Contact within SGO .. help please

Js1965
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:18 pm

Contact within SGO .. help please

Postby Js1965 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:05 pm

Hi
My children were both taken from me in 2015 under an SGO. They were prior to that in foster care. My eldest daughter who is now 16 has refused to see me for several years now. Within the order the special guardian is supposed to be encouraging contact and I know for a fact she is not doing so. Also there is a contact order stating that contact should be six times a year. I only saw my youngest daughter twice last year. I am now being told that for the time being they are stopping the contact as she gets upset after every contact and regresseshe. The special guardian appears to be putting words into my daughters mouth and I suspect her wishes and feelings are not being heard. She is 11 with mild learning difficulties. I have been to see a solicitor and discovered that legal aid no longer exists. He advised it would cost thousands to go to court. Thousands of pounds i do not have. There is a clause in the contact order which says that " the guardians may in the longer term have discretion to amend contact arrangements and levels in line with evolving circumstances".
Help me please I am desperate to keep the contact going. Is there anything I can do to fight this? Thanks in advance

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2020
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Contact within SGO .. help please

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:26 pm

Dear Js1965

Welcome to the parents’ discussion forum and thank you for your post.

I am sorry that you have been having difficulties having contact with your children. Hopefully, you will be able, in time, to restore your relationship with your 16 year old daughter. Regarding your 11 year old daughter, if there is an order in place and the special guardian is not adhering to the terms of the order you can take the matter back to court to enforce it.

The special guardian is bound by what the order states and if he or she wishes to stop or change contact as stated in the order then they should apply to the court for a variation of the terms of the order. Although the order provides for arrangements to be changed it does not mean that there should be no contact at all.

Do read our advice sheet about Special Guardianship: what does it mean for birth parents? which explains more.

It is true that legal aid is not available now for private law applications but the courts are now quite used to parents acting for themselves without a solicitor. This means they are litigants in person and the court takes account of this when cases comes before a judge. Both you as the applicant and the special guardian as the respondent would be given the opportunity to tell the court what you want to happen and the reasons for it. You can represent yourself in court without a solicitor.

The court will consider the situation and their main concern will be your daughter's welfare and what is best for her. Having a relationship with birth parent is important but will have to take account of the child's needs as well.

As you do not have a solicitor, you could telephone this service, Coram Children’s Legal Centre (Child Law Advice) on 0300 330 5480 to obtain advice about how to go about making an application to the court. You could also enquire at your local family court if they have a personal support unit (PSU) who offer support to litigants in person.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie


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