I've joined this board in the hope that we can receive help and advice about a Child Protection Order which has been placed on our son.
The Story so far is, My Partner and I have been together for 8 years and in November 2016 we were blessed with a beautiful little boy through a carefully planned pregnancy. Throughout the pregnancy Social Services have been in involved as a "Child in Need" as my partner has had a history of substance misuse. Many years ago she had issues with Valium and Heroin.
Briefly I've spent a lot of time and energy throughout our relationship helping her over to overcome her addiction which she has done very well, unfortunately there have been times when she has relapsed. Her last relapse was in November 2014 and we subsequently spilt up as a result of this. I would just like to state I despise drugs.
She went to live back with her Mum but on December 22nd 2014 she returned home to find her Mum dead, needless to say this sent her right over the edge and she literally hit the self-destruct button. In March 2015 I received a frantic phone call from her brother and sister begging me to go and see her because as they put it "she would be dead within the week" reluctantly I agreed and went to see her the next morning. To say what I saw horrified me is a massive understatement, I immediately packed her bag drove her to my house and within 24 hours we were in ... were I had her admitted into a detox clinic called ...... She spent the next 7 days there and she was giving the Naltraxone Implant. This is a wonder drug that stops any cravings and totally blocks the effects of opiates, why it's not used in the Uk is beyond me as it would save the government millions but that's a different chat show..
This was a huge wake up call for my partner and since then she has done absolutely amazing, She has totally turned her life around and finally I can say with the utmost confidence that her history of substance misuse is exactly that... History. She continues to this day to work with a recovery project in our area and such is the progress she has made we agreed to have a child and she soon fell pregnant, after everything we have been through this was the icing on the cake for us. However, because of her history Social Services were informed and soon came to see us, We have worked openly and honestly with them throughout the pregnancy in a child in need capacity and we have done everything asked of us. At every meeting my partner and I were praised for our continued co-operation and every healthcare professional couldn't have been more praising of my partner for her continued progress.
In November 2016 my partner gave birth by c-section to our beautiful healthy son and as a precaution she stayed in hospital for 5 days, it was during this time she was asked to provide a urine sample and when the results came back it showed a positive for Zopiclone which is a sleeping medication prescribed to me by my doctor. The hospital immediately informed the social worker of this and in turn he came straight to the hospital with his boss and informed us that because she had taken medication that wasn't prescribed to her it would be seen as an illicit drug which meant they were raising the child in need programme to a Child Protection order. My partner had taken my medication without my knowledge but in her defence she had only taken 5 tablets over a 3 week period as she literally went 2 - 3 days at a time without any sleep whatsoever.
The reason they gave was that our son had suffered significant harm or was at risk of suffering significant harm. This is something we vehemently deny. I couldn't agree with more with them that she shouldn't have took my medication but to say our child is at risk or has suffered from significant harm is just not true.
A Child Protection meeting was arranged with Social Services, The Health Visitor and The Police, during this meeting the social worker had put in his report that my partner had taken a sleeping tablet and an anti depressant, this is not true and we put the record straight which they acknowledged. The Police when asked to cast there vote said this was NOT a Child Protection issue stating that my partner had made a error of judgement in not believing she had done anything to deliberately harm our son, the social worker and Health Visitor voted that the criteria had been met for a Child Protection order so there it was, a CPO was made and put in place. The things that have been put in the CPO plan are just ridiculous, police checks on my parents for one who are both in the mid 70's, medical and police checks on me, even though I have always been portrayed as the protective factor in this case. I feel like they have stormed into our lives and literally turned it upside down. Before the meeting started the IRO (Independent Review Officer) came to see us and told us of the changes that were being made to the order, furious we had not been told of any of this I immediately asked that the meeting be adjourned so I could get legal representation. The IRO denied this and the meeting went ahead as planned, to say it was a kangaroo court is an understatement. The IRO who as I understand is meant to be there solely to chair the meeting and make sure it's done within the guide lines actually dictated what should be done and actually recommended that checks be made on my parents.
Also as part of the plan we have to disclose to any baby groups we go to that we are subject to a CPO, I absolutely hate this as I think that everyone is looking at me thinking 'what has he done to that child' do they think I've hitting or been sexually abusing my child? It's just horrible.
To be perfectly honest this has almost caused a complete breakdown in our relationship as I cannot forgive my partner for the mess she has got us into. I'm a very private person so to have Social Services going through every aspect of mine and my family's life has really really annoyed me and I'll never forgive her for getting us into this situation. I have found it very difficult to bond with my son over this because deep down I know I'm going to end the relationship with my partner over this as I know I can never forgive her.
So the reason I have wrote this is to ask anybody for help or advice. What I would like to know is can we appeal the decision on the CPO and what is the best way to go about it? I told the Social Workers at the last core meeting that I intend to appeal to the decision and they weren't very happy about it. My friends have told me to just go along with everything they say or ask us to do so we can get rid of them but why should I? Why should my life be imposed on like this and why should I have to disclose my child is subject to a CPO for people to look at me wondering if I'm a sex offender or abuse my child?
Can anybody please help me and advice me what to do for the best
Many many thanks in advance.
Edited by Suzie to remove identifying information
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