Welcome to the Parents’ Discussion Board and thank you for your posts.
My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group.
I see you are feeling upset and frustrated by the situation you find yourself in following the removal of your daughter from your care 3 years ago. You feel aggrieved because the decision to remove your daughter was on the basis you could not care because of alcohol/drugs or being unwell.
Your health deteriorated but this was not taken into account. Unfortunately, you suffered a couple of strokes and it has taken time for you to get to a place where you feel able to care for your daughter. Part of the difficulties you had at the time your daughter was removed came to light as being ‘mini strokes’ which affected your ability to communicate coherently.
As your daughter is subject to a care order and, I assume, in long term foster care, you could ask children’s services to carry out an assessment with a view to your daughter being returned to your care. If children’s services are not willing to do the assessment, then you could apply to the court to discharge the care order. If you were to make such an application the local authority and the children’s guardian would be parties to the application. Do you attend looked after child (LAC) reviews? Has the possibility of being reunited with you daughter been discussed? I suggest you speak with the independent reviewing officer (IRO) about your wish to have you daughter home. Here is an explanation of LAC reviews
from our A-Z of terms
The nature of your condition was seen as unusual due to your age and was looked into further and you have evidence of this. This might provide evidence to the court of your circumstances at the time the order was made. You mentioned that you were in an abusive relationship, did children’s services at the time of their involvement suggest that you separate from your partner to safeguard your daughter and were you prepared to do so? As you are not now in a relationship this could support your position that you have made significant changes to your life since the order was made. It will be important for you to show that the concerns that existed at the time of care proceedings have been addressed. The court has to consider what would be in your daughter’s best interest and her welfare will be the paramount consideration for the judge. The fact that she has been in foster care for 3 years and settled will be looked at as well whether it would be good for her to change.
I note you state the Guardian suggested 9-18 months, was this included in your daughter’s care plan. Once there is a care order in place the local authority children’s services can make decisions about where your daughter lives and other matters for her upbringing. The care order gives parental responsibility to the local authority which can be exercised over and above yours.
A copy of our advice sheet relating to the duties children’s services have when a child is in the care system is here
for your information.
For more information about children being reunited with their families a copy of our advice sheet
for you to read.
Having completed the appropriate form, you will need to take or send it to the court with enough copies for everyone who will be a party to the application to discharge the care order. There is a fee payable to the court to make the application, although it is possible to apply for an exemption from the fee or a reduction in the amount paid.
I have responded to all of your posts here rather than individually.
Should you wish to discuss this in more detail, please telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 3pm.
I hope this is helpful.