willing to do this then you could suggest that the person doing the viability assessment could observe your contact with them. This would allow them to get an idea of the relationship between you and the girls. You could make a commitment not to say anything to the girls that would let them know that you are being assessed to take them, in case the social workers are worried that you might say something that would give them false hopes of coming to you and it then doesn't happen.

My view is that it is good practice in a family and friends carer assessment to observe a contact between the carers and the children, but if the social workers are not used to these assessments they may not see it that way, as other carers like foster carers or adopters normally would not get to see the children they are being assessed for until the assessment was completed. If you want to make an issue of it, you could go to the social worker's manager, and make the points I have suggested.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

fernypops
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:35 pm

Re: assessment and normal proceedures

Post by fernypops » Thu May 01, 2014 11:49 am

Thank you for the advice it has been very helpful! We are the only family that have put ourselves forward which is sad really. I am not sure how the process would work though during a full assessment as we live in Scotland and the girls in England nearly 250 miles away how do they assess that?

Thanks Again
:)

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David Roth
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: assessment and normal proceedures

Post by David Roth » Wed May 07, 2014 10:40 am

If the girls are in England but you are in Scotland, then it probably means that the girls are being dealt with according to English law, in the English courts, and any orders that are made would be the orders that English law allows, such as a Special Guardianship Order or a Child Arrangement Order (this has replaced Residence Orders and all other section 8 orders since 22nd April).

Although Scotland has its own legal system, it is not treated as a foreign country for these purposes (that may have to change after September of course). The main consideration are going to be how you will manage the girls' contact with their parents and other family members, given the distance away they would be if they stay with you, and perhaps how they might keep in touch with anybody else they are close to such as close friends.

There are a number of support groups for family and friends carers in Scotland, so it could be worth your while finding out if there are any that meet near where you are. Children 1st provides advice and information for kinship carers in Scotland: http://www.children1st.org.uk/what-we-d ... ship-care/

However, for any information or advice relating to the children's (English) legal situation, I would suggest you ask here, or ring the Family Rights Group freephone advice line - 0808 801 0366, open 9.30am-3pm Mon-Fri.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

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David Roth
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: assessment and normal proceedures

Post by David Roth » Wed May 07, 2014 10:44 am

With regard to how the full assessment is done, the local authority will probably either employ somebody who lives locally to you to do the assessment, or arrange for someone to come and stay in your locality for a few days or a week, to do the assessment intensively.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

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