Children Services issues

conc3rnm0m
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Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:47 pm

Children Services issues

Postby conc3rnm0m » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:26 am

Apologies for the long post but I am very confused and frustrated over this situation and really need some advice.

Myself and my husband are having issues with Children Services and we feel that we are being treated unfairly.

We have three children, Child A, my son 12 years old who is severely disabled (5p Syndrome) and adopted by my husband, Child B now 8 years, my son, who came to live with us in 2012 after living with his birth father’s parents and was recently deemed to have attachment disorder. Child C 6 years old, our daughter and no additional needs.

For the past 4 years, we have been seeking support for Child B as he has been displaying some complex and challenging behaviours which has escalated over the years. We feel that he may also have ADHD. We have self-referred him for Psychological Help as well as taken him to see the various professional help however it was concluded that he may have suffered abuse during his time with his paternal grandparents (from 9 old months to 4 years old).

Children Services became involved with the family in November when I got admitted in hospital due to Acute Stress Reaction. As my husband in currently in the military, he often work away from home and I have to manage with taking care of all three children. I believe I do a great job with them as is evident by school and other professionals. I have been asking for support to deal with Child B ever since I noticed the complex behaviour in him. He has also made several allegations that he had been hit and slapped which have not been true this I understand is something that kids with attachment disorder often do. These have been investigated by school and the police. He was also running off to school on his own in the mornings and running away at times. These concerns have also been raised by us before I got admitted into hospital however nothing was done.

All three children lived with us until February this year when I asked for some respite for Child B as his behaviours has gotten out of control. This resulted in me signing a Section 20 agreement. Before signing the section 20 it wasn't explained clearly to me what I was getting myself into as I believed that this was the respite that i asked for. I was assured that at any time I wanted my son home I can just pick up the phone and say. This doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment. I do not feel that the Section 20 agreement has been upheld by Children Services as these have been decisions made without our consent as well as the contacts being supervised and poorly managed. There was an independent review held after my son went into care and it was agreed that a care plan was to be produced within 4 weeks by the social worker however this has not been done.

A Child Protection Conference was called in march for Child A and Child C because Children Services said that Child B may have suffered emotional abuse and chastisement by us Child A and Child C may be at risk. At the CP conference, all the professionals (approximately 10) that attended produced thorough reports and all apart from 2 (the Social Worker and Child A’s Social worker) voted against CP. It was agreed that a Child in Need Plan be put in place for Child A and Child C and extra support put in place for the family. The report that the Social Worker produced was in-accurate and rather than going through it with us to make any corrections and clarifications before the CP conference, it was dropped off on the Friday afternoon for us to look through. The CP conference was to be held on the following Monday.

At the first Child in Need Plan we rather than a Plan, we were informed by the social worker that they have decided to go to the courts for Care Proceedings for all three children. We were also informed that there will not be a pre-proceeding. This I feel is unfair because they are not taking his attachment disorder into consideration and rather than supporting us with fulfilling his needs they are making him worst as well as pulling our family apart.

We as well as all the professionals are puzzled by this discussion as we have been fully cooperating with Children Services.
We do not feel that our concerns are being taken into consideration and therefore needs advice on how to best approach this situation

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

Re: Children Services issues

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:02 pm

Dear conc3rnm0m,

Welcome to the parents forum. I am sorry to hear about your families current difficulties and that your son B is accommodated.
It is very worrying that children services have stated they are taking care proceedings.

The fact that they say they will not be going through the pre proceedings process suggests they think your children need to be urgently protected. Has new evidence that they are suffering significant harm come to light since the child protection conference?

You ask for advice about how to approach the situation. You must take their threat of care proceedings very seriously.

The most urgent thing to do is to find a solicitor who specialises in children law/ public law proceedings. Legal aid will be available whatever your income. You can look for a solicitor at the Law Society-find a solicitor.

The second thing you could do, is think about how your children could be protected from any possible harm. Even if you are sure that your children are not being harmed, children services have some evidence that they are at risk. The court may agree that they should be protected.
So for example, if your son has made allegations against you, could a family member be assessed to stay with your family and supervise you? This would show that steps are being taken to protect your children and so reduce the risk of harm to them.
Or dad, could he take time off to look after the children, if he is currently away with the army?
Is there any family or friends who could look after your children, if the court agree that your children should be removed from you?
Has there been a family group conference ? This type of meeting is for the family to find support within the family and friends network. It can be used to support you but also to find people to look after your children, if the court decide that your children are at serious risk of harm.

Here is our advice sheet about care proceedings .


