Worried about incident of neglect

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Worried about incident of neglect

Post by Goodmum73 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:46 pm

2 weeks ago i left my 5 year old in U CERTIFICATE film in the cinema as the baby was unsettled, I asked for a refund as I'd been in 15 minutes and was given one, the attendant was the same one who sold the ticket and didn't say anything . usually I would stash near an aisle seat and pop in and out as the baby got restless. I left the building and returned a few minutes late after the film ended. My child had been in the back row next to a little boy and his mum as there weren't seats together,
I know people will call me stupid for this but it didn't occur to me it was illegal and I didn't know the unattended age limit which is 8 years, I think I was on autopilot as used to leaving him at gymnastics where they supervise him. My son is nearly 6 and acts mature and is very tall like a 7 year old.
Well the manager had had to call the police.who interviewed me 2 days later. But a social worker has said its abandonment and neglect and even child cruelty and told my ex to asset his parentalrights and he has detained the kids in breach of the arrangements order, he is seeking an emergency court hearing. Needless to say he is always being opportunistic and it has been one long battle with court etc and refusal to mediate. I would never do that to a parent I trusted with the children over a mistake that is out of character.
Does anybody know what this could result in? I've heard nothing else from the police and I'm worried social are trying to influence the outcome,? My solicitor says its not significant enough to warrant a change in childcare arrangements, I'm in shock as I'm a good full time mum and never left him unattaneded before or been abusine etc, Ss have been involved due to disputes between my ex and me which he has mainly laid on me although he continues to be controlling
Any similar experiences out there or advice please?
My solicitor had advised me tu get the children but u don't want s fight and I'm terrified the ss will escalate it and dislike me more as they see me as the one with emotional issues although it's a dysfunctional relationship
I would really appreciate any advice

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Worried about incident of neglect

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:24 pm

Dear Goodmum 73

Welcome to the Parents’ Discussion.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group.

I can see from your post that you are extremely worried about the situation you find yourself in having left your son in the cinema on his own.

It is of course very unfortunate that you left your son in this way since at 5 years old it might not have been the best thing to do. You do not mention having spoken to the mother nearby to say that you need to go outside with the baby. I think it is important that you look at this from the point of view of children’s services (new name for social services) in their role for safeguarding children. Anything could have happened to your son in the cinema and I think this is the view they are taking.

Children’s services description of what happened as neglect and abandonment are strong words but the concern is likely to be because your child was left unsupervised and for a long period of time. Here is an explanation of what could amount to neglect:
‘Neglect is the continuing failure to meet a child’s basic physical and psychological needs. It can be caused by a wide range of things, including for example:
• a mother misusing drugs during her pregnancy; or once the child is born,
• failure to provide a child with
o Adequate food, clothing or shelter
o Protection from physical and emotional harm or danger
o Adequate supervision
o Access to adequate medical care
o Protection from neglect by another person’

This list is not stating these are the only thing that can be considered neglect.

Children’s services seem to be concerned about your parenting because of what happened. I think it would important that the social worker to consider working with you to ensure that this does not happen again. In your post you mention that normally you would take the baby outside. You do not say why you needed to leave the cinema and it maybe that children’s services will want you to explain as may mean that you need additional support caring for you children. Our advice sheet about Family support will give you more information.

In some ways, the fact that she is suggesting that your son’s father exercise his parental responsibility could be because this would mean less work in carrying out assessment to decide whether your child should be treated as a child in need or be considered to have suffered harm and at risk of future harm. Your son’s father is been treat as the parent who will safeguard him.

You wanted to know what the possible outcome could be ff your son’s father applies to the court to change the child arrangement order and make one in his favour so that the child lives with him, you would be given the opportunity to oppose that application. It will be for the judge to make the final decision as to whether it would be best for your son to be removed from your care as you have been his primary carer. You have already had advice from your solicitor that she does not consider that what happened is sufficient ground to change residence.

Alternatively, if you exercise your right under the child arrangement order you have to get your son back now, children’s services will have to decide what action they will take if you do this. As stated above, this is likely to be an assessment and depending on the outcome of this assessment decide they have no concerns about your parenting that you need to do parenting courses or need support. This would mean family support under a child in need plan.

If children’s services decide your son has suffered harm and is at risk of suffering future harm, then the decision would be that there should be an initial child protection conference. Please read our advice sheet about Child protection procedures.

From your post you say you are concerned that children’s service might escalate matters. I have explained above the action that children’s services can take. If your ex-husband applies successfully to the court then children’s services may no longer have safeguarding concerns although you say there have been difficulties in the past because of the relationship between you and the father. It is a concern when parents are not able to work together as this can be considered emotionally damaging to the child in question.

You say you have heard nothing further from the police. Have you been told they are continuing their investigation or taking no action at all? I should explain that even if the police takes no further action this does not mean that children’s services will take no further action if your son is to return to your care. I suggest that you ask the social worker to assess you so your son can return to your care and to explain why he or she does not think an assessment should be carried out. If this is refused you could consider making a complaint to challenge this decision. Please read our advice sheet about Challenging decisions and making complaints

I hope this helps. However, should you wish to speak to an adviser, do telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 3pm.

Best wishes


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

Re: Worried about incident of neglect

Post by Goodmum73 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:59 pm

:D thanks very much suzie.
My children were already under child protection add they view our previously abusive relationship still dysfunctional. We are divorced and ivy see exothermic in handovers
They were going to downgrade it to child in need.
It's a horrible process and the upcoming child conference added to my stress.
There is no continuous or repeated neglect.
I agree neglect is a strong word.
I gave been advised to pick my child up but have shed the headteacher and he is waiting to here from the social worker whether to release him to me based on concern over his protection!
The social worker is claiming he's is exercising hours parental rights but my solicitor says that nonsense.
I want to avoid a situation with us both turning up after school to claim him in an hour! It's a mess

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

Re: Worried about incident of neglect

Post by Goodmum73 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:00 pm

Sorry typos! They were worried about their feelings in handovers although things had been much better

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