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Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:43 am
by Minnie
For the last 7 weeks my children have been accommodated by the local authority under section 20 due to my oldest daughter having a massive tantrum where she lashed out at me when refusing to get ready for school. I made her put her uniform on and left marks on her upper arms. This was enough to trigger a child protection medical where the marks were deemed non accidental even though what I was saying of how it happened match with the marks left. I was forced to sign a section 20 as I was needed to attend the police station under voluntary attendance for assaulting my daughter. Things moved very quickly,there was a child protection conference and a plo meeting. The children were placed on the register for emotional and physical abuse and I was given a contract of expectations. An a narrative core assessment would take place which would be completed on the 15th January. From what I gather there are 2 things that can happen, it's goes to court and a care proceedings start or doesn't go to court and children will be rehabilated home. The social worker has moved the goal posts of what the initial concerns were which the above non accidental injury to my lack of management of their behaviour and the most recent one is that I put my needs before the childrens. The only example given was that the do activities outside of school and that there are too many of them. I'm choosing them and there aren't getting a choice in the matter. My children have asked to do them and enjoy them.
My main concerns is that policies and procedures aren't been followed fully. I haven't been informed of any things that have taken place in the last 7 weeks and nor have the children. For example, the day after I signed the section 20, I asked for a copy of this and was told to Google it. The paperwork I signed for the section was hastily drawn up note of roughly written brief explanation of what a section 20 was. I was told my mum could have the children whilst all this took place and they would be back by the end of the week. Training has put in place which I have attended and taken on board what has been provided. This is ongoing and been assessed by the social worker. This has been very negative experience, I'm hearing from other family members that I'm hostile. I have cooperated fully and have questioned some of the feedback given from contact as I didn't feel the children's behaviour wasn't managed.
Has anyone experience this or has any advice?

Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:29 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear Minnie

Welcome to the Parents’ Discussion Forum

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

I am sorry that you are having a worrying time due to children services involvement with your family at the moment.

As you may be aware, as Children Services received a referral they have a duty to look into this and make a decision about what action they will take. In your case, they decided to carry out an assessment the result of which was an initial child protection conference. Things appear to have moved very quickly as it does not appear that there was time after the conference to see how the Child Protection Plan would work out since you have already had a PLO (public law outline) meeting. Normally, this meeting takes place where Children Services are concerned that the Child Protection Plan is not working or there is no cooperation from the parent or person caring for the child or children.

Children Services are required to work with you in an open and transparent way and this is government guidelines say should happen. The social worker should explain the concerns that they have and try and work out with you how best these can be addressed. Were the children actually placed with your mother and how much contact do you have at present? Is your contact with the children supervised? I am including here a copy of our advice sheet relating to the duties Children Services has when a child is in the care system.

The purpose of the narrative core assessment is to carry out an in depth assessment to address the needs of the children and how parent/s react to these needs. It will also look at each child individual needs in relation to health education etc. It is important that you work and cooperate with the social worker carrying out the assessment. Please also ensure that you adhere to the agreement of expectations as failure to do so could result in it being said that you do not engage or work with Children Services.

Once the assessment has been completed then if there is any support required to ensure that the children are safely cared for, children services should ensure that such support is provided to the children and the parent if appropriate. I am including a copies of our advice sheets relating to procedures child protection and family support .

You are entitled to receive a copy of the s.20 consent that you signed and I suggest that you put in writing to the social worker and team manager a request for the copy. I am sorry that you did not get adequate advice regarding the s.20 consent that you gave. It is certainly not appropriate for a social worker to tell you to google information which they should give to a parent.

What is the position regarding the police investigations at the moment?

It would not normally, unless children services have no concerns at all about the children ,for them to decide especially where a police investigation about an alleged assault on one child is taking place to say things will be concluded and children returned home without a full assessment being carried out. Please ask the social worker for a copy of the local assessment criteria and protocol. There is more information about this in the advice sheets I have sent to you.

