Safety Plan

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Forest01
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:46 pm

Safety Plan

Post by Forest01 » Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:21 pm

I am a registered sex offender. Prior to release from prison my partner had an assessment with social services and was told that a safety plan would be put in place. The safety plan, which had already done prior to the assessment, was relayed to her and there was no chance for her input. I then had my input into the assessment by phone where the same safety plan was given to me as well.

The safety plan dictates that I can only have supervised contact with my children in the community. It also dictates that I can not return to the family home (which I jointly own with my partner) even if the children are not there.

I disagreed with the supervised contact with the children in the community as we are in a middle of a pandemic and this means the only access that I can have with them is outdoors. I told the social worker this on the phone and was told that we can go on walks and to parks. Both the children are in the early teens and they do not want to go out for walks every day and the weather is constantly against us the last few weeks which makes any form of contact difficult.

The case is now closed and I have twice asked Social Services to review the contact as it is impossible to have any kind of meaningful community access until covid restrictions are lifted. I suggested supervised access in my accommodation for 2 hours per week. I live on my own in a house and we can prove to Social Services we can safeguard the children in this house. Both times they tell me that this can't be done until I have completed a course. The course can not be done currently due to Covid restrictions.

My partner does not feel that I am a threat to my children and is happy for me to return and live in the family house. She has told social services they are not at risk.

It is financially very difficult having to support two houses between us with two sets of bills. I can't even go to the family home when the children return to school to do some maintenance work that needs to be done.

My question is what is a safety plan and how do I get this reviewed? We are not on child in need plan or child protection just on a safety plan which I can find no information on anywhere online.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3103
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Safety Plan

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Feb 19, 2021 6:33 pm

Dear Forest01,

Welcome to the Parents' Board and thank you for your post.

You say in your post that you are a registered sex offender, and have recently been released from prison. A safety plan was developed by a social worker whilst you were in prison, prior to an assessment. This states that you can have supervised contact with your children in the community, and cannot return to the family home. You expressed your disagreement about contact in the community to the social worker, and were told that you can go on walks/to the park, which is difficult with the weather and which your children are not overly enthusiastic about.
Your children are not subject to any plan under children's services and you have asked for the safety plan to be reviewed and for contact to take place at your home. You have been told that you need to complete a course which is not currently available. You would like to know what this safety plan is and how you can have it reviewed.

Firstly, a safety plan is a tool used by local authorities to outline the practical steps that are needed to address a certain risk and to keep a child safe. In your case, this relates to the offence you committed. You state that the safety plan was developed prior to an assessment - did the social worker complete a risk-assessment on you specifically? A safety plan is not a legally binding document, and you can technically choose to not follow this - however, I would advise against this without seeking further guidance from children's services, as to do so may cause them to become more concerned, and they may initiate child protection enquiries, or take further action such as initiating care proceedings. Nevertheless, it is also clear that supervised community contact indefinitely may not be the most sustainable and practical plan in the long term.

You say that you have spoken to children's services about reviewing the safety plan, and each time you have been told that you cannot have supervised contact in your home until you have completed a course. What is this course and are they willing to accept an alternative intervention? As your case is not currently open to children's services, I would advise that you put in writing that you would like to have supervised contact within your home and request a risk-assessment be completed in relation to this. You may want to send this to the social worker and to the team manager.

You may find it helpful to contact the Lucy Faithful Foundation, Stop it Now helpline, you can find the link here.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Forest01
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:46 pm

Re: Safety Plan

Post by Forest01 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:05 am

Hi Suzie,

Thank you for the advice and for the first time I actually understand what a safety plan is, a solicitor and social services were unable to describe this to me adequately.

The social worker has not done any risk assessment on me they have just looked at the offence I have done and decided that I can only have community access. They have stated in the assessment I have a high risk of re-offending and their decision is justified by this. The probation service say I only have a low risk of re-offending, I have pointed this out but the social worker is adamant that I am high risk.

The course they want me to do is Horizon with the probation service which takes 12 months to do but the course is not running due to Covid and I am unlikely to be able to do this as I only have a short probation licence. I will discuss with Social Services if an alternative course can be done due.

Forest01
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:46 pm

Re: Safety Plan

Post by Forest01 » Tue May 11, 2021 9:46 am

I am really not moving anywhere fast with this.

I have tried to speak to Social Services about the safety plan on a number of occasions and each time I speak to them I am told to speak to my probation officer.

I spoke with my probation officer last week about returning to my house to do essential maintenance work. She is going to ask Social Services again if I can return just for that purpose (when the children are not their) but I don't hold out much hope.

