HELP - Child protection

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Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:16 am

HELP - Child protection

Post by Heartbroken » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:54 am


I am having huge problems with my child who is currently 10,5 years old.
I have three children who live with me - the oldest is almost 13 yr old, youngest 17 month old and the child in question. I have been divorced form the dad of th older two since 2008 and it was a messy divorce as well as I have a very bad relationship with their dad. Also, there was a recent court case regarding custody of the children and both boys expressed their will to live with me to CAFCAS.
The youngest child has no dad on a birth certificate. He did not want to go ahead with pregnancy for his reasons but is seeing him on a regular basis and they are slowly building a relationship.

One morning I had a disagreement with the 10 year old and it was quite upsetting especially as our house is usually very friendly and loving, the child needed to be told off due to him becomming progressively lazy and numerous askings did not work. I had to run to work that morning so had no time to explain the situation which would usually be the case where I explain why my kids are told off but thought I would do it after school and the child staid with grandad who comes to look after the youngest while I work part time. The oldest child has already left to school.

After I got back from work, I found myself wondering why the 10 yr old did not get back home in time. Child is in final year of primary school and walks back home alone. After over 40 mins of waiting I took the youngest and went to look aroung. First place to go was the school where I was met by the office lady who looked very distressed and asked me to wait untill the head teacher came. The head told me that because of what happened that morning, the 10 year old was very upset and was afraid to go back home (!) then she asked if police has already visited me at home! She mentioned a mark somewhere. I was so shocked I could not say a word just rushed home. School knows our family for 11 years dn kids have swimming once a week where they get stripped down to swimming trunks which means ANY sort of abuse wouldhave been picked up a long time ago. she never even rang me to ask for my side of story, jsut rang social services!

Two policemen and a SW came to my house. SW wanted to check kids' bedrooms, asked why was I so stressed whcih I found weird - how can you NOT be stressed when they come?! Anyway, I simply allowed them to do teir job. The little one was showing signs of a happy kid, talking to them and showing them toys etc. these people wanted to wait for the eldest, and after interviewing the eldest the SW said it was obvious that this was a 'one off' and that it would be good if a 10 year old would stay with his dad untill the medical examination was done. I had no idea why that was needed but since it was Thursday and that weekend both older boys were due to stay with their dad, I did not see the problem in it. Plus I wanted them to get to the bottom of it and had nothing to hide so thought of course just do your job and leave us alone.

While the oldest was beign questioned in another room, I asked the policeman what was going to happen and he explained that because the mark was so small, I would make a statement in the police station and all would be finished as the fact that the 10 yr old was so distressed meant that this was a one off as when kids are being abused they 'toughen up' and don't cry hence they concluded this was nothing serious.

The other week I had to take my oldest and youngest to the doctor's check up. The 10 year old was taken by dad's partner as I was not allowed to do that. The doctor's concluded 'results inconclussive' they said there was obviously nothing serious but because police hasn't done conclusions yet, they could not conclude the case either.

The following day I was asked to come to the police to make that statement which I was looking forward to as I thought i would explain what happened and all wouldbe over. However, I was explained there were two ways the events would develop - 1. I would 'admit to the offense' and everything would be finalised there and then, or 2. if I did refuse to admit, crown procecusion would be investigating (or sth along these lines).I asked what offense they wanted me to admit to and that was when policeman shown me #the mark' - a picture with the 10 yr old's head and two spots very high on the forehead. He told me to admit I have hit the child! Once again I was shocked and of course said I did not do that. then policeman's tone completely changed, he started preparing the tape as if to question me under caution or sth like that. He did not complete it that day because when he asked if I wanted a solicitor I said I did.

At that point I was completely stressed and had no idea what was going on. Anyway, within the next couple of days I was being questioned under caution again with the presence of a solicitor. At the end was told my both other kids would be questioned and believe the 10 year old was questioned the following week (that day I spoke to SW who told me that was the case). My other one was not questioned and I did not hear from the police for a month. The solicitor firm representing me contacted the police who were not responding but finally told them they forwarded the case to the crown procecution for a review! When my solicitor told me that I was absolutely shocked especially as his voice indicated how much trouble I was in and as if he was hoping it woudl not happen. He could not comment as the allegations were not revealed so solicitor had no idea what would charges be.

