I'm new to this board and looking for general advice.
My partner has two children in care. A third younger child is subject to an SGO. My partner recently went to Court to try to have the care order made in respect of her oldest son discharged. To cut a long story short, she was forced to represent herself and the care order was not discharge. She was however granted additional contact with her son.
This included indirect contact that her son had requested and CAFCASS supported. Social Services attempted to stop this and the judge berated them and asked what the problem was. Social Services reluctantly agreed that monthly telephone/ facetime calls would commence within two weeks of the hearing and this was noted in the recitals of the order. The hearing was the first week of April and surprise, there has been no attempt by the foster carers to contact my partner to arrange this. The foster carers have a history of not promoting this contact and this was raised in Court.
My partner should have had two telephone calls with her son since the hearing and social services have failed to address this.
It now transpires that social services have gone further. My partners other child, the eldest has previously had weekly telephone/ video calls with her daughter. This was identified by a previous social worker as necessary to the daughters mental health due to a history of self-harming. The foster carers have gone out of their way to promote this. The daughter also requested that my partner by able to attend school events and watch her swim and do gymnastics. All of this in the presence of the foster carers. My partner and the foster carers are very close.
Social services, well one particular social worker, has 'visited' the foster carers since the Court hearing and told them in no uncertain terms that the telephone/ video calls are not to take place weekly and must be once per month. My partner is now not allowed to see her daughter at all outside of the planned contact sessions.
Social Services are using the recently made Court order as justification for this, however this order makes no reference to limited telephone calls with the daughter. It refers specifically to her other two children. Needless to say my partner and the foster carers are unhappy with this. The daughter has since had an emotional outburst in response. The social worker dismissed concerns by stating that 'those are the rules.'
Having been involved in the proceedings and having access to the case history through GDPR, I am more than concerned with this particular local authority. I have discovered the following:
- A previous social worker who was lead at the time of the granting of the care order, has been subject to disciplinary action by the Health and Social Care Professions Council and was accused of dishonesty and misconduct. Their actions have affected at least eight unnamed children and their families. Among the allegations, were incidences of fabrication of the wishes and feelings of a child. My partner had complained about this social worker and the time and her complaints were dismissed. Social services continue to use this person's statements and evidence in my partners case.
- A current social worker, involved the latest Court proceedings, accused my partner of 'dishonesty' in an assessment that they had prepared for Court. The Local Authority had failed to notify my partner of a hearing in July last year and this social worker claimed that my partner was lying and that they had evidence of this. In response to this, I obtained confirmation from the Local Authority complaints team that their own legal team had served notice on a former solicitor [despite knowing for over a year that they no longer represented my partner.] The former solicitor notified them and they failed to take steps to make my partner aware. The Local Authority was aware of this two months before the assessment. This social worker has therefore either failed to investigate properly or has flat out lied.
- To compound matters, this social worker failed to update my partners new address on the Local Authority RAISE system despite being told about this via text. We have the text messages to prove the knowledge. Needless to say, there was an attempt to use this against my partner through claims that she had failed to tell the social worker.
There are numerous other concerning incidents and I don't wish to rant. However, I believe there is a systematic campaign against my partner based on past events. The judge in the recent hearing dismissed the reliance on the past and commended and applauded my partner on the changes she has made to her life since the granting of the original order.
We are both deeply concerned with the actions of social services. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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