Niece needs help

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RT1066
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:54 am

Niece needs help

Post by RT1066 » Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:53 am

My niece is 24 and due a c section on Tuesday 6th April 21. When my niece was 19 she was in a dv relationship and her children 2 and 6 months were removed from her care. Social stating that son had bruises but this happened whilst mum was in hospital and baby was failing to thrive. Drugs were also found in outside bin and house was not clean. My niece thought for her children but they was placed on a sgo order with her cousin. Niece was granted contact of 9 times a year for one hour supervised. This all stopped in April 20th as cousin stated not in best interest of children and covid 19. She gets emails and pictures but contact has not resumed. She finally broke away from dv relationship. She got into a relationship with a man who has extensive violence in his history but my niece says he has never hit or abused her. He was sent to prison on 17th February 21. Social say he is a major risk. My niece has told social she understands risks he pose. She is no longer in relationship with the father of her unborn son. She has explained that he is in prison and although he is due to be relised July 27th, if he wants contact this will only be granted by a judge and in a supervised contact centre. My niece has mild learning disabilities and she is dyslexic. She has a clean home, she has come away from her mother, sister and brother who are known to social as all mums kids were removed from her care. She has completed all courses that she can online as no places are open to do one to one or group work due to pandemic. She has referred herself to all services available and tried to work with social. She is feeling very upset at current time as social do not listen to her and they state she can not protect her unborn son, so as soon as son born they going to take her court to remove child from hospital bedside. She has a solicitor who states they will issue care proceedings once child is born. Social state as she has made bad choices with regards to relationships and her other children are in care this prooths she can not protect her unborn child, she is vulnerable and does not understand risk, so therefore can not protect her child for 18 years. Social have been out several times and state that she is working well, her home is clean and child friendly. But the reports they send state she can not protect her unborn son. She is vulnerable does not understand risks and they want to remove child. They say she needs to cut unborn baby's dad completely out, not put him on birth certificate and cut ties with his family. Who are not a risk. I am a legal and psychatric trained nurse and hospital state when she and son are deemed fit she can be discharged into my care but social want her to stay in hospital for upto 26 weeks. My niece mental health will decline as she does not want this and she is declining to sign a section 20. She wants to keep her unborn son and she is doing everything she can to ensure that this happens. Social bully her, they speak to her like she is thick, they do not listen to her, they keep talking about her other children who are now 7 and 5. Saying as they are in care then they will seek to remove unborn son. As she is vulnerable, does not understand risk, has had dv relationships and will not be able protect her son for 18 years. She has asked for mother and baby unit if they state she can not come home. She has asked council to move her so unborn baby's dad does not know address. She has a marker on her home from police if upon dad getting out comes her home. She has done every course she can around stranger danger, child safety, first aid, dv, etc etc. Social state to little to late. They are still seeking to remove child. What else can she do? Can they make her stay in hospital? Can they remove child with no court order?

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

Re: Niece needs help

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:29 pm

Dear RT1066,

Welcome to the parents’ board and thank you for your post.

Your niece is 24 and expecting a child in the upcoming week. When she was 19, her 2 children, aged 2 and 6 months were removed from her care due to domestic violence, concerns about bruising, suspected drug use and poor home conditions. The children are now cared for by your nieces' cousin under an SGO and she was granted contact for one hour supervised, 9 times a year. This contact was stopped in April last year, and the special guardian stated that it was not in the children's best interests, and that because of COVID-19. Since then, physical contact has not resumed. As a special guardian, your niece's cousin has the power to review any contact arrangements and to suspend them if she thinks this is not in the child's best interests. You did not mention in your post what reasons were given for this and if your niece is unsure, it may be helpful for her to explore these further with the special guardian so that she can address any concerns. It is also important to note that the latest COVID legislation allows gatherings for the purpose of children having contact with a parent they do not live with, and therefore, the special guardian may have other worries about infection control which could be mitigated with some safety measures.

Has your niece contacted the local authority where the special guardianship order was made? A social worker may be able to assist in mediating these contact arrangements or in accessing some external family mediation. Alternatively, if your niece feels that she has explored all these options, she may want to consider applying for a child arrangements order. A judge will consider the application and will decide about contact based on the child's best interests.

Your niece is now in another relationship with a man who has a violent history; she says there has been no violence in the relationship, but he has now been given a custodial sentence. You do not mention what this is for, but children's services have assessed him as being a major risk. You say your niece has acknowledged this, ended the relationship and stated that she will only allow contact ordered by a court in a supervised setting. You say that she is working hard to access services and to engage with children's services. Nevertheless, children's services have informed her that they will be initiating care proceedings immediately after the child's birth as they do not believe she is able to care for her unborn son, referencing her previous relationships, that she does not understand risk and is vulnerable.

Reports state that the house is clean and that she is working well, but also that she needs to end all connections with the baby's father and family. You state that children's services want your niece to stay in hospital for 26 weeks and you are worried about her mental health deteriorating. She does not want to sign a S. 20 but is saying that she is willing to enter a mother and baby unit. You would like to know what your niece can do and whether children's services can remove the baby without a court order.