Anyway SW did one home visit, as if he needed to see my other kids who stay with me. When in the house, I had my friend with me as a witness and I am happy I did as he came to bully me into admitting to have hit my kid and tell me how dare I do not admit. I think towards the end he understood I was stuck in a situation where 10 yr old's dad and his partner were brainwashing the kid as he was previously fighting the custody case and failed because kids expressed wish to stay with me. And I asked him what he (SW) wanted me to do but nothing I could was possible because my ex would not allow me to see the kid saying the kid does nto want to see me which is bullshit.

My mum went to see the child two weeks ago and she said the child is portraying me as a complete monster saying how much I shout in the house and how bad I am etc. She was told how well the kid is doing he they have him and how much calmer is etc. She was heartbroken for me.

Anyway. My oldest told me police came to the school to ask few questions, my solicitor suggests this was possibly because they need further evidence.

I have no idea what is happening, what will happen and what the outcome will be other than i feel that I have lost my kid! Every time SW is trying to make a contact for me and the 10 yr old, kid's dad sais kid does not want to see me. My oldest sais they aren't even asking the child, just saying they spoke to SW and told him that the child does not want to see mum.

I asked SW to go to school and speak face to face and read body language. Then I rang eldest on the mobile when they were together and asked to give the phone to the child in question. I was surprised to hear that the child missed me and the voice of the child was very loving and caring. when i started saying the kid had to tell someone if wanted to see me and I would obviously fight to be reunited, the phone was taken by my ex who said the conversation was over as the kid started crying. Well obviously after not seeing mum for a month who wouldn't cry.

i do not know what to do, I don't want to stress the kid by following and making it awkward in case it is true that kid does not want to see me and am waiting for the 10 yr old to miss home and ask to be back but it is not happening as the longer it goes, the larger the gap between us. Of course I also feel very hurt and do not thing it is fair for me to go and beg the kid to come back after what I was put through.
It now has been two months since the incident! There was absolutely no contact between us other than the doctors, dentist's appointment when ex's partner took the kid and that short phone conversation.

Because the child is 10 yrs of age I feel I cannot force anything but I do not know how this hatred could have grown. there could be reasons such as birth of a new baby and other's which lead to lack of attention but the thing is I do not know what will happen and what to do. If I appoint a solicitor and the kid sais that does not want to see me, then it's a waste of time and money (which I do nothave). If I go to school, I was told by the SW school office would call the children services to allert a possible abduction unless child's dad consents to me going to school (this will NEVER happen btw and when SW asked if I could go to school to speak to the child, SW was told kid did not want to see me and didn't even ask the kid!).

I have spoken to the SW few days ago adn he wants to come to the house for a chatt next week. No idea what the chat will be about but I said ok. When he came first time he suggested me a parenting courses or sth where someone would come in the house to teach me how not to 'cross boundaries' or sth like that. I said to him I DO NOT smack or hit or use any other force on my kids because they are very good and they do not need it hence I do not require anyone in the house. During phone conversation he asked me again if I wanted someone to teach me to be a parent, I said no unless this would be a requirement expected by me but it would be a waste of resources. This is also due to kids saying I pulled their ears few years ago which I would have done as a last resourt if they were messing about and would have hurt themselves if left to continue but raising voice would not help. However, this would happen very rarely and now are way too old to be treated like that.
What confused me also was that SW once again strongly suggested me to get legal advice. He implies it is to do with contact enforcement but how things were developing I do not believe anyone anymore as things were coming out which were not known to me.

Please tell me your honest opinion what I should do. The oldest and youngest live with me and are happy etc. Is there a chance they can be taken away form me if say police decides to procecute or if I do not do this parenting course? I told him I would go and listen to some clsddrd if he wished but I have whole library at home on how to bring up the kids and I am a very good mum. I honestly cannot believe this is happening.
I do not know whether there's anythign I can do regarding the 10 yr old. Can I make him meet me? What if the child finds it stressful as he uses to be when durign custody case their dad used to follow us everywhere? I feel that all i need is to see the kid and to give a hug and all would be as it was as there was clear lack of attention and the kid felt left out due to me being so busy with the baby and so tired in evenings... and of course the propaganda against me in dad's home
Will this ever end and what can I do to help the situation?

