I am so sorry to hear that your baby has suffered multiple injuries and that both your children are now in foster care. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you.
The most important thing now is to have good legal advice and to work well with your legal team. Does your legal team have experience in this type of case?
Here is our advice sheet about care proceedings
which sets out the legal process.
The court will want to see that children services has explored ALL possible reasons why she has injuries including possible medical reasons. Check with your solicitor that all possible causes are being explored. For example, is it possible they were caused while she was being born? What about your health when you were pregnant? Were you deficient in vitamin D and could your unborn baby have had brittle bones due to this? Is there any hereditary illnesses in your or dad's family that may be relevant? Check with your extended family.
At the same time (to avoid delay in planning for your children’s future) children services (and the police) will have to explore the possibility that the injuries were caused (either deliberately or by accident) by someone who has had contact with your baby. You have mentioned you and dad. Has anyone else had contact since she was born?
Sometimes, someone who in every other respect is a caring person, can have a sudden loss of control and hurt a baby.
If you know for a fact that person is not you, who else could it be?
You say your position is that you want to stay with dad unless there are findings against him. If there are findings against dad, the courts will want to know that you can protect the children from him as well as living independently from him. (This is particularly the case if there has ever been any domestic violence). If there are other worries that have been flagged up by children services, are you getting support to help you deal with them?
Sometimes the court will find that it could be either parent who caused the injuries but they cannot distinguish which. In these circumstances a court would not be able to return your children to either you or dad.
Discuss all the different possible outcomes with your solicitor or barrister to decide whether your current plan is the best one.
I know it is difficult, but you need to plan for this worse-case scenario as well as a good outcome. This is because by the end of the care proceedings, the court will be deciding where your children will be living.
In case they cannot come home to you, do you have any relatives or friends (connected persons) who could be assessed to care for your children long term? They can be either in the UK or abroad, so do not have to be in the same area as you.
If there is no one, adoption of your children will be also considered, although this would be the last resort.
Has a family group conference
taken place to look for friends and family or other connected people in your network to care for your children, in case the court case goes against you? The family group conference process can also look for people to provide support to you, if the court decides that it is safe for your children will be returned to you.
If you have any questions please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.