Interim care order - what should I so?

Mossie20
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Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Mossie20 » Fri Dec 10, 2021 9:18 pm

Hi, it is frustrating, she isn’t responding to any emails, I’ve even resent one and the one time I got through on the phone it wasn’t her, they said she would call back. I haven’t spoken to her for about two months. I last got a response about 3-4 weeks ago. The solicitor who has represented me at the past two hearings (my actual solicitor has not done any of them) said she’d let her know I wanted to speak to her. She’s always been difficult to get hold off, as she is always busy, but it’s never been this bad. She’s always been nice when I have spoken to her, I’ve never actually met her, but she always just says to go along with things, she said to agree to the initial order to avoid a find of fact hearing which is what’s happening anyway. If she had been at the last hearing she would have had me go along with the application to extend. I understand I need to be seen to be taking advice by the court but it’s like she can’t be bothered in defending anything.
That last email I had was to agree to the autism assessment as to be seen as taking advice. But I had already asked for an assessment which was refused by the autism team. Surely this would show the court I took advice and a professional opinion deemed it unnecessary. She would have had me agree to it which would have delayed the IRH by at least three months as the Local authority had found someone who couldn’t do it until the end of march, after the scheduled IRH. Thankfully the solicitor representing me worded it very well and the guardian also opposed both the extension and c2 application. I still can’t believe the judge refused the application and assessment. It was the first positive thing to happen in court so far, the first judge to question the local authority's actions.

She doesn’t seem to be bothered about the expert witness saying he shouldn’t have been taken. Would this not have been grounds to appeal the ICO? To at least have it changed to a child protection?

It is possible to change solicitors? the one I’ve has on the last two hearings and another before is better but I’m not sure if she only does cover or not.

Thank you for your advice about the PAMs. I have asked about requesting a copy of the parenting assessment if it was completed, but again no response. Could you give me any idea how long an appeal would take? Even if unsuccessful?

If it was unsuccessful would it make a difference to the current timescale? Would it cause a delay?

Thank you

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Dec 15, 2021 10:46 am

Dear Mossie20,

Thankyou for your further post. It is clear that you are finding it difficult to communicate with you current solicitor and this is causing you a lot of stress. If you wish to change your solicitor then you would need to make enquiries with other solicitors to see if you can find someone willing to take on your case. Or you could discuss with your current solicitor's firm if there is someone else who can take over the case for you.

You ask whether you would have grounds to appeal to interim care order - this would be best discussed with your solicitor. I also cannot advise you about timescales for an appeal as each case is different and it is not possible for me to predict this. It may be that other parents on here can give you an idea of timescales if they were in similar situations.

Best wishes,
Suzie

Mossie20
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:32 am

Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Mossie20 » Thu Dec 16, 2021 9:34 pm

I'd like the solicitor who has represented me the last two times and once before but I assume she only does cover work as she isn't listed on the solicitors website.

Do you know how often the guardian should be in contact with me or my sister looking after my son. Since meeting her in March neither of us has seen or heard from her, she’s not been on a single hearing or care plan meeting and the guardian has supposedly changed. Surely to decide what’s best for him she needs to be in contact. Not just go of what social services say or what’s the point of her being independent?

Also I have read PAMs "shouldn't be carried out during court proceedings as they can
take a long time and are very much focused upon observations; this can be difficult if
children are not in the care of their parents and would have to rely upon observations of
contact which is not always appropriate or feasible"
Is this accurate? does that mean a PAMs can be completed with my son at home?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:09 pm

Dear Mossie20,

Thank you for your further post. You would like to know how much contact you and your sister should be having with the guardian as you have not heard anything from her since March. You would also like to know whether a PAMS assessment can or should be carried out during court proceedings.

Firstly, I would suggest that you raise your concerns about the lack of contact with the CAFCASS guardian with your solicitor and perhaps ask them to clarify whether the guardian has changed as well as requesting that a date is agreed for a meeting with you. It might be helpful for you to have a look at the policies on the CAFCASS website here.

Secondly, you don’t say where you read the recommendation that PAMS assessments shouldn’t be carried out during court proceedings, however in my experience it is the case that PAMS assessments are sometimes carried out during care proceedings if the judge makes this direction. If you feel that you would like to challenge the judge’s direction that a PAMS assessment should be completed then I would suggest that you speak with your solicitor regarding this who will be able to advise you further. Please see my previous post on 7th December for more information about that.

