PLO - LA are now considering a Care Order

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KatKat10
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 4:40 am

PLO - LA are now considering a Care Order

Post by KatKat10 » Sun Jun 26, 2022 11:28 am

Hello,

I urgently need some advice on the PLO process and why the LA would consider applying to court for a care order.

Brief Overview of my situation:

My children are currently in Foster Care under a section 20, for which I was put under duress to sign, under the threat of a care order being applied for. I was not advised of my legal rights and given the chance for legal representation. The police were involved and they are not taking me to court for neglect, instead I have been cautioned. The situation that led to my kids placed in foster care was alcohol related. The children were not put under a section 47. My mother, MGM was initially asked by the LA to care for the children but they changed their minds at last minute. Regular weekly contact sessions are in place at a supervised contact centre.

Initial LAC and CPC have taken place prior to PLO. Care plans had not been completed and it has taken the LA months to issue one of the care plans, we are awaiting the final one. Both care plans should have been completed before placement or within 10 working days of placement. I have not been asked for my input in either of the care plans.

Present Day:

Fast forward to where I am currently - We are now at the PLO stage with the LA, I have legal representation. Initial PLO letter stated that the outcome of the legal planning meeting, did not want to take the matter to court but to work towards returning both children to me through PLO, this was also reiterated in the Core group Meeting, prior to the PLO being issued.

R-CPC meeting has never taken place and has been cancelled, written confirmation has been received that both children are no longer subject to a child protection plan and no further meetings are required. However, if I revoke the section 20, care order will follow.

PLO/WTA has been agreed and signed. Part of that agreement is to undergo toxicology tests, psychological assessment and parenting assessment and to continue to seek support for drug and alcohol use. My toxicology test came back clear for drug and alcohol use - Zero detected. PeTH test was under 40ng/ml. A liver function test I had done came back as normal. LA are dismissing the toxicology test, saying as there was admittance of drug use prior to the test there is a concern over my drug and alcohol use. The test showed that I was not a habitual user or addict, to which they are trying to imply. Tox test was arranged by local authority and the results come with a witness statement from the lab. As a result, reunification has been put on hold. I am willing to continue undergoing tox tests to prove I am not taking drugs or drinking to excess.

There has been speculation from the LA surrounding my cognitive functionality, there is no medical evidence or other evidence from any professionals in my childhood or adulthood to support this. LA are pushing for a cognitive assessment, even though it has been agreed by all parties to undergo this, if a psychologist deems this as required on outcome of psych assessment. False information has been provided to my legal representative that I have voluntary said in a meeting (unconfirmed meeting) that I have cognitive impairment, this is completely false. The LA is now trying to force me into a voluntary cognitive assessment. SW has been trying to gaslight me into admitting this, even though they were in attendance for both meetings when LA implied this.

LA are now trying to imply that I am seeking to revoke the section 20 again this is false information. I have spoken many times about wanting my children back home in my care in meetings, but have never implied I will revoke the section 20.

I have sought help and self-referred to drug and alcohol assistance and currently being assessed every few weeks by my key worker at the charity, with alcohol testing, results have come back clear, I am currently on a care plan. I attend AA meetings, again self-referred. Self-referred to counselling via the NHS. Self-referred to parenting classes (yet to commence). I have managed to find part time work.

The PLO process is still in place, as I need to complete my assessments etc. MGM has been assessed for IVA as part of potential Kinship care, outcome unknown. LA is now pushing for the case to go to court and they are implying that they want to apply for a care order, as there have been unexpected developments. They have not disclosed what these developments are to my legal representation.

Behind the scenes, the PGM of one of my children has been in contact with the LA, prior to PLO. I do not know what has been discussed with the PGM. I am against the PGM being involved and have expressed my concerns as to why this is (I won't go into too many details) but lifestyle is questionable along with a potential record. LA are having to consider the PGM as part of the PLO process. PGM has never reached out to support me and work alongside me, but is pursuing this as some sort of personal vendetta against me. PGM is attempting to take one of my children from me and split up the siblings. How is this in the best interest of the children?

The LA have done an IVA, I do not know the outcome. The PGM is apparently applying for SGO and has a solicitor. PGM would come under another LA not the same as my LA.

Questions advice needed:

1) When background checks are carried out for an IVA on PGM - Do the LA carrying out the IVA, check with that individuals LA in line with carrying out a PNC check?

2) Can the PGM apply to the court for a SGO while the PLO process is ongoing with my LA?

3) If so, would this indicate why my LA are pushing quickly to go to a care order via the courts to block the PGM's SGO application?

4) I am concerned that there has been derogatory information about myself being fed to the LA by the PGM.I am also concerned that they appear to be supporting PGM behind the scenes and not taking my concerns on board. Data protection is also a concern, as my children are under a section 20 and disclosure has been made that they are in foster care.

5) If the PGM has suspected drug use, can the LA or a court ask for toxicology tests to be undertaken?

6) MGM does not have legal representation, only myself. If a care order is applied for would MGM need to apply as Party to Proceedings to the court and would it be advisable to do this via a separate legal representative? I would consent to MGM to apply for Kinship or SGO. Note – we live in same household.

7) What more can I do to prove to the LA I am a good mother and to have my children returned back to my care? I have made positives changes to my lifestyle and continue to seek help and support.

8) Positives – Children no longer under Child Protection Plan, school reports have been so positive, no concerns to report either recently or historically. Behavior of both children are very positive from schools and Foster Carer, contact reports have been positive. My children have expressed time and time again they want to come home and be with me. Would a court look at this favorably, that I have been a good mother and have brought my children up well and they have not been neglected, will a court listen to my children and hear their voice?