It appears that a lot has taken place in the last 7 weeks although no full assessment has been completed. Is it the case that you were asked to attend parenting courses? When is the review conference due to take place?

I am not sure why other family members would be describing you as hostile. Have you had a family group conference with members of your family?

It is important that you continue to cooperate with the social worker. If need to have things explained or clarified, the best way is to ask for it to be put in writing so you are clear about things and what is required of you.

Once the assessment has been completed, if it is considered that the children have suffered harm and are likely to suffer significant harm in the future, then a decision could be made to apply for a care order so Children Services can share parental responsibility. Alternatively, it may be that Children Services take the view that with appropriate support the children can return home.

The social worker is likely to have spoken to the children about their wishes and feelings and maybe they mentioned that they did not like a particular activity even though it was one they chose. Perhaps you could find out from each child if they wish to stop a particular activity or let them know it is fine to stop. As I do not know the ages of your children it is only a suggestion.

You say that you had a PLO meeting so you would have instructed a solicitor already, I suggest that you keep your solicitor informed and if necessary ask the solicitor to write Children Services legal team about issues that are concerning you.

If you feel that procedures are not been followed by Children Services you could consider whether you wish to make a formal complaint. A copy of our advice sheet relating to complaints is here for your information.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please do telephone our free advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes,


Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:22 am
by Minnie
To Suzie

The police investigation stopped 5 weeks ago(2 weeks into the process)
The review of the child protection meeting is this week,the core group are meeting. The review of the original meeting is 25th February, deciding whether the children remain on the register.
The Family didn't say I was hostile,the social worker told the family that I was hostile,no explanation given of why.

Is the process child protection plan put in place and plo if the plan hasn't work or hasn't been cooperated with. Do I get to see the plan? I have contract of expectations from the plo which I haven't signed. Not from wanting to because no one has requested it, I asked the solicitor about this and whether they would need it. I was told children services would be asking for it,4 weeks in and still have it. The school the children attend said at the previous core group meeting that they thought the process was child protection plan and plo if the plan wasn't working.

My mum or any other family member/friend have the children,they are with foster carers. The viability checks have been very slow going and the reports have been inaccurate,resulting in the people been check has been deemed as unviable.
I have supervised community contact, I had 5 weeks contact in the contact centre. I see them for two hours a week,2 one hour sessions. I asked for feedback from each contact and this mainly negative. I feel they sessions go well,the children seem pleased to see me. The feedback is usually that the children are in control of contact and usually there no behaviour issues from children. If there is,it is usually a sibling disagreement which I have dealt with. I'm told that I lack parental presence because I give the children choices.
The Family Group conference is this week as well.

Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:35 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear Minnie

Thank you for posting again to clarify what has happened in your case so far.

If the social worker has the opinion that you are hostile it may be because she feels that you are not working well with her. I suggest you try to speak to her about why she thinks you are being hostile. It is important that you as much as you are able to have a good working relationship with the social worker. I know it is a really difficult time for you at present as you are likely to be both angry and upset not having your children with you. Ask for things to be explained so that you are clear about expectations.

The first core group meeting should discuss and finalise the child protection plan. The plan will set out what the professionals will do and what you are expected to do as well. You should receive copies of the minutes from the initial child protection conference, minutes from the core group meetings and a copy of the final child protection plan. Please do read the advice sheet relating to children protection procedures that I sent to you previously. There may be slight differences in the procedures if you are not in England.

You say that the family members and friends who were assessed were ruled out as possible carers for the children due to inaccuracies in the reports. If this is the case, then those individuals should ask for factual inaccuracies to be rectified.

It is really good that you are having contact and the children enjoy seeing you. I am sorry that you are receiving negative feedback from your contact with the children. Perhaps you could try to proactively engage with contact more; try to direct the children at play if you do not already do that. It is important to give the children an opportunity to choose but you should try to have input into their play as well.

I hope the Family Group Conference will go well and that you and your family and friends will be able to work out a plan to ensure the children will be safeguarded and you have the support you may need. You may find it helpful to watch the film on family group conference which I have included here for you. A copy of our advice sheet about family group conferences is also attached for your information.

In order to prevent the local authority making an application to the court it is important that you adhere to the child protection plan and any agreement reached at the PLO meeting. If it is considered that you are not doing what is expected of you to safeguard the children and address the concerns that children services have regarding your care of the children then it is likely court action could be the way the progress the case.

You should discuss matters with your solicitor who should have all the information relating to your case and is best placed to advise you further.

If you wish you can telephone our free and confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes


Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:18 pm
by Minnie
Hi Suzie

I have worked with the social worker,cooperated fully and doing everything that has been asked of me. The hostility may come from that I haven't agreed with all the feedback given such as do you think the children were in control of that situation and said no. I think there is elements of prejudice and making judgements of me from him. I'm prepared to do what is necessary to get my girls back and have cooperated.

Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:21 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Hi Minnie,

You could always ask the social worker to clarify what he means about you being hostile. Is it because you disagreed with his opinion? There might be something that you could address. Has he misunderstood you? You could then show how you are able to work in partnership with professionals and take and reflect on any advice he has given you.

Best wishes,


Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:42 am
by Minnie
To Suzie

I haven't been told to my face that I'm hostile, that information came from a family member(very reliable). I'm not sure how to approach them regarding this especially as the final decisions from the narrative core assessment are due any day.
I have been told that is a Family Group Meeting(less formal version of the family group conference) and a Family Group Conference by the social worker. Is this the case?
We had a family group meeting which was nowhere near the same. There was no independent organiser,my family were told in no uncertain terms that had to make themselves avaliable regular basis(more than monthly) and at short notice. The nearest family member is 160 miles away and 2 small children. The best option for this is my father who lives 3 and half hours away.
The children's father was there,he isn't allowed unsupervised either,similar circumstances and sees the children is supervised contact. He arrived with no family members. He told the social worker that his mother,father and sister would offer support. The social worker asked why they weren't there,he said his mother had broken her arm,his father was looking after his mother and his sister was working.
We weren't given any separate time as a family to discuss the support that could be put in place. The social workers stayed the whole time. My family agreed to visit and for me to visit them on a monthly basis. The children's father offered no support if the children returned to me. It was suggested that to give my oldest daughter sometime with me that a family member could have sometime with youngest daughter during this time. My family said they could do this and children's father didn't offer any support with this.
The social worker as my father put it was acting as an 'agent provocateur' with myself and the children's father. He was lighting the touch paper to see who would react. My ex partner was reacting and I was starting to. I managed to keep calm after a short time out of the room, the trainee social worker was mouthing across the table to stay calm and when I left the room. She followed me,advised me to stay calm as my ex partner was trying to push my buttons.
My concern with my family offering all support and the paternal family offering none that the children may end up in long term foster care as the social worker that incident that took place which resulted in the children been accommodated wasn't an isolated incident. He has no evidence of this, he tried to produce some. He told me there is a photo of child's upper arm with marks on it. I have been told it my oldest's daughter's arm. I haven't seen the photo,I asked for further explanation of the photo such who it was,when it was taken etc as I knew nothing about it. The social worker couldn't give me any further information and even said that could be any child and the marks could be caused by anyone/anything.
My youngest daughter has undiagnosed behaviour issues ,she is under the paediatrician for her behaviour and the ed psychologist is involved in school. She is currently been assessed for autistic spectrum disorders as her behaviour is linked to sensory issues. The paediatrician thinks possibly adhd but is too young for the formal diagnosis. We have to wait a year for this.
Could social services put in some kind of respite for the family?

Issued care proceedings

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:32 am
by Minnie
The narrative core assessment has finished and cs are issuing care proceedings on the grounds of the children's behaviour in school and at home, my inability to manage their behaviour,not taking feedback on board(I did question whatwas been said),the children's father not recognising safeguarding and abuse and poor family dynamics(including extended family). The recommendations are 1)a comprehensive parenting assessment of both myself and the children's father,2)regular contact feedback and weekly feedback from children’s services,3)exploring the children's paternal extended family to understand their knowledge of the situation and any support they can offer,4) extended family mediation,5)psychological assessment of the children,6)play therapy for the children.
The school and the education authority that work with my daughter are saying they are going to challenge the decision. The solicitor that it is a positive and they can give supporting evidence for me and the children in this process.
Does anyone have advice on this and what is next step from receiving the report? Also have the child protection plan and plo in place as well.

Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:55 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear Minnie

Thank you for your further posts.

Regarding the family meeting that you mention in your post, it may be that your local CS have informal meetings but a full and proper Family Group Conference/Meeting should follow a set procedure as set out in our advice sheet here.

It is unfortunate that there was no clear plan of family support including both sets of extended family. This is likely to be of concern to Children Services that the extended family were not able to work together to reach agreement to safeguard the children by offering support. The children’s father lack of support is clearly unhelpful in the circumstances.

Whilst I understand your concern that the social worker is of the opinion that the incident was not an isolated one, it seems that the social worker may have formed this view from his work with the family. This is not to say the social worker necessarily has a basis for reaching this conclusion. It would be wrong for the social worker to just produce a photograph supposedly of your daughter when there is no explanation of when and where it was taken and by whom.

I hope the assessment of your youngest daughter is progressing well and that there will soon be a diagnosis for her behaviour even though the test for autism may take a little longer.

Your question whether Children Services can provide respite, the answer is yes this is possible in the child or children is assessed as needing such support. Our advice sheet relating to family support which was sent to you in a previous post explains the sort of support that can be offered by children services.

Turning now to your most recent post, you say that children services intend to issue care proceedings as you are still in the PLO (public law outline) stage, it appears that Children Services are carrying out the assessments which they need to, so that if the child protection plan is not followed, the proceedings will be issued. At the PLO meeting you should have been informed of what Children Services expectations are to prevent proceedings being issued. Is it the case, that you have been given a specified period of time by which Children Services expect to see an improvement in how you and the children’s father are working with the plan? Your solicitor will no doubt be able to advise you further about what is required of you.

A copy of our advice sheet relating to care proceedings is here for your information.

It is very important that you continue to work with children services and cooperate fully with the parenting assessment. The parenting assessment will recommend whether or not you are able to care for the children and what support you might need to do so.

You say that the school intend to challenge Children Services on their decision but I am clear about whether this is in relation to the care proceedings or the play therapy for your daughter. If it is considered that this will be harmful to your daughter then the school would need to provide evidence to the children services of this. The school is not able to prevent Children Services carrying out assessments as part of their role to safeguard the children; or to issue care proceedings should this be considered necessary once the assessments are completed. The school would have been involved in the initial child protection conference so I would have thought their views relating to your daughter is already known to Children Services.

I hope you will find this helpful but if you also wish to speak to an adviser, please feel free to telephone our free, confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

Best wishes,


Re: Narrative core assessment and plo

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:40 pm
by Minnie
I regards to the Plo process,the solicitor said that the issuing of care proceedings has nothing to do with the plo process and the contract of expectations because it's not in the assessment report. I have also done everything is the child protection plan,I only saw this 2 weeks ago and that was 7 weeks from the initial child protection conference. I'm not sure what the sw is basing the evidence to issue care proceedings on and what I am understanding appears to be very flimsy. I think this could have been avoided. Almost everyone in the core group is supporting me and the girls,the negativity and lack of empathy from the social worker is stifling. My family think this is going to get thrown out of court due the lack of any evidence and supporting facts. The lack of professionalism of the social worker has been astounding. I need to get my girls back especially as this started as section 20 arrangement that was told 5 days at the most and 11 weeks down the line,nothing is clear and very little understanding of how it got to this point.
Very sad that my girls might never come home