I hope that this is helpful,

Best wishes,
Suzie

Mossie20
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:32 am

Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Mossie20 » Wed Dec 22, 2021 4:43 pm

I still can’t get any response from my solicitor, I haven’t had a reply to any questions for a month now. I’ve asked about the guardian.

Should the guardian be in contact?

There also hasn’t been a review since July, there was one scheduled in September but it was cancelled and never rearranged. How often are these meant to take place?

The information about the PAMs was on a Leeds children’s social services website in a assessment guide.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Dec 29, 2021 2:34 pm

Dear Mossie20

Thank you for posting again. I am sorry that you have not been able to discuss your case with your solicitor. Perhaps it might help if you explain to your solicitor that concerns you have with lack of communication, you can do this directly with your solicitor or with a senior person in the firm where he/she works. Please look again at the advice in previous post about whether you wish to change your solicitor.

Regarding the Children’s Guardian, you said previously that you met her but believe that she should be in touch more. It is not usual for the Guardian to be in regular touch with you in care proceedings. If there are issues that you wish to ask the Guardian about you can contact her directly or ask your solicitor to do so.

Reviews should normally at specific times, 4 weeks after a child first becomes looked after, the 3 months for the next and then 6 months. You may find it helpful to read the information about looked after child review . I suggest you contact the independent reviewing officer (IRO) to ask about the date of the rescheduled review meeting.

Thank you for confirming where you read the information about PAMS assessments. It appears that they are saying ideally, the assessment should happen prior to court proceedings because of how the assessment is done. It does not, I think mean it can never happen in care proceedings.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes

Suzie

Mossie20
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:32 am

Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Mossie20 » Tue May 24, 2022 9:48 pm

Do court always follow what Cafcass recommend?

The guardian is recommending an SGO, despite having only spent barely half an hour with myself at a contact session so didn’t get to speak much and never even spoken let alone met my husband. They were meant to come the following day to speak more and to my husband then cancelled. She has never bothered to check anything with us.

Considering they are meant to be independent; it seems very biased, and they are not questioning anything from the local authority.

They are relying mostly on local authority reports which are incredibly inaccurate and there are many lies told by the local authority which I can easily prove.
The Cafcass report is full of inaccuracies and misinformation.

Over and over, I’m getting told by contact officers we’ll get our little boy back, that they have no concerns, that they can’t understand why he was taken with the information in front of them. They tell each other that it’s such a lovely contact and they’ll have no problems. I have been told by different officers they use our contact to catch up on other work because they have no worries. From day one there haven’t been any. What they praise us for the social worker who hasn’t got any children criticises.

The first social worker has blatantly lied multiple times including to court, he has breached GDPR, they tried to cover for other social workers, never done anything instructed by the court causing multiple delays and completely ignored court orders. He has also tried to limit contact with absolutely no reason to do so.

We are again waiting for an IRH date having had it delayed again. We know this will end up with another court hearing giving evidence. Do we have any chance if we can prove the lies told?

We are already prepared to have to fund this privately.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed May 25, 2022 1:02 pm

Dear Mossie20,

The judge will certainly take into consideration what the guardian has written and recommended, however, this is not the only thing that will be taken into account. The judge will consider the local authority's care plan, written statements from all other parties and any assessments that have been completed.

At this point, if you are concerned about a lack of engagement from the cafcass guardian, and inaccuracies in reports written by them or the local authority, it is important you speak to your solicitor. I know you have been advised to do this in previous posts and have had difficulty in making contact with your solicitor - if this is still the case, I would still encourage you to follow the advice given above in relation to this.

It is encouraging to hear that contact with your son is going really well. Please note that it is not appropriate for a contact officer to tell you that your son will be returned to your care - they can certainly speak to the quality of contact they observe, but making any assertions beyond this would be beyond their role.

I am unable to tell you what the outcome of a final hearing would be - if you would like to contest the local authority's proposed care plan then you will need to get legal advice from your solicitor, who will advise you on next steps and what to expect.

Best wishes,

Suzie.

Mossie20
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:32 am

Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Mossie20 » Wed May 25, 2022 9:56 pm

The guardian is recommending this based on what the local authority are saying and lies told by my sister. I have asked to speak to her about her report which she says she will.

What exactly does the judge get to see? Will they see all medical records as the only weights ever given to court are not the full list and leave out when he lost weight in hospital? or all the health visitor records?

