Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Adelephant
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:54 pm

Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by Adelephant » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:02 pm

Thank you for the reply, DesperateDad, I am hoping this is all over with soon, it's harder and harder as the weeks and months drag on. I have now met with our new social worker who seemed to have a really positive attitude, I went through the original written report with her and pointed out all of the incorrect information, she said as far as she is concerned she is satisfied with my responses and attitude, which I good I think? She just wants to meet with my partner as according to original social worker he "wasn't willing to engage with services" she said it would literally be easier if he said he had a problem or had had one previously as then they would have something to work with! Seems very backwards to me, but we will see I suppose. She came to see us wednesday and hasn't contacted partner yet so hoping she will soon and it goes well and be can be done with all of this

Adelephant
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:54 pm

Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by Adelephant » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:09 pm

The only part I'm unsure of, is she asked what we could both do to minimize the risk (me and partner) I said well baby is 5 months old and I'm always around, she said "well you have to sleep, you can't supervise 24 hours" so what is it that I'm supposed to do to reduce the risk? And how is my partner to reduce the risk when clearly from his point of view and his knowledge, there is none? He knows himself that he is not a danger to his son

SMK2016
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Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:44 pm

Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by SMK2016 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:44 am

I hope you can help me, I've set out below a brief chronology of my situation.

Please can I ask you to bear in mind that my children and I have been subtly bullied, manipulated and controlled by my ex and wider paternal family for 12 years and I have got to a point 6 years ago where I have been frightened to tell them anything. They have made numerous complaints to children's services/courts about my care of the children over the years, all NFA'd until September 2018.

- July 2010 - Core Assessment - children's services social worker printed in report that I had been under considerable stress from the controlling behaviour of my ex partner (also from wider paternal family ("P/F") and acted protectively by moving from the family home to a place of safety to safeguard mine and my son's (then aged 3) emotional welfare. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time. My ex was described by several professionals as manipulative, aggressive, difficult, hostile etc.

- Aug 2011 - Mar 2012 rejection of my daughter by paternal family. Supervised contact for father and paternal g/p was ordered. S7 report. Residence order in my favour, unsupervised contact order for paternal family.

- April 2014 - I tried to move to another town 15 miles away as rejection of my daughter continued but the paternal family had extensive contact with my son. P/F found out about move and imminent change of school for my son, issued emergency PSO proceedings, raised allegations of harm against me (dismissed) and applied for shared "residence". S7 report commented on divisive treatment between the children (from paternal family) and my daughter then age 3 not being comfortable with paternal grandparents. Outcome was that both children were to live with me, PSO discharged. I then moved and changed my son's school in September 2014. Alternate weekend contact to continue for my son, my daughter's overnight contact to progress at her pace with paternal family's cooperation.

Period of relative calm for two years.

- September 2016 - ex wanted his Wednesday night contact reinstated for our son but had not complied with the necessary conditions of 2014 order. He took the children from school without my consent. I applied for emergency PSO - granted. All settled by consent in October 2016. Basically the 2014 order was then implemented over the next six months.

- September 2018 to date. Very difficult with my son's secondary school transition. He refused to go to school when in my care (4 out of 5 days a week but went in okay with his dad one day a week). Children's services became involved (again because paternal family accused me of bruising my son's elbows - dismissed), child in need plan (parental conflict/emotional harm) started then progressed to child protection. I have been unsupported throughout the process, have felt frightened by the assessments but have engaged with children's services and cooperated with the school as best I can.

- February 2019 - my ex applied to court for an emergency "residence order" and raised allegations of harm against me. Children were on child in need plan and he didn't discuss with me or social worker beforehand.

- April 2019 - FHDRA. Local authority s7 report ordered. Children to live with me, contact with father & P/F to continue as before.

- May 2019 - Initial Child Protection Conference. I had got to a point where pressure was coming at me from all angles, made to feel like a failure and I made my feelings known at ICPC that I was very upset that all of my concerns of coercive control, domestic abuse etc had been dismissed, as well as other concerns, and that I was feeling broken. Children made subject to Child Protection Plan with new social worker.

- June 2019 - s7 report recommended full care to father of both children and "face to face" contact with me. There was a DRA and I opposed SW's recommendations (there had been considerable improvements in my opinion). Social worker formed the view that I was the main instigator of emotional abuse to both children although I had understood throughout the category was parental conflict/emotional harm. Unbeknown to me throughout the social worker assigned to our case in September 2018 was a probationer who had only just completed her training to degree level.

- 30.07.19 - I was unrepresented throughout apart from at FHDRA due to limited funds. I challenged SW's evidence as best I could but was vulnerable, tearful and lost my case. Children live with father and spend time with me overnight Wednesdays and alternate weekends. Father given permission to change children's schools without my consent.

