Voluntary s20 mum and baby foster placement

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TJT2020
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:03 pm

Voluntary s20 mum and baby foster placement

Post by TJT2020 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:51 pm

Hi

I am 22 years old first time mum. I have come from domestic violence relationship. I had agreed to go into a mum and baby foster placement whilst 12 week assessments are taking place. It has now been a month of being in placement. There are no start dates for assessments. So now it is looking like we will be here longer. As I only agreed to 12 weeks which they asked me to I don’t see how they can keep me here longer as it is not my fault that assessments have not been put in place yet. Will they have to go to court to get an extension ? I’m having no trouble with my parenting, I have a lovely home that is all prepared for me and baby to go home to. Is it worth the risk to walk out of voluntary s20 after the 12 weeks are up? Will they take my baby girl away from me even tho I have complied with everything they have asked of me. It will be our first Christmas together and really want to spend it with our family not in a mum and baby foster placement obviously. Why would they make me sign something that says 12 week placement if they had intentions all along to keep me here longer ? It doesn’t seem right at all! They need to get there acts together and start doing there job properly as it is mine and my baby girls lives in the middle of them not getting things put in place.

Please help

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2832
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Voluntary s20 mum and baby foster placement

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:47 pm

Dear TJT2020

Welcome back to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your post. Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl. It is great to hear that your parenting is going so well. Well done.

I am sorry to hear that there has been a significant delay to the start of the 12 week assessment you agreed to when you consented to your baby being voluntarily accommodated with you, under section 20, in a mother baby foster placement. I can understand your frustration and your wish to move safely back to the home you have prepared for yourself and your baby and to be with family at Christmas.

Have you been given any reason for the delay? Is the foster carer contributing to the assessment as would usually happen? If you haven’t asked your social worker these questions yet, it would be a good idea to do so now.

You can end your agreement to a s20 arrangement at any time. But, It would be very unwise to do anything rash or without specific legal advice and without knowing exactly how children’s services would respond. You can find out more here especially pages 10 and 11. They must have asked you to agree to this plan as they thought it was necessary for this assessment to take place, so that is likely to be still the case. Of course it would be reasonable to expect that the timescale would be kept to.

You ask if children’s services would have to go to court to ask for an extension. Is the case already in court? It could be, even though your baby is in a voluntary placement with you. If it is not, they could ask you to agree to stay in the placement longer or if you disagreed and they believed that this would put your baby at risk of harm they could go to court, if necessary, to seek an emergency protection order or an interim care order .

If you already have a solicitor you should discuss this urgently with them. If you don’t already, it would be a good idea to discuss your situation with a children law accredited solicitor.

As you and your baby have been in the mother and baby foster placement for a month there should have been a Looked After Child Review, chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) This is another forum where your baby’s care plan should be properly considered, including any changes or delays to it. If it hasn’t happened yet, you can check with the social worker and/or the IRO when this will be – the IRO should be updated about any difficulties keeping to the plan.

It might be, if there continue to be delays, you could propose that you be assessed with your baby in the community. However, again that could have be considered prior to you came to your baby’s birth and before you came to the foster placement. But it can be reviewed.

You might benefit from some independent support and advice, especially as you have care-experience. Did you see the private message I sent you last time? If you are interested or would like more information please do private message me, providing a mobile number if possible.

I hope this helps.

Suzie

TJT2020
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:03 pm

Re: Voluntary s20 mum and baby foster placement

Post by TJT2020 » Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:45 pm

Hi Suzie.


We are finally getting somewhere. Our parenting assessment has begun and is looking to be ended at the end of November. I am confident independent social worker will see I can care for, love and look after my baby but she has said that she does not believe I have cut off from my violent ex although I have done but she believes as we was together 7 years I will go back. I am putting my daughter first and have done everything I have been asked to do to prove my self. Could her not believing I will stay away give me a negative on my parenting assessment and can they take my baby girl away from me with out any proof of this assumption? I am so worried as I am doing everything right absoloutely everything they have asked. We are not in court at all, I done this voluntary but will the courts need proof of this or can they just go by ‘oh we think’ ?

Thank you for your help

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2832
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Voluntary s20 mum and baby foster placement

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:07 pm

Dear TJT2020

Thank you for your further posts. I am sorry that it has taken some time to respond to your post.

I see that your parenting assessment is now going ahead and should be completed by the end of November. You believe that you are able to demonstrate to the person assessing you that you well able to care for your baby. I do not think there will be any doubt that you love your daughter.

You say the independent social worker believes that you are still with our former partner, who I am supposing was the perpetration of domestic violence. Did something happen to give the social worker reason to think that you may be back with your violent ex-partner? Is there any pattern of you and your ex-partner getting back together after a break? If so, this may be a reason she may have doubts you being able to remain separated. Apart from saying you are separated have you taken any steps to ensure that your ex-partner cannot contact you or come to your home. Perhaps, you could consider seeking legal advice to apply for a non-molestation order if there is none at the moment.

I am not sure that her not believing you would necessarily mean your assessment will be negative but she could put in the report that she considers it a concern. It may help you to have a better understanding if you asked the independent social worker the reason she has reached this conclusion and what steps, if any, she considers you need to take to show that you have ended the relationship and have no intention of putting yourself or your daughter at risk.

Whilst I understand that you agreed to go into the mother and baby placement, it is part of children’s services assessment of you to inform their decision about what further steps they might take to ensure that you daughter is cared for in a safe environment.

Once the assessment has been completed, children’s services will be consider it and the recommendations made by the assessor, in order to make a decision how your case will be treated.

I am including a copy of our advice sheet Care (and related) proceedings which explains what happens if children’s services decide to make an application to the court. You are entitled to legal representation in a care case so, if you do not already have a solicitor, it is important that you instruct one. You can try the Law Society website here


The court will consider all the circumstances of the case including the evidence from children's services and others, for example any assessments or medical information.

You may also find this helpful to look this website which is written for young parents and is really helpful and easy to navigate.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, you can telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.3am to 3pm Monday to Friday

Best wishes

Suzie

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