Talking to children about parents convictions

May12345
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:03 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Postby May12345 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:46 am

We went through this a few months ago probably when you posted this so I'm sorry I didn't see. The social worker wanted my husband to make the disclosure and me to be in another room which was adjoining at home. The SW was actually really sensitive and worked together with us to ensure enough was covered but that it was age appropriate. We have a 7 year old, 10 year old with extra needs, 12 year old and 13 year old plus a 7m old baby who obviously doesn't know anything yet. I was a bit worried about not being in the room but my husband really faced it head on and was very open with the kids. I was really impressed and I know the SW was too. Obviously not with what he did but how he handled telling them because it was one of the hardest moments of our lives. One that we didn't necessarily agree with at first. Our children have a strong relationship with their Father though and I felt Confident they would be Ok. I am aware there maybe feelings or behaviour in the future as they understand more but that is something we are prepared for. Their schools were also made aware when a time was agreed on so they would be ready for any issues at school.
My husband told them seperately so that it was age appropriate and they had the opportunity to ask questions. Our 7 year old asked if she could play a board game that was in the room with her Daddy at this point which lightened the atmosphere. The SW said it was a telling point when each of the kids by their own choice told their Daddy they love him and hugged him. My husband and I got emotional and our 2 boys also did. Even the SW had tears in his eyes. I think it's a good way for the SW to see how the kids feel about their Dad and also a chance for the kids to decide what they want still. Not that it makes a difference we still have no idea if or when he can return home and he left June 2017. I've only posted once before but he was investigated after online chat with other men surrounding talk of doing something to teens. They also exchanged pictures my husband had looked at pics of clothed older teens and also sent a clothed fb pic of a friends daughter (head) which was absolutely wrong and awful. There were alot lore images on the laptop than he was aware of and he was advised to plead guilty to this to save time. The solicitor told him they were found on the laptop not the hard drive which means they weren't downloaded. She however still said to plead guilty so he took that advice because he was guilty of what he had admitted to (looking at pics of clothed teens and talking to those other men). He's been doing alot of work with probation unpicking his childhood and long standing anxiety and difficulties dealing or not with issues from his childhood. Still a way to go but he's been very proactive and engaged with them well. We only see him twice a week when my Mum supervises. That is at home or in public. He was charged with making Nd sharing pseudo images of children there were 7 cat b and 204 cat c. I found out when I was 7 weeks pregnant. It blew my world apart. We'd been married for 14 years. He did 150 hours community service and has a suspended sentence of 6 months suspended for 2 years. He is never going anywhere near anything like this ever again. His risk assessment was based on risk of roff ending online but of course SS see someone who's done this as capable of contact offence. I have done Protective parenting assessment and did my best researching etc. The lady from Special assessment team said that I knew more than her about online safety for children and I have shown the kids are my main concern. We will not risk anything happening to the kids or SS escalating. It's very scary to have them involved but I completely understand why. Next step is my husband having a psychological assessment though SS haven't yet agreed to fund an independent one. Next CPC is in a few months and I doubt they will be out CIN yet though the SW says its a single case issue that I'm a great Mum and care for the kids needs and above. I'm frustrated that I still cannot supervise in public though I can supervise out baby with him. They keep making excuses saying our babies care needs are high etc etc but I already take the kids everywhere alone and supervise them all to be safe which means keeping an eye on them all. I feel SS are using the number of children we have as an excuse and they keep saying how unique the situation is. Unique because I want him to return home? Unique because of the number of children, unique because I have proven my capabilities in protecting them? Unique because it is an online offence? They haven't told me exactly how it is unique so I will ask to pin that down. The Social worker also doesn't seem happy that we have sought a solicitor ourselves. He's said this is unusual when it's not in PLO and he's in talks with management and the legal team about it. This makes me uncomfortable as we have had what seemed a relaxed working relationship but this seems to have made them more serious. I told him we need to know what our rights are as atm we have no choices but to continue to do as they say. We feel things aren't progressing as this is now 16m since it all happened Xx

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2085
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:09 pm

Dear May12345

Thank you for your updating post and for sharing with other parents your family’s experience of telling your children about their father’s conviction and the work that you have both undertaken since you last posted.

Your children continue to be on a child protection plan and you have a review child protection conference coming up shortly. There are a number of issues you are concerned about – not yet being able to supervise your husband with the children publicly, no funding agreement yet around your husband’s proposed psychological assessment, what children’s services mean by your situation being “unique” and their attitude towards you seeking legal advice.

You can find some helpful information about child protection conferences here. The purpose of the review conference is to decide if your children continue to be at risk of significant harm or not. The protective parenting assessment you have completed, the work your husband is doing and how you have both been keeping to the current plan will all be taken into account. Do make sure you arrange an appointment with the social worker to go through their report in advance of the review conference so that you can consider their recommendations, ask that any factual errors be corrected and seek further advice as needed.

There is likely to be a core group meeting before the review child protection conference and this is a good opportunity for you to raise the queries you have noted and to ask about timescales especially as you think that progress is slow. You could put this is writing (perhaps some short bullet points) and provide this to the social worker in advance of the meeting to ask that they be further discussed there. As you have been in touch with a solicitor perhaps they could help you with this.

