Help needed in Child Protection case

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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:53 pm

Help needed in Child Protection case

Post by E123 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:03 pm

Hello everyone,

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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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Help needed in Child Protection case

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:12 pm

Dear E123,

Welcome to the Parents Forum.

I can see that you are frustrated and angry with both children services and your partner.
Like most parents, when children services intervention is at a child protection level, you are finding the compulsory nature of a plan very difficult compared to the consensual “child in need” level.
However, the child protection plan will be regularly reviewed –at 3 months then 6 months-and so further decisions will be made as to whether there should still be a child protection plan.
I first want to challenge some of things you have said. I would say that you have been very detailed about what has happened and honest about your feelings.

Mums past drug use and relapse
I think it is very worrying that mum relapsed and took your sleeping medication. First, this needs to be put in the context of the recent history of drug misuse-she relapsed in 2014/15 and in your own words you were horrified by what you found.
This relapse was only 2 years ago-not a long time ago for heroin misuse. If she was to have a similar relapse now, then it would be very difficult for her to meet any of your sons needs.
Second, she took opiates just before or after she gave birth.
This may have passed to your son via the placenta or in mum’s breast milk, if she was breast feeding. This may have put him at risk of harm or harmed him. A baby can become addicted very easily and may have had to be taken through a painful programme of withdrawal in the special care baby unit.

So your baby may well have been harmed or put at risk. However, well you have worked with professionals, I still think it is fair, on the information that you have given, that the conference decided that your son is at an ongoing risk of harm which is the criteria for a child protection plan.

The chair of the conference
This is not the same role as an independent reviewing officer. Look at our information about child protection chair

As you can see, it is the chairs role to decide, with the help of the other professionals, whether or not there should be child protection plan. In fact, the chair can overrule the other professionals. The chair also plays the major role in deciding what goes into the child protection plan-such as the police checks, for example.

I think your description of children services storming into your lives is a good one. That can be the effect and it is often very difficult for parents.
As child protection deals with the issue of harm, it is normal for those who come into contact with your baby, to be asked to consent to a police check before they can have a contact with a child.
I can see that you are particularly concerned about having to disclose the child protection plan to any parent groups you attend.
While it is on the plan, you must stick to it. If you breach a child protection plan, it will go against you and they will be worried about how cooperative you are being and so your baby’s safety.
You could discuss, at the core group, why the plan is insisting on this, and whether it could be amended.
Or draft something to hand to the play group manager setting out why there is a plan-due to drug misuse- and ask the social worker to check this document. The play group should not disclose the information to other parents. You could ask to see the play group’s child protection policy and confidentiality policy, beforehand.

I am so sorry to hear that you think the stress of children’s services involvement might be affecting your bond with your baby. However, it may be that your baby is at that particular healthy stage in his development where he is very attached to the primary care giver. But if you are worried-speak to the health visitor about this.
Child protection involves a lot of unwanted intervention into your family life but it is because of the greater worry about harm that might be posed to your child, if mum was to relapse.

I can see that you have worked so very well in the past when there was a child in need plan. You are also seen as the protective parent.
It is important for your son that you carry on working with professionals. However, professionals should also work with you, by explaining everything and giving you the best opportunity to be involved.
I am sorry to hear that you are thinking about separating from mum. Have you thought about attending counselling together?

If you were to separate, think about whether you could take on the full care of your baby, if it is decided that things are too risky for baby staying with mum.
Has there been a family group conference to look for support within the friend and family network? This could be to help you and/or mum to look after your baby.

A family group conference can also be used to family find. If children services felt baby was no longer safe with mum, they would consider placing your son with you first (as a parent) then friends and family before stranger foster care. So family group conferences could also be used to find a suitable person to care for your son-if he was removed from your or mum’s care to avoid adoption.

I am sorry to bring this possibility into my response to you. I want to cover all eventualities.

If you want further advice, please post again or contact a children law solicitor or our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,


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