Welcome to the Parent’s Forum and I am sorry for the delay in responding to your posts. I am sorry to hear that your daughter has suffered an injury which medical professionals are worried might be non accidental. This has meant you have had to be separated from your daughter until children services have a better idea how the injury might have happened. No doubt this will be a very traumatic for you and for your daughter.
The investigation will be a joint investigation by the police and children services. The police’s role is to find out whether there is evidence that a criminal offence has been committed. At the end of their investigation they will decide whether to prosecute.
Children’s services will also be assessing your daughter’s needs and your parenting capacity, the environment you live in and family support. The police investigation will feed into the decisions being made by children services.
Here is information about children’s services assessments.
It is very likely that there will be care proceedings. Here is our advice sheet about care proceedings
During the care proceedings, the court will be deciding two things:
1)whether your daughter suffered significant harm due to the parenting you and mum gave her,
2)where can you daughter live. Either back with you and/or mum; or with any family or friend or connected person; or long term foster care or must she be adopted?
In case she cannot return to you and mum, it is very important that you think of people in your network (in the UK or abroad) who could be assessed to care for her long term. You could ask for a family group conference to help look for both support for you and for carers. See our advice sheet 3 about FGC's.
You say “we can’t prove that the injury was accidental” and that the police would not be able to prove that you or mum are guilty of wrong doing.
However, during an investigation, not only will you and mum be interviewed and assessed, experts will also be instructed. for example, different medical experts will examine your daughter’s medical records, the statements given by you and mum and any other evidence. They will be asked to advise about the injury. There may be other expert reports such as you and mum having psychological assessments.
Sometimes, the medical experts may decide the injury was non-accidental but then the police cannot decide who (parents, child minder) might have injured a child. So the police would struggle to get a conviction against one person and may close their case.
It will then be up to family court to decide during a fact finding hearing how a child suffered the injury and if it was non- accidental, who may have caused it.
For a detailed discussion about how courts deal with allegations of non- accidental injury please have a look at the Child Protection resource
Your contact with your daughter
If your daughter is subject to an interim care order or care order, your daughter will be entitled to reasonable contact with you.
Given children services suspect the injury is non- accidental, they may want your contact to be supervised by a social worker or a trained supervisor rather than a family member, which may limit the times available for contact. Have they explained why they cannot supervise contact at other times? Have a look at our tips about contact on page of advice sheet contact with children in care
As a parent, there are flexible working provisions that may help you have contact during the week. Speak to Working families .org.
You ask where to turn to for help. You have a right to a legally aided solicitor. You need one who specialised in child care law. It would be most helpful for you to have a solicitor who has experience in cases where non accidental injury is alleged.
have helpful advice on their website and an advice line.
The child protection resource-linked above is very helpful.
If you need further advice, please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.