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New member - advice needed please!

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:08 pm
by KLH2019
Hey,
So I have recently discovered friends baby got taken into care at 11 days old, I did suspect something wasnt right as they kept claiming baby to be hospital after 7 months ...
Mother has had quite bad substance misuse and father has a criminal record. They are both currently attending Family Drugs and Alcohol Court to try and get baby back full time. They have various contact sessions a week.
Mother approached me last weekend asking if she failed the drug and alcohol test would I be a special guardian/ foster baby while they continue to fight for custody rather than baby going into care and they not seeing him till he is 18.
As you can imagine it is a lot of information to take in for one evening and I am not very knowledgable on Family Drugs and Alcohol Court in UK
So I have a few questions I hoping you can help me with;
1. What happens if parent(s) fail hair and blood drug and alcohol test? Is that instant failure and baby taken?
2. What is special guardianship? Do they get am opportunity to go for custody again?
3. My partner is going through court to get a contact order for his own children and there have been some allegations (not truth) against him for child abuse but not convictions and courts are working for him to have them back at weekends with no further action on the child abuse; would we be eligible to foster/ care for friends baby with this going on?
4. What if parents separate while they are going though FDAC? Whos more likely or can petition to gets custody? Mother with substance misuse or Father with criminal record?

I unfortunately cannot have kids and I would love to help them out and give them another chance (yes even though they shouldn't have got themselves in this mess in the first place) but more the baby gets to grow up and know his family. I cant get it off my mind literally losing sleep over it so any advice, similar situations or any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Worried/confused friend trying to help other in need!
Xx

Re: New member - advice needed please!

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:37 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear KLH2019

Thank you for your post, in response to your questions:

1) The Family Drug and Alcohol Court offers an approach to care proceedings that aims to work with/support/help parents to overcome their ‘problems’, as with any programme ‘cooperation’ and ‘abiding by rules’ is required, if your friends have not been able to ‘live up to the expectations or the promises they have made to the professionals (and themselves), they may find that the long term plan for their child to return home changes.

2) For information about Special Guardianship Orders, please read our advice sheet DIY Special Guardianship Orders - information for family and friends carers and this one which is written for parents, Special Guardianship: what does it mean for birth parents?. Special Guardianship Orders are not usually (or often) discharged before the child’s 18th birthday – the parents may not have ‘full custody’ again or in the future.

3) Your partner’s situation is likely to affect your chances of being Special Guardian’s to your friend’s child but you will need to be assessed by the local authority social worker to know whether this will be the case.

4) Any situation be it drug misuse or criminal activity or other related issue is likely to have a negative effect on a child’s future. If the parents separate, both will be ‘judged’ and ‘assessed’ on their own merits, their solicitors will advise them on this matter.

May I suggest, if you have not done so already, formally ask your friend to put your name forward as a potential carer for her son. If you would like to speak to one of our advisers in confidence, do call our service on 0808 801 0366, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.00pm.

I hope this information helps.

Best wishes

Suzie