Adoption Breakdown – Why is ‘blame’ required? Does the law need to change?

This is a guest post from an adoptive parent who is concerned about what happens when adoptive placements break down and the local authority apply for a care order for the adoptive child. There are obvious difficulties when the legal test to satisfy a care order seems to be based on ‘blaming parents’ by focusing on the impact of parenting upon the child’s behaviour. For many adoptive children who have suffered trauma in their early lives, their behaviour is most likely to arise out of those traumatic experiences and not because of anything their adoptive parents did or did not do.

Making the court process about ‘blaming’ such parents when an adoption very sadly breaks down, does not seem to help any one. Is it time to amend section 31 of the Children Act 1989? Rather than asking the court to look at issues of ‘significant harm’ and ‘beyond parental control’ should we add ‘complex medical or psychological needs’ as reason to justify the making of a care order – and thus put the focus on the child’s needs rather than the parents’ blame. 

Please support our petition for Parliament

We hope you can help us raise awareness to a petition for parliament.

We have an our adopted daughter (now 14) and unfortunately at the beginning of February we had to give her up for foster care due to her complex health needs.

The LA are blaming us as ‘bad parents’ but we agree with their recommendations to go for family therapy and help with how to deal with difficult teenagers. We are currently in court proceedings and as we have no dispute in the end result of LA going for interim court order, envisage no problems, it is just the way we get there is what we are disputing.

The PC report was written jointly with a student SW (who we really did not see eye to eye with) and also our AD SW, who we get on great (who is fairly new). While we understand a lot is based on opinion, they have based these on inaccurate, misquoted and even fabricated statements we made in the assessment meetings. We understand their agenda but to simply quote these inaccurate facts is simply unprofessional. We have written our objections back to them in writing and it is with their solicitors.

The PLO meeting earlier in March, went well very accordingly to our solicitors and the LA seems almost sympathetic to our situation, so we do not understand why their reports has been written in a such a way. Maybe to actually have something for the judge to approve on their decision?

We have another AD half-sibling, who LA have agreed can stay with us and who is not attached at all to the one who we gave up to foster carer.

The good news is, the foster carer (who are also close by) have agreed to have our 14 AD till she is 18, they are very nurturing and AD has settled in very quickly (as she has attachment condition as well).

I have got a petition actually published in Parliament (No blame approach to adoption) requesting for an addition to the Children’s Act part IV sec 31, which is to add “has complex medical and/or psychological reasons”.

This is the link: Petition:


430 thoughts on “Adoption Breakdown – Why is ‘blame’ required? Does the law need to change?

  1. Caroline Roberts

    I fully understand what you are saying, but in your post, it states that the report completed was inaccurate, that you had been misquoted and some things had been fabricated. This is what some birth parents are dealing with on a day to day basis, when it comes to court proceedings and statements from social workers.

    I understand that you were not disputing the end result, but when a parent(s) is trying to keep their child or have the child placed back into their care, they are dealing with issues concerning the inaccurate or fabricated statements and the fact the courts allow a certain amount of hearsay evidence. At this point some parents just give up yet have to live with the consequences on a daily basis. Even when a complaint is made, the Local Authority normally does not comment when there are ongoing proceedings and by the time the case is closed, you seem, to be passed from pillar to post. There are many issues that need addressing within the family courts, how evidence is obtained, making sure the process is fully transparent, but most of all everything should be about the child.

    1. *

      Hi Caroline, I have to agree I am struggling to bite my tongue in light of the previous post that parents who say the exact same thing are ‘conspiriloons’ (!)

  2. Angelo Granda

    In my opinion, NO , we should not issue care-orders ( under the auspices of the Children Act) on the basis that a child has complex medical or psychological needs. That would be an absolute disaster for the human rights and civil liberties of children. These children have enough problems without facing interference in their family lives by Local Authorities .Particularly those which will not help the children or even consider offering support because they prefer to place them into care.
    To the writer of the post. On what grounds can you reasonably claim that the CS have based their reports on inaccurate, misquoted and even fabricated statements? Why would they do that?
    I suggest you cooperate with the CS in the best interests of the children . Do not make such claims unless you are sure otherwise they will hold it against you.
    Mind you,it is not unknown,so if you think the reports are false ,you must engage with your solicitor. What did the solicitor say when you told him or her?

    1. Adoptionp

      Hi Angelo Granda,
      Our objection to the LA is not their opinions or concerns raised in their report, that is their right to do so. It is simply to correct factual statements we have made during the parenting assessment interviews that their opinions are based upon. You could almost equate to planting evidence in a crime scene.

      It is very easy for anyone to form an opinion based on statements we simply have not made or even use part of a statement. However it is total misrepresentation or even fabrication, wrong and totally unprofessional, especially if they are acting in the ‘best interest of a child’ to present a case in front of a judge.

      To let everyone know, the LA are actually changing the Parent Capacity report and so it would be interesting to know exactly to what extent. We will also be feeding back our concerns over their procedures to the Independent Reviewing Officer during the LAC process.

      In our case, WE chose for the child to go into foster care, not for selfish reasons but for her health, as she was rejecting her care plan after being discharged from hospital. The NHS consultant refused to readmit her on the grounds it was a ‘social issue’, even though in the old days, they would have. So as her adopted parents we made a difficult decision to place in foster care for a brief period so she could get better. She has an attachment condition and so knew she would respond better to ‘strangers’.

      It was always meant to be for a temporary basis until her health was resolved. However, in these instance, the child with attachment difficulties (age 8 when adopted, now 14) very often makes up lies and the LA have to address them by following procedures. N one takes an overall ‘holistic’ view. It has ballooned out of control and they have, by their actions, now have driven a wedge in our relationship which we have even said in the past does not help if they continue to listen to her lies. In previous allegations it has been PROVEN & ADMITTED by the child, she has lied but yet they report them as ‘inconclusive’. So in our eyes, the child is further encouraged to behave in their institutionalised way which worsens the relationship, and this is yet another example where their actions have ultimately worsened what is best for the child as it makes us feel we will never have her back…what if later on, she makes a very serious allegation. No one in LA ever takes a holistic view and supports adoptive parents.

      Sometimes children just need to be told to get on with it – but that is probably old way of thinking and the modern era, children MUST come first. We understand this, however for adopted children, every time untruths are said and their reaction to it, it just makes it worse for everyone for the relationship and so is it not acting in the best interest of an adopted child to blame their adopted parents? It just builds resentment….

      1. Angelo Granda

        To adoption p ,

        You have made a good point. As you say, sw’s have a right to their opinions and concerns. The problem is when they are incompetent ( i understand one of yours is a student) and when they do not enquire fully into circumstances with an impartial hat on in the way they are meant to do.
        You agreed to have your child placed in voluntary foster-care whilst her health problems are sorted out. Two questions: Are they specialist foster-carers? Why do the CS not sit back and allow the remedial action you have taken to bear fruit?

        Apparently many other European Countries use S20 type agreements in a fair,constructive manner. The agreements provide respite and space in which the true aims of the statute, to keep children united with their families are worked upon.

        So ,if the sw’s appear to be developing arguments that you are to blame etc etc , this has to be incompetence or inspired by a policy imperative to remove children into care. Maybe the student is so wrapped up in computer tickboxes , attachment THEORIES etc.,she does not even realise the difference between cases of natural families against those of adoptive parents. She is a student,the other one is also new,i wonder if they really have time to consider facts and conduct investigations. Or are they still stuck in the first phase which is to look at a case and previous templates in order to express concerns as to what ‘may have happened’ and what the outcome might be.
        You undoubtedly face problems similar to those faced by natural parents in these situations. One will be that your solicitor will probably refuse to attend planning meetings and reviews. Thus you will face professionals alone and your valid concerns and disagreements will be written off as defensive and non-cooperative.
        Correct procedures may be ignored ,further false assessments based on untruths and theories put to the meetings ( as they already have) ,court specialists may be introduced into the equation and base their assessments on the sw false assessments and so on.
        Once a case is poisoned in the way yours has been and the emphasis put on blaming you, it is impossible to change the flow. Except by appeal to a higher court ,in my view.
        Please note ,i am not a lawyer but just an ordinary parent giving an opinion.

        1. HelenSparkles

          Student social workers are on placement on the latter part of their course, so once trained in the classroom so to speak, and they often have a first degree before taking an MA in SW. I’m not sure what the stats are on mature students but it also often isn’t a first career. People move from teaching the police, and all sorts of other careers with transferrable skills. The advantage of having a student SW is that they have more time for you, they are supervised, and their work is under scrutiny from a senior social worker. All of their work needs to be signed off by someone else, I wouldn’t sign anyone’s work off if I didn’t think it was a robust report. Just thought that might be helpful in terms of competency.

        2. helensparkles

          “Apparently many other European Countries use S20 type agreements in a fair,constructive manner. The agreements provide respite and space in which the true aims of the statute, to keep children united with their families are worked upon.” Please see current guidance on S20 in the UK.

      2. helensparkles

        “Sometimes children just need to be told to get on with it – but that is probably old way of thinking and the modern era, children MUST come first.” This doesn’t sound like you have a good understanding of what this child needs. It isn’t the modern era, it is therapeutic parenting and I hope the Reconnect work has helped with that, if not read!

      3. Seeking support

        I know this is very old but I’m desperately reaching out to people like adoptionp. I’m st such a loss with nowhere to turn because of what is happening in my adoption breakdown.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am sorry to hear this. If the LA can’t provide any help and support – and they should – there may be other groups who can help. If your child is a teenager, the POTATO group are useful

  3. Angelo Granda

    I understand there are already rules and regulations ,statutes and precedent etc etc which allow Doctors,medical authorities and the Courts to issue various protective orders in relation to children with complex medical and psychological needs. If the needs are indeed complex then the CS will play no part in those proceedings although a medical sw in the employ of the NHS might.
    Heaven forbid if the LA’s and the Public cp system were to be given the power to decide on the seriousnmess of complaints,the relative complexity of issues and so on.
    I would have concerns ,now the CS has full and unfettered access to the medical files of families, that they may make searches of files not with the legitimate aim of supporting them , but with the illegitimate aim of procuring a child into care because it has medical needs which a parent might not be able to solve. No parent can solve complex medical problems without support from the medical authorities .If there is no support to be offered that is a big problem but please can we leave protective orders in those cases the province of the NHS.
    All comments welcome particularly from any social workers with an alternative view.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      this post has come from a particular set of circumstances and I have some sympathy with it. When an adoptive placement breaks down, focusing on what the parents did wrong is often very counter productive as they didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ – usually they have been left with a child who has really serious and complex needs that they weren’t given full information about and little or no support to manage.

      But the way the CA is framed and interpreted does seem to encourage SW to look around for ‘parental deficits’ and unsurprisingly causes swift breakdown in working relationships between parents and social workers.

      1. Angelo Granda

        I quite agree.
        Your second paragraph,of course,applys to all cases. The way cases are approached with an emphasis on blaming parents causes trust to breakdown. It is even worse for adoptive parents because they are much less likely to be to blame and they have a very hard job when their children are already tainted,as it were.

        Nevertheless, sw’s will still have their concerns as per their job.The problems arise because they fail to follow guidelines and institute safeguards as per their job. In this case,they appear to have made their reports based on misleading and inaccurate reports or got the wrong end of the stick as to what the poster actually told them.Less misunderstandings occur when guidelines are followed.One wonders whether she was advised of her right to an advocate and if so, was the advocate allowed to attend the assessment meetings with her or did she go alone.

        I also have sympathy with the poster but i have sympathy for all parents when this happens.

      2. HelenSparkles

        This is a general comment. I agree that blame isn’t helpful, it often isn’t helpful to blame the LA either. It is not good enough if information isn’t shared. But there is always so much future uncertainty that even thorough information sharing doesn’t tell the whole story. The adoption journey is fraught with a fantasy about a future family and the adoption assessment is largely self reporting. Sometimes I think it completely surreal that we are transplanting children and expecting it to work.

      3. looked_after_child

        Sorry just reading this thread rather late..but I think the problems adoptive parents encounter when looking for partnership working with professionals in a child’s best interests are, most certainly, not confined to adoptive parents – although I do understand why adoptive parents feel particularly ‘wronged’. It is as though looking for the door for ‘happy ever after’ adoptive families have stumbled through the door of ‘misery and struggle’ by mistake from which there appears to be no exit – and all without warning.

        I’m just thinking aloud. I do know how very difficult it can be to be seen as a good parent, if your child enters Care, no matter what the reason. SWs seem to get all fired up by their training to ferret out ‘bad parents’. Every problem seems to be framed in this context and most approaches and ”solutions” come from that perspective. Why would’ent adoptive parents love their children and want the best for them?

        I’d hate to think that sending in the lifeboat for adoptive parents is seen as the answer to problems with this approach identified by adoptive parents…I know many adoptive parents are very cognisant of all these issues but I fear policymakers might use some adoptive parents to promote simplistic narratives that often do not serve children or families in extreme need of help, well.

        I am just thinking aloud. I know getting the right help that makes a positive difference is actually the biggest challenge of all. There are good people in the Care system – just the whole system is so hazardous to negotiate if a child has behavioural difficulties and as a system it give ‘two fingers’ to families and often pushes children out the other side with very little connection to caring adults.

  4. ake

    Ignore social workers !Never speak to them (except to tell them you have been advised not to speak with them!),never let them in your house or flat, never believe anything they say ,never be frightened by their threats,never go their meetings or conferences,never go for assessments,and never give them the evidence they need to go to court and steal your baby !
    The ss are your enemies not your friends so behave accordingly and never leave them alone with your baby

    EDIT From Sarah Phillimore.
    This is a comment from Ian Josephs. Although he has changed his commentating name, the email address is the same as he usually gives, in Monaco. I am allowing this comment to stand as an illustration of exactly why I think the ‘advice’ of Ian Josephs is so dangerous for parents. If you follow this ‘advice’ you are pretty much ensuring that you will lose your children as the social workers will think you must have something you wish to hide and they will be very worried about your children.
    If you do not go to assessments or attend meetings, you will not stop the care proceedings. You will find it very difficult to challenge the conclusions of assessments if you don’t engage and deal with them when they are happening. They will simply roll over you.
    PLEASE DO NOT TAKE HIS ADVICE. Please speak to the Family Rights Group or a good lawyer.
    I will delete any further comments of this nature as they are very, very unhelpful and destructive to parents.

  5. Mrs Jellies

    Hi Adoptionp

    Firstly, many thanks to Sarah for publishing Mr J’s comment and for your comments on his diatribe.

    Adoptionp – I really feel for you. I am part of a peer support group that supports adopters of teens. I wholeheartedly agree that we need an addition to the CA to reflect the issues for birth and adoptive families that do not imply` parental blame `. This is important when our children and young people may need to be accommodated because they have complex health issues (especially if they are not complying with the health care plan) or if the trauma suffered prior to adoption has had long term and enduring psychological issues for them and their adoptive families.
    However, I have concerns about some of the language you have used within your petition. I would like to talk to you about it.

    1. Adoptionp

      Mrs Jellies,
      Thank you four response. I understand the language in the petition only relates to adoption disruption and not necessarily to children of birth parents, although I do acknowledge required amendment to CA would apply the same.

      I would be happy to respond to any queries if reply to this reply.


  6. Adoptionp

    As we have had no further replies, is it worth removing take response and your reply to him?

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I would rather leave his comment and my response up as I hope it shows a clear warning against this kind of advice.

  7. Angelo Granda

    Adoptionp, Putting the petition on one side for now, may I ask whether the foster-carers are trained specialist ones with experience in dealing with children with the problems your child has?
    If not you may have made the wrong choice because your daughter’s problems will only continue and deteriorate where she is. Foster-carers are well-meaning,of course but SW’s often place children inappropriately ; suitable homes with special nurses fostering children are not always available. In the end the oness your child is with now will be f aced with the same difficulties which you had to give up on.
    Your problem is that treatments and mental care which can deal with your daughter are in short supply.That available is ‘within the community’. There are few residential treatment provisions (mental hospitals) in existence and it may well be that the only therapy available will be drug- based along with oral counselling etc. That will be available to her in your care or should be.
    Where she is her attachment disorder will only get worse and worse.
    I understand that you did not specifically post on the forum asking for advice but to ask for people to sign your petition.However, your daughter might be better off at home now . Were you getting periodic respite care whilst she was with you? Respite is a measure designed to provide relief at regular intervals for parents and the other children. It is regarded as essential by phychologists .If you were not you should find out about it.
    Respite care is supplied by specialists and the homes are excellent ;the children go away for a week or two,soon get used to the regular routine of going away and there are some excellent summer schools available plus they do not lose their attachment to their real parents. I f you have tried it already or have already thought about then ,of course discount my advice.
    I am not a medical specialist either ,i am only an ordinary parent as i said before trying to help. However,often other parents can give advice which professionals will not promote because of cost, which trainee and inexperienced social workers do not know about and which other parents find very helpful. I hope this helps you.

  8. Adoptionp

    Hi Angelo Grande,
    Thanks for the response.
    We did pursue respite, but we knew as she had been in respite previously (in 2009) away from her long-term foster carer, we knew our AD would treat it as a holiday. The existing FC have already fostering a long-term disabled boy of 9 (but mental age of 5). They have very good reputation and from what the LA have said are very nurturing and have time to monitor if our AD would be sticking to the health plan.
    We do understand her attachment condition may get worst, but we also need to consider the impact it has all had on her half-sibling and us as well.
    One of the main issues is the reaction by CYPS every time an ‘issue’ is raised, they are totally unsupportive and by pointing fingers have simply driven wedge in our relationship. They really need to be steered by the Adoption team.
    In our situation, we asked for AD to be in long-term foster care for her health, but yet they have turned it into something bigger. They could have initially just inquired what our intentions were so they could support us and if they did that, she could have been back in our home by now (from 2Feb). Instead, in opinion have ‘reacted’ to her statements but yet last week, she was reported as saying she wanted to come back and took many pics of our holiday on her phone when we met on last Fri.
    She has probably made a statement to the court which she probably does not mean and they expect us to bow down to her conditions by taking family therapy to assess if we will. They fundamentally do not get by behaving in this bullying way, it is not acting in the best interest of the child.
    I will keep you informed when we receive the Parenting Capacity report back as they have yet to send anything since our feedback of 11Apr but have fedback via our solicitors ‘some amendments’ are required.
    By going through court proceedings, is there intention to do what is best for our AD regardless of her true feelings? They simply do not listen to those that know her best – us, we have known her for 7 years and yet they are following ‘due process’ – what a complete failure of the system

    1. Angelo Granda

      Good luck and let us know what the report says,please.
      Did the previous one mention anything about the need for ‘enhanced care’ rather than ‘just good enough care’ or did they mention ‘better than good enough care’ by any chance?

      1. Angelo Granda

        I would like to add this. Have a word with your solicitor now and make contingency plans in advance. In particular,take note of all relavent dates with great care and start your own chronology. Take note of particulars of the trainee SW and the new one. Did they ask your permission before they assigned a student to your case? They should have done.
        Pick out all lapses of correct procedure just in case the assessment is adverse and litigation is taken against you supposedly in the best interests of the child. Make your solicitor aware(engage with him or her) in no uncertain terms that you will be requesting an Independent Social Worker to make an assessment in the event of proceedings etc. Establish any holes which exist in the CS assessment ( such as a failure to discuss or offer appropriate support services to you). Also approach any prospective witnesses who might testify in your favour that the SW’s have given false evidence.
        All this might sound over the top but nevertheless i advise you to take these precautions.Hopefully the contingency will not come to fruition but you have to be prepared just in case the case is not conducted correctly for whatever reason.You won’t be able to approach witnesses or other professionals to discuss the case or show them documents once proceedings begin.
        You may have difficulty performing a balancing act between making these plans ,because you will also have to cooperate fully and be friendly with the SW’s at the same time.C’est la vie! You have to cooperate but at the same time cover yourself.Many discover this too late.
        You have already seen for yourself how wrong things can go.Follow your instincts.
        Hope this helps .I don’t want you to worry too much but you must be wary. BTW. Be sparing with what you say bearing in mind anything may be taken down and used in evidence against you.

  9. Angelo Granda

    There is a new advocacy service .Get yourself an advocate and my advice will not be necessary.

    Side By Side-Parents Advocacy & Support Service.Look it up on Google.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Sam,I found the link in the CPR tweets column at the top of each page. Whether Annie has a website,i don’t know.

  10. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Yes, ‘Annie’ will be talking about this new service she has started at #CPConf2016.
    She is supported by some of the key players in the system who wish for reform.
    Parent advocates have been shown to work in other jurisdictions, such as New York City.
    I hope we can make them work over here.

  11. Adoptionp

    Our Solicitor uses e-mail as formal communication and so I tend to have daily contact at times. Their practice specialises in Family Law and Adoption. She has informed me, we conducted ourselves very well during the PLO. The fact for a third day in a row this week, we have had no comm from AD SW, not sure what is going on?.. I know our AD finds the contact very boring, especially if her SW is not there. So we shall wait and see. Not sure if the left arm is eventually talking to the right arm, we shall wait and see, it may well be that they are waiting for Family therapy (have been advised must be adoption specialists).

    Great advice, thank you Angelo and Sarah. I shall keep you informed.

  12. Julie D

    The ‘beyond parental control’ branch of the s 31 criteria to get a care order was meant to retain an element that was in the previous legislation of a situation where the significant harm was NOT attributable to the parents. If this young person is at risk because she won’t/can’t do what her genuinely caring and capable parents want for her – doesn’t that fit into ‘beyond their control’? So what I’m not clear on here is why that can’t be used if a care order is required.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Unfortunately, that limb has clearly been interpreted in many cases as directed at parental failings. The experiences of many adoptive parents is that they are blamed for their children’s bad behaviour as there appears to be very little understanding of how trauma in early child hood has massive impact on children’s stress responses, causing severe difficulties to their abilities to be resilient and develop strong relationships.
      I was sent this link to Dr Perry’s key note speech at a conference last year which was very interesting
      He points out that ‘well intentioned’ efforts to help these children frequently make things worse – a mismatch between expectation and what children do, conflict and placement breakdown, for which parents are blamed even though they have done their best.

  13. Julie D

    Well those cases are wrong! It is very clear from the drafting of the Bill that this was designed to avoid blaming parents. I can’t recall seeing it used though … When I do SW teaching, SWrs usually haven’t heard of it. Which supports what the adoptive parent here is saying, of course, but there should be lawyer in there somewhere who has read the whole section.

