Letter of Expectations

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He14
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:09 am

Letter of Expectations

Post by He14 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:53 am

Hi,

I have got SS involved in my family due to DV. My husband has spent time in prison for that, and now he is out and he would like to have contact with the child.
SS got involved for obvious reasons and they have put my child on Child Protection Plan. We had Initial Conference followed by Core group conference, which seemed to go pretty well. We are separated, he moved in new place, got work, hopefully will move on with his life.

Now the SS have made a letter of expectations following the Initial conference. 1st draft was really extreme and not feasible. Something along the lines: no direct/indirect contact between mother and father. But, in real world it is impossible. Neither of us have a family around to act as a middle man. Nor there is close enough friend, as we are new to the area. No contact with child expect for contact center once every 2 weeks. Obviously, that was rejected by us.

They have made 2nd draft, which was presented to me today. It is a lot more do-able. But it still involves supervised contact only, no direct contact between us in front of the child, no turning up to family home by him. It is fine by both of us. The problem is that it states "the contract has no time limits. And we both agree to adhere to it even if Children's Services stopped their involvement in family".

I have asked what does that mean, SW said that when the next core group meetings take place, it will be reviewed and amended. I said that why it does not mention any timescales then, nor mention that it will be reviewed. Also, how can it be in place, if SS have stopped involvement (i.e.risks are significantly reduced), therefore so strict rules are not required.
Am I just being overly cautious? Signing that just felt like shooting myself in a foot. Anyway, I did not sign it, SW said that she will tell that mum is reluctant to sign the letter. I said that I am not reluctant, I am fine with the points in the letter, but I am not happy about timescale, which is basically "forever". SW said that they will not make any changes, as changes were already made to it once and that they will seek legal advice.

Have I done the right thing? or did I screw up? Scared now :cry:

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2632
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Letter of Expectations

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:45 pm

Dear He14,

Welcome to the Parents Forum.

I am sorry to hear about the domestic violence you have suffered. You say that your children have recently been placed on a child protection plan because dad has now been released from prison and is considered to still be a danger. it sounds like he has not had the chance to engage with children services, be risk assessed and complete any recommended courses.

You have been asked to sign a contract of expectations.

I question whether a contract of expectations is suitable in your case.

Ofsted, the organisation who inspect children services, have found written agreements are not effective in cases where there has been domestic violence and can in fact be dangerous for children because a social worker tends to rely on an agreement being adhered to. The difficulty is that the agreement / contract places the responsibility of managing the risk to children on the victim and makes them responsible for policing the behaviour of a perpetrator. This is not something that survivors or victims might safely do. In your situation, you are being asked to police dad.
For clarification about contracts have a look at the helpful blog from Ofsted which is on the government website.

You could refer the blog to the social worker. Will your children be safe?

What is also striking about your post is that dad has only just come out of prison, there has only just been an initial child protection conference and there is talk about children services withdrawing with a contract in place.
Has there been time for assessments and domestic violence support to take place? Have you been offered any domestic courses, such as the freedom programme?
What about dad? Has he been offered and completed perpetrators courses? He should then be re assessed to see whether he could re-offend.
If you have not been offered support then that is unfair.
Here are our FAQ’s about child protection and domestic violence.

I re-iterate the need for you to fully cooperate with the child protection plan. It is compulsory and if you breach it, children services could consider legal proceedings, if they think your children are at risk of suffering significant harm.
Please look at page 6 onwards of the advice sheet about care proceedings . It details the pre- proceedings process including what happens when a local authority gets legal advice.

I can see that you may be isolated where you live. Do you have any family or friend support elsewhere ? Do your family know about what is happening? Could any of them be assessed to support you or even take on the care of your children in case there are court proceedings?
Consider asking for a family group conference
In answer to your question, you have done the right thing to ask about the contract. You need to understand what it would have meant. Why would you sign something you did not understand?

But I am concerned that you have not had the support you need to understand that dad is still seen as dangerous to his children. You cannot chose both dad and your children , just one or the other. It is not safe yet (and may never be safe) for you and dad to be together with your children.

If you have any questions please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

Suzie

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