Page 1 of 1

Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:04 pm
by charmed1
We finished the final hearing just before Christmas with the following result. Time limited search for adopters. 3 month search for adopters including nationwide search. Review after 3 months to include search for long term foster carers. If no adopters found after this time LA have to return to court to revoke placement order. Direct contact with birth parents twice a year, indirect contact for birthdays twice a year. Indirect contact once a year for Christmas presents. Twice a year direct contact with half siblings who reside with their Dad. Judge stated that if prospective adopters do not agree with direct contact with birth family they are not suitable for the children. We now have an agonising 6 month wait to see if a letter drops on the mat stating they have a match. Considering our daughter is 6 and son nearly 4.5. Our daughter has complex special needs and the genetic chromosome tests are still outstanding. Include in the mix direct and indirect contact we are hoping that they time out on their search.

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:24 am
by ange301126
dear charmed, I am sorry to hear what happened. My opinion is that your lawyers,like many others did not have a good grasp of issues and cannot be trusted.You were not given any procedural protection in the case.I believe you have about 28 days to appeal the court decision .Whether failures of procedure will be accepted as good reason for appeal,I know not, but I suggest you send written notice to your solicitor that you wish to appeal. Then tell him or her of all the failures. One of them would seem to be that it has not been established clearly by the Court who is responsible for any harm to your children.If it happened whilst in the care of others such as school or in social work care then the threshhold criteria for removal would not be made out. I am no lawyer,though,and you can only rely on your real lawyers to want to help you with an appeal.

Please note that when this happened to us,afterwards our barrister told me she thought it highly unlikely my son, (who had just turned five when the placement order was issued and had been diagnosed on the autistic spectrum) was highly unlikely to receive an offer of adoption. She would have staked money on it and she was correct in the event. My children are now in long-term foster care but this can be just as bad when dealing with a department which does not have their paramount interests at heart. They have refused any discussions as to rehabilitation and regard it as permanent foster-care. They have even made plans ( over our heads of course) when the care -orders become null at the age of 18 to keep them in care for life.

At this time in your life, it will not help for me to go on about technicalities etc. but keep in touch with the forum in the New Year. KEEP WARTHHOGS CASE IN MIND AND DON'T DESPAIR!

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:13 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear charmed1

I am sorry the decision of the final hearing was not what you had hoped for.

However, it is important to remain cautiously optimistic on the basis that the court expect Children's Services to ensure care proceedings are completed within twenty six weeks timescales. This allows for key decisions about permanent arrangements for children to be made without any unecessary delay.

In your own case, the court has granted a placement order, which gives the Local Authority permission to identify and place your children with an adoptive family. That said, it has instructed the social work team engage in a robust family finding process to seek adoptive (or foster carers as soon as possible).

In the event they fail to do this, the court will expect an explanation for why this has not happened, and under new statutory legislation and guidance, there are plans to 'name and shame' or penalise offenders, as required.

With the festive holiday period in mind, and limited staff cover, it means that time is possibly on your and not the Local Authority's side to find a suitable adoptive family during this time. Therefore it becomes especially important for you to do everything you can to maximise your chances of obtaining a positive outcome, continue to engage with professionals and keep in close contact with your solicitor.

Try to ensure that any contact you do have remains child focussed and as good quality, as it can be. As Ange correctly says, remember the successes in Warthog’s situation and most importantly of all, attempt as far as possible, to remain positive.

Finally, please keep us updated about any developments in the New Year.

Best Wishes


Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:31 pm
by charmed1
Thank you Ange and Suzie for your replies. I am focused on what we have to do that is something. I was in shock over Christmas and neither my husband or I have heard from our solicitors. Can anyone tell me the level of help a solicitor can give now the care proceedings are closed and legal aid ended? I am keeping a diary of contacts and emails from social services. Should I forward these as I go or keep them until such time as it returns to court?
Ange, can I ask how long the local authority were given to find adopters for your little one before the care plan was changed to long term foster care?
We are seeing the children tomorrow for an hour which has been brought forward from next week. Though it is being reduced from twice a week before the final hearing to once a week, then once a fortnight, down to once a month from end of march until placement. Thank you in advance.

