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Post by RaeRae » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:27 pm

I should have come to a forum like this when all this first came about but I was too distraught. But now I'm ready to get advice and opinions on what to do and what could happen.

Our little boy is just over 6 weeks old. When he was 4 weeks and 3 days old we took him to the doctors as we had noticed several marks and bruises on his body and we were concerned something was wrong as we didn't know how he'd got them. Once we got home, we got a call from Social Services who said they were coming round to take us and our son to hospital where he will be examined and we will also see a police officer there.
We agreed for him to have a ct scan and a skeletal X-ray to prove he's not had any injuries. I didn't want him exposed to the unnecessary radiation as I knew results would come back clear. But knew it was best if we agree to do what they wished to do. He also had to stay in for two nights whilst they got the findings of the examinations. The examinations came back inconclusive. So we had a choice, either to voluntarily let our son stay with a family member or refuse and then social services get a court order. We chose to sign a Section 20. Obviously very distraught about this situation, our baby only a month old having to stay somewhere without us.
We had to have a police interview and have found out that the police aren't taking the case further. Social have had a legal meeting and have also said at the moment it doesn't meet threshold for family court. So the social worker is going to a panel meeting next week which will be three weeks exactly since our son was first taken off us. We are having 4-6 hours supervised contact a week which is heartbreaking. He is growing and changing so fast and we are not there to see it. We've been misled to think we'd have had more contact.

I'm worried about what will happen at the panel. I suffer with mental health illnesses and after the birth had other agencies involved with me because my problems had intensified. The week or so before this occurring though it had started to settle down and was noted by a professional. Everyone involved have always said they had no concern for baby's safety and that we are loving, attentive parents. I just want my baby home so we can be parents again and so we don't miss any more time with him. I just want some advice on what rights we have or possible outcomes.

Can they use mental health as a reason for him not coming home? Yes the first few weeks I was struggling a bit but I think it's unfair to base it on that because I believe it was due to being a first time mum.
The thought of having to have him living elsewhere whilst I'm 'getting better' scares me. At the moment my biggest problem is that he's not with me. I feel I won't ever meet their threshold for him coming home because whilst he isn't here, I'll always be upset.

Sorry for the long post.

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Re: Lost

Post by Miserylovescompany2 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:00 pm

Hello RaeRae

What an awful situation to be in. My advice would be to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

There is no court order yet in place. A section 20 is a voluntary agreement. Both yourself and your partner have parental responsibility.

Please continue to access support regarding your mental health. I can not stress this enough.

Please remember to look after yourself.

Misery x

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Lost

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:44 pm

Dear RaeRae

Welcome to the Parents’ Discussion Forum.

My name is Suzie and am the online adviser at Family Rights Group. I am really sorry that you are having such and difficult and distressing time being separated from your baby son. It is unfortunate that you do not appear to have clear information from the social worker involved in your case as to what will happen at panel and afterwards. I am sure that you understand that if a young child is found to have unexplained injuries it will be of concern to professionals.

A legal planning meeting has already decided that there is not enough evidence to go to court. This means that they do not believe the threshold criteria has been met. The threshold criteria means

At the time Children’s Services first got involved in protecting your child, s/he was suffering or was likely to suffer significant harm; and that the harm was due to the care being given to your child before the case started not being ‘what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give to him/her’ or because s/he was out of your control’.

It appears from your post that you have been engaging and cooperating with children services and my advice is that you continue to do so. You do not say in your post whether or not your son has been placed on a child protection plan. If there is a child protection plan in place, then it is extremely important that you adhere to the plan and do whatever is asked of you. If you do not, then children services may decide that you are not working with them to safeguard you child. A copy of our advice sheet relating to child protection procedures is included here for your information. This will explain the procedures involved when children services are investigating that a child suffered or suffering harm.

You should be aware that even if the police decide not to pursue a case against you, this does not mean that children services will stop their enquiries and investigation. Their main concern is to safeguard the child. The police make decisions based on whether there is evidence to charge a person for a criminal offence. Obviously, it is good news that the police are not taking further action.

It may also be useful for you to read our advice sheet relating to family support as children services are able to provide support when a child is considered to be a child in need to ensure that the child can be safely cared for within the family.

Your mental health in itself should not be a reason that your child cannot return to your care but if it is a managed to ensure that you are able to safely care for him then it could become an issue. Are you engaging with your local mental health services and do you have support from them. It is important that you can show that your mental health is stable and will not impact on the care you give your child. I understand that the stress of not having your child and children services involvement may adversely affect you but it is important that you do your best to show that you can safely parent your child.

As Miserylovescompany in response to your post states, at present your son is voluntarily accommodated by children services, this means he is a looked after child. Children services have duties where a child is looked after in the care system and a copy of our advice sheet relating to the duties is here for your information.

The fact that he is accommodated mean that you and his father (if he is on his birth certificate) or you are married to him will have parental responsibility for your son. Children services do no share parental responsibility and should make decisions in consultation with you about your son. You should have a placement and care plan. The level of contact you are having at the moment seem inadequate for a child of his age and our advice sheet relating to contact when a child is accommodated will give more information about contact.

You may wish to speak with an adviser at Family Rights Group and you can do so by telephoning our free and confidential advice line o 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes


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