EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to expect

Nanny G
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:34 pm

Thank you Irene,
yes, as you say they are dealing with the some of the worst parents and seem to tar us all with the same brush.
the second half, of the second visit seemed to go reasonable well, and he *appeared* to be listening more to what we were saying and taking on board our points of view - however he did this in the first assessment and came back with things we had not said and misinterpreted things we did, so i am not sure what will happen. My sons solicitor has suggested i put in a written complaint on how it was dealt with, and in preparation for a further negative report to get ourselves our own legal representation as obviously working for my son he can only give us basic advice.
i don't know what to do, whether by putting in a compliant now i would rock the boat, or if it should be done. I am not happy with the way he dealt with the whole thing, regardless of outcome.
if it is negative, i will apply to become part of the court, and will have until 24th in which to put in an application, so in that sense i guess it would be good to get a solicitor ready to help so it can be done as soon as possible if it needs to be.
How do i choose a solicitor? They have to be able to do legal aid, other than that - what do i look for?
NG

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Robin D
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Robin D » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:09 pm

Go to http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/?Pro=True. In the area of practice put in 'Children', then your post-code and search. Then look at the results and find someone on the children's panel.

I'm afraid an earlier decision by FRG means we can't recommend individual solicitors, but a bit of searching the net for special guardianship case law may well reap rewards.

Given how long it takes to process a complaint, my view would be sooner rather than later, but no-one here can guarantee it will not back-fire. :( It depends on the local authority involved and also the individual workers and managers.
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:12 pm

Thank you Robin,
i have made contact with a firm who has 3 solicitors on the children's panel and also have experience in SGO as well as a legal aid contract,and have sent an email explaining briefly what is going on and will wait to hear from them. Hopefully legal aid will cover it, as we cannot afford to pay :(, my sons solicitor said he thought it should do as its care proceedings and child protection, so fingers crossed.

Still not seen the updated addendum from the SW, although he did ring on Weds evening to say he had asked legal to release it as matter of urgency, but as yet had not heard back from them. The court said it had to be done by the 5th, and on file (in and out of legal) by the 10th, as far as i understand so they are running out of time.

I havent put a complaint in about SW yet, as really not sure what to do. As much as it should not backfire, and it should all go through the channels in an 'adult' manor, people are people and if they have power to change something they will if they want to. Also having had some very stern words from myself and my partner the SW has been a lot better 'behaved' since.

I am (obviously) hoping this will be a positive report this time round, however as i understand it, if it isn't, then i can apply to be party to court and, if granted, then put an application in to be assessed by an independent SW. On the other hand, if it is positive, then Sons Solicitor said i wouldn't need to be party to court, so how would it work if we were assessed positively? what happens then?
Thanks for the help,

NG

Nanny G
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:58 pm

Hello,
Just an update. The addendum report came through, and not surprisingly, was yet again negative. The SW stands by his (unfounded) opinions, and by doing so is effectively calling us liars. But agrees correct a few facts we pointed out. He has, yet again, taken our words and changed them slightly but significantly enough to change the meaning/fact of what was said and also put into the addendum to the court something i had specifically asked him to keep anonymous.
To give you an example of what i mean, a conversation on the phone after the first court case with my son as follows [son] yeah she (mother) didnt get the train up there, she got a lift with b/f [me] oh really? how do you know that? [son] well when we were at court she (mother) was telling everyone how she had got the train up there and had been so scared travelling up there, {the girl is scared of her own shadow, let alone travelling on public transport alone} then when we left she followed me back to the car park and got into b/f and his brothers car and brother drove them home so she is obviously still with him. [me] did you speak to her? [son] she showed me a picture of our daughter on her phone quickly, that was all. [me] ok, have you told SW? [son] no, no i haven't. [me] well, you really should, just tell him exactly what you have told me. tell him everything, keep it all open and above board now so nothing can come back to bite you. [son] yeah, yeah i will do.. anyway i have to go now, i'll catch you later' The got to go now made me suspicious, its the way he behaves when he doesn't want to talk about something, so knowing how quickly things could escalate between the two of them and now knowing exactly how much they had been sneaking around behind CS backs, i rang the SW on his personal line and repeated to him exactly what my son had said. I also said i wanted it to remain anonymous, that i had told my son to tell him, himself, and hopefully he would. The conversation then was [sw] so if i need to put it in court documents do you want me to put it as an anonymous caller said---' [me] paused, and said, well, yes, but it will be fairly obvious where it came from if you do, hopefully my son will come to you and tell you himself and you wont need to quote me. i have told him to, lets see if he does and then before you need to put it in any documents then come back to me and i will say how i feel about it then'
now this whole conversation above has just been published in the court addendum as me ringing him and saying all this to him, and not only that, his translation of it is that i rang him and told him that my son and the mother had walked back to the car park together. I know this may sound like splitting hairs, but that is NOT what i said. It is always possible they did walk together, it is also not beyond the realms of possibility (but i think now unlikely) that my son actually drove the mother up there himself,but two people walking to the same place is not the same as two people walking together, and actually puts a different meaning on it.
As far as i know now, my son has told the SW about this, but i haven't told my son that i have as i don't want him to think he cant trust me and therefore not tell me anything else possibly more serious that i could pass on.