    1. Adoptionp

      It is Adoptiop here. Thanks for your comments.
      We received our court hearing date of 9May, along with the papers, which we have feedback to our solicitor.
      What is clearly evident is an agenda being played. BLAME.
      We even pointed out to IRO in LAC meeting on Friday and also our AD legal guardian. She seemed understanding of our feedback that the whole process has simply made any reconciliation with our AD much worse.
      During the LAC, our AD was expressing contact now to be at our house and I even stated the current arrangements were false, likening to a dental appointment. Supervised SKYPE was proposed, all met with a no from her SW.
      While we do not disagree with their proposal of family therapy, we still feel no one is listening to our concerns. The LA are fixated about family therapy and not considered if AD needs to see a psychologist as per GOSH report. Meanwhile 3 months later, we see our AD as a different person who become even more ‘institutionalised’.
      Our intention was only ever to sort out her physical health and her attitude towards it. In FC she has been not adhering to care plan.
      We understand Beyond Parental Control is only ever used for children who are extremely violent or run away etc. We understand undiagnosed mental health problems can never be used, even though we have lived with our AD for 7yrs.
      The C110A form is poor and their argument is about emotional neglect.
      We simply feel unsupported and just think their action is not acting in the interest of an adoptive child.
      I asked the Post adoption team manager to attend on Fri to explain their involvement, she could not attend but she said she provided previous assessments to CYPS, nothing more!?! Left arm not talking to right arm here.
      We are almost tempted to revoke sec20 and have here return, but the same problems would arise and when life gets difficult, our AD turns to authority.
      I actually found out our AD made a false allegation two weeks before our order was granted in Dec2009! It was shocking as reading the SW chronology, we did not know about that one. We feel there is lot that AD has said that we do not know about. It seems the LA are not disclosing everything to us. What chance did we ever have of raising an institutionalised child? It has been a constant battle of them v us about who her parents were?..

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I am sorry to hear this. What seemed to make a difference in the K case – where the parents sought wardship and were successful after going through a pretty similar experience to your own – was getting a really good psychological assessment from an expert who was able to make it clear that the adoptive parents could not be blamed for doing their best. They were never told of the true extent of their child’s trauma and were not given the right support to deal with it.

  14. Adoptionp

    Thanks Sarah, my wife & I are in a real dilemma.

    When we spoke in confidence with AD legal guardian (from CAFCASS) who informed us that very often CYPS go into a ‘safeguarding’ mode and they find it hard to switch in these circumstances. We said the whole situation has got out of control and our intention was only for AD to sort out her head with regards to her adhering to her health plan. The whole process had ‘institutionalised’ our AD even further because CYPS simply have not consulted the Post Adoption team about best approach.

    The recommendation made to the court are three options i) AD back home under sec20 ii) AD stays in FC under sec 20 until family therapy concluded iii) LA care order.

    We agree with LA recommendations to go with option ii) but are truly disgusted by some of the comments made in their PC report.

    Family therapy is a must, yes, but it must be adoption specialists. We have had contact from Barnardo’s to discuss Reconnect therapy sessions but it is proving difficult to fit in around as both wife & I work. Our AD legal guardian also informed us that Family therapy must be treated as confidential, so again we are not sure what the LA are relying upon.

    What we do know is for the last 3 months, no one has provided any individual therapy to AD even though counselling sessions were meant to be provided by school and AD is still not adhering to health plan. We did speak with our Solicitor (firm specialise in Family Law and Adoption) about an independent assessment to be performed (sols suggestion) and certainly any therapist will be faced with a lot of unknowns about AD past like we have been. I will discuss your useful comment ‘regarding make it clear that the adoptive parents could not be blamed for doing their best. They were never told of the true extent of their child’s trauma and were not given the right support to deal with it”

    All LA efforts have gone into BLAME and they do not want to listen to the people who have lived with AD for 7 yrs. Our AD SW (who is young) seems to get on well with AD and seems to think AD is ‘fine’; we think it is all being downplayed so they do not have deal with any potential mental issues.

    The processes so far have not helped our 14 yr old AD and we simply see her ‘drifting away’ into the care system. We know she misses us and simply does not want to ‘disappoint’ LA and FC by saying so nor know what to do to change her original views to the court. Hopefully AD legal guardian might take a more rationale view.

    Our AD has now even asked for weekly contact to be at our home (albeit supervised) and also requested SKYPE comm, all turned down by SW as they are in ‘court proceedings’. As she is overly compliant, there is danger she is somewhat being led by LA SWs and this may not be in the best interest of AD long-term. the LA SWs seem to be really out of their depth here. I am almost tempted to set a up meeting with those that make the decisions to complain but I understand that is futile reading other people’s stories. I think I will try the Post adoption team route – they seems to be quite lacking in their involvement while our names get dragged through the mud.

    We feel a real sense of bereavement and helplessness. Our intention was never to go to this but yet we are also scared that if she ever returns, our AD will cause ‘issues’ when she does not like anything or is having trouble at school. The way she fabricates ‘at will’ anything and Teachers/SW fall for it, simply is very stressful for our family and we have to consider the impact it has on 8yr AD half-sibling, who is has no behavioural issues (came to us at 1yrs old) and is now tarnished with SW visits at school (which she thinks is completely unnecessary) just so LA can assess if she is missing her sister. The half-sibling is strong minded and has said she is missing her sibling as a play partner. We believe her but yet the LA are now starting on her, as they do not believe her. All this is unnecessary disruption and we really do not understand their bullying tactics over what is clearly a family that needs support in an adoption.


    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am sorry but there are no easy answers. Your problem seems sadly typical. When things have got really bad I have advised on actions under the HRA 1998 to seek damages to pay for therapy – but that is obviously not an easy option and has no guarantee of success as damages are purposefully kept low under HRA claims.

      It may be that more specialist adoption charities/support services can give you better advice than I could. Amanda Boorman of the Open Nest charity is conducting a workshop at CPConf2016 about adoption, trauma and support – she may be a good person to contact.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Sarah. I think when it is known that adoptive children have been traumatised in the past and the probabilities are that they have medical problems like PTSD, the responsible thing to do is to appoint a medical social worker to the case (i think they act under the auspices of the NHS.)
        These SW’s are very ,very experienced and will be empathetic to the problems adoptive parents ( and ordinary parents face) and are fully informed and able to refer the parent to suitable report agencies etc.
        The average CS social worker has no idea. They are either incompetent or do not have the time.Whichever is true,they are unhelpful and tend to look for reasons to blame parents.They see that at their duty ,i suppose.
        My experience with medical SW’s is the opposite,they start with the outlook that the children have the medical problem and they help and support the family.

      2. Julie D

        Also, have you been in touch with the Potato Group? A self help support group for adoptive parents of teenagers. Seem very active and helpful.
        Sorry if this has already been recommended, but there are a lot of posts here and I’ve not read every one.
        (Re s 31, I can see that ‘beyond parental control’ may not help here, especially if it signals delinquent behaviour. In theory it was meant to support parents where the harm was not because of their (lack of) care, but the consensus here seems to be that it’s not used in a positive way. )
        Good luck.

  15. Helen day

    My adopted daughter was accomadated at my request do to ongoing violence towards me. She came home after having eight placement breakdowns and has been at home since jan she is fifteen . La are going for care order stating beyond parental control . Whilst in la care she was mfh constantly violent to staff and uncontrolled she has now got a diagnosis of autism with PDA . We paid to see private doc for this and the la are saying that we are the only ones who had any input in the diagnosis . This is completely untrue and I have paper work to prove this . La are happy to support her living at home for the short term but deem us as a risk because of being beyond our control . My daughter has never been missing from home whilst living at her home address whilst on the other hand she was missing from la care on a daily basis so really the facts are she was beyond la control and not mine .we have been fighting for four and a half years to get the correct help for our daughter and all the la want to do is see us as rubbish parents . I might add that we have seven adopted children as well as three birth children so we clearly must have been good enough parents at one point .

    1. Angelo Granda

      Dear Helen Day, Please engage with your solicitors and ,if care-proceedings are brought against you by the CS, instruct them that you intend to demand that the Court orders a report from specialist autism psychologists and ASD educational experts.
      What you are describing happens too often. The CS do not declare to Court that a child is autistic or suggest there is some doubt. If they ask the court to commission an ordinary paediatric report from one of the regular court experts ,object straight away.

      I am a mere parent like you,not a solicitor not a lawyer but you can take my word for it there is legal precedent that when taking decisions about the welfare of a child, com,parisons have to be made against other children with the same development problems. In your case that is autism. The Judge should not turn your demands down. Ensure you are involved with drafting the instruction letter to the experts; ensure you ask for an assessment of damage likely to have been caused whilst the child was seperated from you; also ask for an assessment of parental attachment; ensure the CS and/or Guardian send correct background about your child ,ensure they don’t forget to send copies of ALL previous medical reports and assessments including the private one. Make sure the instructions include a provision that the assessors see and interview you the parents and child at home to judge your interactions etc. When the report comes back ,check that each question has been answered in full; the Guardians have been known to be careless and send the wrong instruction letter ,sending one less favourable to you.
      Helen, there is also legal precedent which states that ,in the event of a court application amidst claims that a child has suffered significant harm, great care needs to be taken to be absolutely sure that the said harm was suffered whilst in the care of parents; if the child has been in the care of others ( eg. the CS) and there is any doubt at all, then threshhold criteria will not be met. Therefore i recommend you make a full chronology of dates,events,deteriorations,negative reports etc. Keep all medical reports and clinic letters to support it.
      As i have said,i am not a lawyer ,this is just parent to parent advice and it does not cover everything.I’m just giving you a couple of tips based on experience.
      Your solicitor will advise you fully .
      Hope this helps in a small way.

  16. Angelo Granda

    Sarah, In your general experience ,is it normal for respondent parents to attend directions hearings? In mine solicitors tend to discourage parents and tell them it is not necessary for them to attend. Could that be a flaw?

  17. Adoptionp

    Just to give you an update, we had the court hearing yesterday where our solicitors deliberated with Childs and LA solicitors. A point to note was the LA had a different solicitor. Our child’s SW attended but we did not speak before the hearing as we decided to stay in our room.

    It was positive as our solicitor came out of deliberations where it was agreed along with family therapy, our AD would require therapy which CONNECT had to provide within 21 days, if not the Adoption team. It was decided this would NOT be provided by CAMHS.

    Our contact arrangements were also to be relaxed with a weekend meet as well and SKYPE, who our AD had requested. She also requested contact to be at home but this would be assessed based on outcome of family therapy.

    An interim hearing in July would thereon conclude next steps but it was agreed at this stage there Care Order be pursued by LA as we contested the threshold criteria and considering our AD was starting to change her mind, some of their statements were not relevant. In this hearing, only a ‘status’ report of family therapy would be provided to courts, as the LA had agreed any detailed confidential information be disclosed would comprise the purpose of therapy as we would be reluctant to say anything if that was the case. Thanks to the guardian for that piece of excellent advice.

    So overall, our solicitor said it was quite positive and more supportive approach will be adopted rather than the safeguarding finger pointing blame approach. She has said to forget the threshold criteria and concentrate on the therapy and if a care order were to be pursued later, it would be on the outcome of family therapy.

    I think we have a lot to thank the very experienced Child’s guardian report, who had stated in her report, that our AD had notified her some of behavioural difficulties were caused her health condition which then impacted her relationship with others.

    We think it is a huge acknowledgement by LA that some of the hidden feelings our 14ys old AD has needs to be heard and addressed. This should have happened when we made the CAMHS referral in 2009 and we only received a letter after a brief meet with psychologist.

    So 3 months of finger pointing, time spent by CYPS SWs backtracking and defending their inactions, writing reports, parents getting stressed, defending our integrity has resulted in our AD being a different person, living with a FC, having freedoms, no parental boundaries and possibly her schooling is suffering as a result. Money spent on 3 solicitors could have easily have gone into funding the correct support even if sourced privately. When simply if they listened to our concerns as to why we placed her in FC, provided the help we had asked for, our AD would have been back at home and we would have felt supported and receiving the individual therapy we asked for.

    Where was the Post Adoption team? NOWHERE, they simply provided some reports they had written in previous years, there was absolutely no steer from them, even though we had raised our concerns two months ago of the impact of the CYPS processes would have on our relationship with our AD.

    Will keep you informed how family therapy (provided by Barnardo’s) and our AD individual therapy goes.

    Adoption P

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      That sounds really positive and a much better approach. I hope the therapy goes well – please do keep us posted.

  18. Adoptionp

    Sorry I should have said

    “An interim hearing in July would thereon conclude next steps but it was agreed at this stage their Care Order WOULD NOT be pursued by LA as we contested the threshold criteria…

  19. Adoptionp

    So, since our last update regarding our 14yr AD

    we had interim hearing 22Jul and it was quite clear the LA had not communicated or done anything to Child guardian

    We asked for hearings to cease as it compromised Reconnect Therapy provided by Barnardos

    We had shown we had attend 20 sessions since 9May hearing and we said further sessions were required

    Final hearing 30Sep

    We had Unsupervised contact for 9hrs 23 Jul WHICH WENT WELL

    Our AD wanted to return home contradicting her original statement but we told her she needs to attend therapy which she did for two sessions while we went holiday

    We also agreed for short break returning 8Aug with FC


    LA informed they are still seeking care order! They believe there will be disruption and further to that they are seeking a specialist order as FC wants to take her to Florida 21Aug to 31Aug, right in the middle of contact which is comprising therapy.

    So since 23Jul someone has influenced our AD to change her mind….

    We are not happy as we were seeking to remain under sec20 post hearing to continue with Reconnect with an aim for her to return home…..ALL BLOWN OUT OF WATER… as LA want care order 50,50 as they feel she will disrupt again if returned home even though we have said that this will comprise Attachment and also any future reconnection

    Our AD is angry and the LA are completely out of their depth.

    What do we do help????




  20. Adoptionp


    We are deeply saddened by the recent news and very concerned about LA taking a heavy handed approach for her to go on holiday as we have not provided consent on the basis we were just informed yesterday and wanted contact this weekend as we had not seen our AD since 23 Jul

    LA and FC had obviously planned this.

    We have attended 20 sessions of Reconnect therapy provided by Barnardos and we are seeking more including Individual therapy for AD

    They clearly have agenda and their procedures are compromised by the recent ruling to conclude court matters in 6 months, which in this instance will not resolve anything further.

    The LA are out of their depth, it is an Adoption disruption and reconnection which they hindering progress because AD has flickering views about returning home


    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am really sorry to hear this. I think there are two distinct problems you are now facing – the first is the immediate and short term issue of the holiday and the second is the medium to long term problem about where you go from here.

      I am afraid cases involving teenagers are notoriously fraught with problems as even the most NT and emotionally stable teenager is likely to change their minds fairly frequently about important issues, they are still trying to figure out their place in the world.

      holidays are also a flash point as if you won’t agree for her to go with the FC she may have to into respite care. Is it possible to discuss and reach agreement about the holiday? It’s 10 days so hopefully would not fatally disrupt any other arrangements. I would not like disagreement over this short term issue overshadow the necessary discussions you are all going to need to have about the medium to long term future for your daughter.

  21. Adoptionp

    We have proposed our AD comes to stay with us while FC goes on holiday

    It gives us a trial period so we can make an informed decision for courts

    This is of course if LA agree and AD

    What do you think?

  22. helensparkles

    I haven’t read all of your posts but I think you might be setting yourself up with a ‘trial period’. If AD is to return home, it should be part of a robust rehabilitation programme, ideally with the involvement of the Reconnect therapist. The holiday period of time is longer than would be in place for a the initial stages of a good rehab plan.

    If AD comes to you for his period of time, she would be coming to you for respite effectively, on the basis that you are saying she can’t go on the holiday to Florida with her carers. I don’t know how much this would matter to her, and it is unfortunate that communication hasn’t been better about this holiday, but I’d assume the ‘heavy handed’ approach is because the LA know she wants to go and are pleased the foster carers can take her rather than requesting respite. Nobody would want AD to have to be placed with an alternative carer at this stage. Respite, even with a parent, is not ever a representative period of time. Carers who regularly provide respite will tell you that they never see the behaviours the main carer does, they have a ‘honeymoon period’ which can last over a surprising number of regular respites where they are used. It might be a trial period for you but it is unlikely to be for your child.. Therapy can survive a holiday, even therapists take holidays.

  23. Adoptionp

    Unfortunate the LA do not understand this issue was their causing, so we offered an olive branch to continue contact and also we had not seen her from 23Jul. This period is an ideal time for us to Reconnect and make a long term decision for the final hearing next month in court.

    The LA are now playing to their agenda and you wonder why they made do Reconnect Therapy?

    We are angry at them, they have been totally underhand in their support for Reconnection.

    Our AD wanted to come home and in two weeks they have influenced her and now pushing for her to be in long term fc, thus losing her forever family of 7 years.

    This all under sec20? We currently have 100 per cent PR and all because of a holiday

    1. helensparkles

      My suggestion was that you forget about the holiday, which I could almost guarantee will be causing AD issues because people will have had to talk to her about whether she is going or not. If AD wants to go she will blame you for not being able to go. It was advice meant to say that you need to be gentle on yourselves at what is obviously a very difficult time for you, so that you don’t set yourselves up to fail. The LA should have asked you about the holiday, you can assume conspiracy, it’s more likely to be a clumsy oversight.

      You placed AD in FC under S20, that meant you and the LA agreed she should be in FC. Care isn’t a fix for difficult teenagers, even adopted teenagers and LAs don’t accommodate children unless they agree with parents that there is a serious issue. You may feel like it has all got out of hand, but you raised the issue and the LA agreed. I presume you had a meeting about that and have been involved in the reviewing cycle.

      When you placed AD in FC I presume you would have wanted AD to be considered part of that family and holidays are part of that. If I was your SW I would be advising you to forget about the holiday (& I do have a lot of years experience in placement services). Preventing AD from going to Florida, doesn’t look like you’re thinking about AD, and we expect those with PR to put their children first.

      Any plan for rehab should be planned. It isn’t always, but it should be. If you had got to a particular point in the rehab plan where it was a whole week at your home, that would be fine, but you haven’t. It is completely understandable that your emotions are overwhelming, and easier said than done like most things, but don’t let that sabotage what you need to do long term.

      Agenda is sometimes a really unhelpful word. The only agenda anyone should have is AD’s and if she will be ok wherever she is living. The LA had to tell you if they were considering a Care Order application, it means they have sought legal advice and think they have met thresholds, they may be wrong but they can’t not ask a court to decide. Your lawyer will be given the threshold information as well as why they have risk assessed a high risk of disruption.

      Adoption for over 5’s is more at risk of disruption than under 5’s, not for all children, but it sounds like the therapy is something you needed?

      You can revoke S20 at any point, it is helpful for children if any rehab is planned, but there is not obligation.

  24. Adoptionp

    Leading up to 23Jul, our contact moved to unsupervised and there was plan by SW with AD to move to overnight

    We had great time and AD even met Grandma. We dined liked old times, prospect was good, she wanted to be home as soon as possible.

    Now 8Aug, the LA have got into their head and the LA are trying us to revoke sec20 by asking us to say AD should return home, which we are not. We need time which goes against their plans and so their procedures cannot cope with disruption and reconnection

    The AD does realise FC are not her parents and the FC are overstepping Mark under sec20, AD does not realise she is losing her forever family all due to proceedings which must end.

    There is no harm in permancy remaining under sec20, we are not a danger to our AD, and so they evoking a ICO to please FC without understanding long term impact with forever family of 7 years.

    So under sec20, we are not only fighting battle to resolve attachment with us, AD is getting attached to FC, which LA are now supporting……what hope will we ever have unless a judge throws the book at them.

    Help, we are looking her again.

    We bereaved in Feb and she resurrected, giving us hope and now we are grieving again. No parent should loose their child die twice.

    1. helensparkles

      Foster carers never have PR, they have delegated responsibility to facilitate normal family life, but even when children are on an order they can’t make any decisions about them without that being in place and there are some decisions they can never make. Taking children abroad would be one of them.

      How does the ICO please the FC?

      “…what hope will we ever have unless a judge throws the book at them.” Has the LA messed up or do you not like their position? Talk to your solicitor.

  25. Adoptionp

    Did we also mention AD is Asian like us and FC are not.

    So she will loose her cultural identity and values

    1. helensparkles

      Your daughter will not lose her identity in this period of time, FC’s are skilled at ensuring at supporting children with an identity/ethnicity different to their own, and helping her to maintain her values.

  26. Adoptionp

    Yes, guardian appointed and we meant to meet us in this period of proceedings after 22Jul interim hearing

    We have not heard anything, hence the holiday will impact her duties of submitting evidence for the final hearing

    We totally disagree with LA position, we asked several times to the LA what is your agenda before interim hearing.

    We arranged meeting in our house with LA adoption manager and Child in care team SW, who said we want to Reconnect the child, while the adoption manager said it is not unheard of a child living under sec20 in FC

    The issue is just that, AD has taken exception to parental boundaries to protect her. As in FC she got up to all sorts which never would have happened under our roof.

    The simple matter is, LA are miffed we have not made decision after 20 sessions of Reconnect and they want permanence under CO in long term FC.

    AD will not understand or be informed of this decision and will not understand the impact on our relationship. The LA want the best of both worlds in order to adhere to their procedures.

    We are asking for status quo in the possibility of Reconnect working and put an end to proceedings

    The issue of holiday has bought this to ahead.

    A short term gain but a very long term and possible adverse impact to her relationship caused by LA.

    The LA are clueless and whoever we speak to can see it, including Barnardos.

    Care order will simply make things worse.

    Guardian has not really met us and all we get is LA not supporting our Reconnection. How on earth will we do this under a Care Order

    1. helensparkles

      “The LA are clueless and whoever we speak to can see it, including Barnardos.”

      I always think this is really unhelpful. If Barnardos as an involved agency think that the LA are clueless that doesn’t really tell anyone anything. They might just be absorbing the issues you have with the LA during your sessions but if they really think they are clueless they need to give guidance with their expertise. It doesn’t help anyone if they don’t.

  27. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p.

    I am a mere parent, i can only offer advice based on what you tell me,of course.
    I have to take things at face value and i am very worried when you say the CS is following an ‘agenda’. The reason i am worried is that very often ,Parents describe the very same problem. The SW is not open and honest with them. They will say one thing, appear to be making fair assessments and decisions when you see them and deal with them face to face but then out of the blue,when push comes to shove, they turn around and surprise you by doing the exact opposite.
    Sometimes,i fear,the key SW is not in command of the case, they have to follow the directives and policies of behind-the-scenes ,faceless bureaucrats who probably will never actually see you or your AD. They will probably have seen the ALLEGED allegations she has made against you and decided ,without knowing full details, that threshold are met. Thus they feel they have to apply for an order. They may not even have considered that ,in this case, the S20 was genuinely a voluntary one. SW’s are so often out-of- touch with the reality of the situation and out-of-their depth just as you say.
    The only advice i can give you is that you must keep a note of everything and preferably take tape recordings of all meetings ,telephone calls etc. Engage with your solicitor .In particular take a careful note of all breaks with correct procedure. When cases are not conducted correctly in every way, it is inevitable that wrong,misinformed appraisals are made by the decision-makers.
    So start by noting down your concerns about the Guardian’s late involvement. It is no good the Guardian seeing you for five minutes in the foyer prior to a fact-finding hearing,she must visit you and consult with you properly.

    Also concentrate on the LA’s duties.

    In Re G, Munby J elaborated on the nature of the local authority’s duty to provide a full and frank disclosure of documents, including notes and minutes of conversations and meetings, and listed the following as important:
    • Informing the parents promptly of its plans
    • Giving factual reasons
    • Giving an opportunity for parents to answer allegation
    • Providing an opportunity to make representations
    • Allowing the parents the opportunity to attend and address any crucial meetings.

    I hope this helps.

    1. Angelo Granda

      I would just like to add that your case, in many respects,conforms with patterns we have seen previously. As cases proceed, the parents get increasingly frustrated and flustered with the apparent irrationality of CS deeds and decisions etc. They can see clearly how cases are being conducted wrongly but what can they do about it? Very little!
      Adoption p. Let me give you an example and you can look out for it in your case.
      Parents will engage with their solicitor. For example, they might tell him or her that the Guardian has made an assessment for court having been appointed late, without having consulted with Mum or Dad but having only had the time to consult with the LA for their side of the story. Thus the Guardian’s assessment is misinformed,one-sided and unrealistic. Many facts wrong,cloud-cuckoo land assertions etc.
      The solicitor will nod ,um and aah, but it appears that parents complaints just go in one ear or out the other. It is unlikely the solicitor will ever mention it again to you or raise the matter at court. This only leads to further frustration for parents.
      Has this already happened to you? Many parents report it happens.

    2. helensparkles

      “Why? They want to be able to say ( as Helen demonstrates) if you don’t like it,address your complaints to Court.They like to lay the law down,exceed their authority and say. SEE YOU IN COURT.” As I have said elsewhere, a lot of SW doesn’t go anywhere near a court, but this case is in court so I merely meant that the adopters are legally represented. Their lawyers will be able to raise any issues with the evidence.

      “As Helen demonstrates so ably the dept. have a way of looking at everything from a critical angle. It is not so much ‘blame’ as fault finding.” I don’t really think I have said the department have a way of looking at everything from a critical angle. I think I have said that a SW SW has to set out the concerns for a court to make a decision, parents are legally represented and can respond.

  28. helensparkles

    From what you have said above, the LA are seeking a clear permeance plan and you are not able to decide that AD returns home or that you wish to revoke S20?

    AD needs stability and security and you are not offering her this at the moment. Your daughter can’t be left in limbo and whilst it is not unheard of for children to be in FC under S20, the adoption team manager doesn’t appear to be up to date with legal guidance. LAs have been heavily criticised for this recently and Munby has made it clear that S20 arrangement should not continue for too long. This protects everyones human rights, and if a child is to remain in care, the reasons for this should be (court) scrutiny.

    You seem to want your child in FC indefinitely whilst various therapeutic interventions take place. If as you say 6 months won’t make a difference and longer is needed, the LA would be criticised in court for letting a case drift.. I think some of the issues you may attribute to the LAs procedures are legal procedures and I think your solicitor would be able to help you with that and you should definitely talk to them about the holiday.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I agree with Helen on this one. You say you have had 20 Reconnect sessions – I don’t know what that entails but I don’t think it is unreasonable for the LA to expect that you would be in a better position now to make decisions about permanency for your daughter after 20 sessions. Sounds quite a lot of invested time and effort.

      Turning this into a war doesn’t help anyone. I appreciate that sometimes SW can act badly. But also I have had experience of adoptive parents who have not acted well – it all becomes a vicious circle of despair, frustration and lack of trust. It is very sad. I think the reasons that working relationships between parents and SW break down are complicated but rarely due to the deliberate corruption of LAs.

  29. Adoptionp

    AD contact 13Aug went well and we had a good discussion. The holiday was discussed and she informed SW by phone during unsupervised contact (11am-8.30pm) that she wanted to stay with us during the 10 days.

    AD contact 14Aug went well again 9am-2pm and AD mentioned that was some friction with FC family (who SW informed during the day 13Aug) which made AD feel uncomfortable.

    Clearly the AD feels pressurised by actions of LA & FC and we are in middle of reconnection (irrespective of therapist holiday); as we had not seen AD since 23Jul.

    AD is now keen to try the 10 day stay with us, as it gives all a chance to test the waters for long term decision (incl AD). She is very keen and when we spoke about it, the holiday to Florida was dropped in her head. She said as soon as she walked through the door, she felt it at home.

    We clearly want to reconnect but this issue has bought it to ahead.

    Dad ok, Mum still anxious about her returning and feels pressurised to make a decision. AD was willing to make it work in further Reconnect session which we all are happy to attend.

    So the FC go on holiday 21Aug, LA will talk to AD tomorrow 15Aug and we need to make decision NOW to revoke sec20 or most likely AD will have care order and psychologically will be harder to reconnect especially once school start, we understand LA want permanency but due to their delays, we only started Therapy in beginning of June and only involved AD late July, but made up of 20hrs in double sessions so early days for making such a big decision about AD as LA have spent months with PC process and therefore to meet the recent ruling on sec20 feel they need to push the issue.

    Here is the wording of the LA sols 12Aug

    “The SWs are very concerned about the suggestion of AD spending 10 days with her parents at this and would not support AP suggested plan. Whilst we understand that AP are wishing to move things forward they have also been very clear with the SW that they do not think that AD will be returning to their care in the near future, and that her ever returning to their care will depend on how therapy goes. Given that this is clearly going to be a long process and there is not going to be any therapy during the month of August the SWs are clear that AD going on this holiday would be beneficial in strengthening ADs relationship with her foster carers whom she may be remaining with for a long time. Furthermore the LA would be concerned with any overnight contact between AD and her parents at this stage, currently (12Aug) ADs wishes and feelings are that she is reluctant to have contact with her parents, that she feels pressurised by her father to talk about counselling, what would need to ‘change’ if she was able to return home and their expectations of her in respect of their culture. The LA would also be extremely concerned that AD returning home for 10 days only to return to placement will be detrimental to her already fragile feeling of belonging and will add to her confusion as to what is happening and why.
    Clearly as AD is on section 20 if AP wish to remove her from the foster placement they are entitled to do so and if they state that they revoke section 20 then the Local Authority would be legally obliged to return AD to their care. Given AP position of wishing for AD to return to their care for 10 days and that she should not go on holiday with the foster carers at this time my instructions are to return the matter to Court as a matter of urgency to request an ICO in respect of AD. Our application and supporting statement will be filed and served by Monday at the latest and we will be requesting an urgent hearing be listed next week as it will need to be heard ahead of the foster carers departure on 21 August.”

    Are the LA saying bring her home? Not sure where child guardian is in all of this?

    We want AD to come home, but mum more hesitant than dad…..we wanted more contact in Aug (which AD is now happy to attend forgoing holiday) so we may make concrete decision for final hearing but does this does make it worse. It is not fair as FC have not been briefed over our reconnection process and she has just returned from a trip with FC, hence our refusal over the unapproved trip. We want to see AD during the holidays and connect.

    We are torn. Can the AD now say she wants contact during Aug through their ICO argument out?

    Help please.

  30. helensparkles

    The very short answer is that the LA’s position is reasonable and they are very clear about it, you need to talk to your solicitor.

    1. helensparkles

      My thoughts in longer form are…

      It is a terrible thing when positions become entrenched because what children really need gets lost. You’ve asked for help here and both a lawyer and a social worker suggested you forget about the holiday and think about the long term. You haven’t been able to do this; instead you have discussed the holiday with AD during contact. This is a very difficult situation for everyone but the person it is most difficult for is AD who is in an impossible position and very likely to be telling you what you want to hear because she fears you will otherwise reject her. AD will already feel being placed in FC as rejection and being too difficult to be managed by you. She needs to feel safe and held, a ‘trial’ is unsafe and very emotionally risky for her. This is not the point in the care planning when AD would be spending this length of time with you, this is reflected in what the LA say.

      You may be able to rationalise your position to yourselves but it indicates you are overwhelmed by your own emotions and driven by your own needs. It is tough for any of us to manage our emotions when we are in a challenging situation but we have to, particularly where our children are concerned. The LA are not showing themselves to be clueless, they are prioritising AD. You all need to do this. As for the blame, try stopping it, it deflects from the main event and you need to reflect. You may have a litany of complaints, some of them might be the LA behaving badly, or they might just be things you don’t like. At this stage you are sabotaging AD’s placement and her rehab home.

      I don’t think you want help, I think you want someone to agree with you that it is (a) ok for AD to come to you for the period of this holiday and it is (b) ok for you to leave her in FC under S20 whilst you do whatever you think you need to do. The expectations this places on AD are unreasonable, she will be aware of them even if they haven’t been discussed with her directly, and they are potentially very emotionally harmful for a child who has already experienced trauma. It isn’t ok to leave AD in a placement for as long as your timescales take, the timescales need to be hers, and this would be the same for any teenager but particularly a teenager whose adoption has disrupted.

  31. Angelo Granda

    A parent’s view.

    For what it is worth ,i hope this answers your plea for help Adoptionp.
    Firstly my suspicion that decisions are being made in a closed room by faceless men-in-suits who have not seen either you or your AD seems to be justified. The solicitors are not just giving advice , they are issuing instructions ( handing out orders).

    QUOTE: Given AP position of wishing for AD to return to their care for 10 days and that she should not go on holiday with the foster carers at this time my instructions are to return the matter to Court as a matter of urgency to request an ICO in respect of AD : UNQUOTE

    My opinion is that the LA’s position is very far from reasonable , in fact it is potentially harmful to your AD. For one they forget that as you have you are her parent,it is up to you to decide how rehabilitation should be approached and in what order. They want to lay the law down to you not accept your decision and are even willing to apply for an ICO not because your AD is in any danger or at any immediate risk but simply because they are crystal-ball gazing into the future and want to overruile you.
    If your AD goes away for ten days to America with the FC’s , that will undoubtedly have an adverse,long-term effect on her attachment with you ,her parents. It will not be negligible,it will be seriously detrimental to her welfare. You should be seeing her more regularly ,best of all on a two or three times a week basis. To part you for ten days could be critically harmful.
    Also, it will increase her attachment to the FC’s which will be just as harmful in the long-run.Your AD won’t know if she is coming or going and can only be disturbed by the agenda the CS want to enforce against your wishes. The FC’s aren’t permanent carers like adoptive parents.There preferences should have nothing to do with it.
    You should see your solicitor as Helen Sparkles ( a Social Worker) says. As i keep saying,iam just another parent trying to help but can i point out that if you leave yor AD in care under the S20 until the planned ICO hearing,it is almost certain,in my view,that the Judge will leave her there for the forseeable future ( at least the next 26 weeks. Judges don’t like to disturb current care-placements. On the other hand ,should you bring your AD home within the next few days , the Judge will more than likely leave her at home for the next 26 weeks at least if the CS still go ahead with proceedings. It appears they are only bringing the proceedings so your AD can go on holiday to America. Hardly a good case,i would have thought ,so keep all the documents,letters and so on which indicate that motive to show the judge if necessary.
    Good luck anyway,i hope you make the right decisions . I am sure Sarah will come on shortly with more professional advice than mine.

    1. helensparkles

      I think you misunderstand the case Angelo. AD’s parents are her adopters who placed her in foster care under S20. They now cannot make a decision about whether to revoke S20 or if indeed she can return home. They seem to want her in care indefinitely whereas the LA would like to plan rehab home. The FCs are doing what FC’s are asked to do, they are offering normal family life, of which holidays are apart. The ICO hearing is not because the LA are crystal ball gazing, they are looking at a situation is causing actual harm now. Planning rehab for a teenager after a disruption, and not doing it well, sets everyone up to fail.

  32. Adoptionp

    Just to inform you, We have decided to revoke sec20 and have her home. We want to work through further Reconnect therapy to reunite and we all want to make it work for AD sake. We have a love for AD and realised now we cannot continue under current arrangement in FC.

    AD is anxious over ICO and we want to make it stop. More than likely we would have revoked after 10 days.

    We want to continue the Reconnect process in a such a crucial period where is there no distraction from school and make it work for AD sake. We are not prepared for AD to be in FC where under ICO will feel we cannot and be her parents. The best chance we have is under our roof and we have decided to take the chance for AD sake. SHE IS PART OF OUR FAMILY.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I hope it goes well for all of you. Your dedication to your daughter is clear.

  33. Adoptionp

    We have decided to provide consent for our 14yr AD holiday 21Aug-31Aug and not decided to revoke sec20, therefore retaining 100% PR but have requested overnight unsupervised contact on either side of the holiday. The LA are assessing if they can allow this. Our sols have conveyed the message that this holiday has caused great stress in a period when we can continue our Reconnection process but have provided consent with a grievance.

    Our relationship with FC is now soured and we believe has been caused by the LA being more concerned about their future attachment with FC rather than Reconnect ours (i.e. to follow through their agenda of placing AD in long term foster care); and this is all while in current proceedings. The child legal guardian is meeting AD this week prior to holiday to get her views. AD is torn as she is overly compliant but yet when she has contact she terribly misses being with us.

    So our concern is the attachment will likely suffer when she goes on Florida. In our recent holiday at start of school holidays to Portugal, she was very angry & why she was not considered by us, but we explained this is due to current proceedings. We allowed her to go to Norfolk so we had not seen her for 3 weeks until this weekend and now will not see her unless they agree to request for contact.

    It is clear the LA are following their agenda but not considering the impact of what they are doing. We feel the FC should have no part to play until Reconnect has properly been conducted which had been delayed due LA delaying after first hearing in May. We believe they are taken aback by how we have engaged and done a lot of the footwork to attend by the second hearing on 22Jul (20 Reconnect session attending double sessions weekly) with AD only engaging very recently. So there is a lot more to do but the pending final hearing is in Sep which everyone is meeting to write their reports. AD has stated she will not attend Reconnect in FC but only if she was returned.

    Therefore we were expecting full support in the Reconnection which should not stop even though therapist is on leave in Aug.

    We suggested over the weekend for AD to stay with us for 10 days while FC went on holiday and she was keen, but yet the LA & Guardian were reluctant to accept this even though it was their error but could not see the benefit on Reconnection as if it works we would continue to have AD back home and work on Reconnection. Such a crucial period when there is no school to distract and when she is free during the weekdays.

    It seems no one is understanding the huge long term impact this is having on our AD future in FC and with looming final hearing they will likely have a care order which means all our hard work to reconnect will be even harder as she gets more integrated in the FC family and ways, such as culture and also parental decisions. We are Asian Hindus and they are White. AD is Sikh. So her cultural identity will suffer as a result.

    We do regret placing her in care in Feb but the Parenting Capacity assessment took the first three months and we continue to fight for our AD. She wanted to return from June and so we support her decision to do so. Her half-sibling remains with us and there was no issues with report, it is with 14yr AD that threshold has been met.

    AD wants to return, she does want to spend a life in FC. Yes there are concerns she may disrupt but we want her home and we believe there should be support in place to deal with issues rather than leave her in FC as the LA lack the understanding of Adoption issues and it is easier for her to be in a FC environment; where her Forever family will drift away. It will be hard for us.

    We went through grief in Feb and we are now grieving again at our loss. We are in so much pain for our AD and the LA (or even FC) do not understand what we are going through.

  34. Adoptionp

    I should mention we have an argument against threshold being proven on the basis we have caused her significant harm as opposed to her behind beyond parental control. But that is an argument we want to be having at the conclusion of the proceedings in Sep.

  35. Adoptionp

    I also should have mentioned AD does not want to spend life in FC.

    Please could you let us know when the FC would stop getting paid for provision of services? When AD is 16, 18 or 21…

  36. helensparkles

    What any child needs is to be able to see that the adults around her who she cares about are able to work together so it would be shame if you let the relationship with her carers be soured. The LA are seeking stability for AD, given your previous inability to offer her permanency, they would have to consider FC. It isn’t an agenda it is seeking the best outcome for your daughter and they didn’t really have anywhere to go with that if you weren’t able to offer permanence. AD will be very confused and it will be good if she can talk to the guardian. Your relationship with AD will be affected by everything that is going on, including your holiday, this is not irrevocable. Attachment is different. Attachment is about knowing AD has a secure base.

    Hopefully you will get to a point where AD can return home with support. I think people probably do understand what you are going through but the focus has to be on AD because there has been so much uncertainty for her. What you have done sounds constructive for all.

    Under current legislation, children can remain in care under the staying put policy until they are 21.

  37. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p , You can only but follow your own instincts and the advice of your solicitor. Give a little,take a little. Just sit back now and your cooperation will be reciprocated,let us all hope.
    AS Helen has said, your daughter should not lose her identity in this period of time, FC’s are skilled at ensuring at supporting children with an identity/ethnicity different to their own, and helping her to maintain her values.
    Everything they do will be dedicated to the best interests of your AD. I have no doubt there will be a Siekh temple in Florida and she will be taken there on the holy day.
    If she has a mobile ‘phone , they can encourage her to keep in close contact with you whilst she is away and hopefully that will minimise any attachment issues. I think your AD will probably understand that you and your family do love her and want her home but that you are no longer calling all the shots,as it were.
    Co-operation with the CS is the most important thing.

  38. Angelo Granda

    Unfortunately ,your daughter’s wish to come home is over-ridden by the CS on this occasion .The FC’s desire to take the holiday abroad takes precedence.
    I suggest you do not forget it; keep a careful record of all your daughter’s wishes; if possible make use of a tape-recorder too . You might also consider asking her to put her wishes down on paper and to sign at the bottom.
    Frequent and regular contact between parents and children in care is absolutely essential. Much emotional harm results when LA’s . Children become confused mentally and spiritually in care and the regular ,frequent contacts help to lessen the impact. You should discuss this problem at length with your solicitor before the next hearing.
    As a parent, i would advise other parents that the CS attitude towards contact ,the frequency and length of sessions , supervision or non-supervision, in the community or at a contact centre, at home or not etc. etc. etc. is often a very good indicator as to their overall ‘agenda’.

    Adoption p, please ,if you have time, on what basis to you contest the threshhold criteria? I understand the issues around significant harm and whether or not you have lost control of your AD. However, in my experience, the CS lawyers will have already made a decision on this and your solicitor will bve aware that no matter what the real issues, the Court usually find a way to satisfy threshhold for one reason or another.
    Please discuss it again with your solicitor as contesting threshhold will undoubtedly be held against you in Court when you get there in September. Accept the threshhold and the outcome might be more to your daughter’s liking and yours in the long run.
    Family Courts hate wasting time ( which is how they see it) by arguing about threshhold and take adverse inferences towards parents who contest.

  39. Angelo Granda

    I meant adverse inferences AGAINST parents who contest not TOWARDS them.
    Sorry for the slip.

  40. Angelo Granda

    Sarah, in cases like this one where parents have unsupervised, lengthy contact and also when the CS and parents are making competing claims about the desires and needs of the child concerned, would it be helpful and in the child’s interests if the parents were to utilise one of the contacts by taking the child to see their solicitor? The solicitors would be able to establish the child’s wishes for themselves and be less inclined to accept the ‘feelings’ of Guardians and unconfirmed,unminuted reports of SW’s.
    Adoption p. This is a general enquiry and not a suggestion aimed at you personally.
    Sarah’s advice will be helpful to us all.

    1. helensparkles

      “The solicitors would be able to establish the child’s wishes for themselves and be less inclined to accept the ‘feelings’ of Guardians and unconfirmed,unminuted reports of SW’s.”

      The Guardian is the child’s representative in court and the SW reports would have been recorded, otherwise their solicitor would not have used them in a letter.

      Rather than just buying into all CS are rubbish, which isn’t helpful, wouldn’t it be more helpful to acknowledge what parents are also saying which is that a teenager who is confused and possibly over compliant, will say whatever she thinks the person asking her wants to hear. AD may also have no idea what she wants, and whilst her views and wishes will be heard and taken account of, the adults around her need to take the decisions that are in AD’s best interests. Hopefully, the Guardian being her representative will be neutral enough for AD to talk to honestly.

  41. ian josephs

    I don’t know if Adoptionp adopted this girl against the will of her birth parents or not.If she did that,then she deserves all the aggro she is now getting and more some !

  42. Angelo Granda

    I respect your point,Ian,but i don’t think it is very fair on Adoption p. The inhumane law will be responsible for taking the child from the parents not him. He just adopted a child following the guidance of the law. What else could he do but assume that adoption law is correct? He is not a lawyer,don’t blame him.

  43. Adoptionp

    Today we have made our views clear to CS that we want AD back and she can home when she wants to. We discussed we learnt a lot from Reconnect and will continue to do more, but the we discussed with therapist the best place to do this is once AD is back in the house.
    AD was angry when CS manager spoke to her on last Friday but after weekend contact she wanted to come home and all the other things went flying out of the window. It is the way she feels when she sees us and we want it also and will endeavour to make it happen. It is for her sake we are fighting, yes it was a mistake we made in Feb but we want to make it right and move on and work on getting it right for AD. It is her future.
    CS Manager will discuss again with AD today/tomorrow to validate what AD said to us in lengthy contact this weekend (two days unsupervised).
    AD is seeing child guardian tomorrow.

    So it is up to how AD communicates, but she might be consistent (with what she expressed to us) if she hears from CS that we have asked her to come home.
    Another meeting with Guardian may confuse her again as well not letting the FC. This holiday has come about at such crucial time in making decisions for her future for the courts (reports in early Sep hence the meetings now) and is adding pressure to the situation.

    CS Manager acknowledges our comment that the best time to further connect is now before the school starts to increase unsupervised contact as it will show progress to the courts for decision making. The CS Manager met us in first hearing of May hearing, so she knows who we are.

    The confusion arises from many different people in the mix and so the AD is torn, she complies to please and so it is not right and they compile reports for her future.

    What matters for the immediate future is if AD will return to us. Attachment consideration with FC is secondary which can be worked on if the decision is she needs to be in ltfc.

    Post PC assessment for first hearing, case moved to Child in Care team, this new SW now has left and handing over to new SW (who is now on annual leave). Meanwhile the court hearing is being finalised.

    We need to meet Guardian, only a brief chat after IRO meeting in Apr.
    Barnardo’s therapist has said we should have Reconnected immediately after, and we wish we did. We are trying to do everything possible now to make it right for AD who terribly misses her family.

    1. helensparkles

      AD is telling everyone what they want to hear and she will be aware of your expectations and wishes. This isn’t a bad thing, it is good she knows you want her home, but you do have to accept the she may feel under pressure from you as CS have suggested. That you were to able to have contact without discussing all of the issues with her is a shame. AD needs her return home to be unconditional. I don’t think you need to think about February as a mistake, if you hadn’t done what you did then you could have reached a crisis, which would have been worse for everyone.

    2. helensparkles

      P.S. Therapist would say that you should have had therapy immediately, what is ideal and what is possible are not often the same. I presume it is being funded for you, and this does take time to agree, as well as the availability being dependant on the therapists who offer the service you need to access.

  44. Adoptionp

    At the moment, we feel really drained and tired by it all.
    We are feeling like is it really worth it?

    Is this what it will be like when returns?

    This is reason why we asked for proceedings to cease in the interim.

    We are getting emotionally damaged, I do not think, we could live if AD returned under a SO.

    it is a Reconnection process ,after disruption. Normal rules of rehab do not apply, as proven by the LA agreement of overnight post holiday, but I have no faith this will happen.

    We are fighting, but not sure how much we have got left.

  45. helensparkles

    You are bound to be tired and drained, this is a difficult time for everyone, try to use the time that AD is away to rest and take care of yourselves.

    There are no absolute rules for rehab because they need to be child focussed, they will depend on the child, and what has gone on before in any situation. An overnight post holiday, if AD wants it, is a perfectly legitimate part of rehab. I don’t know what you think normal rules are, there is no normal because everyone is different. I don’t know what it will be like if AD returns home.

    I don’t really understand what you mean about asking for proceedings to end, the LA can’t end them, the court can. Assuming you mean you’ve agreed to the holiday so they don’t make the application for the ICO.

    It is clear you don’t trust the LA but you seem to have a good relationship with the CS manager, use that and the Guardian to ensure that rehab goes at AD’s pace. It will avoid setting anyone up to fail.

    Try to drop the blame and I mean blaming yourself as well. This doesn’t need to be a fight, you all want what is best for AD, the LA are in court with you because AD can’t be in limbo. Try to view it as a place where decisions can be made with everyone’s participation.

    Adoption is complex, adopting an older child even more so, if you read tell me what you have read already ease it looks like you need some help with the complexities for teenagers?

  46. Angelo Granda

    Adoptionp, just one thing,when the new SW appears and when you get to see the Guardian, don’t forget to check whether or not they have been provided with the original CS statements which were based on statements you had not made. It will be very easy for them to form a wrong,misguided opinion should they base it on total misapprehensions and fabrications. It would be totally unprofessional were they not to check the truth with you.
    Try and ensure the previous CS assessments have been cleansed.
    It is very draining dealing with the CS ,especially when SW’s are unobtainable being on leave or whatever. It is easy to overlook major points like this one abouit fabrications.
    It sounds like the manager is running the show and ,even though you have met and spoken with him,don’t forget he will be taking instructions from the Solicitors too.
    Try not to worry too much, as i said the fact you are getting long, unsupervised contacts and weekend contacts is a good indication of their agenda.
    Just be very careful about keeping contact even when your AD is on holiday .
    It is very confusing for children when they don’t understand what is happening. Keep reassuring her and whilst you must not adopt the attitude that all SW’s are rubbish ( i have met many excellent ones) you must never underestimate the propensity of others to get their decisions wrong. Good luck and remain strong.
    You should be proud of yourself.So many parents are vulnerable and fold-up in the face of the authorities. Keep in close contact with your solicitor and check all information they give him.
    To let everyone know, the LA are actually changing the Parent Capacity report and so it would be interesting to know exactly to what extent. We will also be feeding back our concerns over their procedures to the Independent Reviewing Officer during the LAC process.

    1. helensparkles

      “It sounds like the manager is running the show and ,even though you have met and spoken with him,don’t forget he will be taking instructions from the Solicitors too.” The manager is a woman. The manager will be taking legal advice but solicitors do not instruct CS, it is the other way around.

      “Just be very careful about keeping contact even when your AD is on holiday .” AD is going to Florida on holiday.

  47. Angelo Granda

    Sorry ,i forgot to indicate that the last paragraph is a quote from one of adoption p’s previous posts.

  48. Adoptionp

    In our view, rehab for our AD is easy, she just moves back in and we continue Reconnect Therapy. We have learnt so much, including dealing with attachment issues with a psychosomatic psychotherapist. We have also discussed age appropriate behaviours. We will continue. She is also supporting us and our emotional pressures.

    Our honest opinion, from messages we have received so far is quite simple. They believe the relationship will break down and we will place AD back into care. So it is simple, the LA cannot provide adequate support to ensure a family can be together, as they do not have experts in Adoption.

    So the best interest of AD is to keep her in FC for 4 years until she is an adult. The least path of resistance.

    AD needs to be at home and we nurture her to ensure she is happy, but at the same time, everyone needs to understand her triggers and mitigate by ensuring the correct controls are there when in school i.e. do not follow ordinary procedures WHEN this happens.

    1. helensparkles

      You are completely right about how important it is for school to manage issues and, hopefully through the reviewing process for children in care you have been able to ensure this is clear.

      “So it is simple, the LA cannot provide adequate support to ensure a family can be together, as they do not have experts in Adoption.” There is adoption support and your LA will have to have someone to manage that, it is presumably how your therapy is being funded. That the LA can’t provide the support you think you need for a family to stay together depends on the extent of the support needed. There is absolutely a limit to this.

      I would suggest if you think rehab home is simple you are underestimating the complexity of the current situation.

  49. Adoptionp

    Sorry to correct , we are seeing a psychodynamic psychotherapist provided by Barnardos.

    It will be heavily compromised by a Supervision Order or Care Order.

    1. Angelo Granda

      Adoptionp. Thank you for the information. I think you have summed up the situation very well.
      I would be very grateful if you would write up some of the Barnados advice on here from the psychodynamic psychotherapist or if you have any written information it will be helpful if you could copy it out for us.
      When natural parents get to the stage when their children can return from lengthy stays in foster-care , they face the same problem as you. Attachment issues ,especially when they have only been allowed quarterly ,supervised contact in a contact centre. The CS would rather keep those children in care too and cannot or will not arrange support to promote rehabilitation. Unfortunately Barnadoes will not help natural parents ( i was in touch with them yesterday);they only deal with adoption cases.

      1. helensparkles

        They can be referred to CAMHS who do more work with birth families than chidden in care.

  50. Adoptionp

    The therapist in our case also provides support to LA services, so she helps us .

    We spoke about the decision tree, the cross roads of where we are. 1. BRING HER HOME and continue RC and start AFC,My Life therapy. 2. LEAVE in FC and continue RC 3. CO and possible therapy.

    During therapy, we spoke about AD past, initial sessions was a lot of information gathering. Then we took upon an exercise to colour in the age appropriate building blocks, we noticed how her wall wall is very weak and how she regresses to even a 3 yard old at times. This we have always known, it is about how a child becomes ‘clumsey’ like a toddler, so you give them that secure base.

    We spoke the different ways we deal with her behaviour when she becomes difficult, things like time in when she is upset.

    We spoke about cycle of a normal child SECURE base , SAFE haven and how for AD was not provided by BM, so she has always had the LA as the safe haven. We spoke about how we as AP fight that cycle with the LA, how we need to work in that if she returned and how that causes us stress. This is a big concern for LA, as next time the allegations could be worse and the pressures it put on us AP and also half sibling when it happens. Now that AD was in FC, it makes it hard for us to break that. With severe attachments issues, the AD will always find a safe haven away from AP, be it school, friends or even friends parents. In 7yrs it is likely she has done this all her time with us, we have this continuous battle and it is the environment that causes disruption not AD. We said that in the PLO, we do not BLAME her. It is the lack of support. That is why in holidays it is fine, school and peers interactions is what causes disruption.

    We spoke about the different attachments, INSECURE, AMBIVALENT, DISORGANISED/CONTROLLING. We ticked about 95 percent of the last, scoring 8 out of 10 on most of the behaviours associated with the worst type of attachment condition. This is what we presented to courts.

    We walkabout the secure attachment cycle (half sibling) and the insecure attachment cycle which AD has.

    We involved AD from sessions 15 to 18, once with Dad, then separate with Mum, then with all three together where we played a getting to know you game. The therapist was impressed in how we ALL knew each other and also how we all had the same concerns. It was clear though the attachment with Mum will need more support as there would be competition with birth mum.

    AD has her ‘issues’ with Dad, as she sees him as the decision maker and she finds it harder to control him, so he is number one target when things do not go her way. Mum is easily manipulated. However deep down AD WANTS that same relationship that Dad has with half sibling (whose birth dad is reason why AD is in care).

    Dad made the decision to place AD in FC, this was really to save mum, who was verge of walking out. So it is dad that has been fighting, writing this blog. He is torn as he desperately want AD back but the LA and even mum are not sure. It is predominantly dad that wants AD back to the way we felt in Introductions in 2009 and it is dad that feels the most pain for AD and wants to make it right; but mum not so sure, hence her hesitancy. So Dad is torn. That is me.

    So I write this from this to you all of the top of my head and heart.

    We are at a cross roads, and very complicated and decisions to be made in court. Mum is still hesitant, she admits the bond has never been there, Dad fighting fighting fighting.

    The LA know it is complex and know the family all love each other, but it is the environment we are in that makes it hard for them to support the return. So they BLAME us in the courts, it is easier path for them, irrespective of what AD wants.

    So in this situation, WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD….stop the proceedings immediately and work on reunification? Yes please your worships.

    1. helensparkles

      You’re right, it is very complicated. I don’t think the LA blame you necessarily, I think they are probably being honest about what you describe above which is not a stable and secure environment for AD to return to. The decision the LA make is about whether they have met a legal threshold, the court will decide on whether an order should be granted or not. I don’t know why you think an order will sabotage therapy is that something the therapist has said?

      1. Adoptionp

        To the ordinary person , it is unbelievable that AD would be more stable in ltfc than we her Family.

        It may look good know abd the AD may seem ‘happy’ now, but we know she will resent it later. They do not know het ad we do.

        The system is broken because not once have the SWs consider parents view. They get into s mindset. The threshold in this case is based on happiness, which all families have good and bad times. The issue here is what happens in the home when she is not happy.

        Some might say, the system had become overeactionary which just fuels attachment issues. I understand why they are, they have to be seen to do the right thing, but micromanaging relationships is just over yhe top.

        You might then argue, all children should be taken into care when families go through stressful situations.

        It is poor decision making from those that are not close to the detail.

        1. helensparkles

          You have been admirably honest about your family life and it is clear from what you have said that it is not at the moment an emotionally safe space for a child who has experienced trauma, which all adopted children have by default, because they have been separated from their family of origin. I think you are underestimating the emotional harm AD is experiencing and the weight of your expectations upon her.

          You also describe quite radical attachment issues. Attachment is not about relationships, a bond, or happiness. Attachment is about whether a child feels safe that her needs will be met. If I was AD at this point I would know that you find me difficult to manage, which is why I am in FC, children need to feel safe and ‘held’, as if their stuff can be contained not lead to threats of mum walking out. I think that from what you have said ordinary people would probably understand why it is difficult for AD to live with you, her mum doesn’t want her at home, and says the bond was never there.

          It would be unfortunate if you saw adhering to the legal process as people wanting to be seen to do the right thing.

          Families should of course be listened to, you’ve had meetings with a manger, hopefully that helped. It would also be unfortunate if you didn’t recognize, from what you have said, that your relationships with AD need a lot of work.

          You can do whatever you like about your views of the LA but I would again suggest ditching blame, this isn’t about blame or people taking sides, it is about your vulnerable AD.

  51. Adoptionp

    Just to reconfirmed something, we cannot have her back under any order from the court, it will just be too much pressure on reunification if we know the LA will be breathing down our necks with a CO or SO.

    This is why we feel they are out of their depth with this complex Adoption issue.

    1. helensparkles

      This is your ultimatum but it isn’t focussed on AD, instead it is focussed on the pressure and stress you feel from being under scrutiny. This is completely understandable but how would that make AD feel?

      The child’s best interests are working with the court’s decision when proceedings end. If an order is granted and you give that as a reason for AD not returning home, you are effectively blaming the LA/court instead of what is just a very difficult situation the court have heard and made a decision about. That would be a shame.

      None of this has anything to do with the LA being out of their depth, I don’t know if they are or are not, but it is just a very difficult and complex situation for everyone. There are no easy solutions. Whilst everyone will listen to AD, the decision made will be in her interest, we all know we can’t always give children what they want and that sometimes we shouldn’t.

      Your commitment is clear but the relationship between AD and her mum is clearly a problem. You want to go back in time, but unfortunately that is not possible. What you can do is work through the therapy, which sounds like it is going well, and work with the LA. They are not ‘against’ you because they are worried about the issues you have described here, they are worrying issues.

      1. Adoptionp

        We are focused on AD when say it would hard to have her back. We are not punishing but being honest as the psychology of reunification will be damaged, and we clearly lay that at the LA procedures.

        They need yo stop ‘ blaming’ us, the main reason why this blog wad started. They do not understand Adoption.

        It is a shame, as Barnardo’s never get involved apart report on progress of therapy provided.

        The LA and all SW need to adopt a child and go through disruption to fully understand the psychological impact and they then could consider what actions their procedures have.

        1. helensparkles

          I’m really confused now because you have said that it would be easy to have AD back home in one comment, so easy you can do it without planned rehab home, and here you say it would be hard. Not sure what you think?

          I don’t think the LA are blaming you, the issues here are very worrying, that isn’t blaming you for them. I can see how that feels like blame because the issues do lie within your family but they do have to tell the court what is going on in your family. The fact that you have said that you want AD home but her mum doesn’t, and that mum has said the bond was never there, leads to a very high risk of disruption. I am sure nobody wants AD in care but the LA do need to achieve stability and security for her.

          I would suggest you talk to your solicitor about more involvement from the adoption team if you think you need more adoption expertise. I would also suggest you talk to your solicitor if you would like Barnardos to be more involved, you have limited this at the moment by asking the LA to accept Barnardos only report on progress of therapy. If you would like them to be more involved in care planning, I am sure you could instruct your solicitor.

          I am sure the LA/SW don’t underestimate the psychological impact of adoption disruption. it is hugely distressing for everyone.

          I think you are mistaking the legal framework SW operate within for CS procedures. Your solicitor should be able to explain this to you.

          1. Adoptionp

            We did request Barnardos to be more involved but they have said they do not get involved in court hearings.

            We had excellent day contact with AD where gave out blessing of the holiday.

            She desperately wants to come home. We also took her to a medical appointment in the hospital and applied creams for her severe condition. She did not want her room interfered in any way. Her 9yr old half sibling was playing up when dad was giving AD all the attention.

            AD mentioned the Guardian and her soul visited her yesterday she she heavily expressed a wish to return home and also wanted to attend court.

            So all in all a very complex situatiin, she understand why we placed her in FC, and we expressed that it was a mistake to her. I think she acknowledges we ALL need to change and she understood it may take some time but she really does miss us.

            We said to her several times we want her home, but mum was not so passionate in her communications. AD was mentioning FC mum a lot. I think she knows herself the relationship mum and her will need working upon.

            So it is now out of our hands and into the legal framework, but once a CO has been issued I have read that it will be the same type scrutiny and silencing to get it discharged i.e.ensuring the points in threshold no longer apply. Even if the AD at 16 says wants to do so and apply to the courts via Guardian.

            This is the reason why we feel working on a Reconnection with a CO will be extremely difficult.

          2. helensparkles

            I am curious about why you are talking to AD about the decision to place her in FC, the need for all (including her presumably to change), and other issues during your contact. Given you are having therapy she is involved in, you might want to think about containing those discussions in that safe setting and ensuring contact is used to build your relationship rather than discuss what are very adult decisions AD has no responsibility for.

            I meant involving Barnardos more with CS could be discussed with your solicitor, if you felt you needed their expertise.

      2. Adoptionp

        Our sols have got good case for opossing threshold. All based on subjective concerns. The LA may now go one a diff threshold based on interim hearing findings.
        We thinlk it is just to get a CO on any basis ad they felt there was no immediate Reconnection, but now as we and AD want immediate Reconnection. It is out of hands.

        We are really dis with LA, in the whole summer holiday we would have contact 1+1.5+1 days so far, with an expected overnight 2Sep.( if Ad wants to on yer return).
        As I write this, our AD has just taken off to a trip to that she did really want (she is just complying). School then starts 5Sep.

        We want to work on Reconnection not worry about LA breathing down all our necks, they really do not understand Adoption

        1. helensparkles

          I would be interested to know what Barnardo’s view of instant rehab home is when one parent doesn’t want AD home and how safe and secure they think that would be without support?

          1. Adoptionp

            The Barnardo’s Reconnection therapist said it should have been attempted straight after disruption.
            Instead the LA are pursuing a diff line. The interim hearing showed we had driven and engaged with whole process bur yet there seems to be s lack of drive from LA, as evidenced by their agenda.
            I keep saying agenda, ad it us clear they do not want to actually her our view.

            We want to make it work for AD sake, it us her life and we are her Family.

            The LA agenda should not he set by service managers who do not want to hear what parents are needing. They want least path of resistance without thinking about long term impact this will gave on AD. The system is broken.

            We have had now two senior managers in our house, one Adoption manager who really do not want to support us. Instead we will seek through the courts further Reconnect from Barnardo’s.

            They really have no clue about post Adoption issues.

          2. Adoptionp

            The SW suggestion of AD living in ltfc ‘maintaining family relationships ‘ goes to show exactly out of touch the LA are when it comes to Adoption.

            The Family needed to have been reunited immediately or at least shown to support it. Yes there are concerns there maybe further disruption band mum really dies want her back.

            We have changed and we will be AD bedrock to whatever she wants to do. She needs that loving and support that can only come from her Family and not ltfc, irrespective of how good they may be.

            The LA needs to support Reconnection and not drag us through the courts. What does that achieve apart from stress to what is already a stressful situation.

            We are not a danger to our AD. It simply is matter of opinion over what is best for her.

          3. helensparkles

            Unfortunately it is only recently that you have said that you want AD home so it wasn’t possible for reconnection to be attempted straight away, and you were anyway a family in crisis so that shouldn’t have happened without support. It also wasn’t my question, I asked about now, and their view of a rehab plan.

            The LA have absolutely no choice about taking this to court and they have to give the court a care plan. Hopefully things will have changed enough for thresholds not to be met for a care order, but it isn’t an agenda, SW is set within a legal framework.

            From everything that you have said here, I can’t see how ‘the system’ could take a different position. Nobody is saying you are a danger to AD, but you’ve been really honest here about your family dynamic and that is emotionally risky for an already traumatised child.

  52. Sam

    Much of what AdoptionP says just echo’s what birth parents say, the system is broken all round. I am interested though that adopters get therapy paid for , yet parents don’t. Why?

  53. Adoptionp

    AD is very concerned about her future, talking about concerns and listening to her is to ensure she can cope with the situation that has initially may have been caused by us AP in crisis situation.

    The court proceedings are having detrimental impact on all, it is not adding value and is a reaction to a situation that could been more supportive. The threshold criteria is being disputed and was initially based on feedback from AD who was justifiably angry.

    AD wants to return home and we will support in that decision, she never wants to leave after every contact. It is quite evident, so as we build up the relationship, our attachment issues will also heal.

    A CO will compromise the situation and given her age, she resent what the adults are making for her.

    It is the AD that brings up the subject as she wants support from us to understand the many meetings she is having. She wants it to go back to how it used to be. A CO will just add stress to a difficult and fragile situation.

    The AD must go a difficult time when we drop her back to FC, which AD has now confirmed have sold their house.

    So we know our AD, we know she hurts for a mistake that we made and we are trying to rebuild our relationship.

    We need to have support to do this, not a CO. Anyone can see it will be a detriment long term. We are not a danger, as noted the unsupervised and future overnight contact.

    So it is about meeting her long term stability which we feel should not be in off.

    1. helensparkles

      The court process was unavoidable because you were unable to offer rehab home and the LA is not able to keep children in care under S20 indefinitely. Given only one of you is committed to rehab home now, and there is therefore a high risk of disruption from that apart from any other issues, the LA does still need to ask a court to rule. I would suggest you look at a Care Order, should it be granted, as support and SW intervention at a time you may very well need it.

  54. Angelo Granda

    Adoptionp Have you seen the threshhold criteria facts and matters relied on? If so,are they facts or are some of them based on hearsay of what you and your AD are alleged to have said?
    If they are true facts, how can you contest them?
    If they aren’t ,will your solicitor be arguing the matters?

    1. Adoptionp

      Our sols have got good case for opposing threshold. All based on subjective concerns. The LA may now go one a diff threshold based on interim hearing findings.
      We think it is just to get a CO on any basis ad they felt there was no immediate Reconnection, but now as we and AD want immediate Reconnection. It is out of hands.

      We are really disappointed with LA, in the whole summer holiday we would have contact 1+1.5+1 days so far, with an expected overnight 2Sep.( if AF wants an overnight to on her return). School then starts 5Sep.

      We want to work on Reconnection not worry about LA breathing down all our necks, they really do not understand Adoption, a CO will not help. A supportive and funded care plan working with the Adoption team SW will.

      1. helensparkles

        The post adoption team are already involved, they have provided assessments for the childcare team, who will be working with that advice. You have said that the adoption team manager did not want to support you, this suggests they do not support your position either, and they definitely do know about adoption.

        I am sure everyone would prefer things to be stable enough for AD to return home, nobody wants a teenager in care, especially after all the years she has spent with her AP’s. The relationship with your wife is though very risky for a traumatized child who has already experienced the grief and loss of losing their family of origin. You have been admirably honest about your family dynamic here and it is not easy. There are huge resonances here for AD to experience further rejection and disruption, both of which would increase the damage already caused to her. The LA have already assessed a very high risk of disruption but if everything is really ok for rehab home, the LA won’t apply for a Care Order, or they will ask the court to decide. When do you see the threshold document?

        1. Adoptionp

          Evidences of threshold and SW,Guardian reports will be submitted early Sep

          We are meeting sols this Thursday before she goes on leave til Sep

          We desperately would like to meet Guardian this week and have sought meeting via our sols. She mentioned previously she would like to attend a contact with AD but that has never happened and now will not due to AD on holiday with FC.

          So it sounds like the least path of resistance has been taken by all….Will AD cause further disruption? That depends on how well we would be supported. No one is being open an honest about their fears and concerns.

          1. helensparkles

            The path of least resistance would have been to let you revoke S20 and for AD to return home. There were concerns about that.

            I don’t think you should give AD responsibility for either the current disruption or the potential for it in the future.

            I am sure all the reports for court will be explicit about the concerns. Assessments will have been ongoing.

            What support do you think you need?

  55. Adoptionp

    We need Reconnection to be funded if AD. was to return.

    A community nurse that would visit home once a week would help with AD sticking to medication. She has started to slip in FC, her eczema condition the worst it has been. She needs help, AP have helped her and we will be much supportive.

    We also understand AD has been in contact with dogs in FC home, which AD is highly allergic to.

    I just don’t see how a life in ltfc will help her, when she is unhappy she needs help and only a Family would help her with that long term.

  56. helensparkles

    I don’t think anyone would wish to see a teenager return to care from an adoptive placement but I think it is a shame to presume a hierarchy of family based care. If all families did actually help, AD would be with her birth family. There are of course features of adoption that create stability, security and normal family life for children which the care system does not, such as the ongoing need for a SW, but foster carers provide family life. They do so with the support of their own social worker, as well as the child’s, and access to specialist training. It is the best way to meet some children’s needs.

    If the only form of support you think you need is the reconnect therapy, and you expect this to be funded, presumably there is a timescale?

    Hopefully you have made AD’s allergies known.

  57. Adoptionp

    We would be happy to attend Reconnect as long as it is funded. The issue would be the scrutiny and pressure, if this was monitored under any CO or SO. We think the best form of Reconnection in our AD case is to be left alone to get on with it. The last six months have not been good, dealing with the assessment, paperwork, supervised contact, getting ‘permission’ etc. It all adds pressure to an Adoptive relationship. We just think we can continue with this after Sep.

    AD allergies all known, the FC has been taking AD to regular hospital appointments. What was clear is the AD is still the same with regards to application of medication. Atoptic Eczema is which she had in early childhood re-emerged when AD become teenager. For years she was fine with us. This affects her happiness, she needs to be supported in this and unfortunately any support groups are no longer provided in Hospital (we are exploring with National Eczema society).

    We spoke with Guardian today who will meet us early Sep. We said it has not been easy.

    It depends on her view, but as we have only started to Reconnect, her view will most likely be cautious, so we think she will likely recommend a CO. We did say that the last six months has been under a lot of pressure for us and this would continue under a CO scrutiny. She was happy we would continue with Reconnect therapy (if funded), but we said AD would only be prepared to attend under our roof. She mentioned the 6 monthly IRO reviews would still take place.

    We also mentioned that if AD continued to stay in FC, she would be different person as she gets integrated into FC family. We said she had already done so and there would be a cultural shift. We expressed regret over the placing of AD into care.

    We said it was only recently that we started to support AD wish to return, once contact went Unsupervised and this has helped. We mentioned AD must hurt every time she gets dropped off back to FC, as she often wishes to stay longer, if not for days. The process of integration may be a struggle as AD will compare her FC life with ours. This no doubt will be used when things do not go her way, or on a positive note, she may think, I do not want to experience life in FC again.

    The Guardian mentioned that a lot of adopted children would expressed their hidden anger which comes out in teenage years. This would need managing.

    The LA are providing their evidence this week or early next week.

    1. helensparkles

      “The Guardian mentioned that a lot of adopted children would expressed their hidden anger which comes out in teenage years. This would need managing.” This is why I offered to source some reading for you. Children in care often experience issues when their brains are rewiring in teenage years and which are specific to their early years history. You need to know more about this, Barnardo’s will be able to help if you would prefer.

      You will experience an order as pressure and scrutiny but it is monitoring and safety for AD. I’d be cautious given AD’s mum is not as committed as you and because you underestimate the issues that could increase risk of disruption, such as your other child.

      If you are only able to attend therapy if funded, you need to bear in mind that resources are finite. Courts cannot order funding.

      I am sure AD hurts when she leaves anyone at the moment, it is a very confusing and painful situation for her, but at least she knows she has stability and security with FC. That will feel safe for her.

  58. Adoptionp

    Sorry, I meant to say, we just think we CANNOT continue like this after Sep.
    We feel like handing in the towel.

    1. helensparkles

      I think both the LA and AD are aware of this, because you have shared your feelings with both. Where there are the issues you describe, it causes concern about the fragility of rehab.

  59. Adoptionp

    In ltfc it would be very difficult to maintain a Family relationship. AD would be very lonely, regardless of how good the FC are, you cannot substitute being part of a Family.

    It is not an ultimatum, it is the way we feel. If the LA have any common sense they should look beyond their noses and see Reconnection should be supported and ensure there is further support in place.

    We know our AD very well, there is a strong connection and if we come through this test, our relationship will be stronger than ever. It is if ALL are prepared to take that risk for AD sake and work together to achieve a common goal, her happiness. We can talk about procedures all day long, but at the end of the day it is about a relationship and sense of belonging to a Family.

    1. helensparkles

      The difficulty is that being part of a family, the bit you’d hope never to lose, is the part where you weather all the crisis’ together and nobody has to leave. It is very unfortunate that family will mean something very different to you and AD, because she did have to leave her family of origin, and because her adopters placed her with FC. That isn’t to blame anyone, it is just what happened, but it does mean I would disagree with your view of the LA having no common sense or not understanding adopters just because you think they aren’t listening to you. I think they are listening but they need to assess the risk.

      There is an adoption support fund, which I am sure is paying for the therapy already, these are public funds and they are finite.

      Have you explored therapeutic parenting for teenagers or are you doing that with Barnardo’s? There is nothing common sense about that.

      What is the further support is it you need?

  60. Angelo Granda

    I have found this discussion you have been having with Helen very interesting as it has taught me more clearly about the difference of mentality between parents with responsibility for safeguarding children ( with full knowledge of all the relevant facts and matters for concern) and of SW’s who approach a case not with an attitude which compels them to listen to the parents and to offer them the support requested, but to listen to them and to look for any possible element of ‘blame’ or for any possible error or mere ‘inconsistency’ in the level of care to which a child ‘ may’ have been subjected.
    Whilst doing so , they tend to forget the basic facts of a case
    From what i gather, the problem was that your wife was struggling to ensre your AD was not cooperating with her therapy with adverse effects. Thus , the two of you decided to request support from the CS in the hope that a temporary foster placement might have more success and persuade her to comply. Not an unreasonable expectation on your part given that she is a teenager with all the normal problems by adoptive placements.
    Youe AD has MH difficulties around attachment and that is understandable .
    BTW, I have now signed your petition .
    You put her into FC voluntarily under the auspices of an S20 and left her there for quite a long time.Little support is available through the CS as the LA will not fund it. You managed to arrange for reconnect therapy through the good and helful ,supportive offices of Barnadoes and that has got you to the stage where you now wish to rescind the S20 and allow your AD to return home ( in accordance with her own, oft -expressed desires).
    Those are the facts as a normal parent will see them!
    Yet the CS look upon matters differently.They cannot support you but nevertheless, they feel they hav a duty to ensure your AD is ‘safe’.
    In actual fact, that is your duty, not theirs, but they feel they can override your parental responsibility .
    Why did they feel the need to get lawyers involved in the first place? 1hy did they feel they needed to establish whether threshhold were crossed? What threshhold anyway,threshhold for neglect? Threshhold foe possible future significant harm? Threshhold for abuse?
    On the true facts and matters,, i cannot see how any threshhold are crossed how any threshold criterior ares satisfied. Yet they want the power to direct you what to do and to direct your AD what to do . They are out of their depth so they feel a Court should decide. This authoritarianism can always be justified by the the general child-protection narrative and the Family Court is unlikely to turn their request for a care-order down.The threshhold are so low ( and unclear) . It will be inhumane to your family and cruel to you AD to keep her in care but they will do it purely to discharge their self-imposed duty to keep your child safe.The child will be no more safe but the buck will be passed to Court.
    They will have listened to every word you have uttered and also every word your AD and the FC have uttered., They will have noted down everything in support of their case.They will ten to forget the actual facts and to develop and work upon ‘concerns’m They will inflate issues and problems expressed by you ( forgetting your requests for support) and overstate ‘future risk’.
    When you try to call them back to the realties and remind them of the facts, you will be told you are ‘conflating the real issues’ and that you are unable to understand your own case!
    I suggest you také heed of Helen’s helpful advice and keep in close touch with your solicitors. Don’t let them forget the facts !

    As i said beforen keep in close contact with your AD if you can whilst she is in America.I believe one can dial Florida directly on Mobile phones .You must reassure her she will be coming home as she wishes to.

    1. helensparkles

      Angelo, AD was placed in foster care under S20 because adoptive mum was about to walk out, so a family crisis. Until recently adoptive parents were unable to consider revoking S20 and were not offering permanency. Adoptive mum is still not committed.

      It is the duty of the LA not to let such placements drift, but to go to court, they do not have a choice about this and would be criticised if they did not.

      Threshold discussions were not taking place around S20, that is part of the point of S20, that they don’t reach a legal threshold. But it is also the reason LAs are not allowed to leave young people in placements on that legal status. They have to seek the scrutiny of the courts.

      There is actually a lot of support for adoptive parents via the adoption support fund, which is funding the therapy, there is no cap on this and theres on refusal to support – so not sure where you got that from.

      I don’t know the case obviously, but the risks of disruption are high for older children placed for adoption, for teenagers whose early years’ history impacts upon their neurological development particularly, and with a difficult family dynamic (mum and sibling). So the LA is doing what is right and proper, they are assessing that risk, looking for stability and security, and ensuring AD is not subjected to further emotional harm.

      I think blaming anyone on either side of this discussion is totally unhelpful. It means focus on AD and what she needs is lost.

  61. Adoptionp

    Thank you for your responses, you have been very helpful 🙂

    Originally, we were and still concerned about health, but then also concern about her disruption.

    we requested respite for about month but very disappointed at CS to progress PC assessment as they immediately made decision that threshold was met without understanding the situation fully.

    We have learnt a lot from Reconnect from the experts and wish to continue.

    We have also read a lot during this time, such as this brilliant article which I would recommend to anyone

    1. helensparkles

      The LA have a responsibility, where they think threshold is met, to seek legal advice. Can you imagine how critical people would be of SW if they didn’t, just decided oh this case is fine because they are adopters.

      1. Adoptionp

        “Can you imagine how critical people would be of SW if they didn’t”

        Exactly my point, the LA should be looking at each case separately instead of following standard procedures. In this case, somebody from the Adoption team should have heard our concerns. A more joined up approach to understand what has happened to then provide support rather than BLAME.

        I really don’t care about how critical people would be of SW, that should not set their agemda, each case should be treated separately.

        The trouble is the decision makers are not close to the detail. They need to understand they are providing a SERVICE and not being judgmental in the very first instance. Being empathetic is far better and supportive than being prescriptive and critical. Especially when it comes to Adoption.

        Being open, transparent, honest and inclusive in their internal procedures is what is needed. They should not keep people in the dark.

        In our case, they have just decided our AD should remain in off because they have met threshold, which is just made of uninformed subjective opinions and not hard facts. Most of their PC report was pulled apart. It was written by someone who did not have clue nor wanted to understand what were going through, and you wonder why you get bad press. It is simple, listen to people’s concern and support them. If you were held accountable for decisions made, you might be less reactionary and think twice before acting or making derogatory comments to members of public. It is everyones right to be treated with respect and dignity, this is very often forgotten when dealing with members of the public.

        1. helensparkles

          SW is set within the context of a legal framework, absolutely everything SW do is governed by that. If you want to change the law lobby your MP, but it isn’t a different law for different people. Threshold is also a legal decision, not a SW decision, and if the LA have those concerns they HAVE TO seek legal advice. Hopefully enough has changed. There was no choice about this because you placed AD in FC and you told the LA you couldn’t have her home (until recently). That isn’t blame and I don’t think the LA are blaming you. As I have said repeatedly, this is a complex situation, but you have been admirably honest.

          From what you have said here, I don’t think you have been left in the dark at all and I don’t think there are any internal procedures being hidden. You are aware of all the concerns.

          I don’t know what a PC report is?

          I don’t wonder why SW get bad press at all, there are lots of reasons for that, more transparency about what SW do would be helpful. As for the rest of your comments about SW, if you’ve had that experience of SW you shouldn’t have, you’re absolutely right that everyone should be treated with respect.

        2. helensparkles

          “Can you imagine how critical people would be of SW if they didn’t”

          You should be critical of SW if they didn’t and Judges certainly are.

  62. Adoptionp

    Mum is more hesitant, not because of AD, she wants her back equally. It is more about how we feel unsupported and therefore anxious or hesitant

    We definitely will utilise the Reconnect service provided by Barnardos for a long time but it will only ever work if she was back in the house.

    So it all depends on LA threshold evidence due Fri 2 Sep…..

  63. Angelo Granda


    Thank you for making the very valid point about Mum being hesitant but that any caution does not detract from her love for AD or the aim to get her home asap.
    Mum is a human being when all said and done.I am definitely not playing the blame game here or trying to criticise any individual SW’s ( or the trainees) but i really do question their thinking..I honestly think they do not know the meaning of the word ‘inhumanity’ and i have said this before.
    For example, it has been mentioned that Mum was struggling and was on the point of walking out. That is not a fact. That never happened..Mum (and Dad) dealt with the situation appropriately and sought professional support.Now the bureacratic risk-assessing machine is decreeing that there is a future risk of it happening. Is that realistic? Surely you proved yourselves last October?Any suggestion that a caring,humane Mum who has adopted children,who has faced and dealt with problems this child has and has engaged with professionals and reconnect therapists as she has,is UNCOMMITTED is so unrealistic,it is inhumane.
    The Guardian declares that often teenagers ,especially adoptees show anger.The SW’s will doubtlessly agree and include it in their risk assessment. What supercilious crap coming from a professional?? Pardon my language but i am sure you have being dealing with that risk for quite a while.You must have noticed teenagers are sometimes angry and unreasonable especially when they are traumatised.
    Any attempt to eliminate risk from lives is doomed to failure,yet these awful bureaucrats continually claim they have a duty to keep children safe.They don’t understand how systematic risk assessments can lead to inhumane decisions.
    Anonymousp, It is your job to keep your children as safe as you humanly can .
    The facts appear to show you are good parents.Good luck in September.Ask the Guardian about the ‘risk’ that a SO or CO will be counterproductive.
    Beware that the cardinal mistake for any parent in Family Court proceedings is to give any hint that they don’t acknowledge concerns etc.Make sure your solicitor destroys any myths about that if they emerge.
    I would not worry too much, the overnight contacts are a good inication.She will be home soon. Future interference and orders are another thing; professionals have to cover themselves.

    1. helensparkles

      What you are saying is critical of SW following the correct procedures, which is the exact opposite of everything you usually say on here.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Helen, I have tried not to criticise SW’s or to blame anyone. The facts speak for themselves.
        It appears that ,notwithstanding the facts, the inhumane ,bureaucratic system of risk analysis,examination of past precedent and legal templates, cost-effectiveness etc.etc. ,inability to make any decision without court involvement has taken over.
        I have not criticised anything you have said; i hsave merely remarked on the definite difference in mentality which SW’s have.
        They appear not to recognise that bureaucratic methods can be inhumane.
        You have emphasised how everything SW’s do has to follow strict ,legal frameworks and directives.Individual SW’s aren’t independent ( in any normal sense),the need to avoid future criticism were things to go wrong (fear) is an important factor.You did well to draw readers attention to it. You talk of emotional risk and so on .As usual risk is present in every case and it will never be eliminated.Risk assessments merely tell us what the risks are, not about the likelihood of significant harm or abuse.
        It is clear from the solicitors letter quoted by adoptionp that the LA is issuing the instructions via its lawyers not the SW’s.
        Under those conditions, the CS assessments are unlikely to be independent but who can we blame for that?The system?

        1. helensparkles

          “,the need to avoid future criticism were things to go wrong (fear) is an important factor.You did well to draw readers attention to it.” This was not what I said, I said that SW would be criticised if they do not work within the framework of the law and that this is quite right.

          There was absolutely no alternative to care proceedings in this case. AD was in FC under S20, LAs cannot leave her there in limbo, decisions about her future care plan have to be made under the scrutiny of the courts. She has been there since February and it only very recently that her parents have said they want her home, the LA need to assess that and tell the court about it. Hopefully enough has changed at home for AD to return and there be no need for any order, but that isn’t for the SW to decide, it is for the SW to present their independent evidence.

          “It is clear from the solicitors letter quoted by adoptionp that the LA is issuing the instructions via its lawyers not the SW’s.” SWs do have to share information with the parents’ lawyers as well as talking to the parents.

          1. Adoptionp

            In our case, we wanted AD to be place in FC for a month, not respite, but just we can work what we going on.
            Within 2 days, based on AD angry statements, the LA decided threshold was met, instigated a Parenting Capacity Assessment on both children and then instigated proceedings from the PLO meeting.

            Not once has any SW ever said to us, how are you feeling? You are going through a disruption, what can we do to help?

            SW could have sought advice from Barnardos.

            They could have said, let us try to push for Reconnection.

            Nope, it is their way or the highway.

            This I believe is the Inhumanity in it all.

            We categorically said, we are having trouble and need respite in a FC placement. Our AD was not in danger, we just needed a break.

            We said it was to be planned, and in no way was she to into a Crash pad.

            Instead on the 2Feb, a STUDENT SW visited our AD, as the SW who had visited previously and recommended Future families was on a course.

            That lunchtime, SW manager was then ringing me to say AD will be placed into a Crashpad and it was fortunate they found this placement at 4pm.

            So they immediately went into CP mode, without understanding the full facts of our case and the difficulty we were under.

            What is actually wrong with asking the parent’s how they feel and is there anything we can do?

            Are you not allowed to make a decision with seeking advice from the courts?

            Threshold, from my understanding is very subjective. In our case it has been based on inaccurate statements and in some places utter fabrication. Just so you can present something to the courts.

            We have opposed it.

            Now we have changed our minds as a result of supporting AD desire to return home, the LA are at a loss of what to do.

            It is clear a lot of their argument would have been based on the PC assessment by original SW from CS, who has now left, so there could have been some influence on our overly compliant AD, who knew no different going along with process that she would have when she first went into care.

            Who knows, she may have thought she would be placed with her half sibling and now is changing her mind as that is not the case.

            She maybe thinking, I now do not want to be away from my Family no longer.

            It is very complicated, but we do know, the LA procedures cannot cope with any future untruths, they cannot cope with Adoption issues.

            There is no one one looking at the bigger picture and taking a pragmatic view to support the Family.

            WHAT IS WRONG WITH BACKING DOWN, putting your hand up and saying we got it wrong and we shall help this family reconcile?

            Are the SW and LA so inept in making such a internal decision so far into the process?

            Why can they not see the process, which a lot of AP would have walked away from is causing stress and should be stopped immediately?

          2. helensparkles

            The WHOLE of social work is governed by the legislative framework and I fail to understand why anyone would want SW operating outside the law. It is the duty of the LA to seek legal advice in a case where they think threshold has been met, they have to take legal advice, and their solicitor advises if threshold is met or not. If it is met, everyone has legal representation and you have the PLO. The legal process then runs alongside the CP processes, it has therefore at this stage become more than an internal process where solely internal decisions can be made. This has nothing to do with anyone backing down or not, or ineptitude, you are subject to a legal process. If you don’t understand the current process you should talk to your solicitor.

            Threshold being met earlier in the year doesn’t mean things can’t change, they often do, and that will determine the care plan the LA submit. You will know the LA’s current position from the information they file for the September hearing. Threshold can of course be argued and it is, in court. There are various places you can read about how threshold is met and what has to be done to evidence it in court.

            Nobody here on this page knows enough about you or your family to really comment on how things have happened, but from what you have said there are various complexities, and the concerns were serious enough for the LA to initiate care proceedings. That you have recently changed your mind about AD returning home, and you think everything is fine for her to do so, doesn’t mean everything else can just go away without exposing it to the scrutiny of the courts. The court may well agree with you but the LA can’t just opt out and neither can you.

            There are various agencies who offer adopters support, during disruptions, as well as at other times. If you feel that nobody is asking you how you feel and you need more support, I would suggest you contact them and they will listen to you. I really would suggest you do that, because it would be constructive and proactive, and would help you manage your emotional landscape at a difficult time.

            I would just be grateful if you didn’t personalise your comments. “Are you not allowed to make a decision with seeking advice from the courts?” and “Just so you can present something to the courts.” I am not your SW and I am not your LA. You of course are welcome to talk about your SW and your LA but you don’t know me or my practice and I don’t know your case, just what is posted here.

          3. helensparkles

            “If it is met, everyone has legal representation and you have the PLO. ” Sorry this should have said if the LA solicitor advises threshold is met, everyone has legal representation, and you have the PLO.”

          4. Adoptionp

            “Are you not allowed to make a decision with seeking advice from the courts?” and “Just so you can present something to the courts.”

            Helen, these comments were not aimed at you, it was more general, aimed at the system procedures. I am directly questioning why no one can think more sensibly.

            Just because the legal department are invoked, does not mean, the LA SW cannot revoke. Court proceedings can be stopped at anytime if they want to. It is an internal discussion and decision that CAN be made.

            It is quite obvious that threshold is based on SW investigations and then the LA sols advise accordingly.

            I will not reveal too much into our case, but a lot of LA original threshold was based on AD statements, if she now is having a u turn, then the original threshold may not necessarily apply, as statements could have been made in anger. I simply do not trust some things that go on behind closed doors.

            I have actually heard of SW telling untruths in court. So as you gather, the integrity of the system to do the right thing is very much in question.

            I truly believe in our complex and rare case, the LA simply do not know what to do, as things have changed dramatically.

            Thank you for your advice on the ASF, our sols are investigating. This will add weight to our argument, that a lot of the Reconnection has been driven by us.

          5. Angelo Granda

            As you pointed out at the start,it is dead easy for a SW ( or trainee) to mislead other professionals into the belief so-called threshhold are crossed when they are prepared to fabricate evidence.
            Anyone can compile a false dossier and present it to lawyers and to a court.
            The question is, why did they fabricate evidence?
            The aims must be illegitimate.They would not need to satisfy threshhold to work with you supportively under the S20. They would need to if they had decided to go for a care order.
            Anyway, what’s done is done now.The LAy have their wish and to Court it has gone.The SW’s came up with the goods.
            We cannot but empathise with those SW’s who are forced into such inhumanity .Helen and all the other good ones are trying their best to support families but have both arms tied behind their backs by the LA.
            I think it was shocking that they disrespected you (the parents) and your overall authority.Your AD will question your authority for evermore as a result.I have seen it happen before.
            Anyway, to finish,please let us know what happens in September.

        2. helensparkles

          “I am directly questioning why no one can think more sensibly.” & “Just because the legal department are invoked, does not mean, the LA SW cannot revoke. Court proceedings can be stopped at anytime if they want to. It is an internal discussion and decision that CAN be made.” – they can’t be stopped at any point outside the courtroom. That is why I suggested you talk to your solicitor about the process. It can be stopped inside a courtroom and the LA would have to present a case to say that they are happy for rehab home and analysis of why now.

          You are right that threshold is based on SW investigation/assessment, they then seek legal advice, but legal advice could also have been that thresholds were not met. SW ask lawyers because whilst they have legal training they need the experts to make those decisions. It is then only fair that everyone is legally represented.

          Young people retract allegations for all kinds of reasons, it isn’t simple, and that will be part of the assessment.

          The whole point of being in court, where everyone is represented, is that it isn’t behind closed doors for you and your representatives.

          AD could be telling everyone what she things they want to hear, including you. SW are good at making those assessments and they do need to talk to her without you being there.

          Lots of people say SW lie in court, it isn’t my experience, but it is what people who have had a poor experience of the system say. It is my experience that people have very different perspectives of the same event, in family and other cases. If you think someone has lied, you need to tell your solicitor.

