Urgent Advice

warthhog123
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:07 pm

Urgent Advice

Postby warthhog123 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:59 pm

I posted some time ago with regards to social services wanting a placement order.

It was decided on 13th Dec that special guardianship order was not going ahead as the family member couldnt safeguard my child from the father.
We had lac review meeting on 5th Feb and it was said that social care had decision maker meeting on 12th feb and there decision would be known within 5 days. They said once decision maker had agreed that they would be applying to court for placement order which they said they are guaranteed.
I have heard nothing and was wondering if anyone knows if i have a right to know what decision maker said??? Its now been 4 weeks since lac review and no one has been in touch, my son will have been in care a year in 3 weeks and will have had full care order for 6 months yet we are still no further on with decision. Any advise grateful. ive tried to contact social worker and heard nothing.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Urgent Advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:04 pm

Dear warthhog,

I am glad that you have come back to the parents forum for advice. I hope I can help you but if you have any other questions please post back again.

What should the agency decision maker do?
Yes the agency decision maker should have notified you of whether children services are going ahead with the plan for adoption. You should have been told either by telephone or in person within 2 working days of the decision being made.
You should have then received written notification of the decision within 5 days.
Please have a look at the bottom of pages 12 and onwards of our advice sheet about Adoption. This sets out the process that should have been followed. I am concerned that you have not been notified.

Have you still got your solicitor acting for you? They could write to the legal department and ask for a copy of the letter.
Do you have a social worker (separate from your baby’s social worker) to support you with the adoption process? You should have been allocated one. Ask him/her to get a copy of the letter as soon as possible.
Or speak to the independent reviewing officer or the agency decision maker himself.

This letter is particularly important as it sets out key information and reports that have been considered, who has been consulted (such as medical advisers), what are the arguments for adoption and what are the arguments against adoption. It will also set out the agency decision makers reasons for making a decision.

It is really important that your solicitor sees a copy of this letter. If the agency decision maker has not considered all the relevant information then it might be possible for you to challenge their decision at court when children services are applying for a placement order.

I know I have given you a lot of information and if you are not sure about anything please post back.
Or alternatively please call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.
You could also contact After Adoption who also give advice and support to parents.
Best wishes,
Suzie

warthhog123
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:07 pm

Re: Urgent Advice

Postby warthhog123 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:39 pm

Thanks for your post i am very concerned now as i have had no letters or telephone call with regards to the decision makers decision and i have not heard anything from social worker since 5th feb. i have tried but only get voice mail. The social worker did not state i would be notified only that i would get served court papers in due course.

I have been told by legal team that i have to represent myself in court as im not eligible for funding.
I have got updated statements from therapist and domestic abuse and my partner all very positive to submit to court as IRO know i am contesting the placement order.

I have not been offered a key worker, however social worker said they could refer me to after adoption, but i declined as i thought this was a little previous as they havent got placement order yet!

I am seriously worried that i am been kept in the dark, how can i contest and be ready for court when im unsure as to what they are basing the adoption on.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Urgent Advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:15 pm

Dear warthhog,

I think my post may have worried you unnecessarily. I am sorry for this. However, don’t worry; it should be easy to find out what has happened to the letter. Has it not been sent? Or did the agency decision maker change the date about when s/he will consider the issue of adoption -so that no decision has yet been made? Even so, you should have been kept informed about what is happening.

• I suggest you phone then email the social workers manager and copy the IRO into your email: Explain that you have not heard from the agency decision maker. Or you could contact the IRO directly.
• Say that you have tried to get this information from the social worker.
• Ask that they find out about the decision and can you get a copy of the letter as soon as possible.
• You want them to verbally explain it to you.
• You are entitled to it.
• Give them a time limit. Can they sort it out within 5 working days?
After 5 working days-if you have not heard-send your email to the director or head of children services. Keep copies of your correspondence.

In respect of After Adoption the name is confusing-as they also offer support to birth parents before adoption-they will be experts about the process and support available. If you wanted-you could always ask for that referral to them by your social worker-you could find out what is available first by looking at their website or calling their helpline anonymously.

