Thank you for your reply. Yes, the initial hearing was today. I had a phone call from my son saying they were in and out within 5 minutes due to lack of evidence.
The mother, obviously realising she has lost, is saying she wants the child to stay with her sister (child's Aunt) as she is happy, settled and in familiar surroundings. The CAFCASS guardian, CS and my son are all in favour of temporary foster care while further assessments are done on my son. The child's Aunt has said she finds it a struggle to give the child the attention she needs with 4 of her own children so will keep her until the court date, but not long term.
Apparently it came to light today, that the Aunts partner of who the child is with was raided for cannabis by police recently, despite claims that he 'used to smoke a bit, but doesn't any more and hasn't for 10 years now' so the court wants more details on that, as well as allegations on him abusing his own children. Something the mother has said to me in the past that he would hit the kids, so she liked to have them to her house to give them a break (when she had my son to look after them for her).
Also mum is making more allegations of assault and also harassment against my son but has nothing to back it up with as has made no formal complaint to anyone about it.
I wasnt aware i could be of any help at the court today so didn't attend.
Yes, you are right in that CS have only visited us once. My sons solicitor has a copy of the report on us now and has picked out the main points to my son for us being refused. These were, that my partner has aspergers syndrome, so doesn't feel emotions, our financial situation as we are on benefits, my partners health as he has osteoarthritis in his spine but mainly as when asked our opinion on contact arrangements we said we wouldn't favour my son, what went for one would go for another, that rules are rules. No special privileges of 'pop round for a cuppa' or joining us on days out just because he is family. We said we didn't trust mum not to try and run off with the child with the backing of her family, and due to allegations made against us we felt the only way would be at a contact centre supervised for her. If all went well there, we would be happy further down the line to supervise contact at our home for her. As for my son, we said we had no problem with him having the child on his own, as he had nowhere to run with her. He lives with a neighbour, we are in a small village and his two main places would be here to us or to where he lives in the next road. That if we had the child in our care we would know a lot more of what he was doing, he would not be able to lie to us any more and if we had the slightest suspicion he was meeting mum again we would say so. We did stress that this was our opinion, and the SW discussed it all at length with us, and we said that at the end of the day, whatever contact arrangements were put in place by the court, we would adhere to. Be it an hour a month or every evening, it was what was decided was best for the child.
As for the aspergers, my partner does feel emotions, has successfully raised 3 of his own children form a distance while not living with them and maintained a good relationship with them all. He and my son had their differences (my son being a very possessive and hormonal pre teen when we met) but now they both agree it is behind them. My partner, once he has taken someone into his family (like my grandaughter) will take them on as his own and do whatever is needed to protect them.
My partners health wouldn't be a major issue, he does have problems, but i am about so there would be very little need for him to be left alone with the child at any point or have to do much with her. Obviously he is capable of having a child in the house, and would do whatever was needed towards her care. I would not be acting as single parent.
As for finances, we have enough to keep ourselves. We live life very simply, on the make do and mend principle. My partner is a very good cook and will make lots of 'child friendly' foods himself like his own fish fingers, chicken nuggets etc as well as rebuilding the bed in her room himself and making it into a 3 y/o bedroom instead of the teenage one it is now. As long as the child's expenses were covered , which one way or another we would make sure they were that would not be a problem either.
Your response above also now makes sense of what else my son was trying to explain earlier on the phone too.
You should also consider whether to apply to be a “party” to the court proceedings and ask for the court to sanction a re-assessment.
My Sons solicitor has suggested that he [solicitor] does this on our behalf, which we are agreeable to, and that we can be part of the proceedings as well, saying in court how and why we would be able to care for the child.
My son, on advice of his solicitor, has been in touch with the domestic violence people and has an assessment with them on 7th. He does seem to be sorting himself out now, only time will tell. I still feel a touch of distrust when he tells me he went out with his mates last night, and find myself wondering if it was mum, but from what he tells me of what they did and about this boys car etc etc, i feel he is telling the truth now. It will take a while for me to build up complete trust for him again, he has a lot of proving to do all round to everyone. I hope for his daughters sake he manages it.
Thank you again for your help