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:52 pm
by ange301126
dear charmed, no time limits were laid down by the judge in our case but when questioned by our barrister and told we intended to apply in due course for discharge of the placement order , the Judge remarked that she thought 6 to 8 months was reasonable.However, due to solicitors failing to reply to us etc.etc. it was over twelve months before we could set an application in motion and over two years before we had the order discharged.That meant our child had been in a residential care home with various transient ( predominantly male) carers for almost three years altogether.He developed epilepsy, behavioural difficulties and had to have brain surgery. Prior to being looked-after he had been a relatively normal child. Had we not acted eventually he would probably still be trapped in the home now because the CS would have been happy to let it go on.He was in with four teenagers with their own difficulties, one of whom was downs syndrome and violent to our son. Of course, after six to eight months when we brought the matter up at a LAC review we were ignored . Having ignored our requests for months and months , the CS refused to consider fresh evidence,changes we had made etc. and refused point blank to discuss rehabilitation.
As they have apparently decided on long-term foster care for your children in the event of no adoptive placement becoming available this is probably what they have in mind for you. Under the Children's Act, CS are supposed to consider the best interests of a child and have a duty to consider rehabilitation, fresh evidence and changes to the circumstances of a case even when a full-care order is in place. In many cases the department just ignores that requirement.

When we went to a new solicitor ( our original one would not answer our enquiries despite them holding a legal funding certificate in our favour) we were told that although theoretically we could make an application after six months ,in practice we were unable to get legal funding until 12 months had gone by. If you face the same problem point out that the Judge set limits and you might be able to act earlier than us.

charmed, you will probably get a new social worker now. If he or she is a member of what they call the Permanence Team as far as their plans are concerned it means what it says. They did not involve us in the care -plans or explain them to us at all. Consequently we had no idea that long-term foster care actually to them means permanent foster care thus we calculated that rather than appeal to a higher court , we would have more chance if we accepted the decision and worked with social workers and the care-order towards rehabilitation. Be warned although you might think it is the purpose of foster-care for children to be looked after until their natural parents are judged able to have them back home this is not what it means at all. In our experience you will be given no chance. If you feel correct procedure has not been followed, you should act in the paramount interests of your children and consider an appeal on those grounds quickly. Otherwise you will be in the same boat as we are.Out-of-time.

Frankly,I believe your so-called key social worker revealed her incompetence to everyone when she said she had no idea what your solicitor was talking about when the genetic evidence was mentioned. Because she would not investigate and wait for an expert report, her own evidence that the rash was caused by emotional neglect caused by you was UNLAWFUL.

However keep your chin up,keep in touch with the forum and ,if necessary contact the helpline.
Please note and be warned. After the final hearing, in our case, I wrote to the key social worker expressing our wish to accept the court decision and the desire to work with the department and cooperate with it fully. I asked for a full list of all rules we should follow. I received no letter or reply whatsoever. When we did get to court again , they gave the unlawful evidence to the Judge that we refused to accept the court findings , would not acknowledge any concerns and would not change.THEY WILL NEVER LET UP so do not rely on them ever cooperating with you.They will not.unless you get someone powerful on your side.Even if you offer to show them medical (genetic) evidence when you get it they are unlikely even to read it now.

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:37 pm
by charmed1
Hi everyone. A quick update. We had the LAC review this morning. Children's social worker was on fine form as usual. Having to be spoon fed what she should be doing by the reviewing officer. I had written a long letter and report in advance and he (the IRO) identified key issues which was good and was also going to speak with the social worker separately about our concerns after the meeting. Mostly to do with poor communication. Our daughter's tests came back with no genetic abnormality so that's that I guess. A lot of talk about their adoption care plan which incidentally as I type can not be moved forward as we have no "sealed" orders. Squabbling over wording in the order because of recent appeal court judgement Re A (Children) [2013] EWCA 1611 which was not known at the time of our final hearing. similar "attachments" to those the Judge imposed on the Local Authority in our case was challenged in the case above and the placement order revoked. So at the moment there is no final order. We chose to leave the permanency/family finding discussion until after we had left and wait for the minutes. We could not believe that the professionals are in disagreement about the level of disability our daughter has (teacher vs social worker). Social worker choosing to gloss over our daughter's needs in order to secure an adoptive placement no doubt! Life work being discussed again. Heart wrenching having to dig up photos of the children. The worse thing of all to hear how distressed both our kids are in care. We hardly see them now. Down to once a fortnight. Our youngest (son aged 4) is holding it all inside and refusing to cry now. He also asks about contact and has it left open as it will be ten days away and though he's very bright will have very little concept of time. Our daughter becoming very distressed and having a learning disability and not fully understanding the changes and not seeing Mummy and Daddy as much on top of everything else. My heart is breaking right now :cry:

