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Need some advice please..

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:53 pm
by Anxious
Hello, I am going through a horrible and worrying time at the moment and really need some advice. This is a long story so i will try my best to explain it...

In August my partner was given residency of his two children from a previous relationship who were in foster care due to the kids being taken from the mother for various reasons. The children were still having contact with their mother every month. I myself have two children so we had our hands full but were coping well and were happy. However, in November on a contact visit with the mother we were told that the children were with police protection as they had made an allegation that their father had kicked one of them and that he had also hit my son on the head with a DVD these allegation are completely false! The children had a medical examination and it came back that there were no signs of abuse against any of them but the social services still wanted to hold onto them until the police investigation was over. My partner did not hear from the police for ages but when they finally did call him they asked him to come into the police station voluntarily but would be questioned under caution. He was never arrested or cautioned he was let go and we have not heard anything about it since. Because the children had also said my partner had hit my son on the head with a DVD social services got involved with my kids. I had to go to their offices to speak to a social worker who asked me about the allegations and about my relationship with my partner which I told them all was fine and the allegations were rubbish and that I believed the children were saying it because they want to live with their mother. She also came for a home visit and spoke to me and my partner and my 3 year old daughter. A few days later my partner was asked if he would voluntarily leave the home until the police investigation is over which he did and went to stay with his mum but still has supervised visits with me here he just cannot sleep here which is just stupid. A couple of weeks ago the social worker asked if she could come around with a colleague I said it was ok as I have nothing to hide. My daughter was at toddler group and I told her it had to be quick as I needed to pick her up. When she turned up it turned out her colleague was a police office from the child abuse team. My daughters toddler group had called them regarding two bruises on my daughters arms one on each side which I hadn't even noticed. I was completely shocked and upset on hearing this and told them I had no idea how they had happend. They said it was suspicious because of the area they were in as though she had been grabbed! I nor my partner would never grab my daughter by her arms for any reason! The day before I had told the toddler group about a scratch and bruise on my daughters head that she had got from her little brother when they were playing and told them that if you ask her how it happend she keeps saying she done it at school even though I knew she hadn't as I saw it happen and it seems from this they have now got worried and safe guarded theirselves by telling social services about these bruises I hadn't even noticed! I was asked to attend a paediatric assessment which I went to and both my children were examined from head to toe the result came back as it wasn't possible to say whether it was through play or through someone grabbing her that these bruises came about. We went home and the social worker came the following week and we explained how we felt and how horrible this situation was as I now feel as though I can't touch my children through fear they may bruise and I am constantly on edge. She told us that the case is still open due to the allegations from the other two children and the fact that the paediatrician couldn't determine how the bruises came about. We were asked how we would feel about attending parenting classes which we agreed too and for my son to attend a speech and language group which was fine by me. I have agreed to do all of this and even acted on the advice she gave me regarding baby proofing the house and putting up a baby gate which I have done. She told us her assessment had to be completed in January and that it would either be a family support plan or a child protection plan!!! I do not like the sound of a child protection plan as I thought this is for children who are at severe risk of being hurt by their parents. I nor my partner have never so much as hit out children in our lives and my life has been turned upside down by this I am constantly scared, feeling sick and can't live a normal life. It completely ruined Xmas and I just want it all to end I couldn't bare my children being taken off me as they are my complete life! They are loved more than anything In the world!

The other two children who are currently in interim foster care have expressed wishes to see me and my children but not my partner (their father) which I know is because they think they will be told off for lying which wouldn't be the case as my partner is terribly upset and misses his children. He has to return to court on the 28th January regarding his childrens care arrangements this will be when he finds out if he will get them back or if they will yet again be placed in foster care. These children have had a terrible childhood and we provided them a safe loving one only to suddenly have our world turned upside down by false accusations against my partner! For 3 years we have lived happily without police or social services in our lives to all of a sudden having them make us feel like we could lose our kids!

Please someone help me, give me some advice, some hope!! Sorry for such a long story and sorry if it doesn't make sense I'm just at my wits end and need help!

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:18 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Hello Anxious

My name is Suzie and I am an adviser at FRG. Welcome to the boards and thanks for your post. I am so sorry to hear about the distressing situation you are in and the impact this is having on you at the moment.

It sounds as though you have been very open and honest with the social worker and that you have co-operated fully with all assessments and advice. This is very much in your favour as it is likely to have reassured the social worker that you are willing and able to understand concerns and to follow advice in the best interests of the children. I would advise that you continue to engage with Children’s Services in this way while, at the same time, asking the social worker to also be clear, open and honest with you about Children’s Services’ assessments (including timescales etc), position and plans. If there are things that you feel unclear about, it might be helpful to put your position in writing to the social worker.

Emphasise that the children are your priority and that you will continue to work in partnership with professionals in their best interests. Make clear what outcome you believe is best for the children, including any support that you would like from professionals. Set out any concerns you have about the current situation and ask the social worker to clarify, in writing, their specific current concerns, what assessments have already been carried out (and when you can have a copy of these) and what further assessments are being carried out (including what these will involve, possible outcomes and specific timescales for decision making).

