How much contact

chockyelvis
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:37 pm

How much contact

Postby chockyelvis » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:04 pm

Seen sw this week again - hoping to get SGO for 2 young nephews - only thing that worries me is she said that they would still need to have contact with relatives - not a problem but there are:
2 siblings
3 grandparents
mum
and dad (who aren't allowed to see each other and defo wont be allowed contact with children together)
aunts and uncles.
Is there a limit as to how much contact as the sw said that mum and dad would want contact twice a week each (seperately) and siblings twice a week (seperately) then rest of family etc.
We havent got a problem with them seeing any of their family but when do the boys get time to settle in with us if their days are school then visits (mum and dad are both at contact centres under supervision)? Thats not normal for any child?
Has anyone else had this and what did you do - any help is appreciated.
Thankyou.

Aunty B
Aunty B

Kate
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:33 pm

Re: How much contact

Postby Kate » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:36 pm

Hi Aunty B

That sounds a wholly unreasonable level of contact to me. We aren't in your position (we have an RO for our g/d and the only contact is with her mum) but I can't believe anyone would be willing or able to accept all this. There's no way you could maintain a healthy, normal family life and the boys follow their own interests and activities with this amount. I hope the social worker will see that this is just not in the boys' interests and is unworkable for you as a family.


chockyelvis
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:37 pm

Re: How much contact

Postby chockyelvis » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:17 pm

Thanks for that - I have read somewhere (not sure if its on here or not) that a child should spend at least half of their time at "home" and no more than half on visits so they can have a balanced life. Will try and find more on that and put it to the social worker. xx

Aunty B
Aunty B

fatcat
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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:41 pm

Re: How much contact

Postby fatcat » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:58 pm

we looked at contact from the starting point of what could be expected following a divorce.

it is important for kids to see all of the family members who are imprtant to them so that they grow up with a strong sense of who they are, but without compromising their home life.

what the parents want, and what the children can cope with are two separate issues and the court will be able to distinguish between the two.

it would be worth exploring the extended family members and look at who, if anyone can be trusted to supervise contact, for instance if there are maternal and paternal aunts who can have the kids for one afternoon and for that side of the family, including the parent, visiting the children there. i would try proposing maternal and paternal contact on alternate weekends. cuts down contact to once per week for the children and once per fortnight for the parents. if these parents had much to offer the children, then they would be living with them, wouldn't they?

getting back to post divorce, children would genrally see the absent parent once per week at the weekend, allowing them to get on with the business of just being a kid for the rest of the time

do not be bullied into accepting anything more generous as it will be you and the children who have to work with the plan throughout their minority years. if what you propose is proven to be too little for the children you can always increase it at a later date, which is easier than reducing it in the future.

the children need time and space to settle with you and feel at home, and that must be the priority.

good luck

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ied53
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Re: How much contact

Postby ied53 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:07 pm

we have 2 hrs evety eight weeks for the parents (separately) this was felt enough for the children to know their roots and infrequent enough to allow them to feel secure in the placement and leand a normal family life with us and things we do as a family unit.We have sibling contact 4 times a year no other provision was made it was up to the to show an interest and to contact me if they wanted to see the children. Gt Granny has so she sees the children 1 in summer 1 before christmas.

Irene
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

tomika
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:23 pm

Re: How much contact

Postby tomika » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:15 pm

After I got s.g.o for my neice, she went from seeing mum once a month to 6 times a year during school holls and dad got 4 times a year, with his extended family allowed in for the last part of the session if they wish. Her nana, grandad, aunt and uncle were left down to me to decide so we meet up with them in a park every 4 to 6 weeks.

My nephew for whom I hav RO has 4 half sibings and one on the way, plus dad who Im currently fighting in court to stop/reduce contact as he doesnt want to go anymore. I have offerd the siblings every 4 to 6 weeks plus indirect...phone calls, letters ect.

Its hard trying to fit it all in and can be really stressfull as already people are begining to nudge the boundries. You have to prioritise your family before them as much as they may disagree. Indirect is good to throw in as its still a link.

