S20 to a care order...why?

mark21
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:54 pm

S20 to a care order...why?

Postby mark21 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:35 am

A very brief background.
My 14 year old child has a learning disability, is extremely vulnerable and is considered a high risk of CSE. She is a prolific absconder and has put herself in horrendously dangerous situations. She has been a child in need for around 18 months and we have worked with social services in ways to keep her safe but the absconding started 5 months ago and has been impossible to prevent. Having tried everything at home to contain her it was agreed that she would be placed in foster care more specialised for her needs this was done using S20. To cut a long story short foster care placements failed dramatically and we agreed to place her in a semi-secure unit with a high level of staffing and reluctantly to the use of restraint.
This was the worst failure yet and she still managed to abscond and had some horrific encounters. It was at that stage that ourselves, with a heavy heart and ssc decided that only secure accommodation would keep her safe and we agreed to a secure order, however there were no available beds, so she was moved to another semi-secure unit which has been more successful at stopping her absconding, although not completely so the secure order has not been applied for.
During this time we have had a very good relationship with social services and it has always felt that we were working together to help keep my child safe, we have never disagreed on the plans for my child and the only time we had concerns was the location of the first unit which unfortunately we were right about. There has never been any doubt as to our parenting ability or home and was always placed home after absconding.
Recently at a strategy meeting which of course we cannot attend it was decided by social services that they were going to apply for a care order.
This was attempted to be sold to me for the following reasons,
Going through the court procedure would focus different agencys and resources on my child's needs ( surely this should be done now!)
It would make life easier for us as we could blame unpopular decisions on social services. ( we want what is best for my child and if its unpopular with her we explain our reasons, but will always take responsibility for them)
The judges think S20 should only be used for the short term.
The application for a care order is no reflection on us as parents and there are no negative reasons for the application.
We are completely opposed to the care order as we see it as unnecessary. We understand that PR is shared but we know that social services get the "lions share". We were foster carers for 15 years and understand the implications of moving from a S20 to a care order ( our child was a placed with us as a baby and we subsequently went on to adopt her).
My question is does the "no order principle" not apply in these circumstances?.
Why can social services apply this order when the only obvious reasons for it are either political or to make it easier for them to administer?.
Any input or advice would be most welcome, this has been a horrendous time in all our lives and a court battle is the last thing we need.

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2051
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: S20 to a care order...why?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:17 pm

Dear mark21

My name is Suzie, one of FRG’s online advisers. Welcome to the discussion board.

I am sorry to hear that you are going through such a difficult time with regards to your 14 year old child who is presenting as extremely vulnerable. Furthermore, she continues to place herself at risk by her absconding and risk taking behaviours.

It is certainly of concern that after eighteen months of having developed a constructive working relationship the Local Authority and the police in respect of any safeguarding issues to keep your child safe. For example:-

During this time we have had a very good relationship with social
services and it has always felt that we were working together to help
keep my child safe, we have never disagreed on the plans for my child…….
there has never been any doubt as to our parenting ability or home

The Children Act states that when considering issuing care proceedings, the Local Authority must meet the threshold for significant harm. For instance:-

If Children’s Services thinks there is reasonable cause to believe that your child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, either because:
- the care you are giving him/her is not adequate or
- your child is out of your control,

then they can apply to the court for a care order to authorise the long term removal of your child from your care.

However, from the information you have posted is evident that through no fault of your own your child continues to demonstrate signs of being beyond parental control, when it appears you have been working collaboratively with the professional network to safeguard her welfare.

A section 20 agreement is one way of being able to demonstrate your commitment to working with Childrens' Services, but not as a long term measure to keep young people in care. Likewise, the court process should not be used to secure appropriate support for your daughter, especially when she has been assessed as having unmet emotional needs, and no identified concerns about your parenting capacity.

If you have not done so already, can I recommend you seek urgent legal advice from an independent children’s solicitor at law society. Alternatively, if you wish to speak to an adviser, please feel free to contact our advice line on 0808 801 0366 Monday to Friday 09.30 am to 03.00 pm.

I hope this helps.

Suzie

rom1984
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:07 pm

Re: S20 to a care order...why?

Postby rom1984 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:46 pm

hi hun im going through a similar sitiaton it is absolutly shocking im a singke mum of 6 kids my 13 year old out of control simikar to yourself we hav benn in and out of s20 sometimes ss returned her to me when i was not ready to have her back all my other children are on cp because o the hostilty in the home but there has never been any concerns raised fron school and health etc for my other chikdren i was told there would be a legal meeting just in relation to the one child becuse s20 can only be for a period of time ...then after the meeti g the tell me they are having a plo meeting for all my children i am in such shock as at the last child protection evrryone there disnt even think they other 5 chikdren needed to me on cp ...the sytem is shocking i was begging fir help in 2016 and they only opened a case in juky 17 and now they are wanting to do pre court proceedings ...i can imagine what u r going through ive suggested time and time again a secure unit but thwy just stick her in foater care round the corner and nothing changes ..i hope u get the outcome u want xx

rom1984
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:07 pm

Re: S20 to a care order...why?

Postby rom1984 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:47 pm

just noticed the date 2015 cannu tell me what the out come was ?


Return to “Do you have a child in care?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests