I am not sure where I should post this so please feel free to move it to where ever is best suited.
My family has found ourselves in a nightmare situation with the police and children services.
My wife and I have been married for almost 11 years, and together for 3 years before getting married.
Together we have 5 children in total, ranging from 3 to 13 years old.
Around 7pm on Friday the 29th Nov 2013, There was a knock at the door of the family home.
When answered I was confronted by a male police officer (detective constable), and I believe it was two female social workers.
At this point in time my wife was out with two of our five children at their school class disco's, (E) (age9) & J (age10).
I was at home looking after (A) (age3) & (D) (age7), (A) was asleep in his room, and (D) was playing games on the laptop in the front room.
Stepson (R) (age13) the eldest was at his fathers for the weekend (Fri-Sun).
When I asked the reason for their visit, the DC would not give me a direct answer only that is was due to the welfare of the children.
I was then requested by the DC to contact my wife to return home.
So I did as requested and phoned my wife, she was at her friends house with (E) waiting for (J) class school disco to finish, I informed her that we had a DC and Two social workers at our home, my wife asked her friend to look after (E) and returned home by herself.
Shortly after my wife arriving back home the DC asked if I would remove myself from the family home.
This I objected to, and was swiftly told that if I did not willing remove myself from the family home that I would be arrested and would be in a police cell for at least the night.
After firm talking with the DC to try and gain more details on what is going on with the visit the DC made it very clear that he was not going to provide me with any more details and if I carried on he would arrest me.
The DC did say that he would try and get matters sorted as quick as possible that I should be able to return home the following day.
I then complied with the DC's orders, got changed, I gave (D) a kiss and hug before I left, and also gave my wife a kiss and hug, she said that she would call or text me later on with regards to what’s going on. and left the family home, With only the clothes I was wearing, and no money.
The DC advised me not to return back to the Family home until after he had contacted me.
My wife never did Call or Text me, and from that point stopped responding to any of my Calls Or Texts.
I am currently homeless, sleeping in the back of my car, and sofa surfing at friends and family houses.
I did not hear again from the DC unto Sat 30th Nov 2013, Where he requested that I come to the police station on Sun 1st Dec to be Interviewed under caution.
At the police station, I was arrested on suspicion of child cruelty, and asked if I wanted a solicitor, I replied yes, and I was appointed a duty solicitor.
Just before the interview started I was informed that my wife & our children did no longer want me returning to the family home again.
Friday night my wife and I was planning for us to have a romantic meal once all the children where all in bed and asleep.
So something drastically then happened to go from wanting a romantic meal to no longer wanting me to return to the family home.
I was interviewed by the DC, and told do not return to the family home, and not to make direct or indirect contact with my wife or any of our children.
I was told to hand over any spare keys for the family home, and keys for my wife's car.
I was then released on unconditional bail to return to the police station on 8th Jan 2014.
As I am barred from going to the family home or making contact I have no way of gaining access to any money, as all of our benefits are paid into my wife's bank account.
As said above with my wife wanting a Romantic Meal and then within a few hours/days wanting to end our almost 11 Year marriage (13 Year relationship) and deny me access to the family home, I feel that the DC and or Social workers have been threatening my wife or putting words in her mouth.
I did send a few text messages to my wife's mobile just saying that no matter what I want to do anything I can to make our marriage work, and a short time later had a phone call from a local police officer, Telling me not to make any contact with my wife or any of our children.
The officer also did say that if my wife was to make contact with me, or if I was to turn up at our family home, that social services (children services) would remove the children.
I was able to have supervised contact with all five of the children at the local children's center for an hour and a half on the 19/12/2013.
On the 06/01/2014 was held a Child Protection Conference, My wife and I was told we was not aloud to be in the conference at the same time or even have contact/see each other. I arrived 15 minutes early for the conference. There is no reception as such for children's services, Just that in the children's services waiting/sitting area is a single phone that you contact children's services. I used the phoned and informed the person on the other end why I was there. And that they would contact the relevant people, an hour later I had still not heard from anyone, not even someone to hello sorry we are running late or anything. So I picked up the phone again and said to the person on the other end, that I was here early for my a pointed time as stated, that was 45 minutes ago and I am still waiting. I was then told again that they would contact the relevant people. It was another 35 minutes before anyone came and saw me to tell me it was my turn for the conference. So I had been waiting 1h 35m, Just to be seen.