I am glad that you have got positive reports-to help you in court. You could show them to your solicitor to see whether this would help towards getting legal aid. Although, because the court decided on a care order very recently, these may not be sufficient at this stage to persuade legal services commission to grant legal aid.
I hope this post helps but please post again if you have any questions at all. You could also speak to an adviser on our advice line. It is open between 9:30 and 15:30 Monday to Friday.
Best wishes,
Suzie

warthhog123
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:07 pm

Re: Urgent Advice

Postby warthhog123 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:50 pm

Thank you for your reply

I have left message for social worker who is not back at work until monday. I have rang IRO twice and sent email, but they are on training course.

I just think this is bad practise as i have no knowledge as to whether the dates have been changed or i simply have not been informed. sadly csc dont tend to keep me inform and this has been apparent throughout this case.
You mention about a separate key worker from social worker is this after adoption??? should i receive this before or after placement order???
You mention about director of children's social care i have no numbers or e mails for them, throughout i have only had family support worker number and social workers number, but they are never available.
My positive report from my therapist has been sent to what was my barrister and they said they would be in touch if they felt it changed anything however they say very unlikely as full care order has only been in place 6 months.

Would you happen to know that if the placement order is granted, and my child is set to remain in foster care for further 6 months before been placed with adoptive parents if i can still further down the line prove change in circumstances??
I had wanted to go to court and ask for contact order after placement made as they say i will not have any more contact once placement granted,as they are saying its not common pratice for parents to see their children once order in place. I find this very difficult as my life continues to change for the better, i will have been in therapy over 6 months, i have not spoken to risk ie father of my child for 1 year, also in new non domestic abusive relationship for 8 months, i have done all they asked, yet feel like im not been given the chance.

Social care know all this but clearly have stated that no matter what changes i have made they will not move from their position.
I remain only supported professionally by my weekly therapy sessions but that is it.
thank you for your time and will reply when someone responds to a mother that is clearly looking out for the welfare of her child.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Urgent Advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:08 pm

Hi Warthhog,

I will run through and answer the questions you have raised.

In respect of the worker to support you around the adoption process-you are entitled to a worker from when the children services started planning for adoption-ie some time ago. The social worker had said to you, that she could refer you to After Adoption (a lot of local authorities will buy in this kind of support from organisations like After Adoption.). It is certainly not too late to get this support-do not wait –think about whether you want to ask your social worker to make the referral. This is support for you as birth Mum and the law says you are entitled to it.

You should be able to get the director or service manager’s telephone number or email from your local authority’s main switchboard.

Contact with your son
If a placement order was granted you ask about contact between you and your son. You say that the local authority has decided that contact will then stop. Please have a look at the advice sheet about open adoption pages 5 and 6. : open adoption

The local authority is no longer under a “duty” to promote contact between you and your son after a placement order has been made. However, arrangements for contact can be made if it “promotes your child’s future welfare”. So it is not good enough for them to say-that it is not common practice.
We recommend that you consider how it could be in your child’s welfare for contact to continue. You could discuss this with After Adoption. You can then ensure that the local authority know s your position about contact.
Also the court will look at any arrangements for contact that are being considered and will ask for your comments and the local authority s comments.
You have a right to apply for a contact order during a placement order. You could apply for a contact order when the court considers a placement order. They will make their decision by looking at the welfare principle (see page 8 of the advice sheet). Ask your solicitors whether they could apply for legal aid in respect of a contact application. On the making of an adoption order - any contact order during placement will stop.
Again, at an adoption hearing- (prospective adopters can apply once a child has been placed with them for 10 weeks) you as birth parent will have a right to apply for a contact order during the adoption. However, unless adopters agree-then it is very unlikely that a court will order contact. Please see page 9.
I have referred a lot to the open adoption advice sheet. Please read through this. In particular have a look at page 10 section B-which is about the help that may be available around contact with your son.
The law is complex in this area -so please post back if you need to or telephone our advice line for help.
Best wishes,
Suzie

warthhog123
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:07 pm

Re: Urgent Advice

Postby warthhog123 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:19 pm

Thank you

IRO rang yesterday and said sorry that no one had kept me informed with any information, he said that social worker would be in touch.

Social worker rang to say decision maker meeting had changed and was on the 19th feb she said they agree to the adoption. I asked for the report and she said she had only had brief e mail confirming their decision not the report. She said she would be in touch early next week hopefully with a court date. She didnt seem to want to send report, but said she would try and chase it up.

Apparently court is now just a formality and the placement order would be granted. I find this extremely difficult as i have no real legal support as im not eligible for funding, I have statements from therapist, domestic abuse and partner and yet no one is interested in them, as social services say there position will not change.

I will speak with social worker next week and ask for referal for after adoption as i have no professional support other than therapy.
Thank you for your replies

ange301126
Posts: 536
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Urgent Advice

Postby ange301126 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:18 pm

dear warthhog, In my case the placement order for my son to be adopted was made just TWO MONTHS after the final care order was issued and I believe it should be done a.s.a.p. Clearly if a child is to be adopted time is of the essence. Incidentally ,I did receive legal funding without a problem so why you can't I don't know. Possibly the purse strings have been tightened.
Warthhog,I have read recently that the adoption system is breaking down and fewer and fewer children are finding adoptive parents. In my case, I was advised by my barrister that if the child was not found a placement within 6 to 8 months then I would be able to apply to have the placement order removed which I did after about 12 months.( My solicitor that although I could make an application theoretically after six , in practice, it was twelve months).If after over six months already ,they haven't even applied for the placement order and carried out the relevant work with you then ,once again, a dysfunctional Children's Services Department appears to be neglecting the interests of your baby by anyone's standards. She probably remains with a foster-carer and will be better off with you. Why not try and get a better solicitor and ask for advice about getting the care order discharged.You have done all they wanted you to do.If you don't do something quickly for your child this unsatisfactory situation will go on and on to the child's detriment. Never let it go as children often get lost and mistreated in the care system.My barrister advised me that Judges are more favourable towards those parents who remain involved after a number of months. Those who just forget them and go on with their own lives are more likely to be bad parents anyway.Good luck,keep in touch.

warthhog123
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:07 pm

Re: Urgent Advice

Postby warthhog123 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:41 pm

To All
Update Spoken with social worker again today, I am not allowed the decision makers report as it is confidential. I will receive the reasons why they have gone for adoption and my it has been approved as a court document before court.

I expressed would they not be taking in to account the changes i have made to be simply told that i cant meet the time frame for my son. As stated in psychological assessment stated 1/2 years of therapeutic input so social worker is stating that i simply cant meet the dead lines of that report. even though my new report says i can!!!

She said i will be given an over view of the report listing the reasons but it will be court document and so far legal on their side have not yet 3 weeks after decision makers report yet formed the document to be filed for court.
She says there isn't anything i can do as its all about the time scale!!!!!!!!!!! they have been saying they are getting placement order now since 13Th December its now March and my son has been in one foster placement for 9 months and in new foster placement 3 months how is that meeting my sons time frame exactly???

So having never spoken to ex for a year, been abuse free for over year and been in therapy for 6 months and still doing everything they say, they are now saying it wouldn't have made any difference. Is this justice.
I am told they are going for adoption largely based on what happened then and not where i am now.
My new partner and myself have been together for 8 months and he has children we have offered to move away despite what difficulties this would mean for our other children yet they will not move from their decision.
Is there any wonder im in complete despair the longer this goes on the more my child suffers!!!

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Urgent Advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:49 pm

Dear Warthhog,
Thank you for your update. I am really sorry for all the distress that this process is causing you. I agree-things are taking their time. However, you are still involved and doing all you can-I think that does help –also you still have parental responsibility for your child –so you should be consulted and kept informed at every step.
In respect of the process that should be followed by the Agency Decision Maker –I can see that the timescales for notifying you have not been followed-However, when you do get the reasons for the decision from the Agency Decision Maker- these should follow adoption guidance. Look at our advice sheet on adoption-page 13 (also look at chapter 1 paragraph 53 Adoption Guidance here adoption guidance ).
For example, did the Agency Decision Maker consider the new information about your circumstances-any new expert reports, your changed circumstances etc-when coming to the decision to pursue adoption?
I know that Ange has also suggested seeking advice from different solicitors-have you considered this? I do know you have given your barrister the new reports-what advice has been given to you? Is there enough there to apply for legal aid.
You can get information about solicitors in your area here law society .You can, if you want, call our advice line which is free and confidential (you can remain anonymous). Or the adoption charity After Adoption-I have mentioned them before-they have a lot of information about the adoption process.

Best wishes,
Suzie


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