New user - case conference

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby David Roth » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:52 am

Hi Sasha

I hope you find the regulations and guidance I linked to useful, as they set out how the local authority should manage foster placements so that children's needs will be met as fully as possible. I feel I should explain the difference between what regulations are and what guidance is. Regulations are the more legalistically written bit at the end of the Care Planning regs & guidance. Local authorities HAVE to do what is in regulations. They OUGHT to do what is in guidance, unless there is a good reason for them not to - the requirement is not quite as strong. Some local authorities think they can ignore what is in guidance, because the requirements are less strong, but they should not do this, since as I said they still ought to do it unless they can show there is a good reason for them not to.

If you are concerned about the way the local authority has been meeting the baby's health needs, then you should find the guidance and regs I have linked to useful, as they do outline what is expected in terms of healthcare for looked after children. There are other volumes I could provide links to, but I do not want to overburden you with these - the ones I linked to should provide you with the most useful information.

I do know that complaints about matters where there are also care proceedings will often not be heard until the proceedings are over. While this can be frustrating for some people, for example if they think a social worker has behaved unprofessionally but this can't be looked into until after a long delay, it is also understandable not to have the same issue being dealt with in two places at once, with the court taking priority.

I would suggest that you try raising your concerns about the foster carer next with the manager of the fostering team, or with the manager of the whole fostering & adoption unit, or family placement team, or whatever they are called in your local authority. But as court cases are often moving to a quick timetable, I would advise you not to leave it too long if you don't feel you are getting anywhere with that person, and take it instead to the next level of management, which would be the director or assistant director of the department. You might also think about going to a councillor - either your local ward councillor, or a member of the cabinet with responsibility for this area.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

sasha
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:11 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby sasha » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:35 am

Hello David,
Just a little update.
It appears that our concerns are falling on deaf ears and will not be visited until after the court hearing which I am quite angry about. I do not seem to be able to get our concerns looked at seriously.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the appointment at the solicitors due to personal reasons and I sent an email to my daughters solicitor 2 weeks ago explaining my predicament and asking her for headings to assist me with drafting a statement in preparation for the court hearing. To my disappointment I have still not received a reply. My daughter has raised this with her solicitor's office on several occasions and yesterday I was told (via daughter) that neither I, nor my statement will be permitted in court for the hearing and not to bother with a statement of any description!!!
My daughter has been asked last week by her solicitor to get as many character references as possible and I believe this is too short notice for people to have to respond. Is this usual practise?
This whole experience has been very poorly handled by all professionals and I will certainly be raising this with the powers that be as soon as I am able, whatever the outcome of the court hearing.
I appreciate there maybe cases in society that the LA need to apply their powers to ensure children are kept safe from harm but I strongly believe that their needs to be a serious and complete overhaul of the services being provided and how they are delivered and until this is actioned, innocent families will continue to suffer at the hands of incompetent SW's and due process can not be handled correctly.
Naturally with the court hearing imminent I am bound to have strong feelings on this matter but time will tell how this will turn out.

Regards
Sasha

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby David Roth » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:59 am

Hi Sasha

I'm sorry to have taken a little while to reply to you, I've not been about for a few days.

I'm very sorry to hear what you say about the way things are going with regard to the court proceedings.

I think that the reason you are not able to participate in the proceedings will be that you are not putting yourself forward to be carers for the baby. If you were being considered as such, you could probably have become parties to the proceedings, and had your own copies of all the court papers. Still, it is worth checking with the solicitor that your daughter has accurately reported what he has said. It seems strange that they want character reference-type statements from other people who know her, but not any statement from you.

With regard to the character references, although they can play a part in court proceedings, the main point that the judge will be considering is going to be your daughter's parenting skills. If you are going to pursue these character references, they should be from people who have seen your daughter being responsible for children, and who could testify to her competence to look after them, giving if possible practical examples of things she has done well.

I know the solicitor may not want to speak to you without your daughter's persmission, or without her being present, so perhaps you should try to arrange another joint appointment before the hearing starts.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

sasha
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:11 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby sasha » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:17 pm

Hi David,
I am unable to say too much at this point as the matter is before the courts at this moment.
However, I can say, even in the courtroom, the process and evidence is a mess.
I do not fully understand some of what I have heard but I definately know 'unfairness and lies' when I hear it.
Even their complaints department are struggling to obtain answers to their questions so obviously, it's the blind leading the blind and I will have no hesitation raising this matter to the powers that be to ensure this is never repeated.
'Long term solution to temporary problem'. Even the solicitor/advocate agrees.
I sincerely hope I will be able to get my daughter the relevant treatment she is entitled to in order for her to cope with this horrible nightmare.
I will come back to you when I have more information which I am able to share.

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby David Roth » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:36 am

Sasha, your description of what is happening as being a 'long term solution to a short term problem' is very interesting. It would be interesting to know whether, if your grandson is to be adopted, it would be his present foster carers who would adopt him. If this was to be the case, it would be very much in line with the government's current agenda for adoption.

The government published a bill last week (the Children & Families Bill) that would make the process of children being removed from parents and placed with adopters far quicker, and with far fewer safeguards than there are now. Some courts are already implementing some of the government's proposals, for example that care proceedings should take place within a six month time limit, instead of taking as long as it needs to come to the right decision.The reason given is that they say delay can be harmful, particularly for babies.