I am not happy, and do not feel we have been listened to or treated fairly. I do now have a solicitor who is able to give legal advice on legal aid, but as i understand, not representation in court and am as yet not sure how much help she is able to give.
In addition it was said by the court this report had to be on file, which meant it had gone through the legal dept and the SW was to come out and talk to us again to share it with us, by 10th November - i received it in the post on 14th.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:46 am

Dear Nanny G

I am glad that you have a solicitor helping you. She should be able to advise about applying to be joined as a party to the proceedings and how to respond to the social workers report.
One of the things that has come up again seems to be the social workers concern about whether you understand the risks your son might pose to your granddaughter. Also, are you strong enough to say to your son-“I will tell children services and so will call the police if you turn up to my house when I am caring for granddaughter.” There would be no ifs or buts.
Your explanation does indicate that you were aware that quite possibly your son and mum were breaching the agreement. You did completely the right thing in calling the social worker. You were protective. That is a positive in your favour. This should be emphasised.
It also shows that you are able to work with professionals.
However, you then seemed worried about your son finding out that it was you.
You need to show that you can stand up to your son. That you will call the police and children services, if he turned up at your home. That you will be clear with him.

Being educated about the risks of domestic violence

Did you also manage to look back at the social workers report for the family group conference? Did he set out the risks? Even if he had set them out, did he set it out clearly? If he didn’t it would be difficult to see what they are if you had only heard everything from your son.
Not only that, it can be difficult for anyone to look at their child’s behaviour and see it as domestic violence. Often people will make excuses to themselves and minimize it. They can’t believe it.
So your understanding could well be evolving.
Did the social worker set out expectations- ie that contact might only ever take place in a contact centre and a few times a year? That the parents may not be allowed to come to your home.
Are you able to access support to help on you understand the risks? What about courses for foster carers in your area?
Remember to set out all the positives; that you have worked to make the home environment safe for your granddaughter, that you can offer a stable and loving home and that her home will remain within the family network.
Please post back if you need further support or have any questions.

Best wishes,

Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:58 am

Hi Robin,

I'm afraid an earlier decision by FRG means we can't recommend individual solicitors, but a bit of searching the net for special guardianship case law may well reap rewards.

After a lot of discussion (and disagreements) here at Family Rights Group (which still goes on!) we made that decision.
We are worried about the forum being used by solicitors to advertise their work and that it would place us at risk of being criticised as not being independent.
However, any user can private message anyone else with recommendations of good solicitors.
Suzie

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Robin D
Posts: 1848
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Robin D » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:10 pm

Thanks and I really do understand the difficulty.

I'm happy to send a personal message if the situation arises in the future.

Best wishes to all in Print House. :D
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Postby Nanny G » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:27 pm

Hello Suzie,
Thank you for replying, its good to hear an outside point of view and you do raise some good points.
Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:are you strong enough to say to your son-“I will tell children services and so will call the police if you turn up to my house when I am caring for granddaughter.”

I did say to the SW, in person and confirming by email, that whilst I understood his concerns that as my sons mother I may be tempted to give in to him, which he kept asking on a number of occasions in different ways, that where we both said that we didn’t see my son as a problem, that wasn’t meant to mean we didn’t see him as a problem to my granddaughter, but that we didn’t see him being stupid enough to turn up at our door when his daughter was in our care. If however he or the mother, or anyone associated with them turned up without prior arrangement and agreement they would both be told to go away, and again whilst if this happened we expected my son to leave, if he didn’t we would call the police and tell CS that he had turned up. The same would go for the mother too, whereas we more expect her or her family to turn up and also not leave when told to. However the same would go for both, no ifs, not buts, leave or else.
I have said this to my son, on numerous occasions too and have discussed the SW reports with him and all that I have said above, and told him, again in no uncertain tones this is what would happen, that as much as we get on now, if his daughter was placed in our care that we, not him, would be responsible for her, just the same as she is in foster care now. He has her address, he knows when and where she is at nursery, and doenst expect to turn up there, nor should he here. He has agreed, but that is kind of irrelevant as regardless rules are rules and he would not be able to turn up and see his daughter anyway. Somehow though the SW seems to misinterpret what we say from 'no contact for either parent' to 'no contact for mother, but first and slightest opportunity son would be sneaking in back door.'