The conference for me last just under 15 minutes, In this time all the people in the room introduced themselves, I was then told a very quick brief of what has been said, and was told that a decision had been made to place all 5 children on the child protection register.
Everything has already been discussed and finalized before I had even stepped in the room. and as such I was not able to given the opportunity to voice my opinion.
On the 08/01/2014 I had to return to the police station for my bail, where I was re-interviewed again, and once again released without being charged on unconditional bail to return to the police station on 05/03/2014, but not before I had to hand over my mobile phone to the police.
My mobile was my life line to the outside world, and the only direct way of being able to contact or be contacted by the police, children services, solicitors, etc. It also holds all my upcoming appointments. access to emails and the internet. and pictures of my family.
Without being able to speak to my wife, I feel that the police & services (children services) have backed my wife into a dark corner and forcing her into doing things she may not want to do otherwise they would remove our children.
I do know that my wife does find social services (children services) and the police very intimidating.
I fully understand that the police and social services (children services) have a duty to look after welfare of the children that they think are at risk.
I do not see how any of this is benefiting the welfare of the children, my wife, or myself, especially over christmas.
Surely there would of been better ways of handling this.
Now I am not saying that I am the perfect father or husband, But I try the best that I can be.
I am more then happy and willing to work with the police and social services (children services) with any of there concerns, and to resolve any issues.
All I want is for us to all be one family, like we was before all this started.
At the time of posting this thread. It’s now been 48 Days since I was removed from my family, and since I was last able to see my wife, and 28 Days since I last had contact with the children.
Our daughter who is aged 9, is currently being treated for: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Oppositional defiant disorder, Tourette syndrome, requiring regular appointments at our local hospital.
Our youngest son who is aged 3, is currently being treated for: Meckel's diverticulum, Short bowel syndrome, Fecal incontinence, requiring regular appointments at another hospital with a minimum 2 hour travel each way.
I have been going over the child protection conference minutes, and there are endless errors, spelling mistakes, incorrect names, dates, places, etc.
The story keeps changing, and even in places directly contradicts itself.
I just don't know where to start with things.
One thing I know for sure is that the police and or children's services do not think highly of me at all.
Here are just a few of the quotes I have picked up on.
Mr -------- is currently struggling to understand the reason for the current investigation by Social care and Police.
Mr -------- failure to recognise the severity of the current situation
Mr -------- lack of positive engagement with services at present
I remain unclear as to whether Mr -------- misuses alcohol or other substances
During the first visit to the house with the Police there was a lingering smell of Cannabis
I can see where the police and or children's services are going to try and go with this, and I don't like it one bit.There are also concerns about Mr -------- due to alleged domestic abuse
It seems that the police and or children's services are going to try painting me off as some kind of drunk druggy that beats his wife and or children around.
I have never done drugs in my life, nor would I want to or start to.
I do drink alcohol, But I do not class having a can of fosters with my Sunday roast, or the odd occasional can of beer while I am out in my shed to be a problem.
I have never hit my wife and or any of the children.
It there anyway that I can prove to the police and or children's services that I do not do drugs, and I do not drink much alcohol?
And I could really do with some advice on how to handle things.
Yesterday I sent an email request to my local council regarding records held by children's services under the Data Protection Act, and also sent the request via post by recorded mail.
This morning I received an email from my local council. They don't seem to be messing about.
As I can not make contact with my Wife and or Children. I now have to go around all the houses to be able to get the eldest child's written consent.Thank you for your request for personal information that relates to yourself and your children as named above that was received on 17 February and your letter received today.
The council will process your request in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
This is known as a subject access request.
Before we can proceed with your subject access request I would advise that the -------- Council charges a standard fee of £10 per person for all requests for personal information under the Data Protection Act. Please send a cheque for £60, made payable to the -------- Council, to me at the above address. On receipt of this fee we will be able to proceed with your request.
In the interests of security and to protect people’s privacy the council will require proof of your identity. Please therefore arrange for a copy of your passport or photographic driving licence to be sent to the above address, together with a bill or bank statement to confirm your address. Alternatively you may bring the documents to -------- to be inspected by myself or a colleague.
As -------- is aged over 12 we will also require his ID and signed letter giving his consent for us to access his records.