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:47 pm
by ange301126
dear charmed, it is great the placement order has been revoked. Things are going in the right direction.

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:07 pm
by charmed1
Hi sorry no our placement order hasn't been revoked though we are still hoping it will be as was the case in Re A. Over a week after the judge wanted submissions and three long days since she was reported as being "fed up" and going to make her decision, the judge has yet to finalise the placement order! My solicitor was sure she wasn't going to revoke it but there is still a chance as more time goes by.

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:33 pm
by kaykay10
Last year febuary 2015 I took my son in2 school as normal he has no marks and bruises on him, when I went 2 pick him up frm school I was took in2 the head teachers office n was held there until 2 social workers came n they told me tht my son got a bruise on each arm and tht the school was blaming me 4 this. i was questioned by the social workers on how my son got these bruises n my honest reply was, he didn't have these when he came in2 school this morning he was clear so how can i give u an explaintion on how he got them when i dnt knw myself.
Both my son n i was excorted up2 r local hospital where my son was examined by the doctor on childrens ward n he asked me on how my son sustained these injuries, my reply was same as i told the social workers, he didn't have them when he came in2 school so how can i explaine on how he got the bruises when i dnt knw myself, so the doctor said to me, well i dnt believe you n yr son is not safe to go home with u. While at hospital my son said 2 the social worker my mummy not hurt me n social worker said 2 him, yes she did yes n my son said no, social worker was putting words in2 my son mouth.
The social workers took my son tht night without a court order but the forsed me 2 sign a section 20 which i did not want 2 sign as they threatened me tht if i didn't sign it i will b arrested b the local police.
Few days later a police officer came 2 see me at my home address n said tht we need 2 question you in what happened 2 your son u can come dwn 2 police station on your own accord this was fine. i answered all the question truthfully n no futher action against me.
By this time the social worker still didn't believe me n made so many lies about me saying tht i suffer really bad from mental health,learning problems n tht my home was a mess this is not true. the social worker applied 2 S*** family court 4 a intrim order n got it then on the 24th august 2015 i has my final hearing that my son would be adopted and that they have 12 months 2 find him a placement order, i have fought my hardest,done my best 4 my son n told the truth. ive have done everything what they asked me 2 do n it wasn't good enough. im such a mess what can i do please

Re: Time limited search for adopters

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:30 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear kaykay10,

Welcome to the parents forum. Thank you for sharing what has happened.

I can see that you feel that the whole process has been very unfair. That even though the police did not have enough evidence to prosecute you, you still lost your son into care.
Do you have a copy of the written court judgment? This would explain the reasons why the court decided that a care order and placement order should be made. Has your solicitor considered whether there are any grounds of appeal?

Placement orders
A placement order gives children services the authority to place your son with adopters who can then apply for an adoption order.
I can see that the court gave 12 months in which to find adopters.

Have Adopters been found? If so, you might want to contact the birth ties helpline at After Adoption for support.

If they do not find adopters by August 2016, does the care plan say that children services will look for long term foster carers for your son instead of adoption?

What happens if adopters are not found for your son?

If the adoption does not go ahead, then I would expect children services to revoke the placement order at court and a care order (what was originally there) be put back in place.
This means that children services and you as Mum would share parental responsibility for your son and you should be consulted about his care plan regularly at review meetings.

Can you tell me what is the current legal position so I can advise you further?

Best wishes,