I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Emkins40
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:58 pm

I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Emkins40 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:47 pm

Hi to everyone, I am new to this. First of all my situation. In 2010 I lost my 5 children. I was accused of cruelty to one child. It was all over the news and I was vilified but I want to tell you all what happened and how bad the system can be. I had recently given birth and was suffering from post puerperal psychosis up until that point I had always been a good mum. However, the psychosis became so severe I was unstable. My children got nits again and my son with long hair had a very short haircut, it was quite dramatic but he was infested. My marriage was falling apart with a husband who was an alcoholic and gambling addict. It was wrong I know but I had turned to benefit fraud to try to support my children. Due to my husbands problems. One day my husband was very drunk when my youngest was 8 months and it was only 10 am. He was waving around a sword and was going to drive. I worried for the safety of others and rang for police. They found and arrested him. He was sent for a psychological evaluation and then to his parents address. I agreed he could see the children with his parents in attendance. After a few weeks I said to his dad that I would like to go to relate and work together to improve our marriage. However, another man I thought was helping me was taking in my vulnerable position and I listened to him and believed him and thought my children would be taken from me. He knew what I had done when I was so poorly and said it would be used against me. I don't know why to this day why I did what I did. A cry out for help perhaps ? Complete insanity but I cut my sons hair really short like a blade 1 because of the nits. He made a joke about being a cancer boy after seeing a program on tv and somehow from there a rumour started spreading. I was not fully aware of things as I was struggling to cope. I was like a robot.
Then a few months later heavily under the spell of the man who was supposed to be helping me I realised I was becoming trapped. I now know the whole living with the dominator and the circle of abuse that happens but I was never informed by social services that this man was a known predator who had convictions for abuse. What was happening to my husband living with his parents now but seeing the children twice a week I had no idea about. Then on the 10th may 2010 I was arrested for benefit fraud and for cruelty to a child. The police turned up with a social worker who took my baby from me who I was breast feeding and I was asked to sign a voluntary agreement to let the children stay with their paternal grandparents until the next day. I was so shocked I did not read the small print I just thought it would all be sorted out. However, at the police station I discovered that a letter had been written accusing me of munchausens by proxy as I had cut my sons hair because of the nits, apparently told everyone he had cancer and that I was neglecting my children and had committed benefit fraud. ( I never denied that I had committed this fraud and I know it was wrong but I just did what I could do to survive. No luxury life style my husband spent it on booze and gambling, I just about managed to feed my kids and keep a roof over our heads) I was unaware of who had written the letter but as my husband was dyslexic I knew despite his signature he must have been coerced. I believe this was his father worryed his son may be found guilty of benefit fraud. However as everyone will know when you are married and claim benefits both parties have to read and sign all documents. He was fully aware of what was happening. Anyhow, I was finally released and I was told to attend the social services the following morning. I thought ok they are going to help me. I was so so wrong. I was advised my children would remain under a voluntary agreement to stay with their paternal grandparents while an investigation took place. My life started spiralling out of control I could not function without my children I devoted my whole life to them. I then had to start attending supervised contact. 4 x a week for 2 hours each time with all my children crying to come home. This went on for over 11 months with still no decision from the police on a charge. Then one weekend my older 2 children ran away due to their stepgrandfather telling them they were not his real grandchildren. My husband had always been known to them as dad but my first husband abandoned them and moved to NZ. My first husband was contacted and came to the uk. My children were then sent to NZ to live with him. I agreed a joint custody order believing it was best for my older children 13 and 15 to just be able to enjoy an opportunity. Certain measures were put in place that contact via Skype would be facilitated twice a week and 6 month visits with us each paying the air fare alternately. However, when my children landed in NZ they were not told the truth and advised that they couldn't be in touch with me. Meanwhile a further 8 months went by and I was still having supervised contact. This was soul destroying as I got reports of how I interacted, accusations made by one contact worker who appeared to be doing her best to ruin any nice times with my children with reports of the children laughing in the car about me being dead. Failing to spend individual time with each child, then I started recording my contact sessions and the clear errors were shown but then the contact worked would take my phone from me at contact so I couldn't record. It was hell. Finally after 18 months a decision was made to charge me with a number of offences. I should point out also that during this time the man who had been supposedly supporting me was beating me, controlling my finances, tracking my movements and on two occasions had been charged with assault and battery. However, he had me in that circle where he could be lovely for two days then evil for a week so I was constantly walking on edge. My legal team were pretty rubbish I trusted them and believed them when they said I would get a suspended sentence if I just took a plea bargain which was offered. I had good defences but one major thing that had contributed to my mental health breakdown was sexual abuse which happened in childhood and I just was too ashamed to bring this up in court. I didn't want it in the press. My husband was only charged civilly in other words by paying a bit back each week none of this was reported on though and I accepted the plea bargain. The way it was explained to me was that I was admitting to not giving the right care and attention to my son that a reasonable person would have done. I could accept pleading guilty to this as I knew I had been under so much stress with defined post natal illness. However what I didn't realise was that it meant I did not get the opportunity to give a defence at all. The social services paying no attention to my concerns about his behaviour drinking and not caring for the children. So my husband basically walked away completely free and with custody of the children. I went to prison. The press had a wonderful time and please all of you remember that it's tomorrow's fish and chip paper. I know now many women like me have been treated this way. Going to prison for me actually probably saved my life as I would have been hurt so bad soon enough by the other man that I would of died. He had a particular love of strangulation. I did my time but with a conviction of child cruelty as you can imagine I kept that part of the sentence to myself. I admitted benefit fraud not realising that all people who are sent to prison for sensitive crimes are told to say benefit fraud! So it was quite hard. I didn't fit in very well and rumours went round about me, I was an undercover journalist one week, a teacher who had