Please note that, in accordance with the Act, your request may take up to 40 calendar days from the day after we receive your ID and fee.
Please contact me again if you are unsure about any of the above or require any further assistance on this matter.
I have contacted my solicitor, who will in-turn contact my wife's solicitor and then contact my wife, and then ask the eldest for his written consent, etc.
I have had very little interaction with children's services, When ever I try to contact them I just get told the person I need to deal with is on holiday, out of the office, in a meeting, etc. and that someone will get back to me. Both the police and children's services know where I am as I can't go home to my family, I know they are going to use the excuse of not being about to contact me due to the police taking my mobile phone, but once again both the police and children's services have been given my parents home number, and have been told they can leave messages on this number, But they fail to do so.
Since the 29/11/2013 when this all kicked off I have had direct contact with children's services a total of 4 times.
approx 10 minute meeting with children's services at there office.
approx 20 minute visit at my parents home.
approx 15 minute at the child protection conference.
approx 30 minute meeting at the contact centre.
So since the 29/11/2013 children's services have spent a total of approx 1h:15m with me.
In this time no one has brought up the subject of drugs and or alcohol misuse, nor have they offered or suggested any type of drug and or alcohol testing, parenting classes, anger management, marriage counseling, etc.
I have requested a copy of children's services guidelines and procedures on many occasions, and as of yet I am still to receive a copy.
I had contact with all 5 children again on Monday (24/02/2014) at the contact centre.
The two supervisors for contact that are transporting the children to and from contact where once again late with the children, so the children's time was less then it should of been.
But otherwise contact with the children went well again, and all the children enjoyed seeing me and interacting with me.
All of the children once again asked me if they can see me more or phone me, and also asked when I can come back home.
My daughter handed me some hand written letters, and it was very hard for me to hide my emotions as I read her letters. saying how much she misses me, how much she loves me, and that she wants me to come home.
It's so heart braking when the children are begging for you to come home, and you just have to stand there and say you can't.
All the children said they where looking forward to seeing me again in two weeks time.
I also contacted my local council and requested email, postal address, and phone number for the person who chaired the Child Protection Conference.
I got the details I requested from the council within half an hour, and emailed the chair person to inform them that I had found errors within the Child Protection Conference minutes, and that they would be receiving a full copy shortly.
As of yet I have not had a reply to that email.
I have been going over the Child Protection Conference Minutes again. and something that has come to my attention while reading is that it states that the Core Group Meetings should take place at least 6 weekly.
In the Child Protection Conference Minutes the last Core Group Meeting was listed as being on Tuesday 14/01/2014, that would be 6 weeks yesterday.
I was not invited to the last Core Group Meeting, And I have not been informed and or invited about any upcoming Core Group Meeting.
We are now on day 92 since this all started.
In this time I have had very little contact with the children, but at least it now seems that regular contact with the children has been setup.
In the last 3 months (quarter of a year) I have been refused to have any kind of contact with my wife.
Now I keep getting told different things to why I can't have any contact at all with my wife. This ranges from my wife and children not wanting me to return home, or have contact with me, to being in witness protection, to interference with witnesses, the list keeps on changing.
Each time I have had contact with the children they have requested me to come home or asked me when can I come back home.
As I am still not getting anywhere with Children's Services, On Thursday 27/02/2014 I emailed my local council requesting Children's Services - Guidelines and Procedures.
Yesterday I received an email back saying.
I am not sure how to respond or what to request, can anyone please advice?Dear Mr --------
We have received your request for copies of the above. Could you please advise provide us with a little more clarification as to what it is you require i.e. the area of Children’s Services that you are seeking the information for?
I have been advised to start recording any phone calls from the police and children's services. But I want to stay within the law so I have been trying to do some research on the subject.
I have been reading some of the FAQ’s on Ofcom / Oftel web site regarding recording phone calls.
Recording and monitoring telephone calls or e-mails.
So from reading the above it seems that I am within my rights to record all phone calls.Can I record telephone conversations on my home phone?
Yes. The relevant law, RIPA, does not prohibit individuals from recording their own communications provided that the recording is for their own use. Recording or monitoring are only prohibited where some of the contents of the communication - which can be a phone conversation or an e-mail - are made available to a third party, ie someone who was neither the caller or sender nor the intended recipient of the original communication. For further information see the Home Office website where RIPA is posted.
