Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

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Esme, Moderator

Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by Esme, Moderator » Tue May 08, 2012 10:14 am

Hello everyone.

My name is Esme. I am a member of the advice and advocacy team at FRG and I am going to be taking on the role of moderating the boards.

Basically, I’ll be overseeing the boards to make sure they are (hopefully!) a really useful and supportive place for parents to meet. As you probably know, this board is still quite new so I’m also hoping to help the boards to develop and grow- with lots of advice and input from the real experts i.e. you (after all this is YOUR board!)

The main things I’ll be doing are,

• Editing posts if necessary
• Moving threads to different sections if appropriate
• Starting up new threads if I see a news story or other development that I think users of the board may be interested in reading about / commenting on
• Offering general support on users threads, including offering information about relevant organisations and other sources of support

Just to say that I am not replacing Suzie on the boards. Primarily, we would like the discussion boards to be a place where parents can get advice and support from each other and to share their experiences. Suzie will still be posting advice on here in response to questions about legal or social work practice, however. If I see a thread that I think needs Suzie to respond to, I will make sure that she is aware of it and gives an answer as soon as possible.

The first thing I’d like to do is ask about your experiences of this board.

What have you found most useful about the board?
Are there things that you would like to see change?
Is there anything missing from the board at the moment?

Do feel free to post your thoughts on this thread.

Thanks for reading and thank you all for your contributions to FRG’s discussion board for parents.

Best Wishes

Esme
Discussion boards moderator

ange301126
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by ange301126 » Wed May 09, 2012 10:13 am

dear Esme, welcome to the forum.
You have already posted a message on another thread entitled 'honestly can't see the light' involving 'warthog' and her experiences with social services.As you will see ,I posted a message earlier on which suggested that the FRG might consider enlisting a human rights solicitor ( perhaps voluntary or on an internship) . This was in the hope that such a person would be able to track cases and human rights issues and be able to give parents free legal advice aimed at protecting their children and themselves against abuses created by social workers and local authorities.On the basis that it is prudent to cooperate with those people at all times even when arguably children are suffering human rights abuse and 'significant emotional harm' at their hands as in many cases,children's legal panel solicitors appear reluctant to respond strongly and bring 'Children's Services' to task before Magistrates etc.
Also on the thread messages have been posted by a parent called 'speakout'. She appears to have all the relevant experience particularly as she has actually won her own case and as she has legal training and qualifications along with experience as a Councellor.
As most of the parents on the forum have had or are having negative involvement with social workers,'speakout' would fit the bill for me if she is available.
In a situation where social workers do not follow procedure correctly ( as is commonplace) legal advice is very important.
I will be interested in your comments.

Esme, Moderator

Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by Esme, Moderator » Mon May 14, 2012 4:46 pm

Thanks for your comments Ange301126

As an organisation, it is very important for FRG to track common issues and trends being faced by parents and other family members in touch with children’s services. We are also keen to promote positive policies and good practice.

I will certainly pass on your thoughts and suggestions.

Thanks for all of your contributions to the discussion board. We really want this board to be a place for parents to support and advise each other, as well as to get advice from FRG when they need it, so any thoughts about how that can be best achieved are really welcome.

Esme

ruthmarie
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Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by ruthmarie » Wed May 16, 2012 8:29 am

Hi Esme

I have posted several times b efore regarding childrens services I am a foster carer who is so fed up with the beurocracy, lack of care apart from making sure everystething is seen to be done, fed up with the pointless LAC reviews and meetings that never resolve anything, the arrogant attitude of social workers, the system is like the mafia with secret meetings between social workers and cloak and dagger attitudes. I have had a very poor relationship with the local authority now for many years due to them providing misleading information and untrue reports.

As I said before I am a fairly strong person who will fight back which they hate, but what happens to parents who are being wrongly accused of mistreatment or who just need help and genuine support. Social workers have too much power, something needs to be done to reduce this power that is often abused due to personal conflicts. How about FRG helping to take this to Mr Cameron and CO? your view would be appreciated

ange301126
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by ange301126 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:55 am

Hi,Esme,I would just like to comment on some recent advice I gave to a correspondent on these boards (with the added advice that a solicitor should be consulted first).
Suzie came on the board and commented also and apparently there is a difference of opinion and a conflict. The correspondent is in a position where she is involuntarily separated from her child by the use of an S20 order on the advice of her solicitor who appears to have put the paramount needs of the child second to cooperation with a C.S. team.
As I have said a very experienced,reputable and erudite judge told me and other case participants in our case that an S20 should not be used in this way as it is 'extremely harmful' for a child to be removed from home and mother UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE CHILD FROM IMMINENT RISK OF SERIOUS HARM. If a social worker GENUINELY believes such a situation exists then it is HIS OR HER DUTY to apply for an order from a Court before removing the child into foster care..
There is clearly no evidence to support such an application( the social worker has stated her main concern is as to the mother's mental condition which is not sufficient to remove the child).
The child is suffering 'actual' serious harm by separation from mother yet the solicitor continues to advocate that she continues to cooperate with the S20. Suzie appears to say that the solicitor should be listened to and I agree with that but here the solicitor seems to be ignoring the plight of the child and the mother ( whose home is under threat). The solicitor appears to disagree with the judge I have mentioned and with the LAW as to removing a child from home.The involuntary signing of an S20 under duress is obviously wrong. S20's are for use in cases where a mother is genuinely incapacitated or children are out of her control.
I trust the FRG is tolerant of differences in opinion and I look forward to your comments.

Esme, Moderator

Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by Esme, Moderator » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:50 pm

Hi Ange

Thanks for your comments.

FRG is very keen to hear different opinions. Although our advisers here can give sound legal and practice advice, we aren’t able to offer the peer support that parents so often want- the chance to discuss things with other parents who have been through a similar situation and can really empathise with how difficult and distressing contact with children’s services can be. It’s why we set the parents discussion board up and why we want it to continue to grow and develop in to a supportive and flourishing community.

We appreciate that there is often more than one way of approaching a situation. We want to encourage parents to advise each other based on their own knowledge and experiences. We can see how important and helpful that is- I can see from reading through various threads how supportive parents have found some of your own contributions.

Obviously we’ve got a responsibility to the boards though and, primarily, to the parents who use them. We read all posts and our advisers will challenge information if they feel it is not quite accurate. We try to be clear about when we are correcting something that is factually incorrect and when we are simply offering an alternative view that we believe is a better course of action for a parent. We won’t always agree with all parents nor they with us- that’s fine and, I think, healthy and important for the boards.

I can’t really comment on the specifics of the case you mention but I think it is important to be clear about FRG’s position on this so I’m going to ask Suzie to just pop in a give a quick response.

Hope that helps.

Best Wishes

Esme
FRG Moderator.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:22 pm

Hi Ange

The issue of accommodation under section 20 is a difficult one. In theory a parent is agreeing to the child being accommodated when, in reality, they often feel that they do not have a choice.

I agree that section 20 can be used inappropriately. In some situations it is right to challenge this and to withdraw consent. We will sometimes advise parents to do this, particularly if children’s services (or a solicitor) have indicated that they would not have enough evidence to take the matter to court.

The difficulty in the case you are talking about is that the matter is already in court- care proceedings are ongoing. The local authority believes that the threshold criteria has been met. The solicitor seems to have advised that the court would be likely to agree with this and grant an interim care order while assessments are ongoing.
The reason that an interim order has not currently been granted is due to the “no order principle”. This means that the court will only make an order if it is needed to safeguard the child. It is not needed in this case as mum is consenting to section 20 but it seems highly likely that, without that consent, an interim order would be granted.

The reality is that FRG cannot know all the relevant facts of the case or know for sure what outcome is most likely. This is why we will always refer a parent back to their solicitor who has the benefit of access to all of the relevant information.

I hope this clarifies things.