a relationship with a student etc etc. No one knew who I was as I had never been named to protect my son and other children. I am white well educated middle class and I stood out. I went to Holloway for four months then moved to a prison called Send. It was then I started to get help. I was on a special unit which helped me deal with my mental health, my child abuse and the more I talked and explained the more support and help I got. However it wasn't easy as due to severe head injuries from the man I developed uncontrollable epilepsy. I was regularly in and out of hospital and I cannot express enough how good the officers were towards me. Once stuck in hospital for over a week one bought in her laptop with a whole 3 series of vampire diaries for me to watch. I was never made to feel embarassed or ashamed and they hid their uniforms. I was not handcuffed. While I was away the man who had been hurting me outside carried on trying to control me and eventually with the officers help he was warned off by the police prevented from harassing me anymore. I kept my head down and did some good work as a peer mentor helping with suicidal prisoners self harmers and anti bullying. I gained respect and my self esteem grew. I wrote to my children weekly and really missing them was the worst part. However my probation officer was already working on trying to get me released as I had shown in my behaviour and my actions and she was reading through evidence files and finding mistakes everywhere. Upon my release I actually cried leaving prison I felt scared I would be hurt again but within 24 hours of being home with my parents the local police had already come to reassure me. My probation officer worked tirelessly to help me, telling me over and over again that I had been unfairly treated. I could appeal but while I had been away I had built a huge wall around my feelings adjusting to the fact I would not see my children again until they were old enough to find me. When I had been home 3 months I had an email from my son now 12 telling me he loved me and wanted me, and he was sorry. This is where everything changed. My rules of licence were that I could not have any contact except through social services who were in my eyes the enemy. But yet my son who I was apparently cruel to had contacted me. So I contacted the social services and much to my relief the one social worker who had actually been reasonable had now become manager. She facilitated a way that my son could email me through her and vice Versa so not breaking any restrictions. She agreed with my 12 year old that he was old enough to make this decision and she would not be telling his dad. I was receiving emails nearly daily and alarm bekja were ringing. Clearly at my end and also from the social services as he was discussing things openly and the children were not being cared for properly. He was also giving more and more ammunition for my probation officer who was copied in on all the emails. It came to the point where it was obvious an injustice had been done. My now ex husband had been caught drunk driving with the children in the car, he was neglecting them. My son was having to do housework both my daughters were so heavily invested with nits that the primary school were tearing my youngest daughter and my daughter attending secondary school had been in tears trying to get help. Things became very complicated. In November 15 I collapsed and it was thought to be just a normal serious seizure but I was found to have chronic myelogenous leukaemia possibly the reason why my seizures had been getting worse and worse. I was in an acute phase and needed chemo etc to try to get this under control. Meanwhile social services had done a complete turn around and had placed my children under a supervision order making weekly visits and asking me to help them make decisions. NEVER apologising just saying well could you look after the children, we will get you help to care for them etc etc... please bear in mind that at this point my children had not seen me for 4 years yet all of a sudden I was now a good mum again forget about the fact she went to prison forget about the past we will now focus on moving the children away from their dad and their friends and their schools. At this point I was in a mental crisis most people would think that I should be overjoyed but I was so overwhelmed my wall came down and I was an emotional wreck. Also my licence conditions were still stating I was not allowed to see my children until August 19 2016. Well that caused a lot of problems because the social services wanted me to see my children NOW! So an arrangement was made and I got to see them in may 2016 but to comply with the licence it had to be supervised as also my ex husband was being assessed! To my horror the contact supervisor was the woman who had previously caused so much upset. My parents came as well and she made my mum cry with her behaviour. My father was exhausted with the long drive of 3.4 hours and my ex husband and I just hugged in relief. I think the contact supervisor was very disappointed. Following this we had another visit in June but the appointed social worker was their and after 15 mins she left and said you all need to work together I'm not needed here. In July we had a further visit again completely unsupervised. Once my licence ended on August 18tg I visited the children alone. Staying in a bed and breakfast but meeting up for 3 days. Then again at October half term and in early December and over Christmas holidays they all came to stay for a few days. My relationship with my children is growing by the day again and I am grateful to have them back in my life. I realise my complicated health would make it difficult for me to care for them full time. However, my ex husband seems to not be coping very well, my youngest daughter had so many nits at Christmas holidays she was infested. I have never seen so many. She is 7 and told me dad is asleep so I make a sandwich myself for breakfast. She walks to school alone. He is still in a bad pattern of parenting not drinking now but still clearly not managing. I think he has suffered just as much as me but in a different way and I want to have an amicable arrangement in place. I'm actually writing this in hospital as I developed pneumonia. Plenty of time to kill ! However, since Christmas he has not replied to any emails and I have explained that I cannot afford to keep staying in hotels and the train fare etc. He does have a spare room and I'm not going to look for how many cobwebs but to see my children ! Also he came and stayed here at Christmas with no issues. We agreed we would do alternate visits with me travelling to see the children then at half terms and holidays a half way swap for the children to stay with me for some longer time. I have also pointed out that if I'm paying for a hotel I can't give him the money to help support the kids needs. As he has completely withdrawn any communication I am getting concerned. The agreement with social services was that we were now to have joint custody but they are still overseeing things. I let him know I had contracted pneumonia and did not even get a reply to the text. As I can't drive either due to epilepsy I have to get on with him for help so I can spend time with kids. I've given you almost my life history here but now I'm not sure what I should do. Some of this is positive and some negative but I am blessed to have my children back as part of my life. I'm not sure if he is just being a non communicative man or he is feeling anger at me, the situation, still has feelings for me I just simply don't know. My main priority is my children not him but if he won't help or communicate I'm not sure how to move forwards . I would be grateful for any comments advice or guidance and I hope my experiences may give some of you who are struggling with the social services some hope that sometimes you do win even if with a sacrifice. Peace and love E