Is it just summary's and assessment's they see?

Also no one has ever checked his red book that proves he did not lose when it is said twice he lost at home when he didn’t. How can the local authority get away with this and it not be spotted? I raised this but no one ever checks it.

I have spoken to the guardian once in January which was only because it was requested and then she came to a contact for no more than half an hour in early March and that is it. I haven’t got hold of my solicitor so far, but it has only been a day.

Can the guardian change her mind about her recommendations before the hearing?
Contact has never been a problem, again today they have no concerns, he didn’t want to leave me.

They weren’t saying it as a guarantee just trying to be supportive as they cannot understand what the problem is. They have seen us parent together and separate and have no concerns about us whereas the local authority make out we would be a risk and a damaging environment for him. What the contact officers praise us for the social worker criticises. We have everything used against us or lies told. I was recently in hospital for six weeks, and it is in the guardian’s report that I refused to see anyone when my husband was visiting nearly every day and my cousin kept trying to come but we had problems because of visiting rules. I had also been upset at a recent contact, the only joint one the social worker came too and has tried to make out that it was because my husband was playing with him which was ridiculous, we'd already had joint ones without problem as records show. I was upset due to a health scare which I explained. It doesn't matter what we do its twisted.

My solicitor already knows I won’t be agreeing to the SGO so the resolutions hearing will no doubt be pointless as I can’t see the judge going against Cafcass without the evidence I can’t give. She said I will have to stand and give evidence which is terrifying, but I know its what will happen.

I know every one must think they are being targeted, we don't claim to be a perfect couple. But my husband is criticised for going to work. He is expected to just not go if I'm upset and is accused of not caring. He can't just not go, he was close to getting in trouble when I was pregnant and had to keep leaving work to take me to the Maternity assessment unit. He is criticised for working long hours, which isn't all the time but he is a contractor so it can happen. If he was in the army he wouldn't be criticised for it.
I got told the entire time of having a PAMs assessment that she would give me excellent if she could, that I didn't need a PAMs, that I would find it patronising, that I am in tune with him, she would leave him with me with no concerns and that when she first saw myself and my husband together she was impressed. Other than the parenting side of things she hasn't said any of the rest in her report and can't recommend him coming home. I was so shocked when I read it, it was so unexpected, she was so supportive and positive during the assessment. She said she was dreading it based on the psychological and that what she had read was harsh on me. She encouraged me to say if I disagreed with anything and she expected to be called to court. How can she give me such a positive PAMs she said she'd never been able to give one that was all good and then say he shouldn't come home. It's baffling.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Interim care order - what should I so?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Jun 09, 2022 11:18 am

Dear Mossie20

Thank you for your further post and apologies for the delay in responding to you.

As you are due to have an Issues Resolution Hearing (IRH) you may find this information useful.

Before the IRH, the Guardian will prepare her final report explaining what they think the right long-term plan for your son is. It is good that you have been in touch with her and she has agreed to discuss her report with you. This will also give you an opportunity to let her know what information you believe to be factually wrong in her report and to ask that this be corrected.

At present you are not in agreement with the proposed plan for your son to remain with your sister under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) . Have you seen our advice sheet (2b) on Special Guardianship: information for parents? This covers all the key aspects of a SGO from a parent’s perspective including contact and decision-making so is worth reading if you haven’t already.

If an agreement is not reached at the IRH then, as you suggest, it will go to a final hearing. Please see the tips below about how to prepare for this hearing and what you will need to to work on with your solicitor. As you disagree with the Guardian’s recommendations and are very unhappy with and confused by the recommendation of the PAMS assessor then it is important that you work with them to go through all the court documents and to prepare your own statement. You can discuss with your solicitor the positive observations made during contact with your son and how to highlight this in your statement. You should:

• Go through children’s services’ proposed final plan for your son
• Go through the final statement from your son’s social worker about why they think the plan is the right plan
• Discuss what the key issues in your son's case now are – these may have changed since the case management hearing
• Understand what it is the court will need to decide at the hearing

The judge will see all of the statements, assessment reports and final care plan for your son; they will be in the court bundle which you will also have.

It is understandable that you feel scared about giving evidence, it is not an easy thing to do especially when it is about your own child’s future. Your solicitor or barrister should help you prepare so do make sure to ask them to help you with this.

Please see here for more detailed advice about final hearings.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes

Suzie

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