Final hearing

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Heartbroken77
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2021 10:33 pm

Final hearing

Post by Heartbroken77 » Mon Jul 12, 2021 4:59 pm

My son was taken into care because I became ill and there was nobody to care for him. When I came out of hospital I had to undergo a psychologist assessment. I was still recovering from a psychosis and was highly medicated, stressed and depressed at the time of the assessment, the psychologist says that my son should not return to my care(he is 11 and has ASD and ADHD) my social services assessment was generally good and they was going to return my son to me. Since they read the psychologist assessment they have since said its not in my sons best interests to return home, the guardians report has said the same.
The psychologist report says that myself and my son are enmeshed and that he has an anxious and emotional attachment to me, this I know is very common for a child with autism. The psychologist, social services and the guardian are not autism trained. The psychologist report also says that my son takes on the parenting role, again this is my sons autism. I have given my solicitor a copy of my sons autism diagnosis where it says that he likes to take on the adult role. Social services are applying for a full care order and want to place my son in a 52 a week year residential school, they have not said what contact I will have with him. Social services have asked the guardian twice for home visits to commence but twice she has denied them. I don't understand how any of this can be happening my parenting has never been in question before and I've only ever had one episode of illness which was because I'd had no sleep fo 10 days when I was ill in hospital which is why I had a psychosis. I don't know what to do. I've been told that because all the reports are saying that it's not in the child's best interests to return home that I will loose the final hearing and my son will be in care until his 18. My son just wants to come home. I admitted in the psychological assessment that at times I've struggled to cope with my sons behaviour, again this is perfectly normal for a parent of a child with complex needs. Nobody that has done a report or assessment (the guardian, the psychologist or social services) are trained in autism this I feel makes the reports invalid, however they still stand. Is there anything I can do to help with my final hearing??

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Final hearing

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Sun Jul 18, 2021 8:28 pm

Dear heartbroken,

You say in your post that your son was taken into care because you became ill and there was nobody to care for him. It is not clear from your post whether there was a court order at this time or whether you agreed to a voluntary section 20 agreement.
You say that you underwent a psychological assessment upon discharge from hospital, and that at the time you were recovering from psychosis, stressed and medicated. The psychologist’s report recommended that your son not be returned to your care. You say that whilst your assessment from children’s services was good, based upon the psychologist’s report, neither the social worker nor the guardian are supporting a return home for your son.

The psychologist’s report includes several concerns including your son’s apparent anxious and emotional attachment to you and that he takes on a parenting role. You attribute this to your son’s autism. Children’s services are now seeking a final care order, with a proposed care plan of your son living in a year-round residential school. You are unclear on how much contact you would have with him and feel confused about how this is happening – you state that you have only had one episode of illness. You have been informed that because all the reports that have been completed state it would not be in your son’s best interests to return home, that a care order will be granted at the final hearing. Can I ask, who has informed you of this? You do not feel that the psychologist’s report is proportional and that the other professionals do not have a sound understanding of autism. You would like to know what you can do for the final hearing.

I am sorry to hear that you are feeling frustrated and helpless, and this is clearly a very stressful situation for you. It appears from what you say that the expert reports completed for the court are in support of your son living elsewhere. This must be very difficult for you to hear. It is now important that you seek legal advice from your solicitor – if you do not agree with aspects of the expert assessments, you should make this clear, and state why. Your solicitor may be able to challenge these points at the final hearing. You might find it helpful to read our tips on working with your solicitor.

You mention that you do not think your son’s needs relating to his autism have been properly represented – has your son received a specialist paediatric assessment as part of the care proceedings, which may include an assessment of some of his behaviour?

Ultimately, the judge in your case will decide with your son’s welfare as the paramount consideration. The judge will need to be satisfied that the threshold of significant harm has been met and that removal would be in your son’s best interests.

With regards to contact, if your son does become subject to a care order, the local authority have a legal duty to allow reasonable contact between him and any parent, so long as it is consistent with his welfare. The local authority should assess your son’s needs in relation to contact and should include this in the proposed care plan. They should also seek your views and wishes. Have you seen a copy of this care plan? If not, it is important that you do so, and that you speak to your solicitor about the kind of contact you would like. Your solicitor may also be able to negotiate this at the final hearing.

I would also advise that you take a look at our tips here on how parents can prepare for a final hearing.

I hope you have found this helpful.

Best wishes,

Suzie.

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