Thank you very much in advance

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:49 pm

Dear Hearbroken,
Welcome to the Parents Forum.
I am sorry to hear about the very stressful time you and your family have had. You have to be commended because you have worked so well with children’s services and the other professionals.

However, your 10 year old son remains living with his father and you are worried that this is not the best place for him. Your contact with him has been severely limited and you do not know when the child protection investigation is going to be completed.

Both the police and children services need to complete their investigation-to see whether it is safe for your son to return home to you or to have safe contact with you.

Children services and the police are carrying out a joint investigation.

The police need to decide whether a crime (assault) had been committed and whether there is enough evidence to prosecute you. Ask your solicitor to find out what is happening with the criminal investigation? When will it be over? Are the police restricting contact with your son?

Children services
Children services are carrying out a child protection investigation. Have a look at our advice sheet about child protection-it explains the assessment process and what it involves. Assessments should be completed within 9 weeks.

Even if the police decide not to prosecute, children services may still be worried and will want to do their own assessment.
The social worker will need to decide whether your children are safe with you.

On the one hand, your son alleged that you hit him and caused bruising. At school they said that your son did not want to come home and was very upset. You also say that you pulled your children’s ears when they were younger. (The social worker will also be worried about this as a method of discipline.)

On the other hand-you have just been through court proceedings, and the court and CAFCASS agreed that it was in the children’s “best interests” to live with you.
So you must have shown that you are a loving, safe and secure parent who can meet all her children’s many needs (emotional, physical educational, medical developmental etc).
Your questions
1)Your son coming home?

I strongly advice that you take up the social workers recommendations. If the social worker is recommending parenting classes-this is because he thinks it will be in your children’s best interests. You could contact Family Lives about parenting courses that might be available.
The social worker also mentioned enforcing contact? I suggest that you speak to the social worker about what he means. Does he think you should go back to court? Do you have residence order (now known as child arrangement order)/ or a contact order for your son? What contact does he suggest you have with your son? Can your son be rehabilitated home to you from dads? Have you told the social worker about dad following you when you have contact?

For advice about the court process-if you decide to go back to court, you could contact the

Coram Children’s Legal Centre

2)Could your other children be removed from you, if the police prosecute?

When children services first became involved, they would have carried out a risk assessment in relation to your other children. At that point, they must have decided that they are safe with you.

If the police decide to prosecute-children services would look at what the police investigation says and then decide what action should be taken.
They could:
• Suggest further support-such a parenting classes,
• Go to a child protection conference to see whether there should be compulsory support and monitoring under a child protection plan,
• A protective adult (such as a grandparent) supervising you with your children,
• Only if they thought your children were in immediate danger would they consider separation.

If they thought separation was needed they would either:
• Ask whether you would agree,
• Only if you did not, they might seek a court order (you would be entitled to legal representation-whatever your income). They would have to prove to the court that your children were at risk of immediate serious harm.

If your children needed to go into foster care they should first of all be placed with a parent-such as dad, second with a connected person-such as grandmother- (family member or friend) who would then be assessed as foster carers.
Only if there was not any family or friend support should stranger foster care be considered.

From what you have said, the social worker is not suggesting that your other children be removed. Instead he seems to be suggesting that you agree to access support such as parenting classes. He seems to also want you consider your options around having more contact with your son-may be with a view to him coming back to live with you.
He has not suggested removal.
To get advice about CAFCASS and whether to go back to court in relation to your son, you could contact Coram Children’s Legal Centre.
Please post back if you have have any questions.

Best wishes,

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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Heartbroken » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:26 pm

Dear Suzie,

I cannot thank you enough for your thorough and so fast answer! And all of the support groups/numbers you have provided!

I have sole custody of all of my children and they (two older) have contact order with their dad. The reason we had to go to court previously was because their dad decided he wanted shared custody, even though he physically had no time to care for them due to his work commitments. Even now it is not him but his girlfriend (who the 10 year old used to always complain about) looks after the boy.

