Advice Needed

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Lilmisslala89
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:13 pm

Advice Needed

Post by Lilmisslala89 » Mon Jan 03, 2022 11:14 pm

My children are currently on a cpp due to myself and their dad wanting to reassess contact arrangements after a balance of probability in court found dad had potentially caused NAI to our son when he was 6 weeks old in 2017. We did question whether the injuries had been caused through dad having a seizure as he is epileptic but they never seemed to take things any further. This is what puts a spanner in the works for us now.

We separated during court proceedings as my solicitor advised at the time this was probably the only way that the children would come back into my care. There was no serious injuries to my son, i had found 5 bruises (literally small child finger print size bruises) but due to having lukaemia and other blood disorders in my family i was concerned and took him to be checked out. This is when things spiralled out of control. The children were removed from our care, it literally broke me and still to this day suffer with flashbacks and anxiety and depression because of it. Our case was closed with social services in 2019, where the social worker at the time had said the future decisions are down to me now in regards to how contact go's, both me and my mother who was sat in the meeting with me questioned what she meant by this and each time, all she would say was that it was down to me, there was nothing noted down and this formed the basis of how contact progressed with the children and dad, and also said that i was allowed to pop to the shop which is directly outside my house as long as i was no longer than 5 minutes. We had no further involvement up until a year ago.

Christmas 2020, i was poorly and had asked for more help from dad as i was in so much pain, i was physically struggling to do basic household chores on my own, especially where the kids were concerned. Dad initially started to taxi to my house on a morning to help me get the kids ready for school and nursery, and also with uniforms etc. He would also do the bed time routine, tea etc and it got to a point where i was scared to be left alone with my own children incase anything happened to me. Dad stayed on the sofa whilst i was upstairs with the children- this took some courage to decide on as i had to consider all aspects of safeguarding. I talked things through with my mum, she agreed what as long as he was downstairs and kids upstairs with me, there was enough safety there. I was admitted to hospital and my son mentioned at nursery that daddy had been helping a lot more because mummy was poorly. This then sparked questions as to whether it had been agreed ( even though it was agreed verbally that decisions were down to me) and social services were then involved and did assessments.

They decided on a CPP until we can get to a point where contact is able to progress or change. Dad and myself have jumped through hoops, completed parenting courses so that we are 'on the same page when it comes to parenting', despite there never being any concerns with my parenting skills, dad has done Triple P parenting course off his own back, he is attending councelling which SS have paid for due to lengthy wait times on the NHS, we have worked with the local authority every step of the way to prove that dad has changed, his epilepsy is managed well (no seizures since 2018) his relationship with the kids is now unbreakable, the children have openly told the social worker that they want to see him more and want to be able to do normal things with dad without having mummy watching their every move. My oldest is 10 years old, and my son is now 4 years old so is openly able to say if something hurts, or whether anything has happened.

I have now managed to get in down in writing that i am now allowed to potter around the family home when dad is here for contact, this not only gives me that little bit more freedom in my own home, but also a more natural feeling for the children, and that element of trust for dad. Isn't this a progression into moving contact forward slightly in regards to less supervision?

SS are now saying that despite all of the positives, they are at a sticking point and don't believe that we will ever be able to overcome this because there was no definite yes dad has done it. When we asked at our most recent RCPC, we were told that in order to progress dad has to admit to hurting our son. What person in their right mind is going to admit to something they haven't or don't remember doing at all!

My question is, is there anything, anything at all that we can do to get past this stumbling block and prove that the risk factor has improved dramatically ( they have openly said that the risk has lessened due to the childrens ages) and that would convince them that the children, over a long period of time should have a right to a more normal time with less supervision with their dad? Is there any more courses that both myself and dad, or dad on his own could complete. We are desparate to give our children the most normal family life that they truly deserve.

please help us :cry:

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3417
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Advice Needed

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Jan 11, 2022 3:56 pm

Dear Lilmisslala89,

Welcome to the parent’s forum and thankyou for your post. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you and your family have experienced over the past few years.

You say that it was found in court that your children’s father had potentially caused a non-accidental injury to your son whilst he was a baby. You separated from him and children’s services closed the case in 2019 telling you that it would be down to you to manage contact between the children and their father safely. Children’s services became involved again after your son told someone at nursery that his father had been at home a lot more because you were unwell. You would like contact to progress further as you feel that now your children are older they are at less risk however you feel that children’s services are unwilling to consider this as your children’s father has not admitted to causing any injury. I hope that the following advice is helpful to you.

Firstly, it is important to be clear that children’s services do not have the legal jurisdiction to dictate contact between the children and their father. They can make recommendations regarding contact, but this is not legally binding. However, if you do decide to go against the recommendations of children’s services then this may escalate their concerns and could potentially result in them making in application to court in respect of the children (see our website here for more information).

You have been working with children’s services and complying with their recommendations but you are worried that the level of supervision they are recommending is unnecessary and detrimental to the children’s relationship with their father. I would suggest that you continue working with children’s services around this, discussing possible safety plans and alternative options with the social worker (and their manager and the IRO if that is helpful). Keep the best interests of the children at the centre of the discussions as this is what children’s services should be focussing on. We have some top tips for working with social workers here which may be useful to you. You may also wish to consider asking for your children to have an advocate to support them to get their wishes and feelings heard.

With regards to your question about whether there are any more courses that either of you could complete I would suggest that you take this to the social worker as they should know of any local organisations that provide relevant courses or support.

Have you considered asking for a family group conference to involve your wider network (of family and friends) in drawing up your own safety plan? If you think that this might be helpful then you could ask the social worker to arrange this.

I hope that this has been helpful. Please do post back if you would like any further advice, or you can call our helpline on 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 3pm) to speak with an adviser.

Best wishes,
Suzie

Lilmisslala89
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:13 pm

Re: Advice Needed

Post by Lilmisslala89 » Sun Jan 16, 2022 5:00 pm

Hi suzi, thank you for your reply.

We have put our own safety plan for contact forward in regards to progression but it has been totally disregarded. I have asked for a FGC multiple times but all they keep saying is that it isn't necessary right now. The Social worker, IRO and social workers manager recently had a meeting about how and if they could progress things but apparently manager says no and that there is no other way to progress. We have asked for courses, they suggested relationship matters and and incredible years advanced, but this was months ago and yet to hear anything about either of them.

We just want them out of our life, to be able to focus solely on our children and their happiness without the interference of the local authority, meeting after meeting after meeting, not to mentioned the ongoing stress, anxiety and emotional harm they are causing my daughter by being involved. She has already had to have 3 lots of counselling because of how anxious they make her. This really isn't fair on her.

The recommendation from the social worker when our case was closed first time was supervised for the forseeable, however there is no court documentation stating that he has to be supervised until the children are 18.

There has been multiple failings in regards to things being said verbally but never being recorded such as one important one- "contact and the future is down to you now, you can make the decisions how things progress and if you need advice, your family is there to guide you" both myself and my mum questioned what they meant by this for clarification but all we got was a smile and "its down to you". This was never recorded on paper but was said in front of multiple professionals. They say because of the fact it was never noted down, they cant say that it happened.

we are just feeling so stuck and i dont think my anxiety and depression (ongoing from previous proceedings and how i was treat) can take much more for any longer.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3417
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Advice Needed

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jan 19, 2022 12:48 pm

Dear Lilmisslala89,

I am sorry to hear about the impact this is having on you - this is clearly a frustrating and upsetting situation for you.

You say that you have put forward your own safety plan for contact to progress but that this was disregarded - what were the reasons for this? I would advise that you ask for the reasons to be provided to you in writing and that you also request a meeting with the social worker to discuss these barriers further. You say that the team manager has recently said that there is no way for contact to progress - it seems therefore that children's services are taking the view that any unsupervised contact with your children's father would be too risky given the history you have descried. Have you spoken directly to the IRO about this? If you feel that children's services are being oppressive and unnecessarily harsh in this recommendation, you may want to consider making a formal complaint. Please take a look here for more information on this.

Best wishes,

Suzie.

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