          I know you think the LA don’t know what to do, I think the LA need the court to make a decision based on the evidence of all parties. It is stressful, I’d never say otherwise.

          Unfortunately it isn’t a rare case, the risks of adopting older children are well known, as is the risks to teenager’s who’ve had adverse early years experience. Adoption is not a panacea, it is a service for children.

  64. Adoptionp

    Thank you

    The Adoption team manager who said ‘ltfc, then she can return home at 18’, says it all…

  65. Adoptionp

    “I think it was shocking that they disrespected you (the parents) and your overall authority.Your AD will question your authority for evermore as a result.I have seen it happen before.”

    Angelo, please could expand on this? This is what we are at most agrieved about.

    Under sec20, we have 100% PR, yet the LA have deliberately taken the consideration of FC holiday with AD to be more important than Reconnection with AP with AD. Even though in the interim we openly said we want AD home and working with therapist towards this.

    Then with the threat of ICO they have quoted we are pressuring AD to attend therapy, expect her to change and then also quoting our cultural expectations as a negative. They are also concerned about aiding future attachment with FC!

    Yesterday we received AD pics from Florida, she ‘looked’ happy, but we know when she is being compliant in pics. In her recent trip to Norfolk, in Whats App comms she wanted us to visit her. She started to change her mind about returning home in June when in Holland with FC.

    We know AD very well, we have lived with her for 7 yrs, she must be wondering, what on earth I am doing half way across the world with a bunch of strangers and not her Family.

    As the BH weekend approaches, we were thinking the same thing and how the Inhumane actions of SW and LA is cruel, as we strolled along the beach.

    The decision is out of all our hands and they seem to think..they are acting in the best of the child…how naive, cruel, how completely out of touch, and they are acting ‘in the best interest of the child’…how pathetic.

    Our AD will resent them, if not already starting to do so, we know her very well.

    So in the last six months, there would probably be about 5 SW, 4 Managers, 3 Sols reviewing our AD case during proceedings…how confident do I think they know what they are doing….you can decide.

    1. helensparkles

      You were a family in crisis and you placed AD in FC. During that time various issues and concerns arose, all of which you are aware of. As far as I can tell from what you have said here, you were not able to offer AD rehab home for 6 months. Whatever your views of those concerns and issues, AD could not remain in FC for an indeterminate period under S20. It is very unfortunate for everyone that the timing of you feeling able to offer rehab home coincided with a holiday AD was to take with her FCs. The solicitor’s letter was very clear and I assume you took legal advice at that point. It wasn’t a threat to say the LA would need to consider an ICO, they do actually have to tell you that, as well as what the concerns are that have led them to that position. They did have to ask a court for a view because they were worried but don’t have PR. You may not like the family justice system, but it is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. The law doesn’t operate differently for adopters, and unfortunately in the context of child protection, I have known children who have been significantly harmed by their adopters.

      AD is on holiday with the people who have cared for her for 6 months, it is her stability and security. I would argue that neither the holiday or the time in FC will cause irrevocable damage to your relationship with AD, no more so than the knowledge that her adoptive parents placed her in FC, and I think the latter will be more significant in terms of its resonance with the loss of her birth family. I would advise concentrating on what you say you know needs to change at home, which will include the way AD needs to be parented therapeutically if you are working with Barnardos, and hopefully that will also support you to think about whether your expectations of AD are something that a traumatised child can manage.

      Whilst it isn’t ideal to have changes of social workers or solicitors, professionals are perfectly capable of handing over cases and do it all the time for various reasons.

  66. Angelo Granda

    When the CS disrespected your parental decisions and overode them , they were very wrong to do so. They abused your status as the parent with parental responsibility.
    They exercised their own brand of coercive control when they threatened a rushed application for a care-order against your will .
    This will have not gone unnoticed by your AD.
    I have heard of children using the CS as a tool to get their own way .They realise they have been known to threaten parents with the CS when grounded,for example.They will go to school and tell any old cock and bull story.Sent to bed without supper, denied access to computer-games etc.knowing full well it will be passed back to the CS.One particularly disturbed group of siblings even had their father removed from home for controlling their behaviour and later on they threatened Mum saying they would get her taken away ‘like Dad’.
    Neither parent ever did anything wrong but the SW’s took no notice of them and anything they said.
    I don’t want to frighten you.The family i am referring to were a natural family.
    However,i feel the CS should back you up at all times at least in a situation where she is only in care under an S20.
    As part of her therapy,she should be told how wrong it is to lie even for a joke.

    1. helensparkles

      Nobody disrespected or coerced anyone, the LA did what they have to do under the law.

      Unfortunately, telling a traumatised child not to lie is unlikely to be effective, it is often a survival skill leant at home. We don’t know AD but it is likely to be her attachment style, if therapeutic parenting is effective, lying decreases that way. Retracting an allegation does not necessarily mean AD was lying, it often means children are scared of the consequences.

      The adopters need to contact AD in the way they have hopefully already arranged with the LA.

      1. Angelo Granda

        If we have a scenario as Helen has described and it is likely that children lie and/or retract statements at will because of fear of questioners,SW’s ,students,parents etc.etc.or because they are victims of traumatisatation previously suffered then the system should not be foolish enough to use anything they say as part of an evidential base.
        That is a long-winded way of saying don’t give any credit to a child who does not know what truth means and who lies to escape stressful situations.Such evidece is worthless.

        QUOTE: Nobody disrespected or coerced anyone, the LA did what they have to do under the law:UNQUOTE: .

        To any reasonable person,the LA had no respect for those holding parental responsibility for the child.The parents were in the best position by far to understand the needs (and wishes) of their own child and ,under the terms of the agreement voluntarily signed by both parties,the parents had the prerogative to decide whether or not their AD should return home rather than go off on a foster-carers jaunts half-way across the world at such a critical time.
        It is NOT doing what one has to do according to the Law to fabricate evidence and not to be open and honest.Such behaviour is unlawful.

        1. helensparkles

          Unfortunately there were 6 months where parents did not revoke S20 or offer rehab home. It is not clear what changed and it is unfortunate that the change coincided with the holiday, but it is also clear a number of concerns had arisen by that stage. 10 days at home at that stage could have actually sabotaged everything for everyone.

  67. Angelo Granda

    I reiterate how important it is that you keep in close touch with your AD at all times even if only by ‘phone.
    One cannot trust the CS. In any situation where they fabricate evidence.One hopes,of course,that altruism rules ( no matter how misguided). If it does rule, why would they want to fabricate evidence and why be so determined not to let her return home as she wished to? Why be so cruel?
    Norfolk,Amsterdam,Florida and all in the space of six months. Who is she meeting?Who is with her? Are there any foster-brothers or sisters influencing her?
    Most of all , why is she so keen to get home?
    The last thing i want to do is get you worrying without reason. So keep in close touch and keep your eyes and ears open.Then you can’t blame youself .No-one will be able to say you don’t care!Especially your AD.Telephone her daily is my advice.

  68. Adoptionp

    On advice, we have just contacted AD by internet call. It was good of FC to adhere to our request, this was not prearranged, but we were very glad we did! Thank you Angelo.

    She is enjoying herself and missing us.
    AD is definitely up for 2 overnights contact on her return, but FC said LA will need to approve, we said they will ‘ask’ AD so it is up to her. The contact telecon calls are heavily driven by FC who is on hand to tell overly compliant AD what to say, when AD turns and repeats some of our conversation.

    I guarantee the LA will not do anything until we push them for an answer on the extra days contact added. I will leave it till afternoon day before contact before chasing.

    If the LA are really proactive, they could have quite easily contacted FC as we had done today to then provide us with a swift approval.

  69. Angelo Granda

    Helen has made an important point for which reason i must stress my previous riders that i am a mere parent giving independent unqualified opinions in good faith and responding to quwstions asked etc..At all times,if you are having difficulties with the LA, you must ENGAGE with your solicitor and také his or her advice before relying on anyone online.
    I feel sure you will already be awake to that.Thank you,Helen,for reminding us.
    The CPR isn’t usually one where particular cases are discussed; it is a resource for more general posts and comments, however,as adoptionp was the one who posted , this thread developed into a discussion of the individual case and i joined in.
    I hope your solicitor comes back from leave well before Court so you can instruct appropriately.I would ask for a barrister if i were you.

    1. helensparkles

      I’m sure I was just stating the obvious, this is clearly not an advice site, and nobody here could know enough to advise.

  70. Adoptionp

    Thank you both for your time to listen to our concerns, it us very much appreciated :-).

    We actually have agreed with LA we had weekly contact by Skype. This was agreed many months ago. So our request for Whats App call that the FC kindly obliged to even on holiday, was just adhering to something that was prearranged. Angelo reminded us of something we were entitled to, so not to worry. It was very good that we had the call, maintaining good and healthy contact has been very difficult for the last six months, as it only moved to unsupervised in July, so very recent. Even with unsupervised, it feels a little contrived, as we know everything will be cross examined when AD returns to FC. Ironically, we are not of the generation that are happy to broadcast our lives on the internet.

    I would be interested to know your views on Contact, and on average how long supervised/unsupervised balance is and how long it takes to Rehab. I know each case on their own, but in our situation contact is so crucial to the Reconnection process. So far it has proven positive and normal.

    Our contact supervisor said the longest he has had was for one and half years.

    We also spoke to AD about her YouTube posting of 22Aug (a day into holiday), where we briefed her about internet safety and to ensure any postings were set to Private. We think the FC was concerned as we had not provided consent, nor was any sought by LA, as we had previously stated after previous issues, her internet had to be closely monitored, she is vulnerable to grooming as AD is of easy persuasion, hence we are very protective over her with this regard.

    1. helensparkles

      I can’t advise on contract or rehab home plans because I don’t know the case well enough, you or AD. I can say that if my care plan was rehab home, a year and a half would be outside my frame of reference, but I don’t know the specifics of that case either.

  71. Angelo Granda

    The problem is knowing whether the aims of the LA are legitimate or not.Until it gets to Court you can only go on your instincts and it doesn’t look promising.
    Realistically,they are aware that your AD is of an age when she can vote with her feet anyway as soon as she gers back to Britain and they will not want that to happen or want you to rescind the S20 if they have illegitimate aims.
    The legitimate aim under the C.Act will be to work together with the family’s wishes,her wishes to return home asap and with Barnado’s reconnection therapy.
    The illegitimate aim will be to go for a plan to get a care-order and FC until AD is eighteen.
    Maybe that is why they are have mentioned the ‘out of parental control factor’.
    That threshhold might be easier to satisfy.
    You can only really go on your insticts until you see their evidence.BTW, it should all be revealed to you in good time for you and your lawyer to prepare a full response.
    If the aims are illegitimate, they will present all the fabricated evidence AND MORE.They will také much of what you and AD have told them out of context and use it as ammo.
    This is why people like Ian advise folk to keep quiet ( a legal right in normal legal procedures).
    I would advise cooperation together woth caution and i stick by that.
    A good example of turning everthing against you is the way they have criticised what you daid about cultural and religious needs.Expect more of that.A more legitimate response might have been to find a more appropriate placement in her interesTs. That would incur costs though.
    As soon as you see their assessments,you will know their aims. Look out, for a lack of impartiality.Little if anything at all will be said in favour of immediate rehabilitation.They will omit everthing hostile to their litigation. They may not even mention the Barnado’s therapy but if they do they will start questioning time-scales as Helen has warned you.
    The thing you have going for you is that you are intelligent(not as vulnerable as many other families). In many cases, the Court will merely look at the biased evidence and if the parents argue threshhold.they will simply declare that they PREFER THE PROFESSIONAL EVIDENCE.
    You must follow Helen’s excellent advice and engage with your solicitor.Demand a barrister.Sarah is a barrister and they are better able to represent you. Your own evidence-in-chief will be your statement to Court.You can-t say anything else except in reply to carefully selected questions.Remember tat.Don’t let your sol leave any important points out.
    Just be brief,just explain your case clearly as you have done on here. The facts will speak for themselves ,hopefully,of the judge is fair.
    Don’t lower yourself to argue about statements and worthless evidence evidence.Place yourself above that and leave that to your barrister. Sit right next to him or her and don’t be afraid to prompt and prod them into action.When dealing with inhumanity and unfair proceedings,the most important quality for any respomdent and his or her barrister is COURAGE .It takes bravery to také on and fight against false evidence,dogma and an inhumane,unfair system.
    The worst thing is to sit in court seeing incompetent lawyers failing to make your case strongly. Choose your barrister with great care.Interview them and be sure.
    I hope this advice is timely.
    Hopefully,the LA will reciprocate your cooperation and goodwill.They may let AD come home immediately . Don’t expect it,though,trust your instincts.

  72. Adoptionp

    We are trying to understand the LA main concerns, just trying to make sense of it all.

    So back in Feb, AD was placed in car for health for a month or so. Within 2 days, they had enough based on statement from angry AD, to say threshold has been met.

    So up to May, AD had made court statement, engaged with SW and school alike, and was fully compliant and likely to be stimulated with the whole process? The SW was her best friend, she had power over us.

    During this time, with less restriction in FC, AD has mixed with wrong crowd, influenced to receive shoplifted goods by a boy that has not been good influence, said she has smoked and also produced indecent text messages.

    Now that SW has left the scene and there is closer monitoring, AD is probably thinking, the honeymoon is over. It does not feel that good anymore, with less attention. She may have even thought originally, her half-sibling would be removed and be with her in FC (as what happened when there was similar focus when she was 5). Maybe the plan has now backfired? Half~sibling remains with us.

    So it was heavily communicated in the interim, from our side, AD wants to return home. So we have deliberated and fully support her.

    So taking into account all of the above, I can understand the LA apprehension, why has AD changed her mind? Not sure how common this is, of adopted child that makes allegations then retracts statements, as they want to return from FC. Must be common? Not sure how many return??

    Maybe the LA are protecting us from further harm? After all, for AD to go with it for months, knowing something serious may happen as an outcome and then change her mind, must be worrying for them. What happens if it is more serious next time when her anger is expressed in a very damaging way?

    We still want her back, as the heart rules, we have a dedicated faith to make it all right for AD.

    As there are so many unknowns, we are just trying to make sense of it all. The LA are not open and honest with their motives and thinking. Our sols have advised the LA are very unpredictable and they will make a decision that was completely unexpected with no clear explanation.

    Maybe the chat with Guardian will provide us with a balanced and rationale view. ( It was encouraging when we spoke recently about the AD holiday , she said it was natural for us to take charge as parents and understood our objection, but she supported AD to go, as she would take her anger out on us. She mentioned AD is compliant and so agrees with the people she would be with at the time. Therefore, the AD really does not know what she wants..)

    1. helensparkles

      The only motive is to prioritise the needs of the child in a very difficult situation for everyone. The reason things are unknown or unpredictable is because things change over time and it is absolutely right that the LA should change their assessment to reflect that.

      Your child has a social worker and she is in care, so the LA will share info via the reviewing mechanisms around looked after children and the PLO meetings. If the LA are making an application for a Care Order, you will know and you will know why.

      You have known about the concerns for a long time now, and you’ve had meetings with managers, if you still don’t understand them you need to revisit them with your solicitor,

      I don’t know if AD has changed her mind about returning home or has just told you she has because she feels pressurised, discussing contact and overnights with her whilst she was on holiday in Florida won’t have eased that if it is the case.

      The reasons children retract allegations are varied and they retract allegations that are true as well as those that aren’t. There should be a social work assessment of those issues within this process.

      Most LAs would work on rehab home if they place a child in care following an adoption disruption but most disruptions do not involve reaching legal thresholds.

  73. Angelo Granda

    It seems the standards are not ideal in the foster home chosen for your AD.Has she been taken to temple every week to keep her on the straight and narrow? It doesn’t sound like it.

    I think you have already taken the decisions necessary .Don’t be misled by CS risk assessments of what might happen in the future etc.etc. There are so many risks at her age.She could come home and walk out again after a month if she is lured away by one of the delinquents she has met. She is vulnerable and will be in great danger from predators and exploitation in LA foster care.
    It is very clear what has changed and why you now want your AD back home.
    You have benefitted from the Barnardos support and so will your AD. It is human to have doubts but try and be more positive.AD will be better off at home under your control,she wants to be home and support is in place.
    You can rely on the CS and Guardian to put all the negatives.They should put the positives too but sometimes they forget about them.I dread to think of all the negatives of the care system.

  74. Adoptionp

    I believe it should be FAMILY focused. Get this right and our AD needs will be met.

    AD will not have a Family At 18, it is ridiculous with LA proposal that she will. The LA need to see beyond their noses and think long term. We still cannot believe why LA did not ask the opinion of those that know AD the most, her Family. How on earth can someone who has met AD for 5 mins know more than her family of 7 yrs?

    An example of threshold being met – a LA ‘concern’ is that we put too much pressure on schoolwork. This is natural for any parent, we simply ask her to do her homework. We simply want her to do the best she can. What example would be setting her half-sibling if we did not?

    The school know our AD avoids application. She shows effort, all good, but not too keen to learn unless told exactly how to get the answer. They cannot afford that time with her. She is intelligent and just needs the right motivation and she will be ok. Instead school and LA, pamper to her protests, diversions, disruptions and AD know this. If the AD had her way, she would avoid school like the plague. She hates it. As she missed so much, we did ask her to repeat year 2 when she first came, but was not allowed. We helped her so much and she did progress a lot in Primary. She has struggled with High school.

    Our sols said the LA argument is laughable, as you would then argue that all parents are bad.

    So because AD has complained to them about us, they have included this as a ‘concern’ and presented to the courts.

    This is the type of ridiculous threshold we are dealing with, utter fabrication. Instead of just agreeing with AP, and then saying to AD to get on with it, they take the literal word of the child. Why? Well if they did not, how would it look on them?

    If you take the literal word of child complaints against parents, then in the current environment, most would be in care. The difference between most and our AD, is that they know not to cross that line, as most children will care what happens. Our AD use the LA to get wants she wants, she has done it all her life.

    When we first adopted AD at age 7, she always said, ‘if I want something, I get adults to do it for me.’ So she knows how to play the system, it is not her fault, it is learnt behaviour of being care for so long.

    We do not blame AD, we BLAME the system which cannot support such behaviours. It seems experienced older traditional teachers see right through this behaviour, they are rare.

    We live in a highly reactionary environment which just makes it worst for older Adopted children to integrate and coupled with teenage rewiring, you can understand the difficulty.

    So, how does the system cope with this?

    Raise ridiculous and fabricated ‘concerns’, destroy Parental authority and ruin what little attachment there was i.e.BLAME, all because they want to seek a CO through the courts.

    Not very AD focussed in our opinion. The LA need to see the bigger picture.

    1. helensparkles

      I’m not going to repeat myself about the process again, it is very easy to blame SW and LAs, but this is a legal process – it is right and proper that the court scrutinise decisions about AD’s future. If you weren’t in the middle of this, you would expect someone to have oversight of what SWs plans for AD were.

      You don’t have the LA’s threshold document until the 2nd, try not to second guess them, if things have changed things have changed – concentrate on that and what you have learnt from therapy.

      I’m not ever going to comment on the concerns raised, because I don’t have all the information, but there does seem to be a theme of you putting pressure on AD in a way a traumatised child may not be able to manage. Manipulation and over compliance are coping strategies and it is very complicated to parent a child adopted at 7. You do have the length of time she was in care to take into account, but you also probably have her exposed to her home environment for longer than her sibling. Concentrate on reading about traumatised children, perhaps how they can be supported to learn for example. Every school has a designated teacher for children in care, use their knowledge. It needs imagination not control, children hate school for lots of reasons, and there are some strategies that can be very effective.

      ‘if I want something, I get adults to do it for me.’ err yes, she is a child, she has experienced grief and loss having been removed from her family of origin, and she has been in care. Do you think that having safe, reliable adults that will do things for her is probably more important than for other children? It is an attachment issue again, it is about having a safe base when you emerge from trauma.

      I am going to point out that I read blame in your comments constantly. It is reminding me of private law cases where the parents are so focussed on what the other adults are doing, and arguing about /blaming them, that they lose sight of the children. Try to focus on what has actually changed and why rehab home will work now. This is not a battle ground and it hasn’t become one because you are in court.

  75. Adoptionp

    As per Sarah’s original comment:

    “For many adoptive children who have suffered trauma in their early lives, their behaviour is most likely to arise out of those traumatic experiences and not because of anything their adoptive parents did or did not do. Making the court process about ‘blaming’ such parents when an adoption very sadly breaks down, does not seem to help any one”

    So why does it justify the LA to blame the parent’s? The exact point I am trying to make. The first step for the LA is to take into consideration all the facts. In our situation, they did not once consider, is AD statements actually genuine? No, in a few days they decided threshold was met, when a few days prior they were recommending us to attend ‘future family’s.

    I am absolutely focussing on AD. In our case AD was placed voluntarily into care. She was not in danger. We just needed respite and we had concern over her mental state. We just needed a break and support.

    I would not be fighting so hard if it was not for AD sake to not be in ltfc.

    As far as we are concerned, it is a battle ground and that fight was not caused by us. It was a bunch of people meeting in a weekly panel making a decision who are completely out of touch from our case.

    I am merely defending ourselves, we should not be blamed for a process that is flawed when it comes to adoption disruption.

    Our AD simply wants to return home, not because she is pleasing us or we have pressurised us. She wants to because she did not really mean those statements made in anger.

    We understand, there are far worse things that happen (incl suffering violence) and statements made against AP. I feel for them, as no doubt they also will be blamed in court and they will be feeling far worse than us. I believe in these circumstances we all suffer with some post traumatic stress, a complete emotional rollercoaster.

    1. helensparkles

      I agree with what Sarah said and I think the issues of adopting older children are complex, your commitment is laudable but it takes a lot more than a heart leading to parent those children.

      Unfortunately, although you only placed AD in care for respite, she has been there for 6 months without you revoking S20 or offering rehab home. LAs are not able to leave children in limbo.

      I don’t think the LA is blaming you, they are sharing concerns with you, and there needs to be a legal mechanism for an LA to be able to make decisions about AD’s future if those concerns meet threshold.

      As I keep saying, just wait until 2nd September, enough may have changed for planned rehab now that you have changed your mind.