Do I have to let people know that I intend to record their telephone conversations with me?
No, provided you are not intending to make the contents of the communication available to a third party. If you are you will need the consent of the person you are recording.
I have received post from my local MP today, with replies from both the police and children's services.
As expected my local MP can not really do much to intervene while there is an ongoing investigation.
But at least he has been able to get more from both the police and children's services then I have been able to.
Quote from the Local MP Letter.
Quote from the Public Protection Department Letter.Dear Mr --------,
Further to your recent correspondence to me regarding your concerns about the actions of Children's Services and the Police, I raised your case with the agencies involved.
As a result I enclose two responses, one from DI -------- -------- from the Public Protection Department at -------- Police Station and one from -------- --------, Director of Children's Services from the -------- Council.
I hope you will find Mr -------- and DI -------- response helpful in clarifying the circumstances which led to the action and response of Children's Services and the Police on the night of 29th November 2013.
I am sure you will understand that I am unable to intervene with an investigation being undertaken by the Police or Children's Services because these must be conducted independently.
If you feel either letter contains any major errors or that I can be of any future help, please do let me know.
I am enclosing a card containing my contact details; please do pass this on to anyone you feel I may be able to help on any matter.
My office is open Monday to Friday, from 9am until 5pm.
Quote from the Director Of Children's Services Letter.I am writing in response to your letter dated --/--/---- relating to one of your constituents, -------- --------.
Your letter was sent to Superintendent -------- raising some issues regarding a criminal investigation and seeks clarification in a form that can be disseminated onto Mr --------.
I have been nominated to look into this matter on behalf of the Mr --------.
The investigation originates from disclosures made on Friday 29th November 2013.
I must state that there is still a live criminal investigation and it is not my intention to discuss any of the evidential matters involved.
Hopefully, I will be able to better inform on general procedural matters and comment on specific actions taken by Police in relation to Mr --------.
The overarching priority in any investigation into alleged criminal offences relating to children, is the immediate safety and welfare of any child identified as being potentially at risk of harm.
This principle is at the heart of decision making by Police and partner agencies involved in disclosures of a child at risk.
In this specific case, Police worked alongside Child Social Services.
I am of the opinion that in this particular investigation, the decision not to immediately detain Mr -------- meant that the time he actually spent in custody was less than it would have been if he had been detained immediately.
With regards to Mr -------- not being given a full explanation as to why he was being asked to leave the property, I have spoken to the officer who attended, DC --------, and have reviewed what is recorded about his attendance on the Police computer system.
DC -------- records that he spoke with Mr -------- about concerns relating to information received and that we would be unhappy if he remained at the address.
lt was explained to Mr -------- that an investigation needed to take place but that due to the time of night and the children needing sleep, it was not in their best interests to proceed at that time.
lt was further explained to Mr -------- that ideally he should go to another address for the night and if he didn't, then consideration would be given to arresting him in order to immediately safeguard the children.
DC -------- further records his decision making rationale relating to the length of time Mr -------- would have to be in custody whilst further evidence was preserved and secured.
Mr -------- is correct when he states that a full explanation was not given but I would not expect this to be the case in this investigation or any other criminal investigation prior to the arrest of a suspect.
What Mr -------- was provided with was sufficient information to inform that there was need for a criminal investigation in relation to concerns relating to his children and that in order to provide appropriate safeguarding, consideration would be given to his immediate arrest.
With regards to being barred from the family home and from any contact with his wife or children, I have the following observations.
Firstly, it is my understanding that Mr -------- is not a named tenant on the council house tenancy.
Secondly, Mr -------- is currently on unconditional bail but would have been warned that any interference or intimidation with witnesses in the criminal investigation could make him liable to arrest for further offences.
Thirdly, Mr -------- is currently subject to supervised visits with his children who remain involved with Child Social Services.
I hope that the contents of this letter are able to clarify the actions of Police and Child services and reiterate that Mr -------- remains on bail in relation to neglect and abuse issues relating to his children.
Having reviewed the circumstances of Mr -------- particular investigation, I am of the opinion that appropriate and necessary actions nave been taken to preserve and secure evidence and safeguard children potentially at risk.
