We should all get together . Too many lies and wrong removals

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2526
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: We should all get together . Too many lies and wrong removals

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:21 pm

Dear Swim

There have been several posts under the heading ‘We should all get together, Too many lies and wrong removals’. In the posts there is reference to social workers, their attitude, inexperience, incompetence and their belief that they are above the law.

Whilst I understand that parents and other family members may take issue with how children’s services deal with matters relating to the children in their families, I think it is important that I provide an explanation about the basis upon which children’s services operate in respect of their safeguarding role.

Firstly, I think it would be helpful for parents and others posting on this forum, to know that there are statutory guidelines to which children’s services and social workers are expected to work.

The main guidance document is the Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 which is a government guidance that sets out the national framework for assessing and responding to children’s and family’s needs. This in turn, requires local authorities to have local safeguarding threshold documents which provides information as to the procedures social workers should follow. There are also local protocols for assessments and these should set out the guidelines which should be followed for assessments. Anyone who is being assessed can ask the social worker for a copy of the threshold document and the assessment protocol.

The working together document referred to above, provides professionals with guidance on good practice and should be referred to by social workers. It also provides a detailed outline of what a good assessment should include.

In respect of children being removed from families, I think it is important that I provide some clarification in respect of some of the points raised. It is important because I believe it would be helpful for some readers who might be worried about social workers having the power to remove children. No social worker or children’s services department has the power to remove a child from his or her family without the agreement of the parent(s) or any person with parental responsibility without their agreement and, failing that, an order of the court.

The police is the only agency that can legally remove a child to a place of safety in an emergency situation where a child is considered to be at risk. This removal can last for a period of 72 hours. After this time, if children’s services do not have agreement for the child to remain away from home, then they must apply to the court for an order. The court must be satisfied that it is necessary for children’s services to have an order to keep a child safe in the interim.

Care proceedings relate to the court process for children’s services to seek a full care order if they believe the children cannot safely remain at home. There would need to be assessments not only of parents but extended family members or friends who express their wish to be assessed. These proceedings can take 26 weeks or more if the court agrees. Before a court can make a full care order in favour of children’s services, it must be satisfied that threshold criteria is satisfied. Please see explanation of threshold and our advice sheet Care (and related) proceedings

Please also see information relating to Family and Friends Care

It is the court that makes the final decision in care proceedings about where and with whom a child should live after all the evidence has been tested (that is, by written and oral evidence) through questions and cross examination. Please see our advice sheet 15 referred to above.
Just to explain cases involving children are reported in an anonymised way already reported and are often referred to by initials, name of the local authority, the court and representatives. The court can give directions that no identifying information should be given at all.

Children’s services becomes involved with a family only after it has received a referral relating to safeguarding concerns.
Many families who work with children’s services, recognise the concerns raised and understand that children’s services also provide help and support to address the concerns which means the case does not progress to court or the removal of a child. However, failure to recognise or understand concerns could lead children’s services to conclude that it is unlikely the child or children will be safeguarded. Further action would then be considered for example, accommodation, child in need plan, initial child protection conference, pre-proceedings (PLO) and finally care proceedings may become necessary. Please see advice sheet Child protection procedures

Sometimes, one parent decides to take action and will have their child or children come live with them, which means that any perceived risk is diminished as the child or children is out of the situation. If a parent decides to do this, unless children’s services consider that it is unsafe there is very little they can do to prevent a parent exercising their parental responsibility in this way.

Regarding police investigations in respect of alleged crimes, the police are seeking evidence which would lead to a successful prosecution. The test in criminal cases is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Children’s services, however, are concerned with safeguarding and may take the view that although the police have insufficient evidence to proceed with a case, it does not mean that the particular thing did not happen or that no safeguarding concerns exist. The test in civil matters is ‘on the balance of probability’ that is something is more likely to have happened than not.

There are often issues raised in post on this forum that, for example, a registered sex offender who has served a sentence should be able to get on with their lives. The issue in a situation like this is not that they should not but whether there is a risk of harm and, how best to protect a child. This will, of course, depend on the specific circumstances of the family how things progress. Working with children’s services and recognising the concern is always an important factor.

