Discharge of Care Order

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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:45 pm

Discharge of Care Order

Post by tboo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:49 am


In May of this year SS said to me that if unsupervised contact goes well over the summer then we will look at doing an assessment in Sept with a view to reunification. (both of my children were subject to a care order twelve moths ago)

I have had unrestricted, unsupervised contact with my daughter (17) for 9 months and unsupervised contact with my son (12) every week during school time for three hours and then during holidays for between 6 and 9 hours.

It is now Christmas. The assessment didn't start until October 14 with an IRO direction that it be completed by 6th December. The assessment, they say was completed on Friday 20th December and has now gone to their 'manager for review' who won't look at it until this Friday before it goes to the panel. At the last LAC review the IRO expressed the view that she didn't understand why my children are still in care.

Now, despite requests for clarification around contact for Christmas since October. SS didn't get back to me until last Friday 20th at 3.30pm telling me that the children can stay overnight at their Nan's from 5pm Christmas Eve and will be collected at 5pm on Christmas Day. I'm 'allowed' to have Christmas lunch with them at their Nan's. Remaining contact is now to stay 'as is' limiting me with just two hours with my son on a Tuesday - not the 6-9 hours unrestricted, unsupervised contact he has enjoyed for the previous three school holidays. I have asked for reasons - they have ignored me. Nothing has changed. There have been no incidents, problems or cause for concern throughout any contact.

I'm now in a situation where my son was led to believe he would be home with either me or his Nan by Christmas. They have let him down again. They keep delaying the 'assessment' decision - no reasons given (despite it being their idea in the first place!)

My son yesterday arranged to have a fight with someone. Why? Because of the pain he feels inside because of what ss are doing - it's the only way he feels he can handle it. He wants to feel physical pain because of the pain inside. He has had his contact restricted and is asking 'what have I done wrong Dad?'

In my mind ss are causing him 'significant emotional harm'. They have consistently let him down, lied to him, made promises and now have ruined his Christmas.

They have ruined Christmas for all of us because they have kept this 'decision' in the air and it is hanging over us.

I want to go to court to get answers around contact. I want to go to court to protect my son from the emotional harm they are causing him. I want to apply to discharge teh care order - but ALL or any of those options means more delay for them.

I want to protect my son but I also know that if I do, then ss in their nasty, vindictive fashion will produce a negative assessment and restrict contact further.

It is a horrible place to be and all I want is to keep my son safe and happy.

I have no confidence in the complaints system because I fear the same reaction.

I don't know why they would suggest an assessment if it would likely produce a negative outcome?

I do not understand the arbitrary reduction in contact from unrestricted, unsupervised to effectively supervised restricted contact over Christmas?

Surely, it should not be the case that a parent has to go to court to get answers to simple questions or reasons for the actions they are taking?

Ultimately, I don't know what to do....

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

Re: Discharge of Care Order

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:07 pm

Dear Tboo

Welcome to the parent’s discussion board and thanks for posting.

I am sorry that you did not receive a response to your post sooner.

Your post confirms that children’s services consider that your children are now able to return to your care and have undertaken an assessment towards this happening.

The concerns you raise is your post relate to Christmas contact that the fact that contact arrangements have changed. It understandable that you are frustrated by your current situation and lack of information about the changes to contact. It is good that arrangements were in place for you to at least have Christmas Day with them.

It may be that the issues relating to information from children’s services regarding contact has now been resolved and things have moved on with regard to your children returning to your case. If that is not the case, then I would suggest you get in touch with both the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) and the social worker’s team manager to find out the information you are seeking.

You do not say in your post whether the plan is for the children to return to your care under the care orders or there will be an application by children’s services to discharge the orders. If the former, I hope that the procedure has started for the decision to be made. In your post you mention applying to discharge the care order and this is something you can do but if children’s services plan to do this, from your point of view if would be less costly as there may not be legal aid available. Of course, you can represent yourself or engage a solicitor to represent you.

I suggest you read our advice sheet Reuniting children in the care system with their families. Our advice sheet Duties on Children’s Services when children are in the care system may also be helpful.

Hopefully, your contact has now been reinstated but, if not, please read our advice sheet relating to Contact with children in care.

I hope his is helpful but should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Best wishes


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