Foster Carer wants to take child away for 9 days

InnocentMammy
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:39 am

Foster Carer wants to take child away for 9 days

Postby InnocentMammy » Tue May 02, 2017 5:05 pm

My baby is in Foster care as we are in care proceedings due to a false allegation.

The Foster Carer is planning to take my baby on holiday for one week within the UK but four hours away, meaning that we will have to go without seeing him for nine days.

We currently have a contact order of 2 hours, 5 times a week.

I have tried to negotiate the time to be made up the following week (contact sessions of four hours) to re-establish our fragmented bond, I have been told this is not possible.

I have tried to ask to arrange one contact session at the holiday destination in a centre, and we would travel down, this has also been rebutted.

Although I'm not comfortable for my son to go into respite care, our bond is the most important thing to me. It has been impacted on so much already.

I have been reasonable in seeking a halfway point with the social worker but I am getting nowhere.

They also cancelled a contact 20 minutes before the contact, so I was already at the contact centre. They promised to make the time up, but this has not happened yet and we have no indication of when it will. This happened four weeks ago.

Can I contest the holiday, and get something ordered and in writing from the Judge? I'm conscious the holiday is only 18 days away and the social worker has still not come back with a negotiation on this.

What are my rights here?

Ignatious
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: Foster Carer wants to take child away for 9 days

Postby Ignatious » Tue May 02, 2017 9:41 pm

Hi Mammy, Sorry to hear about the situation your in.

Firstly I'd like to say I'm a parent, with no knowledge of the foster care system, contact orders or care proceedings. That said, I am fluent in Google. I did find this on childlawadvice website

[Start]
Do I need permission to take my child on holiday within England and Wales?

You can take your child under 16 anywhere within England and Wales without the permission of the other person with parental responsibility as long as there is no order in place prohibiting this.

If there is a Contact Order or a Child Arrangements Order specifying contact between a child and another person then both parties must comply with this Order and make the child available for contact as stated in the order unless agreed otherwise. For example, if a parent has contact over the weekend and you wish to take the child within England and Wales for the whole week you will need the permission of the parent to do this or the permission of the court
[End]

I would conclude from this that yes you can contest the holiday. Personally, I would try (if time permits) to put something in writing and gain proof of receipt i.e. signed delivery or send via email. I hope this helps.
I am a parent. My responses are not from any formal training background but from my own experiences, my own research and my own point of view.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1734
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Foster Carer wants to take child away for 9 days

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed May 03, 2017 11:18 am

Dear InnocentMammy,

Welcome to the Parent’s Forum.

I am sorry to hear that your baby suffered an injury and that he has been removed from you. it must be very difficult for you.

Is your baby subject to an interim care order or is he in foster care with your consent (known as accommodation)?
The law about contact is slightly different, depending on whether baby is accommodated, or subject to an interim care order.

You also say that you have an order of the court giving you contact. Or is there a contact agreement instead?

Let me know and I might be able to give you more specific advice. Here is some information about contact that explains the differences.

However, generally I advise the following:

You are right to be concerned about the timescale to get your views about contact heard, and to have effective negotiations. If you have not done so, you need to discuss your concerns with your solicitor. 18 days is not long. Time would be needed to consider whether or not to go back to court.
What is the guardians view about your contact being stopped for so long?
What reason has been given for rejecting your suggestion that you travel and see your baby during the holiday?

I am not sure how old your baby is, but generally, because of concerns about baby attaching to the main care giver (who is currently the foster carer), I do not think the court will agree to baby going into respite care. The court may be worried that this will be detrimental to the long term emotional health of your baby.

The link that Ignatious gives is not relevant to your case as it concerns private law proceedings only. Care proceedings are known as public law proceedings.

I hope my advice helps but please post back or contact our confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,
Suzie

InnocentMammy
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:39 am

Re: Foster Carer wants to take child away for 9 days

Postby InnocentMammy » Wed May 03, 2017 6:08 pm

Thank you for your replies.

My son is four months old, and he has been subject to an interim care order since the end of February.

The Judge threatened to order the LA five times a week, they then acquired permission from the director to grant us five times a week.

Negotiations have been taking place today, and the LA are only willing to provide two hours extra following the week of the holiday.

I have said I am not happy about this as they already owe us two hours from a contact session they cancelled at last minute. (A social worker has to supervise two contacts a week, as the contact team only contractually provide three sessions).

My response to them is that I would seek four hours extra, two either side of the holiday. I don't think that is being unreasonable.

I share your view of respite care, Suzie. My son has been shoved from pillar to post and I don't want him cared for by yet another stranger when I know the foster care family is a very healthy environment for him to be in.

As the LA are not budging on my request, I want this to go before the Judge. Our Judge seems to be extremely fair and is the only one treating me as innocent until proven guilty, not vice versa.

My view is that I am being punished enough for a crime I did not commit, and I just want reasonable contact with my son to make up for the time that is being lost.

The guardian has not yet provided her view, but I am sure she will not want him in respite either. My reasons for withdrawing consent are to ensure made up contact time, not to put the poor little mite with another family, yet again.

Does this information make it any clearer on what my rights are? Thank you for your support in advance.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1734
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Foster Carer wants to take child away for 9 days

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed May 10, 2017 12:41 pm

Dear Innocentmammy,

Thank you for posting back. Sorry for the delay in responding to you.

As your son is subject to an interim care order, you are entitled to “reasonable contact”. Under pressure from the judge, children services have "agreed" that you have contact 5 days a week. There is no contact order-which is usual in these circumstances.

Children services cannot stop contact with you unless they have your agreement or the courts permission. They can only "suspend" contact for 7 days in certain circumstances. Then they need to give written notice to you, the guardian and the independent reviewing officer.
So you have the right to ask the court to make a decision about contact. What would the court say in these circumstances? Ask your solicitor, who knows your case well.

The guardians view will be important as s/he must act in the best interests of your son.
I hope this helps. Please post back if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Minnie
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:02 am

Re: Foster Carer wants to take child away for 9 days

Postby Minnie » Wed May 10, 2017 7:29 pm

My girls went away on holiday with the foster carers, we saw the children before they went and when they came back, we didn't miss any contacts. We were in care proceedings as well, we still had full pr as the children were under a section 20 and we able to negotiate. Its a difficult one as you need to be seen to cooperating and at the same time you want to see your baby, what does you solicitor say?


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