Welcome to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your post.
I am sorry that your post has not received a response before now due to a high volume of posts.
You have not in your post given an indication of why children’s services (new name for social services) considered it unsafe for your children to be in your care and had to be removed. Normally, if children are removed children’s services has to consider other family members with whom children can be placed before they are placed with strangers. I am sorry that the social worker did not make it clear to you that the intention was for your children to be out of your care for a period of time.
What were the concerns about your care of the children that led to children’s services? Were your children on child protection plans before they were removed? You say you have been in the PLO process for 8 weeks. This suggests that children’s services have concerns which could lead them to make an application to the court for care orders in relation to your children.
You say that your ex-husband threatened to run you over but you ended up being arrested.
Has the social worker carried out any parenting assessment of you and your ex-husband to decide who can safely parent the children? You say that you are deemed to pose a higher risk than your ex-husband due to your mental health. Have you had mental health issues in the past, did something happen that led the social worker to form the view that you have mental health issues?
As your daughter has been placed with your friend under s.20 voluntary accommodation, this means she is a looked after child and children’s services have particular duties when children are in the care system. Please read our advice sheet regarding this Duties on Children’s Services when children are in the care system
. Ask the social worker for the name of the independent reviewing officer (IRO) responsible for your daughter’s care plan and discuss your concerns with the IRO about the lack of information regarding your daughter. You should also have received a care and placement plan from the social worker when your daughter was placed with your friend, if you have not received this, ask the social worker why not.
You should be invited to looked after child reviews (LAC) for your daughter. If one has not yet taken place, ask the social worker or IRO when this is scheduled. It is important that you attend this so you can put any concerns you have to the meeting as well.
Regarding expenses for contact with your daughter children’s services can assist you financially with this. I am including our advice sheet Contact with children accommodated by Children’s Services
see page 4.
There is no section 20 for your son as he has been placed with his father who shares parental responsibility for him with you. The social worker should discuss any plans or concerns regarding your son with both of you.
I suggest that you write a letter to the social worker setting out clearly and concisely the matters that are of concern. You request information about when a referral will be made for the psychiatric assessment; if a parenting assessment has not been done, when will this happen. Ask for a written response from th social worker. It is important to have things in writing so there can be no misunderstanding about what was said and who will undertake specific tasks.
If you do not get information about your daughter then you could ask to speak to the social worker’s team manager or consider making a complaint. Our advice sheet relating to complaints is here Challenging decisions and making complaints
for your information.
Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our free, confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).
I hope you find this helpful.