Discharging a full care order

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Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:31 am

Discharging a full care order

Postby suecbb » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:19 pm

My son has been in long term foster care since the order was made in March 2012. I have his older brother and younger sister (who was born during the proceedings) at home with me. SS said i wouldn't cope with the 3 of them at home. My older son's order finished in march 2013 and since then we have had no intervention from SS.
I know i won't qualify for legal aid as myself and my hubby both work, so how do i go about this....

Also I wanted to ask the SW for either visits for my son at home to either have tea or stay the night. whilst we prepare for the case. Is that possibly?

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

Re: Discharging a full care order

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:30 pm

Dear suecbb,

Welcome to the parents forum.

I see that you have one son in long term foster care under a care order since March 2012. You are having some contact with him.
Your older son is at home with you. (His order has finished). Your daughter is under no order. There is no children services involvement with your children who live at home. So there are no worries about your care of your children and no child protection concerns. You want to work towards your son coming home as well.

Why is this son in care while the other son is at home? Does this son have particular needs (for example, behavioural difficulties) that makes it very difficult to meet his needs?

What can you do to work towards your son returning home?

To successfully discharge a care order, you would need to show that there has been a "substantial" change in circumstances since the original order was made AND that it is in your son’s best interests to return home.

I know it might be difficult, but have a look at the written judgment of the court which will give the reasons for the care order being made. Are those risks still there or have they changed?

As your son is a “Looked after child” all decisions about his care (education, foster care placement, health and contact with family members will be made and reviewed at a looked after children’s review meeting (LAC review).

He will have an independent reviewing officer(IRO) allocated to him. His/her job is to manage your sons care plan (which you should have a copy) and make sure it is working.
Your son is entitled to an advocate to help him and should be consulted about the care plan.
You as a parent should also be fully involved in the review process. You should be consulted and be able to attend the LAC review meeting unless there are exceptional reasons why you are not allowed.

Our advice sheet Duties to children in the care system sets out the role of the independent reviewing officer and the review meeting.

Also look at re-unification of children home from the care system .

The way forward would be to:

• Let the social worker and independent reviewing officer know that you want your son to return home. Set out how you think this will work. If he has extra needs, how you think you can meet these. Do you have family and friends support you could call upon?
• Ask that the social worker carry out an assessment to see whether a return home is in the best interests of your son.
• This all should be done in writing. Email is sufficient.
• Part of a plan to return a child home from care would be an increase or change in contact –like you have suggested. Ask your contact to be assessed as well.

If children services agree to carry out an assessment, and the assessment is positive, then they should work towards your son returning home. At some point they can also apply to the court to discharge the care order.

If children services do not agree, then you will need to consider making an application to discharge the care order yourself.
At the same time you could ask the court to look at increased contact.
What is dads view? He will need to be served with the court application if you know where he lives.
The court will appoint a CAFCASS guardian (who could be the same one who was involved in the original care proceedings).

You say that you won’t get legal aid because you are working. However, it would still be worth you getting legal advice, if you can. Many solicitors will offer free initial advice or you could save up or ask your family for some funds.

What about speaking to the original solicitor who will know your case well?

You can also call our advice line for in depth advice on 0808 801 0366.

Please post back if you have any questions or comments or need further advice.

I don’t know whether any other posters can share their experiences as well?

Best wishes,


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Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Discharging a full care order

Postby suecbb » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:42 pm

My son who is a LAC does not have any special needs or challenging behaviour. He is just a normal 10yr old.

There has been significant change in the home whilst he has been gone. Basically they removed him on the grounds of emotional neglect, failing to take him to the gp/dentist or going to nursery, failing to thrive (put on weight) and me falling pregnant whilst the case was ongoing and the professionals said i wouldn't cope with the three children at home.

My oldest son is now at college a year early and thriving. My youngest has 15hrs of nursery a week and is thriving too. We did contact the LA around 18 months after the final hearing to be told that we should wait a little longer as not much has changed. But surely the fact that we have had no intervention from SS for 2.5yrs now, is itself a good sign.
Although we (my husband and myself) are invited to the LAC meetings, we can rarely make it as we don't drive and public transport is scarce to get the place where the meetings are held.

My son has asked for another contact to be held, so 2016 we get 7 x 3hrs with him. I feel the next step is for him to come to tea and then stay overnight so we can show them we can cope with all the children. Also my eldest son will hopefully be off to London come September 2016 for college for 2 yrs so there will only be my youngest (nearly 4) at home

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

Re: Discharging a full care order

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:05 pm

Dear suecbb

In addition to the previous post and just to comment on the post that you have made in response, I suggest that you try to attend LAC meetings and if you are unable to ensure you receive copies of the minutes. Also, if you are not able to attend you could make sure that anything you wish to comment on is provided to the meeting in writing.

If your son has asked for more contact then you should follow this up and to make sure that his wishes are taken into account. Also, please read Advice Sheet 11 regarding Children Services duties as this will give you more information about contact.

You could put you views regarding how contact could be increased and progressed in writing to the social worker and ask for a written response.

As stated in previous post do speak with the social worker about being assessed for your son to return and the care order discharged. Alternatively, if you feel strongly that there are no problems, then you could make an application to the court to discharge the order yourself.

I hope that you will get the increased contact and be able to move towards your son staying with you for contact. It seems from what you say that you will have adequate space for him and the previous difficulties that existed are no longer an issue especially as your have had no intervention from Children Services for quite some time now.

Best wishes


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