There is a danger that by rushing to make a decision, the wrong decisions will be made. For example, there is a real danger that if family and friends carers don't come forward early enough then they won't be considered, and children will miss out on the possibility of a placement within the family.

Please do come back if you have any particular questions about the process your daughter and her son are caught up in, and I will try to provide answers if I can.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

sasha
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:11 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby sasha » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:16 am

Hello David,
I am aware of the Children's and Families Bill to which you refer and I strongly suspected that was behind this case. I have made enquiries as to whether or not the FC was applying to adopt my GS but I am not being given a straight answer. In fact, the answer I have received is that the FC wouldn't be able to foster another child for 2 years if they did. Which makes me very angry because it would appear they (FC's) are only in it for the money.
With that said, the SW has been able to view her opinions on the stand regarding the relationship between my daughter and me, to which I have been unable to confirm or deny, not being called as a witness! My daughter fought our corner as best she could on the day but to me it wasn't handled very professionally and my daughter was left to travel home on the train alone following the decision that my GS was to be adopted, since her partner failed to attend the hearing.
It has been more than a week now and my daughter has not heard from her solicitor with regards towhat happens now, albeit my daughter was advised by her advocate that they would ensure her housing and treatment would be sorted out via her solicitor.
Once again the system has got what they wanted and my daughter is still left in a dispicable emotional state to fight for her right to proper treatment, yet due to the postcode lottery, none exists within min 50 mile radius. It will probably get answered when I take the mater to the media?
I have advised the complaints team that the decision has now been made so they can continue with the complaints process but what answers we will get from that, I have little faith in.
What if any, answers are you able to give me to a system which treats its community in this way?

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby David Roth » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:32 am

Sasha

I am very sorry to hear that your daughter has lost her case, and your grandson is to be adopted. This must be devastating for you and for her. It sounds particularly frustrating that you do not think the process has been fair, by not including you as possible support to help your daughter manage her son.

If you are going to help your daughter understand what this means, and what is going to happen next, it may be useful to read our advice sheet 23 Adoption: what does it mean for birth parents?. You can find it and our other advice sheets here: http://www.frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice/advice-sheets

In terms of what happens next with regard to housing and treatment for your daughter, if the advocate said that they would ensure it was going to be sorted out, then it might be best to start with the advocate and ask them what is the latest. They may have wanted to give your daughter some space after the blow of the court's decision, so if you make contact then it could let them know that they are still needed in order to follow these issues up.

I know how difficult a time this must be for you, but I can only repeat what I have said earlier, that it is important for you to keep looking after your own health issues, even at such a time as this. Please do not neglect your own needs.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

sasha
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:11 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby sasha » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Hello David,
I telephoned your support line last week and had a very emotional conversation with a counsellor. I appreciated the sounding board but I didn't get answers. Answers which my daughter should be getting from her solicitor but even though it has been 3 weeks since the courts decision, she has been unable to have an appointment with her solicitor - too busy in court on other cases!!! It's not for the want of not trying, my daughter has made numerous attempts to get an appointment and arranged to have her advocate present, but the solicitor cancelled it 24 hours prior, saying they would be still in court. Bazaar!

The manager of the SW telephoned me last week and left a voicemail message advising they would contact me the next day (Friday) and I am still waiting!!!

My condition is stable and I have elected to have my surgery after my farewell contact.

Is there a minimum distance the adoptees have to be from the birth family?

Still frustrated.........

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby David Roth » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:51 pm

Hi Sasha

I'm glad you found your call to our advice line useful as a sounding board, even if we couldn't provide the answers you are looking for. Sometimes it is helpful just to be able to talk. I think it is probably important that you keep trying to make the appointment to meet your daughter's solicitor, to at least get some understanding of why the case went the way it did, and what is going to happen next.

There are no hard and fast rules about the distance an adoptive placement will be from the birth family, every case would be decided individually. Whether or not there was going to be birth family contact would be quite an important factor. Generally, local authorities would look to place children for adoption far enough away that there would be little or no chance of the child and birth family bumping into each other accidentally.

There are still number of important matters for you and your daughter to consider:
- Is there going to be any form of post-adoption contact? While your daughter may not be able to have direct contact with your grandson, she could ask for letter-box contact - it may not be agreed though.
- Will your daughter get the chance to meet the adopters? Although this sounds difficult, it can be helpful for birth parents and adopters. Birth parents can be reassured about who will be raising their child after they've met them, and for adopters it can help them to see birth parents as people and not 'problem families', which can make a difference to the way they talk to the child about their birth family.

The government has published National Minimium Standards for Adoption, which includes a section on how adoption agencies ought to work with birth families. You can follow this link and look at Standard 12: https://www.education.gov.uk/publicatio ... option.pdf
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

sasha
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:11 am

Re: New user - case conference

Postby sasha » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:14 am

Time is drawing near to our farewell meeting and I have made a few enquiries with reagrds to gathering information.
Does anyone know how I would go about submitting a 'Subject Access Request' to my local authority? I am familiar with the SAR basic's but would like to know if all LA have their own forms and processes and who I would address my request to. I'm presuming their 'Data Controller'?
What information am I able to obtain and will my LA deliver the information being requested?
This site is a huge source of information so I hope you will be able to assist me with this matter.

Many thanks.
Sasha


Return to “Child protection”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest