Forcing us in to a family assessment unit 39 weeks pregnant

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rjuk
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:20 am

Forcing us in to a family assessment unit 39 weeks pregnant

Post by rjuk » Thu Mar 10, 2022 11:24 pm

My partner and myself are being put through hell by social services currently.

Throughout the pregnancy there have been no red flags or concerns raised to us and each meeting we have had since them agreeing for our unborn child to be subject to a CPP has been positive.

However about 2-3 weeks ago they dropped on us that they were starting pre-proceedings, again no red flags, nothing had been raised, the only thing that had changed was a new social worker had come in to the mix at the beginning of January and she's been nothing but trouble, she's threatened to remove our child, she's snapped at my partner out of nowhere, she's literally laughed about taking our child away (complaint was lodged but they said they thought she was being blunt and we didn't like it and that she was fine acting the way she did).

Today it was dropped on us that a PLO meeting had been arranged giving us only hours notice to try and get our solicitors to attend. They had told us previously that there were "options" that needed discussing but in this meeting they gave no options, they were intent on trying to put us in to a family assessment unit, bearing in mind this had never been mentioned in any previous meetings or any assessments or just ever and we have evidence to back all of this up. We weren't allowed to voice our suggestions, like simply support in our own home and now I'm likely to lose my job, we may lose our home and lose our pets.

Their concerns are the flimsiest and we can prove each of them untrue and have professionals that have backed us up all the way.

What can we do to stop being torn away from our home? Our solicitors haven't been too helpful and are just saying to co-operate and we can't help but feel that they're missing so much here, these assessment units infringe on basic human rights, we will have no privacy and will be monitored 24/7. We don't deserve this.

Their concerns are basically centred on my partner who has some historical mental health issues having been a child in care but they're basing this on an assessment from over 2 years ago. They're also saying they want to do mental health assessments on both of us, I myself have no history of mental health issues, apart from feeling a little depressed earlier last year but surely I can't be discriminated against for that?

They're also talking about drug testing us... I don't even drink let alone take drugs and my partner smoked a bit of weed a handful of times when she was in care but hasn't touched the stuff in a long long time... again no concerns have been raised about this stuff.

It's seriously sounding like they're trying to put as much pressure as possible on us to try and take our child away so they can get their bonuses.

What rights do we have here to stop them from doing this?

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

Re: Forcing us in to a family assessment unit 39 weeks pregnant

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Mar 11, 2022 6:39 pm

Dear rjuk

Welcome back to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your further post. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you and your partner are experiencing during her pregnancy. I can see that this is a very stressful time for you both.

When there are concerns that a baby may be at risk of harm both before and after birth then children’s services have a duty to put a plan in place to safeguard the baby. It is important that your strengths and resources are acknowledged but also that you do not ‘play down’ any difficulties that either of you may have which could impact on your parenting. Although you say the concerns are flimsy there is already a pre-birth child protection plan in place and you are in pre-proceedings; this means that your unborn baby is identified as being at risk of harm. It is best to try address any concerns raised and engage with support to show that you can meet the baby’s needs and keep them safe.

You can read more about why children’s services worry about parental mental health and drug misuse in the links provided.

I hope that the information I provided in my previous response helped you understand what to expect and prepare for the PLO process and meeting. However I am sorry that you had such short notice of the meeting. Your solicitors can flag this issue up with the local authority’s legal department.

When you last posted you were worried that children’s services were proposing a mother and baby unit which would have excluded you as the baby’s father. I understand your concerns about the intrusive nature of being in a family assessment (or residential assessment unit) however the benefit of this is that it allows you to bond with your baby and be assessed together as a family. Of course, you should discuss all possible options with your solicitors including your preferred option of support in your own home.

Have you been offered a family group conference(FGC) to help you harness you and your partner’s family or friend support network? You can ask for this to be arranged if you think it would help you to care for your baby or help to identify anyone in your network who could safely are for the baby if you cannot. Please see here for more detailed advice on FGCs.

I understand that you are finding it difficult working with/getting the right support from your solicitors and your social worker. Both are key professionals so it is a good idea to try to find a way of working as well as you can with them. Your solicitor is your legal adviser and representative in the PLO process and if children’s services go to court to seek an interim care order. And the social worker will be the key worker for your baby and responsible for monitoring the child protection plan as well as being involved if there are court proceedings. We have produced some tips to help parents communicate and work well with these professionals; I hope that they will be useful to you.

Your baby’s welfare is, I am sure, your main concern. It is important to remember also that children’s services want to work with you to ensure that your baby is cared for safely and can thrive. They must take account of your human rights but also the human rights of your baby to be healthy, well-cared for and protected from harm. They are proposing to do this by assessing you together in the family assessment centre.

You mention that your partner is care-experienced; she might be interested in Become charity who can support and advise care leavers including parents-to-be, up to the age of 27.

Birth Companions are a charity who can support some pregnant or new mothers that may also be worth knowing about.

I hope this helps.

I hope that the baby’s birth goes well.

Please do post again or, if you would like to speak to an adviser, please call our freephone advice line on 0808 8010366, Mon to Fri, 9.30 am to 3.00 pm.

Best wishes

Suzie

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