Confused on Procedures

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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:02 pm

Confused on Procedures

Post by Ra123 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:05 am

Last September I was asked to leave the family home by 2 police officers and a SW. I then attended the police station for a voluntary interview which ended up with me receiving 4 cautions for Physically Abusing my children. Since then SS have instigated Child Protection Plans for each of my 7 children. I have attended every meeting I have been invited to and started my perpetrator course back in February. Contact has been hard as at first it was only when arranged by SS, then two if the kids schools started supervising the contacts but this was only short term and eventually we SS allowed us to use a friend to supervise the contact. The problem with this is my wife and I feel it is too much pressure for our friend to be the only person we have doing supervised contact. The SW did supervise 2 contacts before the summer but that has been it. Now after the latest Core Group I asked to speak to the SW with my wife present to arrange an appointment to try and sort the contact arrangements out only to be told by the SW that she had seeked permission from her manager and the Conference Chair to start legal proceedings as apparently we aren't moving forward enough.

How can they do this when I have complied with everything they have asked of me and my worker has stated that I am starting to change for the better thanks to my course? Is this their way of trying to get my wife and I to divorce? I must say that my wife has indicated to them that she wants me back in the home with the family. This whole situation is really getting to me now and I am too scared to go to the doctor about howlow I am getting as I feel they will put me on Anti-Depressants which I can't afford even though I am working.

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

Re: Confused on Procedures

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:57 pm

Dear Ra123,

Welcome to the Parents Forum. I am sorry to hear that your children have been on child protection plans for the last 12 months and the social worker has indicated that she will be taking court proceedings.

I understand that you have cooperated with the child protection plan having attended every meeting, complied with supervised contact and are doing a perpetrators course.
At the end of the perpetrator’s course, are you being re assessed to see whether you can have unsupervised contact with your children or move back home?
Have you been advised to do any other course to help you parent your children? Do children services know about your intention to move back home?

I think you need to know why the social worker thinks that things are not moving forward quickly enough, and why she is talking about court proceedings.

I suggest you email the social worker and her manager.
Point out:
• all the positive things you have done, how you are complying with the child protection plan and are attending the perpetrator’s programme.
• Ask her what other support could you do?
• Have you made it clear that you do want to move back into the family home-once it is decided that you are safe?
• Ask her why she is going to court?
• What can you do to avoid her taking court proceedings?
Hopefully her response will be helpful to you.

What should happen before court proceedings?

If the social worker is talking about going to court this means she may have evidence that your children are suffering
significant harm or are at risk of suffering significant harm. What do you think is putting your children at risk?

Family Group Conferences
Before there are care proceedings you should be offered a family group conference (FGC)? This is a family meeting which your friends and family are invited to (with your consent). At the meeting the family will be asked to think about support they can offer, to your family, to keep your children safe while remaining at home.
FGC's are also used to “family find” . This means to look for people within your network who could care for some or all of your children, if it is not safe for them to carrying on living with you and/or mum.
Families prefer this process as it is support that is not imposed by children services.

Here is information about advice sheet about family group conferences .

Pre- proceedings process
Before going to court, the social worker should also follow the pre-proceedings process (also known as PLO).( In an emergency, they do not need to follow the pre proceedings process and can go straight to court).

This process is used to give you a chance to avoid going to court.
You will get a “letter before proceedings” explaining that court proceedings are likely but that you are being given a last chance to improve your parenting to avoid your child being removed.
The letter will:
• set out the concerns about your children’s safety;
• Set out what you need to do to improve your parenting to make sure your child is safe and to avoid your child being removed from your care;
• Set out what support you will continue to be given, to keep your child safe;
• Invite you to a pre-proceedings meeting;
• Give you information about how you can get free legal advice and representation.

If you receive a "letter before proceedings", it is really important that you see a solicitor specialising in children’s law immediately.
For more information please look at our advice sheet about care proceedings. Page 7 deals with the pre proceedings process.

Finally, you mention that you are feeling very low but do not feel able to go to your doctor nor can you afford any medication you might be given.

It is very important that you seek medical advice for how you are feeling. You need to look after yourself to be able to look after your children. It is very stressful when children services are involved and often it makes parents very worried.
Your GP might suggest counselling as an alternative to medicine.
If you are prescribed medication, you could check whether you are entitled to a free prescription.

Or you could get help and support from Mind or the Samaritans.

I hope this advice helps but if you have any questions or need further advice please post again or you could call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:02 pm

Re: Confused on Procedures

Post by Ra123 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:34 pm

Hi Suzie

Thank you for the reply. I have already emailed the SW to ask her to clarify the reasonsfor moving to legal proceedings on Friday. Her automatic reply said she was on leave that day and Monday, and would have limited access to emails yesterday so hopefully she has picked it up today. The thing that has really got to me which made me walk out of the secondary meeting is that she had decided to move towards legal procceedings before the Core Group meeting so I feel that no matter what my worker had said about any progress it didn't matter as she had already decided to start moving on this and she hid it from the other professionals in the meeting although I feel that certain professionals (if not all) knew about it before the meeting.

I have clearly stated from the start that my goal is to eventually get back home and my wife has stated she wants me back as well. The SW clearly stated at the last CGM she doesn't support me going back to the family home. Contact has been sporadic as well and before the summer SS supervised 2 contacts. The first was with 6 of the children and the second one was just with the one child that had missed the other contact through their choice not to attend. The contact situation is now left for an authorised friend to supervise but my wife and I feel this is too much pressure for just one of our friends to have. We feel that we should have a pool of 3-4 people authorised to supervise the contacts to alleviate this pressure. Do you think I would be better off asking for the contact to be through a contact centre?

As soon as I have an answer back from the SW I will update this thread.

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