Contact - Advice please

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Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:10 am

Contact - Advice please

Post by Confused2 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:51 am

I need advice.

My child was taken into care when she was 4.5yrs old under an emergency protection order. This was based on police seizing my diaries after I had been attacked in my house and reading in them that I wanted to kill myself and my daughter. The diary entries were part of my mental health recovery from ptsd following significant domestic abuse and stalking and harassment. My psychologist was aware of my feelings of total despair and knew I would never act on them, and testified to this in court but was ignored.

When ensued was 18months of hell whereby my ex used the family court system to continue the abuse and prove my insanity. The judge sided with him and I was believed to have fabricated the whole abuse including the rape at my house.

At the final Care Plan hearing scheduled over 5 days he walked out of court, even though he was lined up to get custody of my daughter. The case was closed there and then on that day and we all walked away shell shocked with my daughter “In Care” but living with my parents as permanent long term foster carers. For me at least she was safe.

18 months have passed. A new social worker who understood Domestic Abuse came on board and started working with me to regain custody of my child. She was amazing after the 18months previous being made out to be the perpetrator of my own abuse, supposedly due to mental illness (the only illness I was ever diagnosed with however hard my ex tried was PTSD and this was confirmed by 9 separate psychologists and psychiatrists 2 of which were court appointed). Working with this social worker and the IRO at the time I was allowed visits to my daughter every 2 weeks whereby I would stay at there home from Friday night through to Monday morning. Supervised contact. I should also say that during the court case I saw my daughter 3-4 times a week at a contact centre all with brilliant feedback about me and what a great parent I was to her. Things were going very well and in Dec 2018 I was granted unsupervised contact for 2 hours at a time with increasing stays through to Tuesdays and then from April this year weekly.

Throughout the past 18 months I worked tirelessly to overcome my mental illness and get well. In April I had another assessment and have completely recovered and been signed off of having PTSD with the same court appointed independent psychologist assessing me and confirming I was safe to parent. This all seemed like great news.

I got a house and was looking to relocated close to my parents (1 mile away) and look for a job in this new location. I had finished my training as a counsellor and had spent the last year working as a Counsellor with a clear DBS in a school, homeless charity and drug and alcohol site seeing in excess of 15 clients a week all with fantastic feedback from clients, my managers and also my supervisors.

In Jan a new IRO came into our case and was rude and a bully. But things still progressed. However we never had minutes of any meetings through, and had never seen a care plan since court ending in Jan 2018. He appeared devious and to take an instant dislike to me due to the court findings of my fabrication.

As said things still progressed well until the last IRO Meeting (CLA meeting) in May where due to the fact I was never receiving any paperwork I asked to record the meeting so I had accurate records.

Just to be clear, my ex had vanished and again stopped all engagement with SS and has had nothing to do with my daughter since waking out of court 19 months ago in Jan 2018.

Since the end of May and receiving the great news and report from the court appointed psychologist the social worker I had who had been so supportive of reunification suddenly came under mass fire. I was told I could no longer see my daughter other than for part of Saturday and part of Sunday. I could no longer have unsupervised contact and I could no longer stay, as I had been doing for 19 months, st my parents house.

As I am sure you could imagine my world has fallen apart. We are seeing care plans that don’t say what was talked about at any of the meetings. My daughter who is now 7 is distraught and for the first time throughout this horrible 3 years of hell is showing real signs of mental angst and emotional damage all of which my parents and i had managed to shelter her from up to this point. Again here I should say since court ending and her moving with my parents and having all the contact with me she is reported as thriving in all aspects and also in school. I have never in 3 years missed even 1 contact with my daughter. She is my world.

This seems so cruel and I don’t know what to do or where to go. I am terrified of social services as they hold all the rights to my daughter. It just makes no sense that now completely out of the blue they are saying that it moved ahead too quickly, the contact, and they are going to apologise to my daughter and my parents but it does not look like they will be changing it back any time soon. Instead I just have to watch my daughter deteriorate.

Surely they are now harming her? And abusing her. I cannot see why or how I was safe to see her like I was with unsupervised and overnight stays for the last 7 months with the social worker and IRO being fully aware and now, even with the great news of my recovery, whereby the psychologist even recommended that the “professions revisit their view of mother”, that i am now out of the blue seemed such a risk to her again?

I am lost in the whirlwind and bureaucracy of procedures I don’t understand. I have barely any money after buying my house so cannot afford to get legal advice but also bam scared if I do that it will make it all worse as nothing has ever gone in my favour due to the complications of the case and mass amount of paperwork involved. Also seeing the same judge that came to that devastating judgment of me fabricating the whole thing (domestic abuse at a low level by my ex and stalking by “persons unknown” was found) but other than that I was proved to be totally insane! He had QCs and 2 solicitors working for him! His team were outstanding.

I have been told this is all being done so when we go back to court they can progress reunification so long as my parenting assessment comes back ok along with police and medical checks.

I need help. What do I do, what rights if any do I have in regards to having my contact restored and how do I go about doing this?

Please help. It is a long story and I am happy to elaborate if it helps but just trying to get the gist of it down here for advice please.

Thank you.

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

Re: Contact - Advice please

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:36 pm

Dear Confused2

Welcome to the parents’ discussion forum.

I see that you have posted several times with the same issues. I apologise that it has taken some time for you to receive a response.

You have given a full background of how your daughter came to be in the care of your parents and the work you subsequently did to make yourself well enough to enjoy good contact with your daughter.

It is surprising that you were having extensive contact with the agreement of the social worker and independent reviewing officer for a substantial period of time and this has now ended because a new social worker has been allocated. Did you have a meeting with new social worker so you’re your contact was reviewed before reducing the level of contact. I find it surprising the looked after child (LAC) review meetings did not consider your contact and how this happening as well as your daughter’s wishes and feelings about contact.
To reduce contact so quickly could not have been a good experience for your daughter and suggests that perhaps not enough thought was given to the impact that it would have on her to reduce contact so suddenly.

From what you say in your post, it appears that the new social worker looked at the situation with new eyes and, on the basis of the background, decided that there needed to be a change. I would question why the team manager who was overseeing the previous social worker did not consider the level of contact you were having and neither it appears did the LAC meetings.

Regarding your current position, you say there is no written information relating to the contact you were having our the last 19 months which seem totally inappropriate as children’s services records should show what was discussed and decided at meetings relating to your daughter. I suggest that you request copies of the LAC meetings. You could also ask for copies of children’s services records relating to your daughter. Please see our advice sheet Access to information held by Children’s Services

Children’s services should be reviewing contact on an ongoing basis and you may find it helpful to read our advice sheet Duties on Children’s Services when children are in the care system.

In respect of contact with your daughter, on the basis that you were having a high level of contact without any problems for a long period of time, you may wish to consider making an application to the court for contact with a child in care. This advice sheet explains the process Contact with children in care

I am not sure what is meant by the statement “I have been told this is all being done so when we go back to court they can progress reunification”. Are you applying to discharge the care order? Who will be taking the matter to court, are children’s services planning to apply to discharge the care order themselves? You also mention that a parenting assessment is being done, is this because you have asked children’s services to do assess you with a view to your daughter returning to your care.

It seems, from what you say, that children’s services may be trying to rectify matters because contact was allowed to happen without any proper oversight.

If you wish to challenge children's services decision to reduce contact you might want to consider making a complaint and our advice sheet Challenging decisions and making complaints

Should you wish to speak to an adviser about your situation, please telephone our advice line on 0808 8-1 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes


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