Social services were wrong

Jay23729
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:51 pm

Social services were wrong

Postby Jay23729 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:25 pm

Hi I'm new here
My children were put into the care of my parents in march under a section 20 agreement, this was due to an incident which took place with my violent ex partner! Social services said I misused alcohol, had mental health issues and domestic violence.
At first the social worker just asked me to leave my children with my parents for the weekend, however moments later a police officer took my children under police protection coz of a phone call my ex partner made saying I was going to kill myself (this was not true,it was malicious as I had pressed charges against him), I was told to sign a section 20 and if I didn't the sw couldn't promise that the children would stay with my parents!
9 weeks later I withdrew my section 20 because I didn't think the children should be away from me, the LA took me to court and my parents got a interim child arrangements order!
I have been seeing my doctor for the 'mental health issues' they say I have and he is perfectly happy I'm ok so hasn't gave me any medication, the 'excessive alcohol use' has now been proven false as my alcohol test results are clear, and I've done every domestic violence course they've asked me too!
My sw has one more session to do on my parenting assessment, I feel like she has tried to stop me proving myself in every way, I.e not putting me on work shops, not doing alcohol testing etc....
Before all this my children had 100% attendance at school, made every appointment (doctors, dentist, opticians) they were always clean and fed!

I'm wondering now my tests are back will I be able to ask the children return home? And can I make a complaint?

I've already complained about my sw as she told me she 'wasn't going to tell me anything about what was going on'

Thanks in advance

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1685
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Social services were wrong

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:21 pm

Dear Jay23729,

Welcome to the Parents forum.

I am, sorry to hear about the difficulties your family have had and that children services have intervened.
It is not clear whether children services took care proceedings or whether they encouraged your parents to apply for a private law court order (child arrangements order).

However, I understand that your parents currently have an “interim” child arrangements order. So I am assuming that children services did not issue care proceedings. This would mean that you do not have access to free legal advice. Is that the case? If so, you may want to contact Rights of Women or Coram children’s legal centre for advice.

An interim child arrangements order is a short term order until the next court hearing.
It gives your parents legal parental responsibility and states that your children will live with them until the order is reviewed.
For more information about child arrangements orders and what your parents can and can't do see here .


As it is an interim child arrangements order, it will be up to the court (after hearing evidence from you, your parents and the social worker)to decide whether your children can return home to you or stay long term with your parents.
The court’s decision will be based on what is in the best interests of your children. The court uses the welfare checklist to help them.
The welfare checklist looks at:
• the child’s wishes and feelings
• the child’s physical, emotional and/or education needs
• the child’s age, sex and background
• the likely effect of the proposed change on the child
• the risk of harm to the child
• how capable the child’s parent is of meeting his or her needs.


The court will also put a lot of weight on the social workers section 7 report. So you want the social worker to do a full assessment of all the good changes you have made.
Please let the social worker know about all the courses you have done.
You could also ask your GP to do a report setting out the alcohol results and his positive assessment of your mental health. Remind her of your children’s attendance and how no medical appointments had been missed.
Ask the social worker (by email) what else she thinks you should do to help your children return to you? Have you addressed all her concerns?

You should be as cooperative with the social worker. Here are some tips .


When you get the social worker's assessment report, if you do not think it is fair, you may want to do a statement responding to it and ask her to do an addendum report and come to court to be asked questions about it. However to get advice about this, you could contact Rights of Women or Coram Children’s Legal Centre.


If you have any questions or need further advice, please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.
Best wishes,

Suzie

Jay23729
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:51 pm

Re: Social services were wrong

Postby Jay23729 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:56 pm

Thanks for the advice!
I withdrew my section 20 and the LA did take me to court, my solicitor put forward for the child arrangements order so the LA didn't get PR of the children!

Do I do all your suggesting before court as my parenting assessment isn't complete and has been being done since April!

Many thanks

Jay23729
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:51 pm

Re: Social services were wrong

Postby Jay23729 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:03 pm

I do have free legal advice

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1685
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Social services were wrong

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:13 pm

Dear Jay23729

Thanks very much for getting back to us and clarifying that the interim child arrangements order (CAO) to your parents was made during care proceedings. This means that the children can remain with your parents until the court makes a final decision. It also means that you have free legal advice from a solicitor during the court case.

Much of the practical advice provided above is still valid although there are some differences. Family Rights Group’s advice sheet on care proceedings explains how the court makes its decision and the type of orders it can make (if any) including possibly a CAO or a Supervision Order.

As you have a solicitor do check with them about how best to ensure that the court and all the relevant parties are aware of the changes you have made/courses you have done/GP assessment of the alcohol and mental health issues etc. You can still ask the social worker what she recommends you do to have the children returned to your care and if she has still any outstanding concerns. The social worker should communicate with you, as the children’s mother.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes

Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1685
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Social services were wrong

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:40 pm

Dear Jay23729

Thank you for your further post.

It is good news for you and your children that the social worker has advised they can return home to you. I understand that it must be frustrating for you that the children are not able to come home straightaway but this is unlikely to happen until children’s services have all outstanding information regarding you.

Just to explain, a supervision order will not give children services parental responsibility and is more for them to monitor the children at home to make sure all is going well. If there are no concerns during the period of the supervision order then it will simply end after the 6 month period. If children’s services do have concerns then they could apply to the court to extend the supervision order for a further 6 months. It might help you to have a discussion with your solicitor about a supervision order.

It does seem, however, that children’s services are of the view that a care order is not needed so must consider that you have made appropriate changes to safely parent your children. It will be for the judge to make the final decision but he or she may agree that a period of monitoring with any additional support is necessary to ensure that the children’s return home is successful.

Regarding the complaint you made regarding the social worker, I do not think that any confidentiality is breached since the social worker’s team manager would need to speak with her about the complaint in order to respond to you. It might of course have been better for the team manager to inform you of a proposed meeting rather than the social worker.

Please read the advice sheet relating to care proceedings which was sent to you in an earlier post. This will give you information about the orders the court can make including supervision orders.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie


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