Thank you for responding with further information about your situation.
Having read what you have to say about the circumstances in which your children were removed from your care, you clearly had a very difficult and distressing time both in respect of your health and dealing with an abusive partner.
Whilst your mental health difficulties is not in itself be reason for removing your children, it appears that the domestic violence was ongoing and Children Services were concerned about the impact on your children emotional well being. Unfortunately, although you intervened as stated, removing your children from the situation sooner or seeking help to do so would be the expectation of Children Services.
It is not clear whether at the time you were receiving support or engaging with mental health services and this would have been a further concern.
As your mother has a Special Guardianship Order she is able to exercise her parental responsibility for the children over and above yours. In relation to the issue about your children’s religious upbringing have you tried to discuss this in a calm way with your mother? A conciliatory approach may be a better way of approaching the issue. A copy of our advice sheet about what Special Guardianship means for birth parents is here
for your information.
The children have now been living with your mother for five years and, whilst you could make an application to the court to discharge the Special Guardianship Order, the likelihood of success would not be high. You would need to show the court that the children are not being properly care for and that it would be better for them to be removed from your mother’s care.
Having a baby
You would like to have a baby with your new partner but worried about Children Services would do if you had a baby. This must be very difficult for you.
If you do become pregnant it is important that you tell Children Services and be open about it. If they find out otherwise, they may take the view that you are not being honest and open with them.
Children Services are not able to simply take your baby away. They cannot remove a child with the parent’s or other person with parental responsibility’s consent. This is what happened when you signed a s.20 agreement in respect of your older children. Children Services must have consent or a court order to remove a child. It is possible for Children Services to ask the police to remove a child where they consider the child to be risk of harm. A removal by the police (police protection) lasts for only 72 hours. If the child is not returned then there has to be agreement under s.20 or Children Services would have to apply to the court for an Emergency Protection Order or Interim Care Order to keep the child in foster care.
Should you inform Children Services of your pregnancy, then they would have to look at your situation now. They would carry out an assessment of you and your partner to decide if either or both of you can look after the baby. Children Services may decide to have a pre-birth planning meeting to decide what will happen after the birth and whether the baby would go home with your or other arrangements made. This could also be done in a Child Protection Conference.
No plans would be made in the very early stages of your pregnancy and this is when you would need to make sure that you attend all your antenatal appointments and engage with mental health services if you need to. Later into the pregnancy they would discuss what they intend to do with you and your partner.
You have been with your partner two years. Children Services would want to know more about him and his background and this would be part of any assessment they decide to do.
Please read our advice sheet on child protection procedures
for more information. You may also find it helpful to go to our website
and look at our interactive pages for parents where you will find answers to questions you have about having another baby. You may also find our frequently asked questions here
Should you wish to speak to one of our Advisers you are can telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30 a.m.to 3.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
I hope you will find this information helpful.