Any advice is appreciated on this matter.
Thank you

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3532
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: PLO - LA are now considering a Care Order

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Jun 28, 2022 2:43 pm

Dear KatKat10

Welcome to the parents’ discussion forum and thank you for posting. My name is Suzie, online adviser, at Family Rights Group.

You have set out the background of children’s services involvement with you and the concerns that led to their involvement. I will respond to the specific questions that you have asked in your post.

1) When background checks are carried out for an IVA on PGM - Do the LA carrying out the IVA, check with that individuals LA in line with carrying out a PNC check?

The local authority where the children live and who is involved with the family will carry out the background checks for any family member who puts themselves forward as possible carers. The checks carried out will include obtaining information from the person’s local authority as to whether they have been involved with them.

2) Can the PGM apply to the court for a SGO while the PLO process is ongoing with my LA?

If a person intends to apply for a special guardianship order (SGO) they would need to inform children’s services. The local authority would be directed by the court to carry out a special guardianship assessment. You are in the PLO process so it would seem premature to make such an application although the paternal grandmother can ask to be assessed as you have stated is the position.
If any application is made to the court this will include you as a party and you could challenge the application.
Please information about the PLO process

3) If so, would this indicate why my LA are pushing quickly to go to a care order via the courts to block the PGM's SGO application?

The local authority’s decision to apply to the court for a care order will be based on the concerns that they have about your children’s care, why they believe the children are at risk of significant harm. They must provide evidence to the court to support their application for a care order. You have stated in your post that new development has come to light during this PLO process which appear to have give rise to concerns and the need for a care order.
You say in your post that neither your or your legal representative is aware of what children’s services are concerned about. It is unusual for them not to share information which suggests it may be sensitive or might put someone at risk. It is important that your solicitor get a proper response from children’s services about the reason for non-disclosure.
An application can be made during the care proceedings for a special guardianship order. I do not believe that would be a reason for children’s services to apply for a care order.

You might find it helpful to read about care proceedings

4) I am concerned that there has been derogatory information about myself being fed to the LA by the PGM.I am also concerned that they appear to be supporting PGM behind the scenes and not taking my concerns on board. Data protection is also a concern, as my children are under a section 20 and disclosure has been made that they are in foster care.
I am not able to speculate on what the PGM may or may not have said to children’s services but if they consider information relevant to the safety and well-being of the children, then consideration will be given to information they receive.
In addition, if your child’s father has parental responsibility, he would be informed of children’s services involvement, so I do not think there has been a data protection breach. If you believe this to be the case, I suggest you discuss it with the social worker and your legal representative.

5) If the PGM has suspected drug use, can the LA or a court ask for toxicology tests to be undertaken?

If the PGM is being assessed and you raise concerns about drug use, then it is possible the court could direct drug test either in care proceedings or if she made a separate application for a special guardianship order. It would be important to establish the truth relating to your concerns.

6) MGM does not have legal representation, only myself. If a care order is applied for would MGM need to apply as Party to Proceedings to the court and would it be advisable to do this via a separate legal representative? I would consent to MGM to apply for Kinship or SGO. Note – we live in same household.

If the maternal grandmother (MGM) wished to apply for party status in the care proceedings, she could but it would be for the court to decide whether she would be made a party. The other parties could object. The judge would consider whether there is a need for her to be party.
She would have to have separate representation, but it is not automatic that she would be granted legal aid.
The MGM could be assessed as a kinship foster carer or for special guardianship within the care proceedings.
Are you living in the same household as a temporary arrangement?

7) What more can I do to prove to the LA I am a good mother and to have my children returned back to my care? I have made positives changes to my lifestyle and continue to seek help and support.

I can only suggest that you continue doing all the things you are doing to make positive changes and improve. You may find it helpful to read this work with guide


8) Positives – Children no longer under Child Protection Plan, school reports have been so positive, no concerns to report either recently or historically. Behavior of both children are very positive from schools and Foster Carer, contact reports have been positive. My children have expressed time and time again they want to come home and be with me. Would a court look at this favorably, that I have been a good mother and have brought my children up well and they have not been neglected, will a court listen to my children and hear their voice?

You do not give the ages of your children. In the care proceedings they will have a children’s guardian and a solicitor to represent them. The role of the children’s guardian is to report to the court making recommendations on what they consider serves the child(ren)’s welfare. Their welfare will be the court’s primary consideration in reaching a final decision in the case.
The children’s wishes and feelings will be sought, and appropriate weight given depending on their age and understanding. The children’s guardian is their voice in the case.

It is important that you recognise and understand the concerns that children’s services have and do your best to address these. You say that the police did not charge you with neglect, but it appears that you accepted a caution. Children’s services concerns will not change because the police does not pursue a case. The police has to have evidence that is likely to lead to successful prosecution based on the criminal standard of proof being beyond reasonable doubt. The civil test is the balance of probability which is how children’s services considers the impact on children’s well-being be that physical or emotional.

You are addressing the alcohol related issues, and this is good. I suggest as stated above that you continue with this work.

Your legal representative will put forward to the court all the positives in your case and, where necessary, if support is needed to help you safely care for your children that this support is offered to you. Please see the work with guide here

I hope you find this helpful and should you wish to speak with an adviser do telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays)

Best wishes

Suzie

KatKat10
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 4:40 am

Re: PLO - LA are now considering a Care Order

Post by KatKat10 » Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:54 pm

Thank you Suzie for your response and reply to my questions.

I still don't know why the LA are considering a care or interim care order. Reasons have still not been made clear.

I am concerned the LA are saying I have said things in a recent meeting, which I have not. I am challenging this.

I will post updates when I have them.

Thank you once again.

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