Auntie Lynsey
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: How much contact

Postby Auntie Lynsey » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:09 am

My sister began with weekly contact. This was so stressful for me and it was reduced to fortnightly....due to wee one also becoming unsettled at home by it. The SW said to me that in his experience most cases contact generally decreases after SGO is awarded. He was right as it is now every 2nd month due to my sisters inability to maintain this. I decreased it to every 2nd month after she failed to turn up to any contact for 4 months. He also said I need to be seen to be open to contact by the judge.

My girl has a brother and father (not with PR). We try to see her brother as often as we can but it seems to happen only on a monthly basis by the time the 2 families can get together.

Her father was just a one night stand for my sister and was her drug dealer. I tried to arrange contact at mutually convenient times, introducing him to my girl at her pace. He unfortunately pushed the boundaries too much and now there is only contact if he wants to send her a letter or if we bump into each other in the street. He said to me "I want overnight stays or I'll consider myself marginalised". So he was marginalised. He had been acknowledged as the dad for 6 months and girl barely knew him. He has mental health issues and severe paranoia, and deals drugs, so of course he could not have overnight stays. He marginalised himself as he did not need to take that path with the ultimatum.

It can be a juggling act at times and going through all the various family dynamics can be very stressful. I have found it has calmed down a lot since I was first granted the SGO just over a year ago. This could be due to the reduced contact with mum and the nil contact with the paranoid dad....or it could be we adapt and get through the feelings.

I completely understand if you may feel like you are being a chaparone or babysitter, and that contact is too much, you should mention this if anyone presses for a contac prder in court which you feel is too frequent. The child/ren really do need to become settled as part of your family and this would be impossible with high levels of conact unless you were a very easy going saint. You need to be seen to be open to contact to have the SGO granted, but once through, you have the final say. It then becomes a balancing act. I doubt a judge would put the children in a position where their primary carer felt the children could not settle. The kids need routine and often settled times after the chaos that many have been through.

In many cases the SW wants the SGO granted as it gets the child/ren off their books so you should never feel pushed into anything, as often the ball is in your court. You need to feel happy, but accomodating.

For me personally, contact was a huge stress.

Auntie Lynsey
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: How much contact

Postby Auntie Lynsey » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:20 am

And when I say "happy but accomodating"....I don't mean be TOO accomodating...you still need your own boundaries.

Aunty Lucy
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Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:52 pm

Re: How much contact

Postby Aunty Lucy » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:28 pm

quote:
Originally posted by Auntie Lynsey

And when I say "happy but accomodating"....I don't mean be TOO accomodating...you still need your own boundaries.



I'll second this, I have RO for my nephew, his mum and dad are both dead and I'm doing the very best I can for him. His maternal aunt however thinks she can just arrange things for him as she pleases, without any consultation. This makes family life difficult, because she also thinks it's acceptable to tell our nephew what shes arranged without checking if it fits in with our family arrangements.
So easy for her to say I wont allow things!
I so wish she'd take me to court sometimes!
I was too accommdating in the early days. Now I'm paying for it and finding it difficult to assert my boundaries.

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

Re: How much contact

Postby David Roth » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:42 am

Auntie B, during care proceedings, children's contact with their parents is often set at a very high level. After all, until the final order is made it is still a possibility that the children could go back to their parents, and the parents can use contact to demonstrate whether or not they are capable of acting as good parents to their children.

After the final order is made, however, this high level of contact will usually become significantly reduced, to reflect the fact that an order has been made to the effect that the children will not be returning to their parents. What it is reduced to will depend on individual circumstances. Very young children who go on to be adopted might only have letterbox contact with their parents, or see them only once or twice a year. Children who are placed with family members will see their parents more often than that, but not at the high levels you have quoted.

Can I ask - the figures you quoted for contact - are they what is being suggested until the SGO has been made, or are they what is being proposed after the order? Because, if it was after the order was made it would probably be highly unsettling and confusing for the child.

The level that contact would be set at would depend on the relationship each parent had with the child, the age of the child, and primarily what would be best for the child's welfare. There is no hard and fast rule about what this should be, but it would certainly be less than your first post suggested.

David R
FRG Policy Adviser
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser


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