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Contact in care with teen

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:53 pm
by Lightbulb
Our daughter has been in care since February, I have posted previously, long story short. It was suggested by phycologist that our daughter have a period of containment, no access to the community, no internet, electronics and deprived of contact with her family, all of them, including her sibling. She has a deprivation of Liberty in place, she also has 3:1 staffing. She has been contained now for 4 months, with no contact. When children’s services stopped contact initially in May to try to contain the presenting behaviours, our daughter endeavoured to contact us when she was told not too, she was extremely cleaver with her efforts to pull this off, with the most recent being on august 4th when she told the placement she was calling her social worker and she called home instead, we obviously reported it because we want to be seen to be doing the right thing. The goals she was working towards was to have freedoms back and contact with her family. From placement reports her presenting behaviours have reduced and she seems to be getting on track. Children’s services were meeting on Tuesday 12th Oct. to address staffing levels, contact, re-introducing freedoms etc.,, we haven’t had feedback from the meeting yet, in the meantime yesterday we received 2 weeks placement reports, on there, it states her wishes are she doesn’t want contact with anyone at present apart from her Nan. We found this difficult to read as she has tried every which way to contact us, why now has she changed her mind?, children’s services didn’t listen to her when she wanted contact, now her views have changed will they still re-instate contact or will they go by her wishes and feeling. We are really struggling because how does a child views change from wanting contact for so long, then not, we feel she is being brain washed?? We feel their intentions are to make her independent and estranged from her parents instead of promote the relationship. We have asked for an update from the professionals meeting and asked if they can shed light on our daughters recent views around her statement of not wanting contact. My question is after more than four months of not having any contact, direct or indirect, is it their duty of care to re-instate it, if she is deemed to be in a better place mentally, or will they now decide to go by her wishes and feelings, when initially they didn’t take these into account when she wanted contact. How long can children’s services keep us away from her? I struggle with this because courts rule for children to forcibly have contact with a parent in regard to parent alienation even when children do not want contact. Yet in effect the corporate parent ‘children’s services’ are keeping us away from our child…….just when you feel there maybe light at the end of the tunnel and her containment is due to be over, you read she doesn’t want contact, it’s come as such a shock, we are devastated, surely it would be better outcomes for the children if they had that constant contact and support from parents whilst they are in care, this can only be better outcomes for the children in the long run, instead she has become used to not having parents in her life!

Re: Contact in care with teen

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:24 am
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear Lightbulb,

Thankyou for your post and welcome back to the forum.

I am sorry to hear that you have been told that your daughter currently does not wish to have contact with you; this must be very upsetting for you.

I am unable to hypothesise about what decisions children’s services will make about contact between your daughter and her family, however I hope that the following is helpful to you.

In your previous post (dated 24th September) you explained that the court had made a ‘no contact’ order in regards of your daughter. This gave children’s services the legal authority to refuse contact between you and your daughter, however it remains the case that if they feel that it is safe and in her best interests then they could re-introduce contact in future. Children’s services do have a duty to promote contact (under section 34 of the Children Act 1989) and should start with the presumption that reasonable contact between children and parents should be promoted.

However, the local authority must also give due consideration to the wishes and feeling of your daughter when making any decisions about changes to contact (see section 22 of the Children Act 1989). This must have regard to her age and understanding.

At the time of writing, you were concerned that your daughter had said that she did not wish to have any contact with you. Due to her age the local authority cannot force contact on her, even if they do believe it to be in her best interests. It may be worth speaking with the social worker or IRO and suggesting that contact begins to be reintroduced very slowly, perhaps with letters from you to begin with so that she can decide whether and when to read these. Over time she may become more open to forms of more direct contact.

If you remain unhappy with the level of contact that children’s services allow then you can apply for contact from the court, under section 34 of the Children Act 1989. However, given your daughter’s age it would be preferable to try and work this out with her and children’s services, as even with a court order in place your daughter could still refuse to see you.

I do hope that things improve for you and your family over time. If you need further advice, please post again, or call our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,