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:However, you then seemed worried about your son finding out that it was you.

Until the SW mentioned putting it in court papers I hadn’t thought of that, more that I was telling him something he needed to know, when he mentioned court, that took me unawares and I hesitated. I did not want my son to know as I wanted him to tell the SW himself, I wanted him to prove he could do the right thing and be open and honest about everything now, even if he had made a mistake himself, to own up to it, rather than hide it. I also didn’t want him to know as I am now beginning to build up his trust to tell me things that he has previously kept me in the dark about for fear I would tell CS. I don’t want him to go back to keeping information from me, so didn’t want him to feel I was telling tales on him. I did however tell the SW as I didn’t want to let it slide and leave trust in my son to do the right thing in the light of just how many lies have been told and knowing it was something that had potential to escalate back to how they had been. The idea was more that i now had my sons trust and that with that I could work with CS with any 'inside' information I had that they might not.


Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Did you also manage to look back at the social workers report for the family group conference? Did he set out the risks? Even if he had set them out, did he set it out clearly? If he didn’t it would be difficult to see what they are if you had only heard everything from your son.


The FGC report started with a bit of history as to what had happened since they had been involved for the last year and that at a previous FGC, where the mother had obviously persuaded my son he had no need to be involved seeing as he was not having 'official' contact at the time so he hadn’t been part of it and her family had been unable to establish any alternative carers and that was the purpose now. This history, of the last year, took one small paragraph, which did mention there had been allegations of abuse from both parents about the other.
The report then went on to talk about how the mother had failed to engage with cs, and that she had the b/f who posed a risk to children in several ways and that on the advice of cs she had 'taken the bold and brave step' to separate from him to protect herself, her daughter and her unborn child. It went on to say due to her history of not doing what she said and so they needed to be able to make arranged and unannounced visits to her property and to see how it went on. All this took up over a page. The next bit, about what was good was that the two parents now appeared to be working together as co parents, that the mother had decided to put her grievances behind her over my son and was prepared to allow him contact and to move on from the contact centre to him having his daughter for the whole day It was said that someone needed to do the pick up and return and that this would be my sons 'landlady' who was his godmother, previously his child minder and who had also looked after me as a child, so a good friend too. It was not stated in the report, but the impression given at the FGC by the sw was that the mother was 'scared' of my son due to the allegations, hence why she didn’t want him coming to her door for the child. The impression given to us all, was that cs were trying to work towards getting the two parents to go forwards amicably and for the child to become safe in her mothers care. However the situation was rated at 1 out of 10 at the current time.


Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote: it can be difficult for anyone to look at their child’s behaviour and see it as domestic violence. Often people will make excuses to themselves and minimize it. They can’t believe it.
So your understanding could well be evolving.

having been kept in the dark by my son and only really 'fed' little 'titbits' of information that he thought were enough to keep me happy I was not totally aware of what went on. Also the mother does have a history of accusing people of abusing her, she used to tell me of how a previous b/f of hers used to 'force himself on me sexually' but when i said 'so he assaulted you then' she just said 'oh no he only raped my friend' (the friend rape went to court and the boy in question was sentenced) , It began to seem to be a pattern form the mother that as soon as anything didn’t go her way she would cry rape as it were. Again recently apparently on an occasion when she refused to answer the door to the SW who then looked through the letterbox and saw her walk out of a room with just a t shirt, she accused him of spying and being a peeping tom and even of assault..!
now, I am starting to hear more and more from my son, as to what really did happen and am now beginning to get more understanding of what has happened, but I am still not sure if I know it all or not, there is probably more to come, which would explain the SW's reaction to things I say. But if I don’t know, then I cant act accordingly.

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Are you able to access support to help on you understand the risks? What about courses for foster carers in your area?

I did mention to the SW I would be happy to attend any relevant courses, but seem to have fallen on deaf ears. How would I find out about any such courses?


Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Remember to set out all the positives; that you have worked to make the home environment safe for your granddaughter, that you can offer a stable and loving home and that her home will remain within the family network.


Thank you, I keep trying but so far it seems whatever I say gets translated into a bigger hole for myself. I refuse to give up, I know I can care for her, I keep trying to explain this but so far have not managed to put it in a way the SW seems to understand.

Many thanks for your help,

NG


oh , just to add this

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:After a lot of discussion (and disagreements) here at Family Rights Group (which still goes on!) we made that decision. 
We are worried about the forum being used by solicitors to advertise their work and that it would place us at risk of being criticised as not being independent.
However, any user can private message anyone else with recommendations of good solicitors.


Makes perfect sense, thanks for all you do.


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