I was going to address some of the procedural errors you have mentioned-such as you not receiving the care plan. However, given children services are taking care proceedings I think it is more important that you concentrate on getting urgent legal advice.
If you are unclear about anything please post back or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

Suzie

conc3rnm0m
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:47 pm

Re: Children Services issues

Postby conc3rnm0m » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:54 pm

Thanks for your reply Suzie,
The reason for no pre-proceedings as said by the Social Worker is she does not like pre-proceedings and rather like the matter to be dealt with in court. Our son is still subjected to section 20 however we do not feel that the section 20 agreement is working in our favour.
The real problem with him is he has attachment disorder which comes with challenging behaviour. This I didn’t fully understand until recently after I signed the section 20. We did not fully understand the implications of the section 20 that was sighed. I honestly believed that this would be the respite that I was asking for him to have. All the social worker, who was acting in place of the original social worker, said to me was that if at any time I wanted him home, all I have to do is pick up the phone and say.
We have acquired solicitors (one for me and the other for my husband) however they can’t seem to be able to do anything until the proceedings paperwork has been received.
I consider our home safe and loving for our children and that was mentioned in the Child Protection report that the social worker produced.
There has not been a family group conference. We have no family living in the UK as my husband joined the military from the Commonwealth. I also on several occasions in the past applied for my sister to visit whilst my husband gets deployed however her visa was refused. My husband is now working locally now thankfully so he is home on a regularly basis.
I believe that asking for support for the past 4 odd years should at least count for something.

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

Re: Children Services issues

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:53 pm

Dear Conc3rnm0m,

Thank you for posting again and clarifying the situation.
The priority is to have legal representation when care proceedings are being threatened so I am glad that you and your husband have solicitors.
Yes, the fact that you asked for support over the last 4 years will be relevant. The court will want to know what support you have had and whether you should have been given more.

When your 12 year old son was accommodated, children services were right to say that you can remove him at any time. This is because you and your husband both have the legal parental responsibility to make all the decisions about him, including where he lives. Children services (in your family’ situation) would need a court order giving them parental responsibility (such as an emergency protection order or care order) to prevent you from removing him from foster care.
However, I would caution against removing him from accommodation, without first taking legal advice. If children services are worried about him being harmed or putting himself in danger-from running away, for example, particularly given his vulnerabilities, they may seek such a court order. It would also be advisable to make sure that an assessment has taken place before he returns home to ensure that he has the support he needs. it would be worse for him, givne his attachment disorder for everything to breakdown again.

Have you asked for your son be returned home? Your post is not clear about this point. If you have, have you negotiated further time for a rehabilitation to happen? There is the possibility that children services are in breach of the law, if they have kept him in care without your consent. Discuss this with your solicitor. There may be a separate human rights act claim.

You should have received a care plan by now. Here is some information about care plans .

You should email either the social workers manager or the Independent reviewing officer asking for a copy of your sons care plan now.
You will want to see what referrals have been made to assess your son’s mental health. You say he has an attachment disorder. How will this be treated?

I can see why you are finding it difficult, that on the one hand, the child protection conference decided that a child protection plan was not needed and your children were well looked after, and now children services are talking about care proceedings, where they will need to show reasonable cause that your children have suffered significant harm or are in danger. See here.

What evidence do they have that your children are being harmed or are in danger due to your parenting or them being beyond your control?
If you knew what children’s services worries were, then you could take steps to address those concerns.
Email the social worker and ask:
• Why they are taking care proceedings?
• What are their worries about your parenting?
• Is there something that you need support for? For example, a health condition?
• What steps do they want you to take to address those worries?
• Can there be a family group conference to look for support within your network? Even though you do not have family nearby, is there any support via the military, via friends or in the community such as from a church or mosque?

Does paternal grandmother have a legal order (special guardianship order or child arrangement order) in respect of your son? If so, she will be served with the court papers.
I hope this advice helps but please post again if you have any questions or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

Suzie

conc3rnm0m
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:47 pm

Re: Children Services issues

Postby conc3rnm0m » Mon May 01, 2017 9:54 pm

Sorry for the late reply as a lot has been happening since. My son has been saying that he wants to come back home whilst at contact. I dont know how to respond cause i dont want anyone to think that i am putting things in his head. He also told his foster carer this aswell. I dont believe we can withdraw the S20 as court proceedings is about to go ahead. We have not ask for him to return home because initially we thought this was the respite he was getting. We still haven't recieve any careplan though it has been three months now. We have mentioned this to the IRO after the 4 weeks that he had given the SW to produce expired but still nothing.

We have no family in the UK so its a bit tricky for a family group meeting.
There is really no evidence on the other two children being at risk of harm however children services said that because care proceedings they have to take the other two into consideration.

We have been working with a clinical psycologist to give us stratigies on dealing with his behaviours. This has been going well however he needs to spend more time with us in order for us to use these effectively.

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

Re: Children Services issues

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed May 03, 2017 2:00 pm

Dear Conc3rnm0m,

I can see why it is difficult to answer your sons’ questions about coming home. You do not know yourself when this might happen. Your son has complex needs and might have an attachment disorder, so extra care needs to be given when answering him. It is good that you thinking about your son before you answer him.
I suggest you speak to the social worker and the psychologist as well about the best way to answer this question.

I am glad that things are going well with the psychologist. As well as helping your son it will also show that you are able to work with professionals.
As care proceedings seem to be happening, you will be getting a copy of a draft care plan, which you can go through with your solicitor and which will be examined by the court.
It might be a good idea now to familiarise yourself with our advice sheet about care proceedings. It details how to work with your solicitor, the different orders that can be made and the different court hearings that will take place.

If you have any questions, please post back or call our free and confidential advice line for further advice.

Best wishes,

Suzie


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