Urgent Help & Advise

Mummy5
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:55 pm

Urgent Help & Advise

Postby Mummy5 » Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:23 pm

This is my first time on any parenting forum and although I find it extremely difficult to talk to others about the situation I am in currently I really need some advise.

My partner and I currently have a 11 month daughter who is currently being cared for by a foster family. She was accommodated under a section 20 until last month when the court decided that she would be placed for adoption as we had no family to care for her at the time. However within day of the final hearing a family member came forward to be accessed to have our daughter.

We are doing all we can to keep our daughter within her birth family and so I am fully supporting family in attempting to get a special guardianship order. I however have some big questions about these orders.

Once a person has an SGO is it possible in future for the birth parents to have their child returned to their care should they prove change of circumstance to the LA or court or it is something that is fixed?

I would really appreciate any advise you guys could give as at present we have huge decisions to make and I don't feel fully informed and can't approach my daughters SW regarding these questions.

Minnie
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:02 am

Re: Urgent Help & Advise

Postby Minnie » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:55 am

Hi

My daughters are accommodated under section 20, that's moved very quickly into court and the decision to put her for adoption. The sgo is a family member looking after your daughter on a long term basis and has parental responsibility. It usually more permanent than a child arrangement order or a family member fostering your daughter. It's harder to get it reversed than other orders but not impossible. My sister is been assessed for this if this is required. The LA have issued care proceedings with myself and my girls. I'm only 3 weeks into what I'm told is a 26 week process. The local authority want me receive training and further assessments to take place.
They appear not to have given you a chance to sort out whatever the concerns are.
Hope it helps

Mummy5
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:55 pm

Re: Urgent Help & Advise

Postby Mummy5 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:08 pm

Thanks for your reply and info Minnie it's much appreciated. I'm real empathise with what you're going through because for us it's been a very emotional and difficult process up to now.

Apologies in advance for the long post I've written!

We agreed to a section 20 at the time our daughter was born when still in special care in hospital (as she a premmie baby). She went out from hospital straight to a foster carer and we had contact 4 times a week on the agreement that I saw a psychologist appointed by the LA for a review on my mental health.

After I read the psychologists report I was extremely upset as he only saw me for an hour and made judgements on me (stating he diagnosed me with a mental health condition) which was very rash and unfair given the amount of time he spent seeing me. I have been seen by numerous other psychologists whom have confirmed I do not have a mental health condition but I do need to learn coping mechanisms.

The LA psychologist said that I'm "not ready for therapy" and until I was ready and completed it I can't be helped but suggested we have family therapy which would hopefully make me ready for the individual therapy I need. Again i strongly disagree with him saying I wasn't ready for therapy as I was the one who went to them looking for help.
At that point the LA issues care proceedings.

There was a 2 year waiting list for family therapy so we ended up having to pay several hundreds paying for this ourselves and completed this successfully.
i took the report from the LA pyschologist to my dr and asked gp to refer me to The mental health professionals to do whatever needed to be done to get our baby home. I was assessed by the nhs psychologists over the course of 4 months and they asked for a meeting between them and the SW so they were clear on what issues the LA wanted to address. The meeting was booked numerous occasions but the SW never turned up even though the meeting was imperative before any therapy could begin.

Eventually after masses of calls and letter to the LA by us and my solicitors the SW agreed to talk on the phone to the mental health professionals some 3 and a half months after they failed to meet with them but by this time it was too late as the final hearing was so near and we had Christmas and new year holidays. Because of this delay with SW meeting the drs it meant that the drs didn't have time to issue the reports to court stating their finding after they assessed me and believe no mental health condition was present. Without this evidence the court relied upon the LA psychologists report.

The SW wrote in her assessment that we have no family support etc which is absolute rubbish and it wasnt until after the placement order was made family called LA and also saw a solicitor to apply for a SGO. They've agreed now to assess family as of last week but haven't explained much about the full implications if our family succeeds in getting this order. As we now have evidence from mental health professionals in our favour and circumstances have changed I am hoping that we can get the SGO for our family and then once a period of time has passed I can then show that the changes I have made I can and have sustained. I don't know if there is an amount of time where you can't get the SGO after its been put in place etc. does anybody have any ideas?

