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Post by Jy2403 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:47 am


I’m maternal grandmother my grandson was placed with his great aunt and uncle 12 months ago due to neglect by mother. My son is not with the mother and had been having access every fortnight and holidays. As my son has mild learning disability I was asked to provide supervision during access. This proceeded without issue until just before the final court hearing when aunt and uncle said they wanted to reduce contact to 6 times a year as it interferes with their family life to much. We contested this but social worker is in their corner as they said if it wasn’t agreed grandson could go into care. Last contact we had before court they went to town on. It was Boxing Day and we had a large family get together at a local restaurant grandson was sick during the night when he went back and we were blamed for stuffing him full of chocolate. He had a child’s pudding. Social worker also said a film was on tv at my house and grandson reported he was scared. Following the court contact was reduced to 7 times a year for 4 hours except on a parents birthday when extended contact would be arranged in writing. First contact after court was sons birthday however social worker stated contact would only be 4 hours. We requested extended contact in writing as per court order and relatives said they were sticking to what social services had said. Our solicitor has said everyone should go with the court order now. Has the court order been breached now? I asked social worker this and she got nasty stating me supervising contact could be stopped and contact could be finished completely. My grandsons guardian was against the reduced contact at court but our barrister said social services can do what they like. What is correct please can social worker do this?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Contact

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:10 pm

Dear Jy2403

Welcome to the family and friends carers’ discussion forum and thank you for posting.

I see from your post that there are difficulties arising regarding contact because the great aunt and uncle are not supporting contact which you say is set out in the court order.

It is not clear from your post whether the aunt and uncle as caring for your grandson are doing so under a care order or special guardianship order with supervision order to the local authority. The legal position is different depending on the type of order. For example, if there is a care order, then it is children’s services who makes decision about contact. Under a special guardianship order it is the person with the order who will be able to make decisions but taking account of any order made by the court.

I am not sure why the barrister would say that children’s services can do what they like. There are procedures that they have to follow when a child is in care. Please read our advice sheet Duties on Children’s Services when children are in the care system

Also, if there is a care order in place there would an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) to oversee the careplan which would have been approved by the court. Contact should not be changed by the social worker without a review meeting. If there is an IRO your daughter can speak with him or her about contact.

The information below is from our A-Z of terms relating to IROs:-

Every child who is looked after by Children’s Services must have an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). Their main job is to:
• monitor whether Children’s Services are meeting the child’s needs and are carrying out the care plan and
• chair Looked After Child Review Meetings.
Before a Looked After Child Review Meeting the IRO must:
• speak to the child in private and make sure the child knows of their right to have an advocate;
• speak to the parents and make sure their views are represented at the review, even if they don’t attend;
• speak to all other important adults in the child’s life, including professionals, even if they don’t all go to the review;
• make sure all-important reports are available before the meeting (the IRO can postpone the meeting for up to 20 days to get the
After the Looked After Child Review Meeting the IRO must:
• make sure there is a written record of decisions and recommendations distributed within 5 working days and a full record of the review
distributed within 20 working days;
• make sure the person responsible for carrying out decisions made at the review is identified, and does their job;
• make sure that if agreed decisions aren’t carried out then, a senior officer in Children’s Services is told. The IRO should try to negotiate
with the senior officer to make sure things are properly sorted out for the child;
• keep in touch with what is happening to the child in their placement between reviews.
If things are going seriously wrong for the child, they can ask CAFCASS to make a court application if this is needed to enforce the child's rights.

It may also be helpful for your daughter to read the information in our advice sheet relating to Special Guardianship: what does it mean for birth parents? if there is a special guardianship order.

I hope this information is helpful. Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Best wishes


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