It is not my role to defend children’s services or incorrect or what is seen as bad practices, which can occur in any profession or service. However, there are mechanisms in place to challenge such practices and this is the case for children's services and social workers.

If any person with parental responsibility or care of a child is dissatisfied with how their case has been handled, there are several options available. In the first instance, I would suggest that a request is made for a meeting with the allocated social worker and his or her team manager to discuss the particular concerns and to see if matters can be resolved.

Secondly, if a person remains dissatisfied then a formal complaint can be made to the local authority. Each local authority must have a written complaints procedure. For more information it may be helpful to read Challenging decisions and making complaints

I hope this clarifies the procedures involved when children’s services is concerned about a family. Should anyone wish to discuss matters with an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30 am to 3pm.

Best wishes

Suzie

Cat55555
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:37 pm

Re: We should all get together . Too many lies and wrong removals

Post by Cat55555 » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:35 pm

Hi,

I had the same my little girl was taken due to my ex malicious lies and had to live with her grandparents and a care order threshold was domestic abuse but was put in place 3 years after the relationship ended.

I was aloud my son at home to live with me as he has a different father and no paternal
Conflict on his side but my little girls father causing conflict so they class it as emotional harm.

I took it back to court to discharge under section 39 the social, ISW and cafcass agreed I did significant change ie domestic abuse courses(even if it was 3 years after I left him) and so on for my son who had repeated behaviour.

Even with meeting the criteria of section 39 and doing significant change they all opposed it due to conflict, the father was called paranoid, hostile and negative in court. Problem is it penalised me his behaviour.

For that reason I met the criteria but wouldn’t discharge due to conflict on one side.

There is no hope at all.

It’s more of a protest to parliament and a letter with petition to parliament as they created a section 39 to intend children that’s been removed to be retuned regardless of any attachment issues or how long they been away for.

Parliament made it to discharge but the courts aren’t following that section 39 law even if you meet the criteria or over and beyond that criteria.

It’s more of a petition to parliament, names, numbers and case numbers on to try get them to look at what the hells going on in the system and why courts are failing their own section laws without evidence.

As makes no sense to leave one child at home but take the other. They make up rules as they go social do.

Parliament makes all children’s laws none are actually being followed correctly leaving us mums heartbroken.

Runnermum16
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:33 pm

Re: We should all get together . Too many lies and wrong removals

Post by Runnermum16 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:17 am

Hi suzie,

I think what we are trying to get accross is the way we have been treated by the social workers them selves, when really all we were looking for is a bit of help support and guidance.
In most cases it seems that those who have worked cooperatively have been looked down upon and been made to feel Like they have failed their children and themselves. From my own experience I can honestly say that my own social was not impartial and visited me with and already decided decision and opinion of my situation. Often not actually answering any of my questions and speaking over me if I didn't answer the way she expected me to. From what I am reading, many people on this forum have been dealt with in similar ways.
I appreciate that the most easiest and safest solution is to remove a child from the possibility of a risk or harm, but quite often this is done with a threatening atitude from the social workers, causing parents and guardians to belive there's no other option. This can cause significant repocussions on both the child and the parents/guardians, mental health problems and attachment syndrome for both parties can lead to futher and ongoing issues. And affect people for the rest of their lives.
Obviously the authorities have a duty Of care, and afeguarding is a major factor when it comes to protecting children, but when a social worker is often visiting alone and having meetings with families on their own, they can potentially report incorrect information or misinterpret what is actually being discussed. Quite often in many cases causing the breakdown of families.

Most people contact the social services for support and guidance, but then are made to feel like they are the ones that have wronged. I was always of the opinion that social services were there to help, my opinion has now changed.

My ex is a narcissist, and always will be yet the social worker has failed to see this, what else have they failed to see? Also many facts in the reports and information gathered by them are incorrect, so again what else are they reporting incorrectly?

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2526
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: We should all get together . Too many lies and wrong removals

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:24 pm

Dear Runnermum16

Thank you for your further post and for describing the impact that children’s services’ involvement can have on parents and family members where they don’t feel listened to or treated respectfully. You have also given specific examples of this from your own experience.