It appears from your post that children’s services have completed a pre-birth assessment and are concerned that the unborn child is at risk of significant harm and would not be safe if he were to return home with his mother. Children’s services may take a number of steps to ensure that the child is safe when he is born. These include asking mother to sign a S. 20 agreement so that the baby can live elsewhere, or even with mother in a mother and baby placement. You mention that your niece does not want to agree to a S. 20 – is there any particular reason why? She should not feel coerced into this and should speak to her solicitor before agreeing. Take a look at our quick guide on S. 20 here.

Children’s services may ask the police to protect the child using police protection powers if they do not have time to apply to court for an order. This can only last 72 hours, during which time children’s services will need an order if they do not want the child to return to mother. Alternatively, they may ask the family court to make an emergency protection order, which lasts for 8 days, and can be extended for 7 days after that.

Alternatively, children’s services may make an application to initiate care proceedings after the baby’s birth. The family court will decide a plan to keep the baby safe, which may include granting an interim care order if the threshold for this is met. At the end of care proceedings, a final decision will be made in respect of the child’s longer-term care. Take a look at our page on care proceedings for more information. I also think it would be helpful to look at our page for parents to be, which includes the steps children’s services may take when they are worried about an unborn child.

This is understandably an extremely stressful time for your niece, and it is very important that she seeks legal advice from her solicitor. She may find it helpful to read up on our guide to working with a solicitor here. It is also important that she is clear on what children’s services concerns are, and that she is able to acknowledge these. It would be useful for her, her solicitor and children’s services to try and agree on a plan that allows her to stay with her child after he is born so long as he is safe. Take a look here for some tips on working with a social worker. It is unlikely that the child would be kept in hospital for up to 26 weeks unless there is a medical reason to warrant this. You mention that your niece is open to a mother and baby unit, and this may be something worth exploring. This can happen both under an interim care order, or if your niece agrees to a S. 20 and will allow further assessment to take place.

Finally, if your niece’s son becomes a looked after child, either under S. 20 or an interim care order, and it agreed that he cannot remain in her care, it is important that family and friends are given the opportunity to put themselves forwards as carers. You may want to ask the local authority to assess you as a kinship foster carer by requesting a Reg 24 assessment, so that you can care for the child immediately if necessary. You can read more about how to do this here.

I hope you have found this helpful, and I would encourage your niece to call our free helpline, open from Monday to Friday 09:30-15:00 on 08088010366 if she would like to speak to one of our advisers.

Best wishes,

Suzie.

A123
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: Niece needs help

Post by A123 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:50 pm

i was in a DV relationship in 2012 when i was pregnant and that opened up a never ending can of worms, he went to prison before my son was born an i was able to keep my son and my older daughter fastforward a year after my son was born i lost my daughter to an sgo for emotional abuse i had post natal depression and SS didn't offer me an support then the following year i had my son removed because they said i had allowed my daughter's father into my house when both children was there and then my mental health apparently took a turn as i threatened suicide as i had nothing left to live for as my mental health had been questioned numerous time before by the social worker then the GP would say i'm fine well in 2016 i had another daughter and she was removed at birth placed with my mother but the social worker didn't like that my mother was having work done in one of my oldest children's bedrooms so they had to share temporarily (they were 5 and 2.5 at the time) then the dog was depressed he was a boxer, so my daughter got placed with my brother and his GF at the time an my niece an again apparently there was major home condition issues to the point they removed my daughter and phoned social on my niece and they went and said there's absolutely nothing wrong with the house a few months later i was in an emotionally abusive relationship even the social worker didn't pick up on it i left to go into refuge was there 4 months then got told my daughter was coming home she had nothing on me after all that time well i got in a car accident in march 2017 and honsttly i wish according to the social worker with no proof or evidence i was in a relationship with the driver (i was in a relationship with everyman i spoke to according to her) i had proof i wasn't she wasn't interested, i was meant to have known he was banned because people are going to tell you. i wish i had died social worker told me i'd never have my daughter back and got in touch with her father in prison and done a DNA test he put someone forward to have her who it later turned out had a sex offender around her own kids prior to this and social passed her to foster and yes they know what her and her family have done as she told them you can now find sex offenders on google. i accidently got pregnant late 2017 had my daughter in 2018 removed at birth for the following reasons historical DV, car accident, other children removed, mental health conditions that apparently i had in a psychological assessment in 2018 but in 2019 after 6 months of therapy completely gone even though it was apparently really bad. they never leave the passed where it belongs in the passed especially when people change my daughters adoption was granted in february i wasn't even informed of the final hearing, but they accepted my change in circumstances. im not undergoing another assessment for my son

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

Re: Niece needs help

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:11 pm

Dear A123

Thanks for your further post. You have described all the difficulties you have experienced and I know from all your previous posts that you have worked very hard to make changes, you have engaged with therapy and have tried to remain as involved as you can with your children.

I am sorry to hear that your application to revoke your daughter’s placement order was not successful even though it seems the court did accept that you have made changes. I think that the court agreed the plan for adoption should stand; here is our updated information about this.

I hope you have some support for yourself, including adoption support, if that would be helpful for you. PAC UK is a specialist adoption support service.

Please do call the freephone advice line on 0808 8010366 if you would like to talk things through with an adviser; the lines are open from 9:30am to 3:00 pm Mon to Fri.

With best wishes

Suzie

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