  76. Angelo Granda

    There is nothing unusual or rare for adopted children to have problems connecting with their parents and developing behavioural difficulties.It is common indeed it is even with many normal families these days.
    I feel the AP’s focused on the AD’s needs and those of the other adopted child and the family as a whole when requesting professional help and signing a voluntary care agreement.
    I see much inhumanity and cruelty in the response of professionals Not least in the way they suggest that the AP’s are unable to focus on the needs of their AD.They have focussed totally on her for the past seven years.They are responsible parents and as such,they have been able to keep a sense of perspective.They hold parental responsibility and they see no reason to elevate their well-founded concerns to the court arena. Were matters so serious that they could no longer offer AD a home and a family life,they would have said so and requested a court hearing.
    THEY ARE FOCUSSING ON THE CHILD.They understand the child much better than the SW because they know her intimately.
    No professional has been able to focus his or her attention on the child putting her feelings and future welfare first.One left to be replaced by a student who made unrealistic assessments and fabricated evidence.As a result,the manager made unrealistic appraisals and contravened the voluntary ,signed S20.
    He took his focus off AD and her needs and rights . He flouted fair procedure and sent her to a ‘crash-pad’. By doing so, he ignored the child’s human rights and the parent’s human rights.
    Adoption p, you have done everthing possible in the face of extreme provocation to understand and cooperate with the position of the LA. You have accessed the required family therapy and now feel ready to bring the cild home from the foster-carer.AD wants to go home too.You have remained focussed on the child’s interests and brought about the changes you were looking for.Unfortunately,as you foresaw,your fears about a ‘crash-pad’ have materialised..
    That is the reality.I feel you have told us enough to gather all this.Helen is understandably more cautious and reserves comment critical of the LA.She has not heard their version of events and ,of course,she never will! The LA prefer to work behind closed doors,in private,in secret or whatever we want to call it. This is why its AIMS have to be questioned.They won’t operate honestly and they won’t operate openly.They fabricate evidence and do not follow the law particularly in regard to fair procedure.
    The LA and rogue SW’s act against the law and abuse it. Helen emphasises repeatedly how it should follow the legal process .Why won’t it?
    As i keep repeating,its aims cannot be legitimate.
    The Law is clear.The child’s interests are paramount and to be focussed on to the exclusion of the LA’s own,the FC or anyone else,This is what you have done but not what the LA has done.The law is also quite clear that it is in the child’s best interests to be with their family unless absolutely nothing else will do.
    This is where the LA proves it is inhumane.To separate the family is against the law except in very,very dire circumstances.It presents relatively trivial concerns and separates families needlessly.
    Helen keeps saying it is best that a court should decide.No, it isn’t!
    The parents and professionals should decide together and the parents should be listened to. Have you got an independent advocate yet?

  77. Adoptionp

    Angelo, what do you mean by independent advocate.
    We have a sols who is specialist in family law and adoption.
    They also deal with the LA a lot, so the sols do have regular contact on many cases.

  78. Adoptionp

    Angelo, if you mean a SW from the Adoption team, then yes their manger has appointed one, and she has gone AWOL, not met her since 8Jun. We have requested for authorisation for funding for Adoption UK parenting consultancy, but we are awaiting after several chasers.

    Recently announced, frontline Adoption services will now be dealt with Corum from 1st Sep, so God knows what on earth is going on?…

    1. helensparkles

      Coram run adoption services for a number of LAs. They’re experts and it is probably a good think, the restructuring that will inevitably result will be disruptive, but that might all happen after your court case.

  79. Adoptionp

    Angelo, if you mean AD NEW SW from CS, one appointed went on leave after we briefly spoke to her two weeks ago.

    So it is likely, a lot of our case submission of evidence, will have been dealt with CS Manager with calls from SW who has left the LA completely. This manager met AD once, on the day ICO was threatened.

    So the new SW has yet to meet AD or us.The original inexperienced SW who wrote PC report is on maternity and trainee SW back in college. (Did I also tell you, she turned up on the door in May, before leaving to ask for feedback!)

  80. Angelo Granda

    Adoptionp. The Working Together Frameworks of the Children’s Act direct the LA to inform you of local advocacy services and of your right to have an advocatre attend meetings (LAC reviews etc) with you as support.
    You should have been informed of it on commencement of court proceedings according to guidelines as far as i know.The makes this provision in order that the advocate can explain matters and procedures to you,can assist you in presenting your views and disagreements etc. It sounds as if the frameworks haven’t been complied with and the LA will be allowed to get away with it.It means misunderstandings are bound to develop as they have done,of course.
    The most important point on which i want you to be absolutely clear is that both Helen and i have discussed matters with you but what we both agree on is that you engage with your lawyers urgently.
    When you go to Court,it doesn’t matter what they have done wrong or how many of the LA concerns are unfounded( being based on risk).You will be castigated for arguing against professional evidence and blamed for being defensive .It will be claimed also that you don’t understand ‘concerns’ fully and that you cannot focus on AD.
    This is how family courts work .Under the protocol they have to accept the professional evidence( in particular that of the Guardian) above yours unless there are exceptional reasons not to.This is why the LA likes to keep matters in courts held in secret.When it has illegitimate aims,it cannot work openly and honestly.

    So your priority now is to concentrate on getting a really good barrister and to instruct him or her of the FACTS (as against over-eaggerated concerns based on risk and uncorroberated evidence.I am no lawyer,but i would guess that the Judge will find AD’s alleged statements inadmissible due to her condition and also that she cannot be relied on too much in Court under oath either.
    It’s no good you saying it; you will be disregarded.
    Your lawyers may advise you to rely on them,to continue cooperating and to let the judge decide. There is alot to be said for that policy in less serious cases but when separation of a family is being considered,the court also has a duty to ensure legal guidelines and safeguards have been scrupulously observed. Or it cannot make such an order.
    Make your barrister inform the Judge of all irregularities.For example,look out for the LA presenting documents late.You may not get them on the 2nd of September as promised which will inevitably have a unfair effect on proceedings.
    I anticipate this happening and your lawyers are your only protection now.
    Get a barrister you can trust!
    Your original question was should the law be changed?
    There are two choices for me.Either the SW’s and other professionals should be forced to accept the concept that they should never contemplate removal except in the most dire circumstances of proven child abuse.They would be forced to focus on keeping families together if they would simply understand the law in that respect.
    If they will not také that concept as a guiding principle then the Law will have to be changed .The parting of families to be illegal unless serious abuse ( not significant neglect or the futurerisk of it) be proven under the auspices of a court which will enforce correct substantive procedure.

    1. helensparkles

      Working Together advised parents should be informed about advocacy agencies or their right to bring a friend/relative to conference with them. There was no child protection conference involved. Whilst I am sure an independent advocate would be possible if APs wish to have one, my understanding is that it is the role of the lawyer to advocate during the legal process. They are advocates after all and their expertise is the law.

  81. Adoptionp

    Since appointment, our sols have been very good. She keeps I. Touch regularly email and respond to all that we send to her, including documenting what happens in contact (e.g. the chronology of unsupervised from beginning of July).

    From what I have sent so far, it is absolutely clear, the LA have put the blockers on and purposefully knocking us of the rails with regards to Reconnection. It is so obvious, they did not like all the good work we have done by attending double sessions on a Friday to show we have completed the 20 hours provided. It demonstrates we have engaged in the process, whereas the LA have not. Hence our confusion, they have made a big thing court to say we have never engaged in therapy, (that is because we concentrated on getting the medical stuff sorted, which we know sorts out AD mentAl state), and when have done it has thrown their argument out.

    Open transparent and accountable communication is what is needed, after all our therapist has mentioned several times they are providing a SERVICE. That is what they employed to do, they cannot just do what they want without explaining their actions. They have a duty of care to the public, yes focus on AD, but do not treat us second rate. Respect and dignity is very often forgotten.

    I am quite happy to discuss all the issues raised directly with the Head of Social Services. I would like to review every single minuted discussion and hold that person responsible and accountable for any decision made.

    In case, I get accused again of LA bashing, I am simply asking them to demonstrate they have been doing their jobs correctly. If they have this on the back of their minds, they would not act so prescriptively. They would THINK before making such ridiculous statements.

    I work in Operational Risk and Compliance, in my work, I often come across very senior people in organisations who think they can make any decisions without being held accountable. With this regards I can clearly see, the closed door culture is not good enough.

    1. helensparkles

      I presume you are attending the reviews that looked after children have regularly, you’ve said you are attending the PLO meetings, and you have had meetings with both SW, managers and senior managers. All of those are opportunities for the LA to communicate with you and you with them. I don’t think there is much going on behind closed doors but if you are not happy with information sharing, you should raise it with the manager, and if not happy with that, make a complaint.

      The therapist is right in a way but you need to chase up your adoption SW if you want a service for you, the adoption service is for adopters. They will also know about the adoption support fund etc. The current SW intervention is for a child in care, they are children’s services. You may not like that but the focus will be on the child not on providing you with a service.

      I’m never going to know enough about the case to say anything about the concerns.

      I agree that everyone should be treated with respect and everyone should be accountable.

      My point about blame was a point about blame, your original post says how unhelpful it is for you, it is unhelpful full stop. It is more helpful if everyone is open and honest about their part so everyone can work together.

      It sounds like the LA are doing exactly what they should be doing. What is it that makes you think they are not doing their jobs?

  82. Adoptionp

    We have attended two IRO meetjngs, one in Feb (after AD in care), and one in Apr, where quite frankly, as AP we might as well not been there. The IRO was more worried about her jet lag then listening to our concern about contact.

    We had repeated said in private and also sent emails about our concerns.

    The trouble is, I doubt very much the IRO is used to our type of case. She certainly does not understand our plight.

    Managers seem to have a phobia in talking openly about what they think. They simply are prescriptive and do not like challenge, they probably are not used to members of public who question their processes. Making complaint is absolutely pointless, from what I hear, no apology is ever provided when they wrong.

    Initiating court proceedings is a cop out. It is lazy management, it says they do not want to explain nor have a TWO WAY conservation about what is best. That was all to clear at the disgraceful manner my wife was spoken to during the PC assessment and also the reaction of CS Manager who authorised the crash pad.

    To me, spoken in a disrespectful way suggests the decision the made was WRONG and they should not gone in guns blazing. We still do not know what exactly went in at school on 1 and 2 Feb.

    If they took the trouble to engage in an intelligent conversation with me, I could have made an informed decision. From what I gather, the school knows AD tells untruths. A simple check into their records and phone call to me would have alleviated their concerns and put into context the decisions they made.

    By 4Feb, a weekly panel had made a decision that threshold had been met. At what point did they not choose to engage with me before deciding that? The LA have acted with total disrespect. I would have loved to sit in on that panel, and my first question would be is where is the Adoption Manager?

    It was interesting in the PLO meeting of 7Mar, I asked everyone in the room, do you have records of AD past prior to her being adopted by us i.e.access pontiff LA records, including previous allegations and untruths made to against previous FC. It was met with a collective ‘No’.

    The SW who wrote the PC report dropped it through the letterbox, she was a little uncomfortable to discuss its contents with us, as she knew we would challenge her. Instead we provided a 10 page response for the courts, setting straight factual omissions and untruths. Afterall, anyone can nite a concern if it is based on fabrication. Our response was submitted in the court bundle

    A poor example, where they completely got a police record of a racist attack against me incorrect, stating that I got convicted for assault 20 years ago. I had to get police records myself and present it to the court and make a point to the lay judges of the error, and the LA response was to remove it from their chronology. No apology what so ever. Quite incompetent and slanderous. This is what we are dealing with, incompetence and stubbornness.

    The whole process is a farce, it cannot cope with Adoption disruption, it is only geared towards the usual type of cases where the LA have the upper hand.

    The only opinions that I hold is that of Barnardos, and sadly they do not represent us in court.

    On 2Feb, the LA CS simply had to ring the Adoption Manager and then sought independent advice from Adoption specialists. Or even ring me and ask, is there anything we can do to support you.

    1. helensparkles

      I think the panel you are talking about wasn’t a panel but legal planning meeting. If so it is the meeting the SW attends with a manager and the LA solicitor to go through the issues and decide if threshold is met. That is legal advice the LA has to seek, they then hold the PLO with you and your legal representative. The LA are simply not allowed to accommodate children under S20 for an indeterminate period of time. You were to revoking S20 or offering rehab home. They have to go to court, that isn’t lazy management. They also need to go to court re threshold. Unfortunately they can’t just have a conversation with you about stuff, just because you are adopters.

      I have no idea what a crash pad is, never used or heard the term in SW.

  83. Angelo Granda

    Regarding advocates, the Law is referring to organisations such as the FRG,Annie’s new service and others like it.This was made clear in a letter from the PM’s office about the frameworks.You have explained that you have no such advocates to refer people to and the CS can’t help that. The LA’s could help by funding independent advocates for its clients but does not seem the frameworks and the need.
    Whatever the situation,we can only add this to a long list of reasons why the system is not operating according to the statute as it should do.
    I think,partly due to poor training,a lot of SW’s understand wrongly that the frameworks mean a SOLICITOR . They do advise clients but they do not attend conferences,reviews etc.They won’t go claiming it is not part of their brief.
    Yet i mentioned to one that the Children’s “egal Panel code says they should do so when asked.Quite why they refuse is unclear to me.Perhaps it would hit their profits.i don’t know but the solicitor turned a deaf’un to me when i showed her the guidelines.Obviously,one does not want to question the competence of lawyers,one tends to accept what they advise and tell one.

    1. helensparkles

      I don’t misunderstand what you are referring to but the only mention of advocacy in statutory guidance is in regard to case conferences, not court proceedings. I haven’t seen any other information so please do send us a link to anything else you know.

      Solicitors do attend conferences regularly.

  84. Adoptionp

    A crash pad what I was told, is a self contained flat above an office. One bedroom for SW and one for child that is removed on an emergency basis. Sometimes, they just have a pull out bed in an office.

    In our case, we said the FC placement should be planned but based on AD statement ‘that she was not to return home that night’ (a total fabrication), the LA decided she was to go to one. We said to LA our wish is for her not to go to at all. It was fortunate, the existing FC was found at the last minute through National Fostering Agency.

    We don’t quite understand, how the LA are quite happy to pay a premium for FC but very reluctant to pay for Adoption UK parenting consulting and Reconnect Therapy. The FC must be costing 800 pound per week, considering they are agency and considering AD medical needs, may be a little more. The proposal is to foot this bill until she is 18!

    Maybe we should remind the LA sols, there is no guarantee AD will be ok in FC, considering what happened after being there a few months.

    1. helensparkles

      Your funding requests would come from the adoption support fund.

      I only wish there were the same kind of support for families whose children are at risk of being removed.

    2. helensparkles

      Sometimes, depending on the nature of an allegation children are not at home with their parents whilst that is being investigated. Most LAs will have some form of emergency accommodation, it is better that a placement that will continue will be found.

  85. Angelo Granda

    I understand that the CS have a duty under the CA to discuss with you every decision regarding the welfare of your AD. For example, you wanted a well-plsnned placement not a rushed one..Maybe it was too much like hard work for the manager to find a qualified temporary placement able to cater for her cultural and religious needs with experience of her MH problems too.These placements cost thousands a week.I am inly speculatung but how do we know whether he was not under pressure to place her with any available FC.That is a much cheaper for the LA.Anyway , her needs were not met properly,were they? Maybe evidence was fabricated to justify contravening your mutual agreement.It happened quickly anyway.There is a risk he is not being honest.
    Obviously they can accuse you of not focussing on her needs but all hell would fall on your head if you suggest the same of then.
    The IRO and Guardian wouldn’t listen tou you.

    1. helensparkles

      “I understand that the CS have a duty under the CA to discuss with you every decision regarding the welfare of your AD. ” usually a delegated responsibility agreement will be drawn up with parents so that carers can make some day to day decisions, it is impractical to do otherwise.

      There’s a hierarchy of needs when matching a child to carers (this is an independent placement so cost was not an issue) and it is likely that health needs were at the top of that list. Carers are trained to support cultural needs other than their own.

  86. Angelo Granda

    QUOTE: usually a delegated responsibility agreement will be drawn up with parents so that carers can make some day to day decisions, it is impractical to do otherwise:UNQUOTE.

    QUOTE: There’s a hierarchy of needs when matching a child to carers (this is an independent placement so cost was not an issue) and it is likely that health needs were at the top of that list. Carers are trained to support cultural needs other than their own :UNQUOTE

    Alas, it is comments like these which lead parents to think that SW’s are idealists.These sound like excerpts from some sort of propaganda manual. Whatever happened in this particular case,it is cloud-cuckoo land,in my opinion,to think any of this happens as a norm. The CS make no attempt to involve parents in decision making .Generally they break agreements and flout correct procedures at will and go against the interests of children.For example,they will register a child with a new GP out of the area without even getting permission from parents even when there is no court-order in place.Once they have an ICO ,they just don’t bother conferring with parents again about a child’s medical problems as they arise.
    Whether practical or not for the LA,they should keep to the law.
    Regarding cultural and religious heritage,they often don’t even bother asking parents or the children.They will not bother ticking boxes or will simply enter UNKNOWN under heritage and NOT ESTABLISHED under religion!
    You may think carers are trained to cater for all needs but that is wishful thinking.If you expect an atheist or a pagan to také a child to church every Sunday,synagogue on a Saturday, Mosque on the Muslim holy day and to sit down and encourage them to say their daily prayers,you are not being realistic.
    Complain and the parents are simply told,placements také precedence over religious rights.This will be your ‘hierarchy’,i suppose, but it has to be bluster when they haven’t even tried to find a suitable placement because they haven’t even bothered to find out what a child’s needs are!
    Sadly,you can ‘t cite the rule-book to parents on here because we know the reality.
    Please don’t think we are saying your LA flouts the rules because we accept that you follow correct procedures.It’s the rogue ones i am talking about.
    Perhaps they did draw up an agreement with adoption, i don’t know………..

    Reply ↓

    1. helensparkles

      My comments don’t just reflect my experience of one agency, far from it. I’ve worked nationwide with foster carers and their SWs.

      Obviously some things change when the LA has an order which gives them PR, not everything. Being able to make decisions about a child is part of the point.

      “If you expect an atheist or a pagan to také a child to church every Sunday,synagogue on a Saturday, Mosque on the Muslim holy day and to sit down and encourage them to say their daily prayers,you are not being realistic.” Foster carers doing this is exactly my experience.

      1. Angelo Granda

        The way i see it is that parents describe their experiences and in many cases, it is obvious that malpractices have occurred (if we respect their word for what happened and how they are simply not listened to).
        You make sensible comments as to their complaints as far as you are able given that you cannot be fully aware of all relevant detail.You often make quite specific and definite assertions as to practices .
        We fully acknowledge the relevance of your comments.For example, were all parents trained to cater for the cultural and religious needs of children, their human rights would not be contravened.
        You often won’t acknowledge our complaints (except by referring parents to complaints procedures). That brings us up against a brickwall . For the sake of discussion , we should be examining possible specific checks and safeguards which management could put in place to ensure cases are always conducted correctly in every area not just yours.
        I agree with you that the lawyers are ultimately responsible for what happens but the LA ‘s should put their houses in order too!

        1. Angelo Granda

          Obviously i mreant to write all FOSTER parents should be trained.
          In our area, the foster-care agency makes all the right noises just as you do.It claims in its literature that all its carers are fully conversant with the duty to respect each child’s cultural and religious identity etc etc. However,it is theoretical cloud-cuckoo land! In one child’s case he was removed from the faith school he was attending and placed in a non-denonimational school closer to the foster home.The child was not taught to pray and was given no opportunity to attend Sunday school in order to prepare for and také holy sacraments.At thirteen,he does not even know the Lord’s prayer. Despite complaints at LAC reviews and at Court ,the LA still claim his rights are catered for. On all the LAC documents, it still says that his cultural heritage is ‘unclear’ and his religion ‘unidentified’. No wonder when the SW’s never even talked to the parents at the outset.

        2. helensparkles

          The difficulty for me making any other comment is that you would tell me I am in cloud cuckoo land, so I don’t bother.

          “I agree with you that the lawyers are ultimately responsible for what happens” I don’t think I have said this, I have said they are involved in this case and why.

        3. helensparkles

          “The way i see it is that parents describe their experiences and in many cases, it is obvious that malpractices have occurred (if we respect their word for what happened and how they are simply not listened to).”

          I don’t think you know enough from posts on an internet site.

          1. Angelo Granda

            You have often pointed out that the Court makes the ultimate decisions and thus i assumed you acknowledge that the judiciary are responsible when miscarriages of justice get through the net. The lawyers put all the arguments to court.Parents and SW’s just stand back and hope the decision is in their favour.
            Thanks once again for your helpful comments anyway.

          2. helensparkles

            I understand that this is a space where people are mainly talking about cases that have gone to court, and where the future for children could be removal from their family of origin, that is right and proper. That doesn’t mean I think judges are responsible for the whole system or that anyone should be standing back.

            A lot of SW doesn’t go near a court room. Families do make changes and come off child protection plans! I would say that there are checks and balances in place but I know you would disagree with that so I always think it is fairly pointless comment.

  87. Angelo Granda

    Please don’t underestimate your own comments.They are never pointless,usually very interesting to readers on the whole and very persuasive .After all ,you know much more about social work as a profession than most of us.
    If only all SW’s were as au fait with good practice and humanity as you.
    Unfortunately, victims will také a lot of convincing but readers in general will welcome all points of view.
    The only trouble with the child-protection system is that it does more harm to children than good,i’m afraid.

    1. Adoptionp

      New SW met with us yesterday evening after speaking to AD. Nothing like last minute! This was simply after I prompted LA for extra nights contact. The phone call I received was at 5pm!!

      Their position now is to support for AD to return home but under a CO! The AD has always ‘wanted to return home but not sure how happy she would be.’ I.e. laying down conditions.

      We have maintained AD did not want to originally return and is the reason why threshold ‘concerns’ was put forward on the basis of her statement.

      We have made it absolutely clear, a CO will counter any Reconnect Therapy, as we will not view ourselves as AD parents. We also said AD was prepared to attend therapy only if she was back in the house.

      We spoke a lot about cultural identity and how that has been impacted by existing placement.

      We said the proceedings process has got completely out of hand, our intention was to seek support for AD in placement and then she would return home. Not for 7 months away!

      We agreed to send a summary of what we covered in therapy and importantly reiterated the psychological impact of CO on our PR.

      SW acknowledged the timing is not great as she has to submit evidence cob today. We reiterated the point that the holiday had not helped and was not our doing.

      SW totally UNDERSTOOD everything we were saying but also made the point AD needs to be ‘happy’ if she returned i.e. it seems AD wants best of both, FC ‘parenting’. This would not be normal but some of things we would work on in therapy.

      So the ball is firmly in their court, they are now restricted by their own processes and deadlines.

      The SW will speak with her manager….too many cooks…they need to listen and support us Parents if AD was ever to return.

      1. helensparkles

        “We have made it absolutely clear, a CO will counter any Reconnect Therapy, as we will not view ourselves as AD parents.” Why, you would still be her parents? If a Care Order is made, it means there are some concerns, it doesn’t stop you being AD’s parents, it means those things have to change.

        “The SW will speak with her manager….too many cooks…they need to listen and support us Parents if AD was ever to return.” SW always speak to their managers who are responsible for case management.

  88. Angelo Granda

    My advice,as an ordinary parent is to tell your solicitor that you are quite willing to work with any pro-active care-order which the court may decide on provided the care-plan means immediate rehabilitation home.Have that recorded by the Court.Tell them you accept that threshhold criteria for an order are met because of AD’s MEDICAL AND ATTACHMENT concerns and tell the sol you want the Barnados therapist to supply a report if necessary. Emphasise that you acknowledge and understand the LA concerns fully but dispute the FACTS AND MATTERS they rely on to satisfy threshhold criteria.
    Do it that way and they can’t say you won’t cooperate with professionals.