Emkins40
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Emkins40 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:17 pm

I should point out that my son was 12 when he contacted me but is now nearly 15 my daughter is 13 now and my youngest is just 7, my son is asking for help today at school as apparently his dad drank at the weekend. I am stuck in this bloody hospital and I can't do anything.

Emkins40
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Emkins40 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:38 pm

Can someone help me get this to the right forum I am lost with technology ! HELP

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

Re: I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:36 pm

Dear Emkins

Welcome and thank you for posting on the Parents’ Board. I’m Suzie, the online adviser at Family Rights Group.

You have clearly been through a very difficult and distressing time. I’m sorry that you have been so unwell and hope that your health is improving. I am pleased to read however that your relationship with your children is going well and you are having unsupervised contact.

What I would say first of all is that I can see you haven’t had any other replies to your post and that could be because it is very long. It is quite difficult to pick out what you are asking so if you have specific questions, it would be helpful to post those again. Although, I’ve put your posts in the General Discussion topic as I think more people will see it there.

I think what you are asking is how you can make changes to contact arrangements as you are having to travel a long way and stay in hotels but that you are struggling to afford that. In addition, the children’s father has stopped communicating with you which makes arranging contact more difficult. Is this correct?

In order for me to properly advise you, could you also tell me whether the local authority (that is the Council) have any court orders (a care order or supervision order) respect to your children? Or does their father have an order? Finally, are the contact arrangement set out in an order or is it by agreement?

Please do post again to clarify what I’ve asked and then I’ll be able to give you some more detailed advice.

If you wish to speak to an adviser, please do call our free and confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. It is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am until 3pm.