Best Wishes

Suzie
FRG Adviser

ange301126
Posts: 537
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Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by ange301126 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:56 pm

Esme,thank you for your reply and also thanks to Suzie for her comments.Of course one has to realise that if the threshhold criteria are met then it was the duty of the social worker to apply for the order before placing the child in foster-care. The paramount concern is the child who should be at home with his mother if at all possible .In my view both the child and mother are suffering from inhumanity.It is inestimable what harm the child is suffering but undoubtable that mother is suffering 'extreme mental torture' ,anxiety and degradation of her rights. As Suzie says , these cases are difficult but I would say they should not be.Social Workers should follow correctly all the legal guidelines.This is why the guidelines are set.But these issues have to be decided in court in the long run.Our views are beside the point. The question is are the court hearings fair?. Perhaps there are some parents out there who would like to comment!

ange301126
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Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by ange301126 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:25 pm

[quote="Suzie, FRG Adviser"]Hi,
Evidence, I just want to also mention what happens when the court hears the evidence of the different parties in the court. It is not correct that the court will listen to the social workers without question as ange has suggested. Your solicitor or barrister will have the opportunity to cross examine the social worker in court on anything that you dispute in her statement. So will the guardians/your child’s solicitor and dads’ solicitor if he is represented. Your solicitor should prepare you for the hearing-what to expect, who might go into the witness box. You could also ask your solicitor about giving evidence in court.
Children’s guardian I just want to correct the point about the children’s guardian’s position. They separately represent children in the proceedings, so they may or may not support the local authorities care plan. They don’t automatically support the local authority.
Final court order
It is not a foregone conclusion that the local authority will get their care order. The assessments still has to take place and the court to hear and consider all the evidence.
Keep working with your solicitor as you have been doing.


In an attempt to get someone to take up this thread, I don't believe court hearings are fair because procedure is not followed scrupulously by the Local Authority.No-one can make the above comments unless he or she have been a party to family court proceedings as I have, not even a solicitor who has represented a party.Family court cases are of course held in private and reporting is on the whole discouraged. So the Public do not know what is going on.
The Local Authority are in the habit of making false claims ,for example, that a respondent is uncooperative and dishonest and will not discuss a case properly with them. In actual fact the case may well be the opposite and that it is they who will not follow procedure correctly and discuss the case and cooperate properly with a parent having already made a decision before having made an in-depth core assessment as they should do and after having taken a child into foster care illicitly. At a hearing , when parents tell the truth ,who are the court to believe? Especially when it has already been assumed by participants ( such as the Guardian) that the L.A. has acted correctly and followed all the legal guidelines by taking a child away and that the gravity of the situation warranted such action,the Court usually 'prefers' the professional evidence is more likely to be correct.
A court assumes that Local Authority statements are made after correct enquiries and decisions following correct procedure which has involved parents and professionals involved and that disagreements have been listened to,recorded and circulated.This is often not the case in practice.

I would also say that Guardians ,in general, support Local Authorities regardless of a child's real needs and requirements and I believe statistics will reveal this to be true if CAFFCASS records are inspected and that many parents will also agree with me.

The FRG is quite reasonable to quote the rules and what should happen in Court but this is not the real world.

As we already know from what happens outside court ,rules are not followed and children taken away unfairly without evidence. Because a case is 'thought' to be difficult by professionals they quite happily go along with the wrong removal of innocent children from their mothers on the grounds that social workers ' believe' that threshhold criteria are crossed. The Law is to protect families from interference by a Local Authority on a social workers false beliefs.ange301126

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ange301126
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Re: Hello from Esme- FRG's new moderator

Post by ange301126 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:44 am

dear esme,
hope you are well and have settled well into your post.
Just recently Suzie gave some advice to driscjan regarding social networkeing sites etc. and the wisdom of using them etc.etc. As you know I am very interested in all the cases ,practices and so on and you may also know that I will not get involved in social networking sites either.Please would you ask Suzie to private message me with her advice as explained to driscjan?

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