Children’s services are tearing my life up

Bees
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:22 am

Children’s services are tearing my life up

Postby Bees » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:16 am

I am looking for some advice if possible regarding children’s services.

My husband is currently at HMP due for release soon. Both he and I would like him to come to the family home (we have three children aged 6 and twins of 4). This is his second time of being convicted, the first time was for outraging public decency and possession of images; both offences he pleaded not guilty to but was found guilty in a jury trial. The current conviction is for breaching his SOPO to which, by advice from his barrister, he pleaded guilty to.

Children’s services were involved the first time round, the children were placed on CPP before the case went to trial. When he was released we had working agreements which we adhered to without question and once his remaining sentence was served on the outside, children’s services allowed him to come back to the family home.

He was arrested again In 2016 and was eventually sentenced a year later. During that time whilst he was on bail, children’s services were not involved.

Since June 2017 they have been in touch, although I must add, I have had to do a lot of chasing them and instigating contact. I was assured that given everything they put me through last time (I made a formal complaint at the time due to their lack of contact, consistency or support) this process would not be as long as before.

We met a social worker in December who met with the children both at home and at school and filed an assessment to confirm the children would benefit from talking to their dad on the phone. At this point he had moved from HMP to HMP and his phone contact with the children was removed for four months.
We have since been assigned another social worker who came to meet me and the children yesterday. I talked about everything I have done and continue to do to make sure my children are safe, about the positive relationship they have with me and our wider family and indeed their father. I said I understand their position entirely and. I am happy to work with them. Despite this the social worker has expressed concerns about me as a parent because I have said I would like my husband to come home. She said she would probably arrange a conference - which is something i do not want to go through again. At this point I asked what they wanted me to say and she said she doesn’t want him to come home. I have agreed that he can stay at his parents as long as we are able to draw up a working agreement which names myself, my parents and his parents as supervising adults. In principal she seems okay with this but still says it may still have to go to conference subject to her managers decision.

I feel really upset by this. In the whole time I have worked with them i have done absolutely everything requested of me to the letter. I feel that they are threatening towards me with casual mentions of “ we are not saying that the children would be removed, but...” and questions of my parenting abilities. My children’s school are aware of the entire situation and have been very supportive throughout this process.

When my husbands sopo was issued, the judge made a point of saying he did not want to effect his relationship with his children and therefore amended the wording of the order to state that he should have supervised contact with all children under the age of 16, apart from those with whom he lives in the family home.

I have now told social services that I will separate from him and that I understand there is a risk to my children but they are going ahead with the conference and when my husband was given his licence conditions he is not allowed to see the children until children’s services have done an assessment. The children miss their dad terribly and will be devastated to not see him. How long can this go on for and how far can it go? I want the children to have a decent relationship with their dad. I have put forward sensible ideas that have worked before and I have done what they asked of me. I feel so sad and isolated and feel that all the very important and good work I did last time is being totally discounted. Any advice?

Bees
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:22 am

Re: Children’s services are tearing my life up

Postby Bees » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:42 am

Any advice gratefully received please?

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2076
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Children’s services are tearing my life up

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:46 pm

Dear Bees

Welcome to the Parents' Discussion Board and thanks for posting. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties your family is currently experiencing.

Children’s Services were involved with your family in the past because of your husband’s convictions for a number of sexual offences. When they were involved last time your husband was successfully able to return home following his release from prison and once he had served his remaining sentence in the community. This was possible it seems as the children had been subject to a child protection plan initially and you as a family adhered to all that you were asked to do to children’s services’ satisfaction. You don’t say if this involved your husband completing any courses to address his sexual offending and what was involved in any risk assessment prior to his return home or if you did any protective parenting courses.

Subsequently your husband breached his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for which he was convicted and returned to prison.You note that in the year-long period from his arrest to sentencing whilst your husband was on bail, you had no children’s services’ involvement. You don’t say what the bail conditions were.

You have been proactive in keeping in touch with children’s services and have shown that you have been able to engage well in the past although you did have to make a complaint. It is important that you continue to do this as they are looking to you to be the protective parent.

The positive work that you have done in the past should not be ignored. But the situation has changed. Your husband was convicted again which resulted in children’s services becoming involved again. They are the lead agency when it comes to child welfare and protection so their assessment of the family situation is crucial; this is reflected in your husband’s current licence conditions.

The child protection conference, as you know, is a statutory process whose main function is to decide if your children have suffered/are at risk of suffering significant harm and if so, to make a child protection plan for them. As it is a multi-agency meeting, the conference will also hear from other agencies such as probation, police, your children’s schools, GP and health visitor as well as you and your husband.

The steps that you are willing to take to minimise any potential risk to the children should of course be fully considered and responded to. Your husband should also think about what he has done or would be willing to do to address his offending behaviour, how he can show his motivation to change, to work openly with professionals and to cooperate with any risk assessment that is required.

Your children’s relationship with their father and what strengths he has as a father should also be taken into account.

You are understandably wondering how long all of this will take. Unfortunately, I can’t say. However, the conference will decide if there are ongoing child protection concerns and if so will make a child protection plan to address them, which will be reviewed within 3 and then 6 months. If the conference decides that the children’s circumstances don’t require a child protection plan then a child in need plan will be made instead which should have clear outcomes and timescales for review.

You may find it helpful to look at posts by other parents who have managed to work well with children’s services and to address the concerns that existed due to a parent’s sexual offending history. They are often in the Are social workers worried about your child? topic.

Have you been in touch with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation ? Or had a look the Parents Protect website? They offer specialist resources for parents in a similar situation to you.

Do continue to work openly with children’s services, hear what they have to say and ask for clarity and timescales in relation to any plans that are made.

It is probably a good idea to get some support for yourself too, maybe counselling via your GP. It seems that you have had a lot to contend with over the last few years and this can take its toll.

The following advice sheets and resources may help you:
family support ,
child protection procedures ,
working with a social worker and
tips for getting ready for a child protection conference.

Best wishes

Suzie

Goodmum73
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:06 am

Re: Children’s services are tearing my life up

Postby Goodmum73 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:57 pm

Hi
I would stay away from him or risk losing your kids. I've been in this process 2 years and its like living as a condemned person. They want you to trip up. I had s nice social worker and then she was changed and everything had gone to pot again. My ex is manipulative and makes me seem out of control.
The conference is like being judged and they think you're a child abuser. I feel it's more negative than positive and I actually get very stressed and fearful coming up to it. That had resultEd in me making s mistake which is totally out of character recently.
If the ss are not on in your side I say beware.


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