Child in need plan... for the rest of childhood!

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Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:11 pm

Child in need plan... for the rest of childhood!

Post by Daddyof2 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:40 pm

Essentially I was arrested over a year ago on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children. After a long and very stressful period of about 10 months, the police forensic examination found that there were no indecent images and none had ever been accessed. Police case dropped. This however was the easy part. The police have then referred the case back to Children’s Services on the strength of some search terms that they view as indicative of a sexual interest in children... essentially terms involving “teen”, “schoolgirl”, “school uniform” etc. At no point were these search terms intended to find illegal content and while I am not proud of them and deeply embarrassed, I suspect they are not uncommon terms in the realms of online adult pornography. I love my children with all of my heart, so any suggestion that I could harm them in any way is deeply distressing and leaves me feeling sick.

CS are now on the verge of closing their case but have stated that the following must happen 1) I am not to reside at home 2) my relationship must end - and this has happened and 3) I am not to have unsupervised access to my children “for the duration of their childhood” which it was suggested will be to 18.

They have not been clear on the “what if” if we were not to follow these terms, but it was hinted that they would try to remove the children from their mother if this were breached, and probably then move to CP. This was enough to understandably scare my partner and was a big factor in us separating.

My question is this - can a CIN plan last for the duration of a child’s life? My children are 6 and 7 so essentially this means no unsupervised access for 12 years! I was never charged with a crime so there is no probation, no SOPO/SHPO. I challenged the SW’s findings by saying that essentially I can spend time unsupervised with someone else’s children, but not my own (of course I won’t do this) and the response was “we have no way of testing this” as they don’t intend to have any further involvement with my family, no follow up meetings etc.

I feel I am being punished for no crime for the rest of my life essentially, and all based on the opinion of one SW. This SW has acted as judge and jury on my future relationship with my own children. No court has been involved at all so no judge has made custody decisions - just one SW.

Please help - surely this can’t be legal?

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

Re: Child in need plan... for the rest of childhood!

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:45 am

Dear Daddyof2

Welcome to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your post. I am sorry that we have not been able to respond to you sooner and to hear of the current difficult situation. It is very distressing for you and you have been left without clear answers or any pointers about what you can do.

You ask if a CIN plan can last for the duration of a child’s childhood. Sometimes where a child has a disability they may have a child in need plan to promote their welfare and provide them with support in relation to their disability which continues until they are adults. However, in most other situations a child in need plan is a focused plan for a defined period of time, unless the circumstances change and it steps up to child protection or care proceedings or steps down to early help services.

You state that the case is due to close. This means that the child in need plan will come to an end. However, it seems that the case/child in need plan is ending only because:

• You and your partner have ended your relationship
• You no longer live with your children
• Your ex-partner has agreed that she will not allow you to have any unsupervised contact with your children
• You are being asked to comply with this.

So, if all the above is followed there is no requirement for a child in need plan to remain open or a social worker to remain involved. Instead, it seems that children’s services are satisfied that there is a safe parental contact plan in place, which is dependent on your ex-partner and you keeping to the above conditions.

Children’s Services have not been very clear on the ‘what ifs’, as you say. But, I think you are right that if you began to have unsupervised contact (without their agreement) they would reopen the case as a child protection investigation. They would not only be concerned about any potential risk of harm from you but also about the children’s mother’s ability to be a protective parent. If she allowed unsupervised contact without children’s services (or the court’s) agreement this could potentially lead to children’s services applying to remove the children from their mother’s care, if they believed the children to be at significant risk of harm.

There are a number of things you could do:

• Put in writing to children’s services your commitment to your children and your wish to be a good father to them.
• Confirm that you are willing to work with children’s services and/or other agencies, as required.
• Ask that they clarify what risk assessment they have undertaken – you could also check their Local Safeguarding Children Board (or local safeguarding partnership) procedures to see what the protocol is in your area.
• Ask what programmes or courses they recommend that you do in order to address the concerns that they have – you have explained that whilst no sexual images of children were found nor accessed, the concerns are about the online searches you made. What would they suggest you do to change this behaviour?
• You can also look into this yourself e.g. get in touch with Lucy Faithfull Foundation and Stop it Now to describe your circumstances and ask for their professional advice.
• Ask children’s services to be clear with you about what action they would take if you were to have unsupervised contact – although let them know that you would not do so without their agreement or the court’s permission.
• Ask how/when the situation can be reviewed.
• Ask also that they clarify why they believe that supervised contact is required until the children are 18.

Just to add that whilst a social worker undertook the assessment it should have been included your views and your family's views as well as information and feedback from other professionals. The assessment should also have been signed off by a manager so decisions are not confirmed by one individual alone. You could try the above steps and if you are not happy with the response or decision, make a complaint .

You should also seek legal advice from a family lawyer. You could consider making a (private law) court application for contact (that is, a Child Arrangements Order) if you want a court to decide on the arrangements for you to see your children. If you don’t have a solicitor you can get legal advice from Child Law Advice .

I hope this helps. If you would like to discuss the situation with an adviser please ring the Freephone advice line 0808 801 0366 Mon-Fri, 9.30 – 3.00 pm, or post again.

With best wishes

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