I do not believe my children are safe with the paternal family due to the high level of conflict between us, the manipulation and controlling nature of them all, continuing unfounded allegations towards me (that I defend and are then dismissed) that keep affecting my emotional wellbeing. My son (now aged 12.5) shares a bedroom with his P/G, always has done, and while children's services have repeatedly told my ex this has to stop they are not doing anything about enforcing it. Yesterday at Core Group our child protection social worker told my ex this was a safeguarding issue and had to stop. They keep believing my ex when he makes promises and say they have to take his word in good faith. My daughter (now almost 9) is saying she wants to be with me/doesn't want to change school.

I am getting to a point where I am frightened to spend time with my children because any distress they experience seems to be attributed to me on the flimsiest circumstantial evidence.

Children remain on child protection - there was a review in August 2019. The chair said in her minutes they do not know if the children's "emotional needs will be met while they still have contact with their mother". Father also said at the meeting my son's legs "turned to jelly" recently when he was told that I was on my way to collect the children from contact. Needless to say I don't think the social workers believe him.

I have raised that the local authority should consider care proceedings as the children would be better off with a neutral foster carer and be able to stay at their current schools, but obviously costs are too high and while father is seemingly able to provide care they will not consider this until proved otherwise.

The children are staying in the paternal grandparents home - father has assured the court he will renovate his own house (he has been promising this for many years) so the children stay with him but he will never do it because he has always had the paternal grandmother doing most of the care. For example father has never had overnight care of them. I enquired of father in front of the child protection social worker at Core Group yesterday how father's house renovation was going and he gives excuses why this will be delayed. The pressure that has been placed on me (a single parent, quite isolated and vulnerable) throughout has been relentless but father can do no wrong it seems.

Father has agreed to do a parenting course (understood to start imminently) and accept help from an FSW. (I did a parenting course in 2016) No one knows how the interventions with father will work out but they will uproot the children anyway and seem to be hoping for the best. Father is now putting pressure on me to change the children's schools immediately (he lives 15 miles away), they have only been back at school for 2 weeks and I am trying to research schools in his town and be involved in the decision making, with SW's help, but father is fighting me all the way.

Sorry to ramble on but could you possibly advise me what is the worst that can happen if I disengage with the child protection plan. I am resigned to steadily losing contact and relationship with the children but just wanted to check that this would not be a criminal offence - something they could fine me for or have me arrested? I am reasonably confident that they could not but wanted to get some advice before I consider taking this step. Children's services are perpetuating the abuse the children and I have suffered, and looking for the most cost-effective way of resolving everything. I have zero confidence in their ability to protect my children (they have a longstanding inadequate OFsted rating).

Thank you in anticipation of any advice you can offer.

Best wishes.

PerfectlySafeDad
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Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by PerfectlySafeDad » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:49 pm

'however my partner was never charged or even arrested so I don't understand how this can follow him for so long and affect our lives so much.'
Because it's a witch hunt, simple. And CS are at the vanguard of it, and absolute incompetent back-covering ***s. They care only about themselves and not the children they hypocritically claim to care about. They should be disbanded and the directors prosecuted for human rights abuses, as case after case demonstrates this. Yet they can hide their despicable behaviour behind lack of coherent paper-trails and the self-serving secrecy of family law courts. Your new social worker sounds sensible and able, but even if this is so she'll be vetoed by the management. Even if assessments from the ground are favourable, management won't be prepared to take the slightest conceivable imaginable 'risk' because the trouble is once a case is opened it's opened, so they'll be as draconian as possible to protect themselves from failure to spot abuse no matter how unlikely this is. The damage caused by being too cautious and thus harassing perfectly safe and innocent families is not definable or provable, therefore they don't give a damn about causing it. Sorry to be so grim, but you can only win by fighting them and building your own case, as cooperation ('working with them' as it's so often put) basically means allowing massive disruption and forfeiting your ability to live a free life 'long term' (their own words). They are not 'fair' people, so don't be fooled by that for a minute.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:06 pm

Adelephant wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:09 pm
The only part I'm unsure of, is she asked what we could both do to minimize the risk (me and partner) I said well baby is 5 months old and I'm always around, she said "well you have to sleep, you can't supervise 24 hours" so what is it that I'm supposed to do to reduce the risk? And how is my partner to reduce the risk when clearly from his point of view and his knowledge, there is none? He knows himself that he is not a danger to his son
Dear Adelephant

Thank you for your further posts.

It is good to see that you are having a better experience with the new social and feel things are more positive. I am pleased for you that you felt able to discuss your concerns about the riginal report and the social worker listened.

If your partner is willing to engage with the social worker and other professionals, then he should make this clear when the social worker contacts him.