Every family’s situation is unique to them and children’s services should consider you, your husband and each of the children as individuals. However, you are right to ask the social worker to explain exactly what they mean when they talk about your ‘unique’ situation so that you can clarify what work they see as still outstanding and what you can do to move forward.

You are entitled to seek advocacy or legal advice any time you want when plans are made for your children; this is your choice and not down to children’s services. Accessing advice and information can help you better understand the processes, consider your options and make informed decisions. However, the difference with the Public Law Outline (PLO) process is that if you have been given a formal letter before proceedings you do not have to pay for the solicitor to give you legal advice, help with negotiations and to come to the PLO meeting with you. It is not unusual for social workers to discuss issues with their managers and they can liaise with their legal department when they need to.

It is important that you are properly involved in the plans for your children and also that you continue to work with the core group, as you have been doing, to be a protective parent. Your husband can also contact children’s services in his own right, as the children’s father, about any of his queries.

You are very welcome to post back if you have any new queries or ring the Freephone helpline 0808 80 10366 Mon - Fri 9.30 - 3.00, if you would like to speak to an adviser.

With best wishes

Suzie

May12345
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:03 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Postby May12345 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:36 am

Sorry I didn't see your reply before Suzie but Thankyou for your reply. I asked the SW how the case was unique and he said it's unique to him as a SW as he's relatively new he hasn't had a case like this before. My husbands Probation officer said that it's unique because we both want reunification if possible.

I also have asked his manager several times to supervise contact in public even if it were 2 of the children and our baby at a time and the other 2 would have time at my parents which they also enjoy. They have still refused this. What I don't understand is why I am unable to when I passed the assessment well and that was based on the worst possibility so that I am to keep my eyes on my children and husband at all times to ensure there is no opportunity to contact offend. I have already said we would be happy to restrict to certain public areas eg no cinema as its dark etc and I have thought around scenarios such as a child needing the toilet etc. But still they say not until the risk assessment is completed. I also let the chair know that our daughter has said she would like contact without my Mum there. We all want to be able to be a family again.

The review CPC went as expected. Children to stay on CPP and Chairs words were over the next 6 months the psychological risk assessment, couple work could be completed and reunification with their support. My husbands probation officer said that all assessments she has done regarding contact offence score low and she does not feel he would contact offend especially towards his own children. She has also told him that he gets emotional when talking about our children as he loves them so much and feels so much guilt. She said usually people who do contact offend or would have no feeling or emotions. Though I'm sure that's not always the case.

The SW said that the next day they were holding a legal gateway meeting to secure funding for the assessment. He said he'd let me know any news as soon as.

Fast forward to this week I emailed for an update on the outcome and have been told that our case is now PLO and there will be a meeting which we will receive letters for.

I was in a panic when I looked up what PLO means. Emailed SW again to say why has it gone to this when we have and are doing everything you have asked. He said not to panic and it's to secure funding for the psychological risk assessment.... We are yet to receive the letter invitation for the meeting but need to find a local Solicitor now as the one we had was out of area.

Didn't sleep very well last night worrying about it all but hopefully things will progress soon....

Look forward to anyones advice and I hope the original poster is doing OK.

Miserylovescompany2
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:55 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Postby Miserylovescompany2 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:36 pm

Hello - my advice would be to communicate via email and request that any answers to your questions and queries are done in the same way. You might find what is being said to you verbally does not match what is said in writing.

With regard to looking for a solicitor in your local area - I would keep one out of county. Reason being local solicitors know each other and communicate with each other in a non official way. I have been through court proceedings myself and watched solicitors for both the LA and those representing their clients discuss cases in an underhand way. (I tend to blend into the background and look more like a professional than a parent - I have sat at meetings with professionals I have not met before and they have discussed my children as if I was one of them. This happens quite often)

The before mentioned are merely a snap shot of my own personal experience(s).

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2085
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:44 pm

Dear May12345

Thank you for your further post.

I see that your case has now gone to pre-proceedings, public law outline (PLO). It may be the policy of your local authority to do, as the social worker said, go to PLO in order to get funding to carry out a psychological assessment.

It is not something that I am able to confirm as usually a case goes to PLO if it is considered that the child protection plan is not being adhered to and the social worker considers that it is necessary to put a time limit to ensure that the things not being done under the child protection plan are done to prevent the need to go to court.

I suggest you ask the social worker if it is the policy in that children’s services have a PLO meeting to get funding. In the previous post in response information was given about PLO and you may want to look at that again. Please also read this advice sheet Care (and related) proceedings from page 8 which gives more information about pre-proceedings.

You say you have been working well with children’s services under the child protection plan and was surprised to be told about PLO but I suggest that you find a solicitor as soon as you receive the letter from the social worker so that you can receive legal advice and have the solicitor attend the meeting with you.

If you would like to discuss this situation with an adviser, please telephone our free, confidential advice line on 0808 801 03066. The adice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes

Suzie


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