Parental Assesment

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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:02 pm

Parental Assesment

Post by Needafriend » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:19 pm

Hi, My children are under a child protection plan, and I am shortly due to start a parental assessment. The child protection plan was put in place after a social services investigation that was triggered by the arrest and conviction for ABH of my wife in January 2014. Since this event, my eldest son (12 years old) has reported to me and the social worker (on 3 different occasions) incidents of violence or threats of violence against him, when I was not at home. In addition to this she has been assessed to have 'traits of emotionally unstable behavior' (diagnosed by the community mental health team) but refuses to get any treatment for it.

I have made the decision that I need to split from my wife, but I am not eligible for legal aid because I work, and unfortunately, all our savings are with my wife. I have therefore asked social services for assistance, either by way of being rehoused with my children or financial assistance in getting a non-molestation order against her. Social services are of the opinion that both parents can look after and safeguard the children on their own despite her mental health issues or her criminal conviction, or the fact that my son has reported violence against him.

They have put both parents forward for a parental assessment, which she refused. They even offered to pay for her taxi fare to attend a pre assessment meeting. They have said that they will make further attempts to get her to engage with the assessment process by getting me to provide my version of events, and put that to her, so that they can provide her version; and as its likely to be different, she may then choose to engage and cooperate with professionals.

I might be biased here, but I feel they are treating my case very unfairly and with a lot of prejudice. In addition to the above after their initial investigation, they put got me to do a 17 weeks caring dads program ( a course for perpetrators of domestic violence), and they asked her to engage in a program called positive change ( a program for victims of domestic violence). As with everything else she ignored their advise and did not participate in the program.

I am planning to co-operate with the parental assessment, but to me its obvious that despite all the above they see me as the perpetrator of domestic violence (based on my wife's say so), and the outcome of the assessment will not be fair. after all the social workers carrying out the assessment work for the council.

I'm sorry that question isn't very clear, I'm just trying to cram in as much information as possible so that you can provide an informed response.
I guess the main question is: Are they supposed to disclose what I say to them, and say words to the effect 'oh look he's saying this about you, or about this situation what do you say'.

Also in regards to her mental health, she has been asked to visit a psychiatrist, but refuses to do so. I have put it to them, that if she refuses to attend the matter needs to be escalated to the point that if she continues to refuse, than she has to be sectioned, but they are ignoring this. Can anything be done about this too?

Thank you for any assistance and advise.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Parental Assesment

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:27 pm

Dear Needafriend

Welcome back to the Family Rights Group Parents’ Discussion Forum.

My name is Suzie and I am an Adviser at Family Rights Group.

I am sorry that you are having a difficult and worrying time at the moment due to Children Services (new name for Social Services) being involved with your family.

In your post you mention that your wife has a conviction for assault. Was this assault against you, another adult or your son? It seems surprising that Children Services are not, as you say concerned about the threats made to your eldest son or the fact of the diagnosis given to your wife. Your wife’s unwillingness to engage with mental health services should be of concern to Children Services especially if her behaviour has an adverse impact on the children physically and emotionally.

Having made the decision to split from your wife, if you intend to divorce her this is something you can do without the need for a solicitor. You can make the application yourself and if you are on a low income may be entitled to a fee exemption. If you ask at your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Family Court you will be able to get more information about this. If you think you need a non-molestation order and you have made reports to the police over the last 24 months about domestic abuse, you may be entitled to legal aid to obtain the Order. Also, as the children are on Child Protection Plans and your intention is to provide protection for them you may in these circumstances be entitled to legal aid. I suggest that you seek advice from a solicitor as to the likelihood of getting legal aid.

You could contact Coram Children Legal Services on 0300 030 5480. This organisation offers advice on private law matters and is better placed to advise you about divorce and obtaining a non-molestation order. There website is here for your information.

If Children Services consider that it is important to protect the children they could assist with housing if you wish to move out. However, it seems they are at the moment saying that they believe both parents are able to safely parent the children, so unlikely they will help at this stage.
Children Services has to give both parents a chance to be assessed so that they can made a decision as to who will be the best person to safeguard the children in the long term. Whilst I can understand your concern regarding your wife’s behaviour she is still entitled to be assessed. If your wife fails to engage in the parenting assessment this will not be very favourable for her. I would suggest that you fully engage and cooperate with the assessment.

The reason that Children Services want you both to engage with domestic violence services, is because of the concern about domestic violence in your relationship with your wife. You say that you are not the perpetrator but since I do not have the information that they have I am not able to comment further on this. My advice would be for you to engage with the programme as it is likely to help you to recognise particular patterns or behaviour and how to deal with this.

Children Services main concern is for the welfare of the children and to ensure that they are brought up in a safe environment. A copy of our advice sheet about child protection procedures is included for your information.

Regarding your question about whether Children Services can disclose what you say to you wife, it seems to me that if they are investigating and assessing you both then, disclosure is important since they want to know what you both have to say. It is likely that you will both have different versions of events and it will be for Children Services to consider the information they have in order to make a final decision about you and your wife.

If you wife refuses to have a psychiatric assessment, Children Services cannot force her to do so. Her refusal would not be a reason for her to be sectioned. A person would only be sectioned if it was deemed necessary to protect them or others. Any person can refuse to have medical or other treatment and not even a court can force them to do so.

I reiterate my advice that you should cooperate and work with Children Services. However, if you feel that something is not being done properly or you are being unfairly treated, you should put your concerns in writing to the social worker and the team manager. Make sure you ask for a written response. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, then you could consider making a formal complaint and I have included here a copy of our advice sheet on challenging decisions made by Children Services.

Should you wish to speak to an Adviser, you are free to telephone our advice line. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

Best wishes


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