s20 court proceedings

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tzb
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue May 21, 2019 12:50 pm

s20 court proceedings

Post by tzb » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:27 pm

HELP.... I'm looking for advice on court proceedings. I signed an s20. because my step mum is an alcoholic and she gets violent one day she was hitting me and my son and I had enough so I hit her back. I didn't want my son witnessing that behaviour. she called the social workers and said I assaulted her and I need my son taken off me. next thing I know the social worker is at the door saying I need to sign an s20 to ensure my son's safety. she said it was only temp and I will be getting him back in a week or so. I signed it because I thought it would be the best place for him plus concerns were raised about my depression getting worse after the incident. about 20 mins later the police turned up and arrested me. I was in bits and could hardly talk to them. when I eventually told them that it was self-defence they let me go and I wasn't charged. since then I have tried my best through all the court proceedings. I have moved out with my boyfriend. we failed the parent assessment but the only thing they were worried about is because me and my boyfriend have been together for nearly a year now and the relationship is 'new'. I find it stupid that this is what they are worried about. the court has been ongoing for 10 months and I have addressed every problem with my mental health taking antidepressants and on the waiting list for counselling. I have done EVERYTHING I can. we have a room decorated for him and everything they found no problems with the house or my boyfriend but they are picking at little things. it's coming up to the final hearing and I have to write a statement. I don't know what to put in it? and I'm nervous for the final court date because the social worker and the guardian both think he should be adopted... I really need some advice on what I can do. I've got 3 weeks left to prove to them how much I love him and he belongs with me. any advice will be very helpful...

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2632
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: s20 court proceedings

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:47 pm

Dear tzb

Welcome to the parents discussion board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie and I am FRG’s online adviser. I am really sorry we have not responded to your query sooner. I can see from the information that you have provided that the final hearing in the care proceedings about your little boy was to take place in three weeks so it may already have happened by now.

It sounds as if you had a very difficult home life with your step-mother and which your son witnessed. I think you may be a young parent and if so this specialist young parents part of our website might be most useful to you. The incident you describe lead to your son being removed from your care, initially with your agreement under a section 20 voluntary arrangement which you agreed to on a temporary basis. I think that later on the court may have made an interim care order and you are now coming to (or have reached) the end of the court process.

You have described very well all the positive steps you have taken to get support for yourself and to cooperate with the different processes and assessments, including a parenting assessment which unfortunately was not positive. I hope you have had a chance to discuss the outcome of the assessment and the work that you have done to improve your mental health with your solicitor; they will support you in putting all of this across in your statement. They can also help you challenge any errors. The court will take account of all that you have done and your love for your son. But the court will have to decide, if they believe that your son was harmed, whether they need to make a court order to protect him, if despite your best efforts you are not able to provide the care he needs.

You are very worried at the possibility that your son may be adopted. This is one of the orders that the court could make in the future. If they were agreeing a plan for adoption the court would have to make a placement order first. Have family members been assessed to see if they can care for your son, if the court decides that you are not able to? I hope this has been fully explored with you and that there may be a relative who could successfully do this.

As the final hearing may have already happened the most important thing for now may be to discuss with your solicitor what the court decided, what order it made and if the decision was not in your favour then to check if there are any legal grounds to challenge or appeal this decision. Also to continue to have contact with your son if that is in place.

Whatever the outcome you are welcome to post back with an update and any new queries so that we could try to offer more specific advice to you or please do call our Freephone advice line on 0808 801 0366 Mon- Fri 9.30 – 3.00 to discuss with an adviser.

In the meantime, here are some links to information about care proceedings that might help you and our advice sheets on contact with children in care, duties on children’s services when children are in the care system , and adoption: what does it mean for birth parents?

With best wishes

Suzie

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