I know my son is safe there and is well looked after as he is the only child in the household and of course being closely watched by all agencies involved so both his dad and dad's gf are doing their best. The issue I see is that they are not allowing him to have ANY contact with me and I know why, it is because they are afraid he would decide to go back home and they would feel betrayed (as both kids are always reminded how grateful they must be for all the care they get from those two). In addition to not allowing the SW to arrange a contact they are 'feeding' my son's negativity towards me. I always said to my both kids - if they wantes to and be happier living with their dad, I would back off and let them be there as happiness of my kids is more important to me than my feelings.
However, I am worried about how they portray me as an evil person when he was the boy I was closest with out of my all three children and he felt safest with me. Now however I became 'an enemy' (I know he feels scared to look in my eye due to police being involved as he is really afraid of police. he probably thinks I hate him and I CANNOT explain to him this is NOT the case! - I am convinced this is the main reason why he would rather stay with someone he used to hate because that became his 'comfort'). the problem I also have is that SW wants to listen to me and if he was impartial person he would believe me but now as I said to him - even if I had a thousand of people behind me supporting what I say, he would completely ignore it and go by what my son and people he lives with have to say. He admitted to it so I almost find it impossible to be heard and this is the most stressful part of the whole thing. These people (social services, police) know me for '5 minutes' but their opinion about me is formed and each time we are in contact, they are looking for clues be it in the tone of my voice, actions etc as a proof of them being right! I sometimes feel afraid to be myself and as I am a good mum (people who know me well and I told this situation literally cried because they could not believe this happened and how could my son do it to me). I even feel that by accepting the parental course, I would admit to being a bad mother whch would act as a basis for these false allegations. I did tell the SW that if he wanted me to I would take this course but I would only do that if he wanted me to and if this helped to get my son back.

With regards to 9 week period in terms of Children Service assessment, 9 weeks were two days ago so perhaps this is what the SW wants to talk to me about.
With regards to the parenting, I so do not want anyone in my house as this would create tension, I woudl feel watched over and I know even kids would pick up on the tension. Plus I am at work half day and the other kid only comes back home after 5pm - when would that parenting teacher fit in?! How long would they stay at home and how often?

Are you aware of time frame for police investigation? I mean is there a time set during which they must either procecute or not? I find it strange that they do not seem to be doing anything and my Solicitor said they are not really cooperating much - they did not provide details other than that the case was forwarded for a review.

Thank you once again.

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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Heartbroken » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:41 pm

Hi, an update

So police offered me a simple caution for pinching my son's ear many years ago to which I have admitted myself during the interview under caution. My fingerprints etc were taken and police investigation is apparently closed.

As far as social services concern, last time I saw the SW was before Christmas (3 months ago!). Then he went to see my older son to his school around two weeks ago and today he called me suggesting he wanted to close the case!

He said he wanted to ask me if I wanted to be referred to some family support where someone would visit me 2-3 times per week and teach me how to be a parent, how to discipline my children. I said first of all my son (who got SW involved) still refuses to talk to me and due to a really bad relationship with his dad, I cannot do much so any parental help would not be useful because I work and a family member is looking after my youngest kid. with regards to the oldest child, SW visited and spoke to him in his school himself and admitted himself there were no concerns.

Then I asked if he could refer the child who I did not speak to therapy sessions as I said it will soon be half year and I am concerned he has no contact with his mum bearing in mind he was the closest to me out of all my three children. SW suggested getting legal intervention but I cannot afford it especially as after paying solicitors my son could say he does not want to see me and the case would not go any further AND I do not think I can force my almost 11 year old to talk to me if he sais he does not want to. I told the SW I feel very upset because it is like part of my heart have been taken out etc etc. He said he could not refer my son to his psychological therapies because there was no physical evidence of him having a problem (eg anorexia, harming himself etc) with which he would refer the boy so that the only way to deal with it would be to get his new school to perhaps offer counceling for him. I said to him I would rather keep school away and that if he was worried about other kids, they would definitely contact them but I was a good mum and there was no need to continue plus as I was involved in helping school's PFA, I found it quite unlpeasant there were such institutions involved in the first place because there was no need for that.

