Child protection plan

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Smyj
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:24 pm

Child protection plan

Post by Smyj » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:51 pm

Hi,

I am looking for advice as to what the procedure is for continuing a child protection plan or reducing to a child in need.

My children were placed on a Child protection plan 9 months ago because of a domestic incident between myself and my partner when I found out about his infidelity. We decided to remain together and work through our issues and have made significant progress although my partner still has not been allowed to return to the family home. I have completed a session with a domestic abuse team who felt that I was in a toxic relationship rather than an abusive one. I agreed. I have had therapy on my own as has my partner for our own separate issues. We have had joint counselling sessions. My partner has completed a perpetrator course and received positive feedback about his work. We have also agreed to a family group conference but I’m awaiting contact from them even though I have been allocated a caseworker and this should have been organised weeks ago. After the FGC my partner is supposedly going to be allowed to return to the family home. But I take what my social worker says with a pinch of salt as she had originally said this would be before the end of the perpetrator course, then she changed it to after the course. Now it’s changed again.

We have another child protection conference in 2 weeks. Last week I attended a core group meeting with my social worker, health visitor and school representative. In that meeting I was told by my SW she would be recommending another child protection plan as she had had a report from the domestic abuse course I attended in November and she felt I was minimising events and because I won’t admit I’m in a domestic abusive relationship and this was concerning. She had previously came out to see both myself and my partner, told us both that she would recommend a child in need plan and was talking to us about our relationship like she was our best friend. She never mentioned any concerns to us. She actually said that there were no concerns about the children whatsoever, it was our relationship that had been the problem. In the core meeting the HV said she agreed with SW and they both made me feel very uncomfortable and undermined my views on the matter.

I then spoke with the domestic abuse team member I had seen. She said that she hadn’t had contact with my SW and hadn’t given her her report. She didn’t feel there was a risk and didn’t agree I was in a relationship that showed the signs of the cycle of abuse and that I don’t identify with the pattern of controlling behaviour. I have since found out that SW actually rang the domestic abuse team and someone read her a snippet of the report over the phone.

The leader of the perpetrator course disagreed with SW completely and said she hadn’t even had contact with her to give her feedback on my partners participation in the course. So a decision can not be made about a protection plan until all parties have been spoken with. Also at this point SW hadn’t spoken with councillor for her feedback.

Now it appears the SW has changed her reasoning for another protection plan recommendation. It is now because my partner will not have been in the family home long enough and she will need to increase her visits when this happens to make sure the risk has been reduced. I think this may explain why they are dragging their heels with the FGC. To prolong things before my partner can return. I was also originally told the FGC was optional, now it appears it’s compulsery.

I will be returning to work after MAT leave and a surgical procedure in a months time. I have explained I’m going to find it difficult keeping up with core group meetings etc. We have absolutely nothing to hide and the SW can knock on my door anytime to see how things are going if that’s what they want. Although I can’t always promise when I’ll be home, I have no problem with that. But I don’t see why it’s necessary to keep with the child protection plan. The probation officer who ran the perpetrator course agrees with us but Social workers are a law unto themselves. Do you have any advice on where I stand legally?

Many thanks

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2247
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Child protection plan

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:45 pm

Dear smyj,

Welcome to the Parents Forum.

Your question is about the procedure that is followed when deciding whether a child protection plan should continue.

This decision can only be made at a review child protection conference. There is one taking place shortly. This conference will be similar to the initial child protection conference and the last review you attended. So there will be a chair person who will control the meeting. The professionals who attend will usually share information about your family and will usually have a vote as to whether the plan should continue.

I can see some of the professionals support your view that your relationship is no longer domestically abusive. It might be helpful if they could attend the meeting rather than just put this in a report so they can explain their view and vote as well. At the end of the review conference, the professionals will vote whether to close the child protection process or for the child protection plan to continue.
The test for this is does the conference suspect that your child is suffering significant harm or likely to suffer significant harm and that risk is still ongoing?

From what you say, you and your husband have fully engaged with the process and completed therapy and courses. Your cooperation will go in your favour if you were to ask for a child in need plan-as your consent is needed to work within the child in need framework.

Your worry is that the social worker has suddenly changed her mind and has also made her decision to request a further child protection plan without having all the reports. I agree, that a better decision would be made by her if she had all the necessary information. If you have not done so, you could ask the organisations to give their reports as soon as possible to the social worker and you so they can be included when she makes her recommendation. Remember the social workers report is just a recommendation.

You should also get a copy of the social workers report a good few days before the review conference. She should take you through it and you could make sure it reflects the positive information about you and dad. Find out whether she has seen the other reports from the domestic violence support organisations. Her report should be accurate so get her to amend any errors. Her report will be circulated to the other professionals.
The health visitor, being from a statutory agency, plays a very important role in the child protection process. Ask her why she thinks the child protection plan should continue.
If the conference do vote for a further child protection plan, then you could ask that it is only for a further 3 or 4 months instead of the 6 months.
What I would say in domestic violence cases, it is not unusual for there to be child protection plans for longer than 9 months. You and dad want to re- unite, so I agree that the social worker does want a plan to be in place to monitor dad moving back in and seeing what other support might be needed.

A family group conference can only happen with the consent of a parent. However, often they are listed on child protection plans which are seen as almost compulsory plans.
Here is information about family group conferences .
These type of meetings take a lot of the decision making from the professionals and give it to the family and friends network. So you might find it useful for when dad is moving back. The family could provide support to help relieve the stresses within the family.
Discuss why you do not need a family group conference with the social worker. If she heard your views she may agree.
The child protection process is statutory which means that the timescales for meetings such as the review and core group meetings have been set to happen within certain timescales. Have your diary with you so that you can give your dates to avoid.
As a parent it is important that you are present at the meetings so that your voice is heard and because you know your family better than anyone else.
By law the social worker needs to see your child regularly so be prepared to be flexible if there is a further child protection plan.
have a look at our FAQ's for child protection and those for domestic violence .


I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please post back or call our advice line for further advice.

Best wishes,

Suzie

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