Lots of confusion, please help.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:12 pm

Lots of confusion, please help.

Postby Spambe » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:16 pm

Hi all,
My God children are currently in foster care under an interim care order. They are 1 and 2 and SS are wanting an adoption order, final court is in 2 weeks. Mum wants them either back with her or for the three of them to come and live with me. Dad is out of the picture.
I had a negative viability assessment to be their SGO (either with or without mum) and appealed it (was full of falsities and the reasons given were very weak) at the IRH and the judge ordered another one be done. This was done a week ago and Im still waiting to hear but it was done by a SW from the same team and she had the previous viability assessment in front of her and checked it a few times during the assessment. This whole scenario worries me and Im not feeling confident about a positive result. If it is negative again I know I can appeal but does this mean I have no chance or can I still put myself forward to the judge as an option?
We found out the other day that Mum coming with the children to live with me has been ruled out as an option in court at IRH. We were not present for this as had gone to get food and were told by mums solicitor she would call us if we were needed. Mum is not in agreement with this and did not consent to her solicitor to agree to this.....this surely cant be allowed? Her solicitor is a nightmare to get hold of and she has many questions and issues but never gets a response from her.
One problem we are facing is that SS are saying the children show no attachment to their mother. I view this differently. They claim they have never shown any distress at separation but mum says that she was advised to leave the room without them realising at contact to reduce the distress. Contact reports are not documenting any distress. I think having the main contact supervisor come into court as a witness will be really helpful for her case. Does anyone know if this is allowed? There are other professionals who are no longer involved that would have needed evidence that have not been contacted as well. Very frustrating the solicitor isnt doing much and we have very little time left. Can mum contact these people herself and ask that they write statements and/or attend court? Sorry for so many questions, the system is such a ridiculous circus....I cant quite believe what Ive seen!!
Many Thanks for any help and advice

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 447
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Lots of confusion, please help.

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:49 pm

Dear Spambe

Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers’ discussion board.

I can see from your post that you are very concerned about your godchildren being adopted and their mother not being given the opportunity to care for them even with your support.

In your post you state that you have already had a negative assessment and it is a positive that the court has given permission for a further assessment to be carried out. Please read our assessment guide which sets out good practice when a viability assessment is done. This might help you, should you have a further negative assessment to question the way in which the assessment was carried out. Did the social worker explain to you why she needed to check the previous assessment whilst she was with you or was it simply to clarify things which was in that report? If you believe that the assessment was not done in a fair way you could ask the court to consider whether an independent social worker should do an assessment of you.

The difficulty at the moment is that you would have had 2 assessments and the final hearing has already been fixed so the court may take the view that the children’s timescale cannot wait for further assessments. I am telling you this so you are fully aware of the situation.

I am not sure what happened at the issues resolution hearing (IRH) but it may be that the local authority informed the court that the children’s mother had been ruled out by them because of a negative assessment. It is difficult to say since I do not know the concerns about mother’s ability to provide safe care for her children. The purpose of the final hearing is for all the issues which are not agreed to be fully considered by the court after hearing evidence by way of questions of the social worker and other experts, if any, in the case. If mum does not accept what the local authority children’s services are putting forward this will be a matter for the judge to decide on having considered all the evidence. The judge’s main concern will be the children’s welfare and what is best for them.

Please see our advice sheet relating to care proceedings which will give you more information about how the court process works.

Regarding the way the children react to their mother following contact, the contact notes can be included in the court bundle which the judge will have and the social worker asserting that there is no evidence of distress can be questioned about the notes. I suggest that the children’s mother discuss with her solicitor whether the contact supervisor can be asked to give evidence.

You have also mentioned other professionals who might be able to support mother’s position. However, the final hearing is fixed and the time allowed has been decided on the basis of the issues involved and the number of witnesses to give evidence. Again, I suggest that the mother discuss additional evidence or witnesses with her solicitor.

It is important that the children’s mother works with her legal team and give clear instructions as the solicitor acting for her needs these to represent her. The solicitor knows her case best as she has all the information related to the case and is best placed to advise her although not all advice might be acceptable to the mother.

Should you are the mother wish to speak to an adviser, you can telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes


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