You were asked what you would do minimize the risk to your son and you are unsure what is expected of you. I suppose what the social worker might want to hear is that you would have something in place which would ensure that you know your son is not alone with his father as you said. The social worker has said you have to sleep, so think about what you could do to ensure you would be alerted for example, an alarm or to have someone else stay with you for a while to ensure a couple of adults available.

Doing a course about protection might also be a way to show that you are considering the risk. In a previous post you were referred to Parents Protect and you may want to make contact with them. The NSPCC also have Women as Protectors and you may find it helpful to look into this as well.

From your partner’s point of view, if he maintains that there is no risk at all, then this would be a concern for children’s services because if he does not accept that there is a risk, it would be difficult for him to address it. It is not enough to say he cannot remember. At the very least he ought to be thinking about what he could do or would expect anyone who was said to be a risk to do. Will he, for example, be involved with personal care for the baby?

Should you wish to speak to an adviser you can telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:50 pm

Dear SMK2016

Welcome to the parents’ discussion forum.

I am sorry that you have been having such a difficult time over the years with your ex-husband and his family which has resulted in the children being placed in their father’s care.

You are also now having problems with contact with you children and have come to the conclusion that it might be best to remove yourself from the children’s lives.

If the children are living with their father, why does children’s services still consider that they need to be on a child protection plan? Is this because of the relationship between you and the family? For children to be on a child protection plan, it means that children’s services are concerned that the children have suffered harm and are at risk of future significant harm. Please our advice sheet Child protection procedures.

Your specific question is whether you can disengage from the child protection plan. This is something you are able to do but might be seen as you not putting your children’s needs before your own and not engaging cooperatively with children’s services. This could work adversely for you should children’s services decide that they need to apply to court for a care order. It could be said that you lacked commitment to the children.

It would not be a criminal offence if you decided you no longer wanted to be part of the child protection plan.
Do you feel able to care for the children yourself if you had appropriate support? Have you considered taking the matter back to court to discharge the child arrangement order which was made in favour of the father? If you believe your children are suffering harm this is something you could do. If the court was of the view that there are issues that children’s services should look into, then the court could direct children’s services to carry out a section 37 assessment. This would be for children’s services to consider whether they should issue care proceedings.

If you believe children’s services are not acting in your children’s best interests in the conduct of their case, you may wish to make a formal complaint and our advice sheet Challenging decisions and making complaints gives more information about how go about doing this.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, you can telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes

Suzie

Adelephant
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:54 pm

Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by Adelephant » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:21 pm

Hello everyone, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to give you an update, things are better, to say the least! After being passed from pillar to post we ended up with our final social worker, she was lovely and looked into everything properly, spoke to the police and things after it was discovered the first social worker had lied on his report that we had never seen! Said partner had recently been to court in cases involving the acquaintance I mentioned - not true and not the case! Our case was closed and me and our baby came home at the beginning of october, with many apologies and explanations of why or how this might have happened, but honestly I think in the first instance we just got a bad egg, he knew he was leaving so he didn't care and he left us right in the s*#! With lots of lies and manipulation. Thank god for the social worker we ended up with, as after a week and some meetings with the health visitor we were allowed home. We had a lovely Christmas and new year with family, I know there are still lots of you waiting and hoping to get home, please let this be a hope that things do get better! Thinking of you all

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Any advice welcome, lost and confused!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:05 pm

Adelephant wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:21 pm
Hello everyone, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to give you an update, things are better, to say the least! After being passed from pillar to post we ended up with our final social worker, she was lovely and looked into everything properly, spoke to the police and things after it was discovered the first social worker had lied on his report that we had never seen! Said partner had recently been to court in cases involving the acquaintance I mentioned - not true and not the case! Our case was closed and me and our baby came home at the beginning of october, with many apologies and explanations of why or how this might have happened, but honestly I think in the first instance we just got a bad egg, he knew he was leaving so he didn't care and he left us right in the s*#! With lots of lies and manipulation. Thank god for the social worker we ended up with, as after a week and some meetings with the health visitor we were allowed home. We had a lovely Christmas and new year with family, I know there are still lots of you waiting and hoping to get home, please let this be a hope that things do get better! Thinking of you all
Dear Adelephant

Thank you for your recent post and for letting parents on the board know that you have had a positive outcome to your situation and that you and your baby have been able to return home. It is good that some factual errors have been corrected and that you have received apologies for them.

Children’s services have a duty to investigate where there are concerns that a child may be at risk of harm. This can include concerns where there have been past allegations but no prosecution for sexual offences against a child.

Throughout the process, which has been difficult, you have sought and taken account of advice, you cooperated with children’s services and challenged constructively where needed. I am guessing that your partner also engaged and this helped bring the case to a close too.

Best wishes for the future.

Suzie

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