Best wishes

Suzie

Emkins40
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Emkins40 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:48 pm

Thanks suzie ,
Once everything came out I had one joint supervised visit, then a second visit where the social worker left after 20 mins saying she was quite happy!
Then followed a number of other visits. All unsupervised with us both mutually agreeing visits. My ex husband was placed under a child in need order last year due to neglect. Drinking and general uncaring. I did not think I could pursue custody due to my past going against me.
St Christmas as I said was all fine and now finally it seems he is back under supervision of social services again as he had been drinking. He has a conviction for drink driving with kids in car. Both girls ingested with nits again and my son went to his head of year crying as he had no phone credit to ring me. They contacted social worker who had said they have spoken to him and he is agreeing to work with them again. This is now the 4 th time. All was fine at xmas but my son says he thinks his dad is so depressed because he has feelings for me and coming to my home opened up too many emotions for him, I have still had no communication from my ex. The kids are asking repeatedly when they are coming to stay and I am wondering what my options are as I want to be best mum I can be. I worry if he loses kids he will just cut off contact drink himself into oblivion etc. It seems as if when social services are involved he starts being ama dad again but then it lapses 4 x in 3 years. Now it's more serious though as the kids friends are telling them to come live with me !
I just don't know where I stand and I still have that child cruelty conviction even though social services have established me as being no rusk.
Now I just don't know what to do for the next follow my heart or my head?

Emkins40
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Emkins40 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:50 pm

The only order is a residence order stating contact to be agreed between the parties and the social services now have him under supervision again. I have no orders against me and the kids wish to see me more.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1716
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:51 pm

Dear Emkins,

Thank you for the additional information. It has really helped me understand what your situation is and what advice you need.

Child in Need
First of all, I’ll just clarify some of the terminology you have used and what it means. You refer to a “child in need order” but there is no such thing. A child will be considered as a Child in Need (also known as family support) if they are disabled or if they are assessed by children’s services (the new name for social services) as being in need of extra support for their safety, health and/or development. It is a voluntary process that a parent engages in with children’s services, not through a court, which is why it is not an order.

There would have been a child in need assessment and as a parent with parental responsibility, that is decision making ability for the children, you should have been involved, invited to meetings and are allowed to have a copy of any child in need plans that have been made. You can read more about it in our Family Support advice sheet.

Residence
In your post you say “I did not think I could pursue custody due to my past going against me.” If you were to make an application to discharge the existing residence order and for the children to reside with you, now known as a Child Arrangements Order, your history would be looked into to but the court would also consider the current circumstances and note any changes you have made. Ultimately the judge would make a decision based upon who could now give the children the best care. They would also take into consideration that the children’s long-term and permanent home has been with their Dad. The court will not make an order changing the status quo unless you it is shown to be in the best interest of the children to do so. It is also unlikely that you would “jump” from having sporadic contact to the children begin returned to your care in step. I realise children’s services have some concerns about Dad’s ability to care for the children but ultimately they are supporting him through child in need so at the stage they must not think there is sufficient risk of harm to the children to need a child protection plan or to need to consider asking the court to remove the children from Dad’s care. If you did apply for a Child Arrangements Order, it is likely that the judge would also the social worker to prepare a report called a section 7 report so they could give their views as to who they think it would be best for the children to live with.

Contact
As there is no specific order as to what contact you should have it is for you and Dad to agree it between the two of you. If you cannot come to an agreement (or Dad is not engaging with you) then you will have to consider making an application to court for a judge to decide. This is also now known as a Child Arrangements Order.
Before making an application to court, you are required to attend mediation to have a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), unless you meet one of the exemptions. The fact the children’s services are involved on a child in need basis does not exempt you from having to attend mediation. I suggest you read our advice sheet on Child Arrangement Orders for more information as to the mediation process and how to apply for an order if necessary.

I hope this is of assistance.

Best wishes

Suzie

Emkins40
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: I have won but have I really and I need sone advice