The SW seemed upset about the whole conversationa and said 'sorry I need to continue' and put the phone down. I have no idea where this leaves me. I only expressed my concern about my son and asked for help to which he got myself after school contacted them without listening to my side.

I am really worried now. what can I expect to happen? I have my little one sleeping in another room but feel like taking and running away! This kid is such a happy kid and loved by everyone so I am really upset SW (after not being bothered to visit us or call me ONCE since before Christmas - THREE MONTHS!!! - if he was so worried, why did he not come to make sure kids were ok?! And now decided I need parenting advice?! I said I joined one of the 'Family Lives' courses but he said it was not acceptible because they do not visit me at home. I work, I barely have enough time to have a minute for myself and seriously have no time to have anyone in the house because this would unnecesarrily distruct kids' and mine daily routine!) and the atmosphere in the house is so peaceful, there is absolutley no need for intervention because it is like an artificial person involved in my family intimacy. They are only looking at creating working hours to use taxpayers money - I am sure there are families which need their attention, but not mine.

Please advise me what could I expect to happen now. These things make one start doubting oneself so much. As if it is not difficult enough to have your own kid cutting contact completely which is a result of dad's jealous girlfriend's inappropriate lies to my children.
I am so lucky I have such a strong support network, otherwise I would have drawn mysef to suicide level - this is how much this affects the psychological aspect of me! Please answer

Thanks you

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:10 pm

Dear Heartbroken

Thank you for your most recent post.

I am sorry that the situation regarding contact with your son is ongoing. However, it is good news that the police investigations have now concluded with you accepting a caution.

It appears from your post that the social worker would like to close your case but considers that some support need to be put in place in relation to your parenting. This is likely to be because of the method of discipline you used in the past. This would be a way of ensuring that they have given all the help and support which is considered necessary in respect of your children before closing the case. You have not been willing to accept this support which could be arranged to fit in with your home routines.

There is of course the issue of your son with whom you are not currently having contact. This must be of concern to you and the social worker will be concerned that you are not willing for his new school to be contacted with a view to offering counselling to him. The situation is a delicate one for your son and it would benefit him to be able to talk about his feelings in order to understand his current behaviour. This counselling may well involve sessions with you which could help you to understand what is happening with your son rather than simply putting it down to what his father and his girlfriend may be saying. Your son needs help and his situation is likely to become more and more entrenched if he does not receive help and support now. The effect on his emotional wellbeing could be very difficult for him to handle as he gets older.

I suggest that you reconsider your decision regarding the school although you feel that you do not wish to have your family involved with children services, the school or other institutions.

The social worker’s comments that he needs to continue may mean the case will not be closed as you are not willing to accept the support being offered and, as such, they cannot feel confident that your parenting style in respect of discipline has changed. I know that you say your home is peaceful now but the social worker may be concerned about your relationship with your other son and how this can be repaired to the child’s benefit. Please read our advice sheet on Family Support Services for more information.

You say that you cannot afford to instigate court proceedings to have contact with your son. If you do wish to go to court, it is something you can do yourself, the courts are now very used to parents representing themselves. It would be an opportunity for your son, to give reasons to a social worker or Cafcass officer, who the court would as to report on his wishes on feelings about contact.
If you do decide to make an application to the court, it would require you to try family mediation with your child’s father before you apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order. This is a requirement of the court. You only need to try and there are exceptions. You can obtain the appropriate C100 application form from your local family court or from the Justice website . There is normally a fee but if you are on a low income it is possible to apply for a fee exemption. This form EX160 can also be obtained from the court or online.

You mentioned in your post the psychological impact on you and this also applies to your son. If he is being prevented from having contact this is not good for his psychological wellbeing. Do try to focus on your son’s needs rather than the adults around him.

I would suggest you contact the social worker to find out what he intends to do if you are not willing to accept the support being offered. I think the likelihood is that the case may not be closed.

If you do decide to apply for a Child Arrangement Order to have contact with your son, you can contact, Coram Childrens’ Legal Centre on 0808 802 0008 for further information about making an application.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Best wishes,


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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Heartbroken » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:57 pm

Dear Suzie,

Thank you for your reply.