UPDATE 28/04/2014Thank you for your letter dated --/--/---- sent on behalf of your constituent, Mr --------.
I will list some information with regards to the precipitating events that find Mr -------- currently separated from his family, the actions taken by Children's Services and future plans.
On the 29 November 2013 Children's Services and the Police undertook a joint child protection investigation, in regards to the five children of Mr and Mrs --------.
This is an unusual situation for most parents and it is easy to be confused or not fully understand what is happening, who takes decisions and the reasons why decisions are being made.
This seems to be the case for Mr -------- and therefore this is a good opportunity to clarify the situation:
• Children's Service Department have neither authority nor power to remove adults from a home.
• Our records show that during the child protection Investigation Mr -------- was told by the Police that as it was 7pm it was in the best interests of his children that they were not interviewed that evening.
Therefore Mr -------- was asked to leave, as the information given to Children Services and the Police was that Mr -------- potentially posed a risk to his children.
Mr -------- was given this information and asked to leave the address to allow the Police to interview the children the following day.
Mr -------- became resistant and was advised that if he did not agree to leave he would be arrested and removed from the property.
For more detail on this matter please see your separate correspondence with -------- Constabulary.
• lt was in the best interest of the children that they were not interviewed late into the night.
lt would not have been safe to allow Mr -------- to continue to stay in the household for a further night, given the alleged risk Mr -------- could potentially pose to his children, therefore the safest way to manage this was for the Police to ask Mr -------- to leave the property.
• Mr -------- was arrested that weekend and the investigation has been ongoing.
Following the investigation an initial child protection case conference was called with a unanimous decision for each of the children to become subject to a child protection plan.
The plan is specific on the matter of contact as decided by the conference chair.
lt was decided that Mr -------- would be able to have one supervised session of contact with his children each week.
However, this would need to be supervised by Children's Services contact supervisors.
The new case holder for the --------/-------- children is -------- --------, who undertook an introductory visit to Mrs -------- and each of the children earlier this week.
lt will be most helpful for Mr -------- to engage with Children's Services directly.
Mr -------- needs to be aware of the current limitations prescribed.
I expect these to be informed by outcomes from the ongoing Police investigation.
I am sure that Mr -------- will appreciate the support measures and boundaries currently in place to ensure his children's safety.
Mr -------- can make direct contact with -------- on ------ (ext ----) should he need any other belongings from the family home or for further clarification.
lt is encouraging to hear that Mr -------- has a supportive family and friends he can rely on during this period of waiting for an outcome.
Mr -------- is expected to engage with the child protection plan.
Assessment of his engagement, learning and insight gained will be factors that will influence any further decisions relating to the question of whether safe reintegration of Mr -------- to his family is in the children's best interest.
Children's Services will take legal advice should we become aware of Mr -------- visiting the family home or moving back in without prior approval by the multi-agency core group implementing the child protection plan.
Today I had to appear at the Crown Court for preliminary hearing.
As said before I have been advised by my solicitors not to go into details regarding the on going court case, as this could damage the case. but I will give some details.
At court only two charges where read out, Not the three charges.
So it looks like there might be some kind of progress as it seems one of the charges have now been dropped.
Also the courts have now put bail conditions in place.
At first the courts where going to try and stop me having any contact at all with any of the 5 children, But my barrister was able to get this addressed and got it changed so that I would be able to have contact, but it must be supervised, and it must be held at a said contact centre.
As said before, Up to this point in time, I have had no bail conditions, court orders, or injections put into place, So I find it very strange that all a sudden that the courts have now put bail conditions in place 5 months down the line.
The trail is due to start some time in November, that's another 6 months away.
But the time the trial starts it will be very close to me being away from my family for a year, as I was removed from the family home on 29/11/2013.
As there are now bail conditions in place, there is no way I can return home to my family.
Today I received a letter in the post from my criminal solicitor regarding the charges that was read out in court on the 28/04/2014.
On the 28/04/2014 at court only two charges was read out, but the letter from my criminal solicitor now states that there are indeed 3 charges not just the two that was read out in court, this is due to a computer error.
Just when I thought there might be some progress and starting to move forward with things, but now I just feel like someone has kicked me in the nuts.
As I don't know law, I don't know how to progress with things.
Can I please have your advice and thoughts?
Thanks for your time.