Dear Mother in need
Welcome to the parents’ forum and thank you for posting.
My name is Suzie, online adviser, at Family Right Group. I can see from your post that you are feeling very worried and distressed by the ongoing situation relating to your children and the involvement of children’s services.
You mention that September will be more than 26 weeks and there is an Issues Resolution Hearing (IRH). Unfortunately, you have not given any information about the concerns that led the judge in the private law proceedings to consider that an interim care order was necessary. The purpose of the IRH is for the parties to discuss the issues that can be agreed and those that cannot and have to be dealt with at the final hearing. Please see our advice sheet relating to Care (and related) proceedings. I hope you will find this helpful in understanding the court process.
It seems that there have been difficulties between you and the father of your children which led to the private law proceedings. Where there is an acrimonious relationship between parents, this can be seen to be emotionally abusive to the children. If this was the case, then the court would take the view that children’s services should become involved by carrying out a section 37 assessment in order to decide if care proceedings are necessary. You mention that the judge reached his or her decision after seeing your email, this suggests that the content of the email was of concern to the judge, although as I have no idea what was in the email am unable to comment further on this point.
The children are, from what you say in your post, subject to interim care orders and in the care of their father, and you do not think that he is the best person to care for them because of his criminal history.
As you are in care proceedings, you are entitled to have a solicitor and it is important that you make sure that your legal team is aware of the concerns you have about your children’s father and your mother-in-law who you say has been the source of the difficulties for you; and why you think you are the best person to care for them. From what you say, there is an outstanding assessment to be carried out and if there is to be a hearing in September, the likelihood is that the court has given a timescale in which all assessments should be done.
Has any reason been given as to why you are unable to have contact with your daughter, contact is usually considered to be for the benefit of the child unless there are reasons why contact is not in their best interests. Discuss this lack of contact with your solicitor and, if necessary, an application can be made for contact. I am including our advice sheet Contact with children in care for your information.
Is there anything that you have been asked to do by children’s services in order to address the concerns they have regarding your ability to safely look after your children? It is important to try and work cooperatively with children’s services.
You are right in saying that the court can extend the 26 week period in which care cases should be concluded and this will be where there are exceptional circumstances, for example, when the court needs evidence to be able to reach a decision. Please discuss your case with your solicitor and work with him or her so that your best case can be put forward to the court at the final hearing. If your solicitor if of the view that the case should be extended then the appropriate application can be made to the court to ask for this.
Should you wish to post again with more information please do so or you may wish to speak to an adviser on our free confidential advice line. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.
I hope you find this helpful.
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