The counceling was suggested by me, SW disagreed it was necesarry as to him, my son seemed fine and did not display any signs needed for him to be referred to therapy. The school was alternative to what he could offer IF there were signs of my son harming himself etc which were not there. I simply asked if he could use outside sources to help him rather than school itself. Of course he was not happy I wanted to keep the head teacher and school out but was asking him to refer my kid myself!

The court is not something I consider simply because someone who is almost 11 year old refusing to see me or talk to me will stand by it and there is not much I can do or to be honest after his lies, I would be afraid to have him with me. Never thought he was capable of what he did. This situation helped nothing, but shown the kid that he is in charge and if mum tells him something he does not like, there is always a dad given he sais the 'right thing' to authorities and sticks to it. But what happens when he becomes an adult himself?! Life will not be as simple... While I understand that child protection is very important in certain cases, in my case it only destroyed mother-son relationship.
I think him not wanting to talk to me or see me is to do with him not being able to look into my eyes but it doesn't matter. If he was 2, I would have been in courts fighting for him right from the start but not with a boy of his age. I know he is safe, happy and that is all i need to know. It hurts but I can live with it. i just pray to God to help me understand and keep good feelings or nothing inside.

Anyway, I was only interested in what SW options would be in this situation. Simply wanted to prepare myself as I no longer trust anyone. They get in to your life, your house, accuse you of things completely disregarding your side of the story.

I have not got one paper connected to this case! Is there any way I could receive reports and any relevant information to know what has been said and what is kept with my and my son's name?

Many Thanks

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:16 pm

Hello again Heartbroken

As a parent with parental responsibility, you certainly have a right to clear information about the processes you and your family are involved in and to copies of all relevant assessments/ reports.

If you are finding it difficult to communicate verbally with the social worker, I would suggest that you write to him with your concerns and questions. Start the letter by emphasizing that your children are your priority and that you only want what is in their best interests. Set out what you feel would be in your son's best interests (i.e. theraputic support to manage his feelings about you and the difficulties in your relationship) and ask for a clear explanation if this cannot be provided. Set out any specific questions you have about the current involvement of Children's Services including any specific plans and aproximate timescales for their continued involvement. Ask for copies of any current assessments, child in need plans etc.

You could also make a request under the Data Protection Act 1998 to view any information held about you and your children. Bear in mind that, if Children's Services assess that your son has sufficient maturity to make his own decisions about information regarding him, they make ask his opinion and may refuse to disclose information to you if he specifically requests this.

Details about viewing Children's Services' files can be found in our advice sheet number 26 "Access to information held by Children's Services"

I hope this is helpful.

Best Wishes

FRG Adviser

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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Heartbroken » Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:35 pm

Hello again Suzie,

Thank you very much for your reply with information on how to access the case details held by Social Services.

I did not need to take any action with regards to this and have received a document today which states that the case is now closed and gives a summary of and detailed information that relates to it.

I am happy they decided to close the matter. However, there are lots of discrepancies on the report and some made up information which is false - starting from me saying something I did not and refusing to take my son to Disneyland trip when I was not allowed to take him etc. Also it mentions a mark on sons face which was never mentioned by the police, them, neither I saw it myself. It also keeps some key information which is very important to my opinion off the case which leaves it very much one sided.

Can you please advise me how, if at all, I could challenge it. I understand Social Services must indeed keep information on file but it must be correct and right now it does not represent the reality, only helps them to portray me as a mother who favours other children over the one in question who according to them I am very indifferent towards while in reality this particular child was always a number one in a family.

Thank you so much for all your help.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: HELP - Child protection

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:54 am

Dear Heartbroken,

It is important that you ask children services to address these issues. Your children’s file should be as correct as possible to ensure that it complies with the Data Protection Act and because it will be kept for a long time and may be opened again if a further referral is made to them.

I suggest you email the social, worker and team manager and ask that any factual errors are corrected. In respect of any opinion of the social worker that you do not agree with, ask that your opinion is reflected in the report alongside that of the social worker. Or you could ask that your letter is attached to the report.

Best wishes,


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