The purpose of the current assessment is to establish if your children are in need of support services or at risk of significant harm. If it is assessed that they are in need, the social worker may suggest a child in need or family support plan. This would set out what needs have been identified and what support would be provided. If it is assessed that the children have suffered or are likely to suffer significant harm (including physical, sexual or emotional harm or neglect) a child protection conference will be held to determine whether a child protection plan is needed. A child protection plan would set out the current concerns and what is expected of you, as well as professionals, to safeguard and protect the children.

The purpose of the conference and/or the child protection plan is not to remove the children from your care. This decision is only made in extreme circumstances with the permission of a court. If the social worker had any intention of taking this route, she would be making this clear to you at this stage. Given how well you have co-operated with Children’s Services, it seems very unlikely that this will be considered and I would be hopeful that a child in need plan would be seen as the best way of engaging with your family. Clearly a child protection plan would be a more distressing outcome for you. If this were put in place, however, this would simply be a further opportunity for you to show how well you are able to work with professionals in order to address their concerns and safeguard your children.

I hope this provides some helpful information Anxious, and some reassurance. Please do come back and let us know how things are going and if there is anything further that we can advise you on. You are also welcome to call our free and confidential advice line (0808 8010366) when it reopens on January 2nd.

Best Wishes

FRG Adviser

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:51 pm
by Anxious
Thank you Suzie for your reply. This has reassured my concerns and I will continue to work with the social worker no matter how hard it may be as my children are my number one priority! I feel so much better getting another persons opinion on the situation as I have felt quite lonely with not many people to talk to apart from my mum who lives far away from me and my partner tends to not want to keep talking about it and going over it constantly where as I am an extreme worrier and analyse everything! Thank you once again and will keep posted about anything else that happens.

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:55 pm
by Anxious
Hello again,

Today I received the report from the medical assessment for my children. My son's report was fine there was no documented bruising or injuries on him. However regarding my daughter there were two things stated that were not true. The first being that she had long dirty nails and that they had advised me to cut and clean them. They never mentioned anything about her nails and the 'dirt' they are referring to was actually paint as she had been finger painting that day in nursery and as they wanted me to go to the medical straight away i did not have time to spend scrubbing paint off her nails!! The way it was written down in the report sounded awful like i was a neglectful parent who did not clean my child! They also said due to the fact my kids are so active i find it difficult to manage their behaviour! I never said this to them they have put words in my mouth i said met kids were active but never said i couldn't manage them. It makes me laugh because it was ok and i was fine to manage four children when my partners children were living with me and i could manage my own children for the past three years but all of a sudden I'm seen as someone who cannot manage my children! What an absolute joke!

What i want to know is are they allowed to write what they like and lie as well? It documented that my daughters toddler group had contacted cs on the 16 & 17 December the first time was regarding her bruise and scratch on her head caused by her brother when they were playing which I explained this to them but apparently it was unexplained so they are lying about me too and I find it funny how they decided to report me after I told them they if they asked my little girl how she done it she would say she done it at school. Then regardig the bruises on forearms the toddler group said I hadn't explained how hey occurred they never even asked me about them and I didn't even know they were there in the first place!!! I really am starting to wonder if they were trying to safeguard theirselves because my daughter has gone to toddler group a number of times with normal bruises and not once have they said anything but now all of a sudden when I made the comment about my little girl saying she hurt herself at school that same day they make a report about it to cs!!!! This is so very unfair on my family as we have done nothing wrong and our children are well looked after, loved and are given everything they could possibly want and need!! I just don't know what to do anymore I feel as though everyone is against me and are trying to find ways to take my children! I have now started an online parenting course the triple p one which i have done off my own back without cs asking me too because I want to show I am
willing to do anything. So what more can I do really?

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:14 am
by Anxious
Need some advice regarding the agreement that my partner live elsewhere until the police investigation has concluded. We had a written agreement that only stated he would not have unsupervised contact with the children which we all agreed too. Now when the sw came last time she now wants me to give the specific days he comes via email as the arrangements before were 'loose' in her words. Well I never agreed in writing to this I agreed only to him not having unsupervised contact with the kids now I feel like I'm having our lives dictated too. Do I have to do this? Also can social services ever say my relationship has to end with my partner or they will take the children as I have read about this happening to people. How can they be allowed to break up happy families in this way? Surely it's illegal! What are my rights regarding this because how is it possibly fair to take a child's father away from them?!

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:00 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Hi Anxious,
You have raised 3 points which I will try to address below:
Inaccurate report
You are worried that the report from the paediatrician which also quotes the nursery is not completely accurate. You need to make sure that the social worker is aware of the discrepancies. So if you have time, email her your views.