If our family gets a SGO how regularly is contact usually? Or is it on a case by case basis?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2013
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Urgent Help & Advise

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:07 pm

Dear Mummy

Welcome to the Parents Forum. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am glad that a family member has come forward and that the placement order is being overturned.

Special guardianship orders

I think Minnie has summed up very well what special guardianship orders means.
Here is some more information in our advice sheet about special guardianship orders.

You would also keep parental responsibility for your daughter although your sister, as special guardian gets enhanced parental responsibility. This means she can make nearly all of the decisions about your daughter such as health and schooling without needing to speak to you first. If you disagreed then you would have the opportunity to seek an order from the court.

However, you would only be able to revoke the order, if you can successfully seek leave (or permission) of the court to make an application.
You would need to show a substantial change in circumstances since the order was made and that it was in your daughter’s best interests to revoke the order as well.

When the family member seeks the special guardianship order, you will also be a party to the court proceedings. The court will want to consider the level of contact that you will have with your daughter. Are you still having contact with her at the moment?

I was sorry to read about what happened in relation to the medical evidence during the court proceedings. I am not sure why the medical evidence was not allowed. Have you discussed whether there had been anything you could do about this with your solicitor?
Did the judge address his reasons for not allowing it in his judgment?

It is also very worrying that children services did not fully assess your family support.

The good thing now is that you are back on track to get support and treatment for your health condition. If your health improves, there will be positive changes that will allow you to have better contact with your daughter, for example.

It is good to hear good news on the Parents Forum. If you have any questions, please post back.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Mummy5
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:55 pm

Re: Urgent Help & Advise

Postby Mummy5 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:35 pm

Thanks Suzie your reply was really helpful.

The reason the medical evidence wasn't used in court is because the court ordered my treating consultants to file their findings by a certain date. This couldn't be done due to the delays the LA caused by not going to the arranged meetings with the treating consultant until 4 months after the treated consultant first set up a meeting with them and they didn't turn up.

The 26 weeks deadline was 27th January but the guardian was fully booked a for each of the 3 weeks leading up to this date and so the court scheduled final hearing for 4th January instead. My consultant was due to see me on the 25th January to finalise their assessment and report as the consultant had to leave a period of 8 weeks from when he first saw me in November to see the full picture of my health. Like I said that would've been find if LA turned up to the meetings made with consultants months before but they didn't which meant my consultant couldn't file evidence.

The court wouldn't allow any more time due to our daughters age and so we feel like we've been treated really unfairly by LA. I went on 2 mental health courses off my own back which I arranged my self as LA didn't give me any support or things to do to help improve the situation, and paid lots for family therapy privately as well. All contact recordings were very positive as well.

We was having contact 4 times a week for 2 hours. It's now been reduced due to the placement order but we're still seeing her but only one a month which is heart breaking. We're so lucky our baby's foster carer is so amazing with our daughter and we have a great relationship so she regularly texts me updates etc but it's just so hard trying to keep strong. My partners given up on having our daughter even in the family and won't even talk about her anymore as it's hurting him so much.

We feel that if we had the support from LA things would never have gone this way but the reality is that it has happened and we just want our daughter with family and then eventually try and get her home with us. Is revoke meant of SGO something we would have to fund or would legal aid fund this?

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2013
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Urgent Help & Advise

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:41 pm

Hi mummy

You wouldn't automatically be entitled to legal aid to apply to revoke an SGO order. Whether you are able to get this will very much depend on your circumstances at the time.

For now, my advice is to focus on supporting your sister's application for an SGO and continue to address your own health needs so that you are in the best possible position to increase your involvement in your daughter's life if and when the time is right.

Keep us updated how things are going.

Take care.

Suzie


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