Postby Emkins40 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:31 pm

:oops: Hi Suzie,
Thanks for your reply. Things have moved on somewhat rapidly. The social worker involved has been saying different things to each of us as parents. My ultimate concern is the effect that a court order would have upon the children. We have all been through so much as a family and the children are very stressed out by the continual interference at school and with welfare officers and support and social services. Just in the see you ok? Being made to feel different etc. The social worker has been saying they would be doing a section 7 order as they are involved with the children unless an agreement could be reached. This was achieved with a 3 hour conversation. Not always friendly and acrimonious. The father accused me of causing his problems with drinking and the fact he had been drunk driving 3 years ago. At this point I had no contact whatsoever so naturally took offence at this. Trust is a big issue. The main problem I have is that over the course of the time I was unable to see my children requested referrals and subsequent children in need assessments done. These have broken down after a few weeks of being signed off each time and then the children suffer for a few months until a new referral is made.
Headlice is the most recurrent concern with nests being found in my 7 year old hair and the school taking it upon themselves to treat her.
My ex husband has now just had another referral against him by the older children's school. So once again the social worker is heavily involved again. She wants to pursue a child arrangements order with section 7 based on the recurring assessments which are obviously taking up resources. The difficulty is that my older children nearly 15 and 13 lived with me until 10 and 8 respectively so do have very clear memories of living with me. My youngest daughter has said she has her mummy (m) my daughters name and her real mummy who she wants to be with. She has in interviews said she would not go to her daddy with a problem, that she gets herself up and makes a sandwich for breakfast and when at home stays in her bedroom or daddy shouts. It is my older daughter who is parenting her not my ex husband, In the last week she has asked to live with me and my son has said he is fed up with having to look after things. My daughter nearly 13 has said she loves her dad but she wants to be a normal teenager like her friends. I talk to my older son and daughter daily and my daughter usually for at least an hour and a half and I even help with homework via instagram! I really thought it was in my children's best interests not to pursue custody etc and agree a parenting plan in view of my health etc. However, the children's services seem to be playing games by telling the father a child arrangements order would be best and the children don't even have to be involved? Yet telling me they would be supporting me should I wish to pursue custody. Of course I realise it's in the judges hands. However, perhaps I should give some more personal information I am a vicar, albeit not working full time due to health and run a youth group and have been cleared by the enhanced criminal records to work with vulnerable and children despite my conviction. I did not wish to appeal believing that the only people who matter are the people who love me and many people just do not know my past as it's not exactly what you just drop into a conversation! Also I felt that by bringing everything up again it would just cause more anxiety for my children. Once I knew I could see my children I tried to focus on that and I have my own beliefs in that sometimes we have no control over things and have a path to follow however painful. I learnt a lot during my prison time and definitely made a difference to many women. However, I don't think that God would have wanted my children to suffer but as a Christian it is my belief he has no
Control over human free will. In telephone conversation my ex husband verbally challenged me and said I was only wanting not to go to court as I may have to have supervised visits again. I did not wish to argue with him but I was angry as I have admitted fully my mistakes and taken responsibility and have received nothing but support and help to have contact with my children by the social worker. I made 1 mistake and my mental health was at its root course. My ex husband has as said by the social worker put the children in life threatening positions, neglected them and continued to abuse drink and drugs. This is entirely his decision. I wish to put my children first and I do realise that the contact has been sporadic however it was insisted that my ex husband signs s child arrangements plan as it is causing the children upset as they are wanting to see more of me and have established agreed dates laid down. I tried to be fair and it is a 3 hour journey by car and 4.45 hours for me by train. My father has agreed to meet at a half way point each time every few weeks and the arrangement is that the children will have 1/2 day school on fri and Monday agreed already. Each half term one week and then spend all of half term with me and half of each holiday. I did not want to upset their education or friendships. However, I have now been told that while this parenting agreement runs my ex husband will still be either agreeing to work with children in need or if he fails to follow any plans or agreements reached further action will be taken. The social worker has also said to me that she wishes the children to see me as much as possible and form friendships in my area locally as they have a duty of care to the children and are going to review each six weeks. Also I have been advised that should they decide to relocate the children here then they would like to do this at the beginning of the summer holidays to allow six weeks to adjust them and settle them so reading through what I am being told it seems as if they have already decided my ex husband is not going to care for the children properly. This is an incredibly difficult position to be in and I'm feeling as if I am being almost tested so when it is a few months down the line the social worker has her evidence for her section 7 report of regular good contact and happier children to ensure they can relocate the children.
I look at everything that has happened and it just drives me crazy. My head tells me this just can't be happening but my heart it is just constantly anxious and racing believing and knowing my children are in danger. What if he is over the limit driving again and kills my babies. Why should my girls be infested with nits and be bullied and why should my young teenage son have to put up with all this stress.
I am also disillusioned with the whole procedure it seems like they are just covering themselves and don't want my children to be their problem anymore as it must take a lot of resources.
So I have the option to say yes I wish to pursue the order and the parenting plan will still continue and be I imagine an interim order? Or wait? Is this really how all this is supposed to happen?
Thanks
Emkins


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