You and other parents might be interested in the Charter of Mutual Expectations , which was developed by parents, family members and practitioners as part of the Your Family Your Voice alliance. This charter aims to promote a better, more respectful, way of working. If a parent is finding the working relationship with their social worker difficult they could share this charter with them as an example of good practice. The sections on support and participation may be particularly useful as they address some of the issues you have raised including recommendations about getting independent advice and advocacy and for parents to be more actively involved in the planning and decision making processes for their children.

As you are aware, parents can make a formal complaint to children’s services if they remain dissatisfied with the support (or lack of support) received, with information that is recorded about them or about decisions or actions taken by children’s services. It can be a good idea for parents to ask for a copy of their family’s file before making a complaint. We have more information about this in our advice sheets on access to information held by children’s services and challenging decisions and making complaints. I think that you may have looked into this already and hope that you will get some answers to your concerns.

For you and any other parents involved in private law proceedings it is best to address any concerns about the evidence provided by the social worker as part of the court proceedings. Rights of Women and Child Law Advice both provide useful website information and offer telephone advice about this area of law.

I hope this helps. Thanks once again for your post.

With best wishes

Suzie

Ermintrude
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:53 pm

Re: We should all get together . Too many lies and wrong removals

Post by Ermintrude » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:52 pm

Just seen this topic and it fits our case and highlights the issues.
The presumption is that Children’s Services will follow both the law and best practice which includes supporting and communicating well with parents.
As a parent who was struggling with my child’s behaviour I expected support and sensible solutions and help for my son not slander, inaccuracies and unsafe rules.

I’m lucky we only had a s17 review and going through the complaints process has taken 6 months so far and still not resolved.
I do now have a letter saying process was not followed, the assessment was unbalanced and rules were inappropriate. But that has taken a lot of battling which if we had been in court I probably couldn’t have achieved.

The senior managers are complicit in the way social workers work and in our case lack any scrutiny of the case and seem to have no attention to detail and seem to have barely read the case before the first response.

I will be submitting a complaint to the new regulator for social workers and after talking to the HCPC today they seem to think on face value there is a case to answer.
However some things will be hard to prove, I know I told the social worker I had left the house when threatened with a knife. She put in the report that my mental health was such that I have taken to leaving the house when my child is violent.
I had no mental health issues at the time and left for personal protection - as repeatedly advised by the police.

However I’m confident the social worker will say I said I had mental health issues etc which as it is verbal can’t be repudiated.

That’s where the big problem arises reports are written based on conversations but parents are given no chance to correct mistakes and misinterpretations.

The other area is that parents are given no chance to ask questions or dispute rules in safety plans.
I disagreed with the rule saying I was not allowed to have razors in the bathroom but my son could which we had to monitor due to his self harm. When I pushed back on the grounds I couldn’t control his access to all sharps including pencil sharpeners was reported for non compliance even though I followed the rule and described as not understand his self harm.
Pencil sharpener blades are the second most used items for self harm.
I was threatened with court action for this - the council have now agreed that wording was harsh.

It seems in our case that the difference between our experience and the guidelines and law was massive and since it has been so hard to get a grudging apology from the council I believe lots of cases are treated like ours.

I won’t ever trust Children’s Services again and live in fear of something happening that will involve another referral.

Runnermum16
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:33 pm

Re: We should all get together . Too many lies and wrong removals

Post by Runnermum16 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:16 pm

Hi ermintrude, I myself have been trying to get to the bottom of my complaint with the CS but seem to be getting nowhere, the managers (I have dealt with 3 different ones in 10 months) just seem to support whatever the front line staff report, without listening to what is actually being said. I can now prove that procedures were not followed and adhered too in my case and I am going to build a case against their decision. They seem to only listen to and hear what they want to and do not accept fault when they clearly make mistakes. My c&f and S7 report both came back full of mistake and errors and they breached GDPR in a missive way, but just said that it was human error and wouldn't happen again. This is not good enough in my opinion, children's lives and futures are at stake, should they be allowed to make silly Errors like these? I can't in my job... Stand tall and stand strong, the more we keep fighting something will have to be done eventually....

Post Reply