Bit of a long one to explain, so sorry in advance.
Been through family courts (private proceedings over contact.) There was also prior to this an initial and core assessment by the local authority - They eventually found no concerns, not even child in need. Because of when they were investigating, the judge in the private family court case, asked the local authority rather than Cafcass to conduct the section 7 for the courts.
Section 7 includes recommendations for when resident parent is in town, and when resident parent leaves town (leaving has been discussed for months, and has been recommended by several different professionals along the way.)
The judge took on board everything section 7 said, and made the final order, to almost exactly as the local authority had recommended. This included the plan for if in same address, or if resident parent moves out of town.
Local authority stepped in 5 minutes before it was all over, requesting a family assistance order. I had never heard of one. All I was told it would mean that any issues of contact would be able to be resolved by them. Nothing on paper, no plan. Judge agreed.
Cue now, local authority have turned up at both parents' houses after 7pm at night, unannounced, because we hadn't contacted them for a month? Nothing in order says when we have to contact or why. Judge even said to all parties don't be going running to local authority with every molehill that arises along the way.
This week, we find out our children are now under 'Child in need' by the local authority. Attended meeting. The reason for being child in need? Because we have a family assistance order. There are no education concerns, no health concerns raised in meeting. Out of the level of concern numbers given end of meeting, everyone scored it as between 8 or 9 out of 10, 10 being no concerns at all. Social worker is now saying they are still child in need, and that we have to attend meetings every 6 weeks, for duration of family assistance order.
The reason for the not perfect scores? Because the social worker told everyone in the room, that the resident parent was thinking of moving and only announced it at last court date. This is rubbish, as it was written in section 7, final court order, there have been meetings to discuss the move (and reasons why) with local council, different professionals.
So, I guess what I need advice with is -
1. Does a family assistance order automatically mean a child is counted as 'child in need' by their local authority? (Would this still have happened if CAFCASS had done the section 7 as originally intended?)
2. Shouldn't there be some sort of written plan for the family assistance order?
3. Shouldn't there be a plan for the child in need?
4. What is the process to now follow about the social worker lying about the parent's move? The section 7 and final court order all contains this information, but would it be right to let everyone else at the child in need meetings see this?
5. What can and can't happen under a family assistance order?
6. Can anyone go against the final court order, especially as the judge was only following what the local authority recommended?
Sorry again for the long post. Thank you.
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