New contact arrangements
The social worker is trying to tighten up the current contact arrangements. Because of concerns about possible non accidental injury, (due to the allegations made against your partner), children services are worried about the contact arrangements being too loose and therefore difficult for them to manage.
It is not uncommon for contact arrangements to be more specific-with times and place for contact to be specified in a written agreement. However, you should be fully consulted about the arrangements. If you feel they will be difficult to manage-it is important that you let the social worker know your worries. You should not sign an agreement that you later cannot stick to. You could be accused of breaching the agreement and allowing your partner contact that they hadn’t agreed to.
You could ask that the contact agreement has a clause saying they will be reviewed after a few weeks. To make sure the agreement is fair, why not ask that a solicitor check through it before you sign it. You could call our advice line and discuss the agreement with an adviser.

Asking you to choose between your children or your partner-does this ever happen?
If children services, believe that an adult is dangerous to children, then yes, they can insist that the dangerous adult either leave the family home, or only has supervised contact with the children. If a parent did not agree, then children services could consider other options to safeguard the children such as asking that the parent agree to the children being accommodated-going into foster care or they might consider asking the court to give the local authority permission to remove the children into care. If children go into fostercare, the local authority should think about placing the children with other parents or family or friends of the children before stranger foster care.

However, as you are cooperating with children services, this does not seem likely to happen. The social worker is happy that you are protecting your children from any possible danger by supervising the contact with your partner. Hopefully, your partner is cooperating with the assessment of his risk-so that children services will then have a better idea as to whether or not he is dangerous to children.
In the meantime, while the assessments are happening, please continue to work with children services as you havve been doing.
Best wishes,

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:39 pm
by Anxious
Thanks Suzie for your reply. We have called the paediatrician and she has told us she is going to change the report to make it more accurate and reword some things she had put as they were not worded well and made us seem horrible. My partner and I are continuing to cooperate with childrens services and he has an appointment with his solicitor tomorrow to discuss the situation especially regarding not receiving any paperwork from them.

Thanks again.

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:19 pm
by Anxious
Update to my situation. Today me and my partner went to the solicitors to give them an update on what's been going on. We also discussed getting the police to hurry up with the investigation because we haven't received an outcome as of yet and this has been the condition under which the agreement regarding my partner not being allowed to live at the house only supervised contact with the children that once the police investigation was over he could return. Anyway the solicitor managed to contact the investigation team who's advice is that they were still making enquiries and to keep phoning each week for updates. However, as soon as I got home I received a call from an officer from the police station who in his words "would like a statement for me regarding to the assault I witnessed" on my partners son. I responded "I did not witness an assault as it did not happen" the police officer said this was fine and that he would like to send the statement to me and I would have to sign it and send it back I clarified that my statement is as follows that my partner has never hit any of the children. He said he would email the statement to me to read and sign. I will however get my solicitor to look over it to be on the safe side before signing it. I am hoping this was the last piece in the puzzle to their investigation and that it will hopefully be over soon. I am hoping it will come back as no further action as I cannot see why it would be anything else as there is no evidence to say the allegation took place apart from words being said by my partners son. I am hoping this will make things progress a little quicker as I'm getting so fed up with the whole thing! I can't believe how a lie can bring about so much damage to a family that was for 3 years content and so happy :(

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:23 pm
by Anxious
Hello, a quick question regarding childrens services. If I wanted to move elsewhere and my children were on a plan whether it be a child in need or a child protection plan can children services stop me from moving away. For example to Northern Ireland. The reason I ask is I just would like to know my options if childrens services did ask for me to be apart from my partner because the only reason we were all living in London was due to my partner getting residency of his other two children before this we had plans to move to Northern Ireland where my parents live. Also if he did have to permanently leave I would have nobody to help or support me as I have no family here. Therefore, I would want to live close to my parents in Northern Ireland as they can provide 24 hour support and help with my children.. Any advice regarding this would be appreciated. Thank you.

Re: Need some advice please..

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:53 am
by Anxious
Hi again Suzie, how exactly do cs assess whether my children are at risk or not? I really don't understand when they do not see my family on a daily basis so what tools do they use to make any judgement on us? How do they know what goes on in our daily life? Also, do they only focus on negatives or do they consider the positives in a family?
With my case it seems cs are just nitpicking at things because they haven't actually got anything on us as all they have is an allegation which is false with no physical evidence and then bruising on my daughters arms that I can't explain because I don't know how they occurrd and I'm not willing to make something up to make them feel better. A medical Assessment was unable to say whether it was through play or being grabbed that the bruises occurred so from this how exactly can they say my children are at risk?! At risk of what? Being loved too much in our case is the only thing we are guilty of!! It just makes me want to scream at how unbelievabley ridiculous this all is I've had to put up with people who have seen my daughter for 15 minutes at the most criticise her that she's not good enough she's only 3 but everyone else e.g doctors, school staff, speech and language therapists have nothing but praise of how brilliant she is! But they take none of this into account!! Makes me mad!