I am unable to do the rehabilitation course that Social Services agreed with Probation that I should do to lower my risk. This is because I do not have enough time to do the course whilst on license.

I am doing work with my probation officer on a weekly basis to lower my risk and she says she will ask Social Services to do another assessment once that work is complete.

Contact with my Children is very limited even though I have a supportive partner. My older son had ADHD and will only leave the house occasionally. Trying to work with Social services is impossible as I keep on getting referred back to my Probation Officer who is unable to do anything but contact Social Services who do not change their mind.

Is there anything I can do to get access to my house to do essential work and to try to increase my contact with my Children?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3103
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Safety Plan

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri May 14, 2021 1:45 pm

Dear Forest01

Thank you for your further post. I see you are still having difficulties moving your contact forward with children’s services.

You say in your post that the social worker has not done a risk assessment of you but state you are a high risk. I think it would be reasonable for you to ask the social worker to explain how she reached that decision without doing a risk assessment as Probation has carried out an assessment and deem you low risk of re-offending. I suggest you put this in writing to the social worker and ask for a written response.

Regarding carrying out maintenance work at your family home, I suggest setting out in writing exactly what work is required and the timescale for completing the work. It may also be helpful to give dates and times you would be at the home. Ask the social worker to consider this. It may be that children’s services is of the that you are trying to have contact with the children at home, so it is important to show this is not the case.

You have stated that you cannot do the course suggested because of covid-19 restrictions as well as the fact your licence will end prior to completing the course. Is it the case that you must be on licence to do the course? If you are halfway through the course, have you been told you could not finish it? I think you should ask these questions as it seems a little harsh to stop someone doing a course because their licence has ended whilst on the course.

As you are still working with probation, it may be that children’s services want to see the outcome of this work as well.
Did you discuss an alternative course with children’s services? If you have not already done so, I suggest you contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a link to this service was given in the earlier response.

I hope this helps

Best wishes

Suzie

Forest01
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:46 pm

Re: Safety Plan

Post by Forest01 » Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:35 am

Okay I thought I would give an update to this

I have took all the advice given to me on these Forums and asked Children's services to review the case. I asked for access to my family home and also 2 hours a week supervised contact with my children in the family home.

I asked for something reasonable with a safety plan in place so that any concerns given by children services can be recognised.

They did another assessment and the only step forward is that the safety plan has been amended so I can now go to my family home to do repair work only if the children are not there and if I am supervised by my partner. They were unable to allow me any further access and will not review it again until the end of my probation period.

The reasons they gave is that my rehabilitation work with probation will not be complete until the end of my probation period. They also say that I do not take full responsibility for the offence and having mental health issues of depression and anxiety along with severe work stress is not an excuse for what happened. Even though I have explored the reasons for the offences occurring with my probation officer and these are the reasons that we came to for the offence happening. I have now put things into my life so I can recognise and deal with the depression, anxiety and stress issues.

Both my police offender manager and probation officer are in favour of me having access to my Children and do not see me as a risk to my Children. My police offender manager actually told me that he would be happy for me to have unlimited, unsupervised access to my Children. Children's services initially tried to put the blame on the police and probation as a reason to why they will not grant further access, however they soon backtracked on this when I challenged.

As it just a safety plan there is nothing much they can do if we just follow our own set of rules. There are threats in the assessment that I will get recalled to prison if I don't follow the safety plan....

I have found the whole process with Children Services appalling, they are not interested in what is best for families. They twist the words from my partner, myself, my probation officer, my police offender manager and my Children. They have very little powers in that most plans they give are voluntary agreements and not enforceable by law, however they pretend they are and give veiled threats that if you don't follow their plans you will get sent back to prison or they will increase their level of interest in the family.

My partner also did phone up the FRG helpline and we just got a response 'what do you expect'....so I kind of feel like FRG are not able to help any further. The whole response made my partner upset, we expected more from an organisation who deals with these kind of issues on a daily basis.

I have spoken with Lucy Faithful and they can offer me a course at a cost of £800 which I cannot afford to do.

So now I am going down the road of appealing the assessment with Children's services and considering taking it to the family court.

I am also considering whether to ignore the safety plan put in place and just have the access that my partner and myself feel is right for the children. My probation officer has said that I won't get recalled for doing this as long as I stick to the terms of my license. However for now I am complying with the plan as I feel this will be better with Children's services in the long run.

I will update this forum as I go along in case it is beneficial to anyone else.

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