  89. Angelo Granda

    May i add that you should see your solicitor urgently to get advice. I am just a parent but if i were you as soon as you get their intentions clear,you should consider immediately rescinding the S20 and taking AD back home.
    Then,,when court reconvenes to make a decision, the fait accomplis will act in your favour not theirs and will restore the balance of power somewhat.

    1. helensparkles

      They are seeing threshold document today so imagine that will be with their solicitor and (as in the letter about the holiday from LA legal) a decision to revoke S20 would have resulted in an ICO application. If the concerns are the same, I would imagine the same action would be taken today, rather than creating a new status quo. It is also not child centred to preempt the outcome of court, AD needs stability, and a planned rehab.

  90. Angelo Granda

    Adoptionp, Remain focused on your AD as always rather than centering your attention on court proceedings whatever they may be.
    It is high time someone took her into account for a change without worrying about the outcome of the case.Not only does she want to come home,we know she is at great risk in Local Authority care and that her attachment and her morals have already suffered.She has not having her needs met culturally or religion-wise and this has to be put right. She will be coming home anyway.
    Good luck.

  91. Adoptionp

    Our AD said to us, the FC is saying to her that it is better with a CO for her to return home.

    The concerns of LA are just subjective opinions. There is no child protection issues.

    The AD knows we have changed.

    The SW has said to us today, even after evidence is submitted today, there is ‘flexibility’ for their position to change for the final hearing.

    Our struggle is attachment, the AD view of LA as ‘safe haven’. We have discovered in Reconnect, the psychological impact of a CO will be a severe step back. It is about AD view of who her parents are.

    AD said she really did not find the holiday exciting. She wants to be at home.

    The LA quite simply ARE NOT child focused, they just want to apportion BLAME. They need to eat some humble pie, admit their action were wrong and support Reconnection.

  92. Adoptionp

    The C110A form is marked to say that the CO is applied for on the basis that AD would come to significant harm in our care, in our case emotional neglect. It is a very subjective opinion. As mentioned before, you can probably raise ‘concern’ in any household.

    To us, that is BLAME. We oppose the legal threshold completely, it is based on subjective opinions based on inaccurate statements, just the same I would have on the LA poor procedures.

    Quite frankly I do not believe anything the LA say, as they maybe showing they are aiding rehab home (too little too late) and the same time their legal department is pushing for a CO.

    This is an Adoption issue, it is a disruption and now a Reconnection.

    Our AD is tonight finding the whole experience a little weird, she wants to be with us, she wants to come home, but as we suspected she is used to the FC and their customs. They are of a different culture. This suggests that LA,FC have not maintained our family relationships. It suggests coercion.

    The LA have NOT kept adequate contact arrangements. For months, they have treated us like AP that were endangering our AD. The damage has been done.

    They are treating the rehab like any other usual case. This is Adoption Reconnect, they need to give the right messages and support psychologically. Giving AD a hotline to the LA SW is not going to help resolve attachment issues, it will worsen it. It shows they are not experts, they need to seek advice from those that do know.

    The LA need to give a clear message, we support you FULLY in Reconnection. Anything on the contra will not do.

    A CO will be very damaging psychologically, it will be very difficult to maintain our Parental authority, which already has been disrespected and undermined.

    We have endured 7 months of this, we are fighting for AD sake. We cannot have a psychological battle with the LA further, we really do think they are completely out of their depth. Their actions speak for themselves.

    1. helensparkles

      You would be in court anyway because you didn’t offer revocation of the care order or rehab home for 6 months. That is 6 months of uncertainty for AD and LAs aren’t allowed to do that.

      If the LA’s legal advice says threshold is met the LA have to take that to court anyway. If the concerns are subjective the court will tell them that, but they do have to ask the court, there should always be that scrutiny. If they really are subject, the court won’t grant an order. If things have changed at the final hearing, the LA may not make an application. This is an adoption issue, but you are parents, and it isn’t different for you. This isn’t because the law or the LA are clumsy or ill informed, adopters do harm their children sometimes and the same process applies to any parent where there are concerns.

      Sometimes people think emotional/neglect concerns are subjective because there is not enough ‘hard’ evidence, the kind you would have if you had a bruise for example, but the LA have to set out why they think what they think. This is a useful link

      AD has a high level of needs, the LA setting out concerns that those needs are not being met is the LA saying it what it is worried about. I do understand why that feels like blame but it could for example mean that a child’s needs (not necessarily AD) can’t be met in an adoption placement. I’m never going to say the care system is perfect, the stats on outcomes tells us all we need to know, but for some children it is exactly what they need and they thrive. Some children also can’t manage being adopted, they had a family already, and having a replacement doesn’t work for them. This is often true of older children, which is why they are less likely to have a plan for adoption, or it can disrupt placements (along with other trauma based issues) when adopted children become teenagers.

  93. Adoptionp

    We probably think, the LA New agenda is to have AD home but under a CO, this will be not acceptable.

    Any return home has to be UNCONDITIONAL for it to work.

    This is not an ultimatum, it is common sense.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The problem is – it sure reads like an ultimatum.
      There were/are real concerns here. Your wife apparently did not want your daughter remaining at home, but has now changed her mind.
      Your daughter needs to be at home – if that is what you and your wife genuinely want. If this initially has to be under a care order, then so what? What is so terrible about that, that you just cannot agree?
      It is entirely up to you how you chose to spend your time and energy of course; only you can know what is best for you and your family.
      But to an outsider who knows only what you comment about, it sounds to me like you are directly all your energies in ‘winning’ a ‘war’ against the LA.
      And I am afraid I think you are doing this at the expense of your daughter.

    2. helensparkles

      I don’t know you or your family, we only know what you say here. I think you risk sabotaging rehab if you are not prepared to work with the outcome of the court case, should that be an order. That will mean you can blame the LA if rehab isn’t successful, but that won’t be any solace to you or AD.

      1. Adoptionp

        It is quite simple, it is about psychologically who her parents are. Attachment is the root cause of the problem.

        We have struggled with AD seeing the LA as her parents, her ‘safe haven’t. An order will just make it worse.

        It is very easy for everyone to make an easy comment and say ‘work with the LA’. The issue is just that.

        We have discussed this a lot with the Reconnect therapist, she is a psychodynamic psychotherapist. She understands the detrimental impact of an order on Reconnection.

        We are spending a lot of energy to prove this very point. Sharing PR even with AD back home will not work.

        The issue is very much on Parental Authority, the LA should not support it, not take it away. This is why we have opposed it.

        Considering AD is nearly 15, they need to listen to her. If she is not happy in FC, then why keep her there? If the AP are not happy with their PR being g undermined, then why do it? It will just create unnecessary stress and intrusion.

        We made the very point to the judges on 22Jul.

        1. helensparkles

          If AD’s secure base is the LA it is because she can trust them to ensure her needs are met, emotionally and physically. AD may never feel she has that elsewhere; that isn’t anyone’s fault, it is trauma and attachment based. The last 7 months didn’t create that, however I think you also need to consider that placing AD in FC would have had a resonance with the grief and losses she has already experienced. This doesn’t mean that it is always the wrong thing to do it just needs to be what you are thinking about rather than focussing on a battle with the LA. Being given back to a system you left at 7 would have felt like rejection and had potential to re-traumatise, I don’t know AD but it is worth thinking about those themes. It is also worth thinking about, how (for example) does AD know she can come home and will never be sent away again? Unfortunately she can’t know, because you don’t know, your wife is certainly less confident than you are about her coming home, and there are issues with her sibling. That is emotionally harmful in itself. I would stop fighting the LA and think about how you ensure your home is a secure base and you can parent therapeutically. There is loads of secure base material here and I am sure your therapist is familiar with it.

          I suggest you revisit the Reconnect therapist before you are in court and have a consult on how rehab CAN work with a Care Order. Sometimes what is proposed in therapy isn’t possible when there are concerns about children, but there will be a way.

          There are some issues AD has raised about you as well, so when you talk about her not being happy in FC, it sounds like you are choosing to hear the things that you like. You’ve mentioned AD’s compliance, I would imagine this is over compliance (which is a survival skill) and AD is probably saying something different to everyone to keep them happy. Hopefully she is able to be honest with her SW and the Guardian.

          I absolutely accept that state intervention in the life of any parent is stressful. People can’t stop this process because you feel undermined, stressed or unhappy. You are not different or special because you are adopters, you are parents, and other parents do find a way to work with SW to make changes. They even thank SW for their help.

          I am sure ‘they’ are listening to AD, but good parents don’t do what children want all the time, they talk but they also make decisions that are in the child’s best interests however old they are.

  94. Angelo Granda

    I understand your position and i don’t disagree with you.
    As far as i know the Court has to look at the welfare of AD. In some circumstances,it can stand back and make no order at all.
    The Guardian has to examine what is called the welfare checklist and answer each one for the court.Thus when you see the Guardian,make sure you go through each and every question in detail with her.I see that as an imperative for you.Otherwise Guardians work under an assumption that care provided by the LA is satisfactory.So you must convince her why an order will be harmful and why the LA is not likely to be a suitable parent.
    Because i know that sometimes Guardians are biased in favour of LA’s you must also make sure your barrister gets the message over.
    This case is one that would have suited mediation and a pre-proceedings conference as per the system currently being tested.

  95. Angelo Granda

    Adoptionp, You must continue focussing on your AD as you have from the start of the episode.
    It is obvious the LA are not doing so and that is why i have my suspicions.Are their aims legitimate?
    They have fabricated evidence in order to satisfy threshhold. It also gave them the excuse to tread over the agreement with you about placement.The first SW and the student were both sent on their way by the manager who was being ‘instructed’ by the LA. Your AD was sent to a FC. Hastily without any consultation or agreement with you.The decision was not focussed on the needs of your AD and she has not been well-cared for She has been exposed to delinquent behaviour and smoking ( tobacco only,let us hope). The FC’s are a different cultural background..Despite the fact you were engaged in therapy and despite AD’s clearly-expressed desire to return home,the LA put her second to their litigation; they were reluctant to give up possession of her under the S20 and they put the FC’s holiday plans before her desires and your child-centred plans for her future.
    Everything they have done has been at the expense of AD .
    Had they acted correctly as you asked,your AD could have been back home months ago.

    However, even though i believe you are fighting for her,not at her expense (the CS have to send her home anyway) and that it probably will be best if there is no order issued,you should bring your horns in and play ball for now.
    Don’t be too adversarial at this stage -If the Judge grants a C.O.,put all your energy into getting it discharged down the line when your predictions come true.
    Leave everything up to your lawyers. .
    If your case was a serious one where the LA wanted to keep her in care,i would be advising you differently.Don’t forget your sols advice.The manager might decide to send this new SW packing and come up with an irrational decision and fabricate a report himself if the LA instructs him to.Things are still flexible.If they turn to a plan to keep her in care till 18 then they will use alleged defensiveness and your supposed inability to change against you.So will the Guardian if dhe chooses their opinion to yours.
    Whatever happens,focus on your AD.First thing is to get her home and reconnected.
    She is a teenager and you can only work on encouraging the best attachment possible .All teenagers leave home eventually,some at 16 and that isn’t far away. There may be many more challenges ahead.

    1. helensparkles

      From the start of the episode it is clear on here that this was a family crisis and AD was placed in FC by her parents to avoid mum walking out. This was her parent’s decision. They may not like how it happened, but it was at their instigation, and they still agreed it.

      That parents didn’t revoke S20 during the last 6 months or offer rehab home until Florida loomed, they are all legitimate concerns. The solicitor’s letter about that is very clear and a court has to decide. We can’t just leave children in limbo with no plans for their future.

      That the LA isn’t confident about rehab home is a legitimate concern.

      Evidence been described as not reflecting people’s experiences, that doesn’t mean it has been fabricated, it does mean peoples perceptions of events need to be discussed.

      The LA is the SW in family cases.

      Nobody was sent on their way, it is very unfortunate to have a number of SW on a case but it happens for all sorts of reasons, and professionals are perfectly capable of handing over.

      If AD is saying she wants to go home because she wants to keep dad happy, that isn’t sustainable and AD appears to tell everyone what she thinks they want to hear.

      It is often very difficult to ensure FC have the same cultural background as a child, which is why all FC are trained to support children of an identity other than their own. Most FC are white British and there is a shortage. Other needs are placed in a hierarchy and, from what I have read here, health and emotional needs would have been a priority.

      With no sign of her parents offering rehab home or revocation of S20, it is perfectly reasonable for AD to go on holiday with the people who are caring for her. That would be normal family life. Under S20, she also needed her parents consent to travel abroad, and it is great that they managed to do this.

      The LA have acted correctly as far as I can tell from comments here.

  96. Adoptionp

    We have tonight dropped AD to FC after her first overnight contact in 7 months.

    AD was very emotional, she had to check in to SW this morning and confirm she was back in FC.

    AD was not pleasing Dad, she desperately wants to come home, mum and AD interactions was good.

    It felt like old times. We were very nurturing and therapeutic towards her health needs. AD could see we had changed.

    The INHUMANITY is when she was crying when we dropped her back to FC, we could feel and see her pain. This was not an act, it was there genuine emotion.

    Had we known, we would have revoked sec20 a longtime ago. The message by SW during the months proceeding the court case was AD did not want to come home. We are now told last week, AD always wanted to come home…

  97. Angelo Granda

    Helen, Thanks for your further comments but once again i would point out that the CS (in this case) acted entirely incorrectly when it fabricated evidence and so-called statements in order to satisfy so-called threshhold. It is one thing developing ‘concerns’but the department should not make a decision to put a child into FC long term and then set about finding evidence to support its case.The CS does not have the power to make those decisions and it is certainly exceeding its powers to interfere with the lives of citizens without a court order as it has in this case.
    It has ignored the parents decisions and AD’s wish for immediate rehabilitation.It coerced the poor girl into the Florida trip and menaced the parents by saying it would apply for a CO.
    It is inhumanity to micromanage the relationships of innocent people.By its authoriatarian attitude ,the department has caused great harm to the family including actual emotional harm to the child plus untold harm in the FC home about which she probably is frightened to talk about yet.
    Whatever concerns about mum and dad,they have the PR and the power to act as they see fit,They had their status degraded and their parental authority insulted.Not because of facts but ‘concerns’ and subjective ‘speculation’,
    The CS exceeded its power and misunderstands its duties.I disagree that the CS are the LA as you stated. Even if they were, they can’t rule the family without a court order.

    1. helensparkles

      Adopters find concerns subjective not fabricated as far as I can tell, since they saw the threshold document 2nd Sept.

      Long term foster care has to be considered when adoptive parents are saying AD can’t return home, the first time they said she could was in August, mum did not want her home.

    2. helensparkles

      “I disagree that the CS are the LA as you stated.”

      The SW works with a family, files info for court etc. & instructs a solicitor. They are accountable to their employer and are the representatives of the LA in court. In other departments, a housing officer might appear in court. They are both, for the purposes of those proceedings, the LA.

  98. Angelo Granda

    According to the rules,you can retract the S20 anytime just by informing the CS of your intention( a phone-call will suffice) and taking the child home.
    You should clear this up with your lawyers.Don’t under-estimate your power as the parents.I wouldn’t have sent her back crying and in distress.

    1. helensparkles

      You can, but that was when the LA said they would make an application for an ICO if you recall. It was 6 months after AD had been in FC and at the point her mum agreed she could return home. Since the concerns are the same, the LA would act in the same way if AD was not returned to FC after contact.

  99. Adoptionp

    The LA have yet to file their evidence which was due 2Sep.

    The new SW which we and AD only met 1Sep has yet to discuss the output from our meeting with her managers and legal.

    She has reviewed the summary email I sent to her on Friday of the Reconnect therapy. The summary clearly highlights what we have learnt and the topics covered. We did not convey any detail of the specific conversations with regards to our AD, that is confidential, but it clearly shows what we have learnt and coping mechanisms to deal with AD attachment. It evidences our commitment to the cause and probably more than most other parents.

    It is likely this has been forwarded to manager and legal department for further deliberation.

    With regards to threshold, they are simply concerns, what we objected to was the inaccurate statements quoted by us during the Parenting Capacity Assessment. Our 10 page response correcting our statements in their document, clearly shows a level incompetence or deliberate fabrication by the LA.

    Anyone can write a document of concerns if you have a fabricated context. This is an abuse of their powers which I am challenging.

    In our case, I believe the LA in writing their threshold have clearly fallen into the trap of Social Engineering, they have no right to do that. It is against our human rights. Our sols have stated we have good grounds to dispute their threshold.

    We believe the LA legal are mistified as what to do next. Their whole argument was based on AD original wish of not returning. They do not understand that AD is an overly compliant child, this is no ordinary case. AD was saying to us that she NOW does not like the original SW who wrote the report, when it looked like for the last few months, she was her best friend. This is a lack of in depth knowledge with regards to our AD, it demonstrates their blinkered approach and coercion…they should have asked the opinion of those that know AD the most, her AP.

    Ascertain her character, understand what has happened previously, not from inaccurate reporting, but from the Parents.

    We AP had to push for Unsupervised contact, we AP had to push for Therapy, we AP had to push for the overnight. We AP now are pushing for Rehab home, which LA are now reluctantly progressing as it goes against their easy long term plan of leaving her in FC. We AP will now seek further ASF funding for further therapy.

    Our therapist (who is an existing SW and also a CAMHS mental health worker), said to us CS often forget they are providing a SERVICE.

    In hindsight, we wished we never rang CS from the hosipital. We should have just approached Barnardos.

    We are channelling our energy to avoid further incompetence from the LA. We have no confidence in their ability to make effective decisions. They have already demonstrated their incompetence over the holiday and their lack of understanding on attachment.

    It would be nice for the CS Managers to ring up and say, how can we support you through this difficult time. WHAT DO YOU NEED? This would be child focused. Support the Family to support the child.

    Considering AD age, it is paramount she has a say, it is no point adults who are far removed from the individuals to make decisions on their behalf. This is micromanaging relationships and social engineering. We do not live in China.

    Adoption cases are DIFFERENT to usual cases, there is an unknown past to consider. AP are different to birth parents. Fragile relationships can be worsened by insensitive acts of procedure.

    We know AD, she may act resilient, she hides her pain. We want to fix that. The intrusive and controlling involvement by LA just adds to her anxiety.

    ‘Stability’ for AD does not necessarily mean, a legal framework and decision will resolve. It is an poor excuse for LA to use when they are not confident in their own procedures and decisions. Not everything CS has to go in front of the courts.

    After all, back in Jan (when WE, not the doctor, asked for respite over her health), we were the same family as now that a decision was made by LA back then for us to attend future families and the case was to be closed. Just because we sought a one to two month further respite, a legal threshold has been met and CO sought? Why?

    Proceedings should immediately cease, ask the court to do so and help the Family.

    Attachment issues will not be resolved via a CO. We have said we are committed to attend further Barnardos therapy (again AD reiterated last night she would happy to attend) and our commitment should be good enough. You do not need an order of the court to do that.

    1. helensparkles

      Not everything in SW does go to court, absolutely, but leaving AD in care for an indeterminate period of time (when you extended the original arrangement) meant that the LA had to. It absolutely would have been better if there was an alternative to placing her in care in the first place, but presumably you explored had explored all avenues. You could of course have accessed therapy independently of the LA or made an application to the ASF. Nobody in that LA wants an adopted child in care.

      Where there are concerns about children, adopters are no different to other parents, that is not the same as saying adoption cases don’t have different features.

      If you need support, you need it from the adoption team, that is the team who look after adopters. Your child is in care, the service Children’s Services offer is self explanatory, it is for the child. Not only will that team not have the capacity to support you, you disparage both the organisation and the individual workers, and you have made them aware of your views. They would have absolutely no indication from your attitude that you would want them to be more involved in your lives, or offer support, quite the opposite.

      I would suggest you don’t always talk to AD about contact or rehab. That you love her and look forward to the next time you see her is reassurance. The rest is just more likely to lead to her telling you what you want to hear and is pressure.

  100. Adoptionp

    We have simply followed the legal process, at no point did the LA say, would like support now to bring her home.

    In the 9May first hearing, we disputed the CO based on current threshold. We suggest pledging court response there was inclination the the AD wanted to return home, but all during SUPERVISED contact, we never were allowed to talk openly with AD.

    It was only in therapy at the end of June, when AD joined us, we were free to talk to her in a confidential manner. This is the only time she openly expressed to us she wanted to return.

    It has been quite clear from some if the comments made by CS Managers, they are not happy we talk about procedures with AD. Why not? It is our right to do so, it is about building our relationship.

    It is also quite clear, the CS Managers do not want her back and was shocked to hear on 22Jul hearing, contacted gone unsupervised. The SW who authorised unsupervised had not communicated to the Guardian or her managers!!

    Unsupervised contact at the beginning of July gave us an opportunity to truly talk to our AD properly. It also gave AD an opportunity to talk to us without the scrutiny of the LA or

    AD is not telling us what we want to hear, we give her the opportunity to make her feelings known. It is not being overly compliant, it is about knowing our AD which we have known for 7 years. We know her the most.

    It was only in unsupervised contact AD said to us ‘can I come home now’. This was not prompted, it was a statement that shocked us. She had meaning to say this to us for months but she was not allowed to freely talk to us or was it ever communicated to us? This all suggests LA have not really understood but just reacted to her anger. It shows a total lack of understanding of attachment issues in an Adoption case, which they probably come across on very rare occasions if that. It may also suggest they may have been withholding information.

    For months we had supervised contact, where initially we were treated like child abusers, then supervised contact, where every word was monitored.

    Where is the Adoption team? Well you can forget after sales, they seem to be too busy with their placement hats on. Our appointed SW has gone awol, even after leaving messages with her manager.

    So we are where we are, we will push for many overnight contacts before the hearing but we definitely will oppose any court order.

    We as a Family want to be left alone to Reconnect, use the services of the experts and for the LA to seek funding via the ASF.

    That is our position, it is a common sense position in the best interest of AD. We do not want anymore scrutiny, it simply will be counter objective and add stress to what already has been an extremely painful experience.

    Unless, SW actually have experienced what we have, including their managers, they get no respect from me.

    It is no wonder they act so unempathetically and inhumanely.

    1. helensparkles

      “Unless, SW actually have experienced what we have, including their managers, they get no respect from me.” That isn’t a very realistic comment and you wouldn’t expect it from any other professional.

    2. helensparkles

      “It has been quite clear from some if the comments made by CS Managers, they are not happy we talk about procedures with AD. Why not? It is our right to do so, it is about building our relationship.” I wouldn’t be happy about this either. Ignoring why they think this isn’t in AD’s interests isn’t helpful.

  101. Adoptionp

    AD is very concerned about what is happening to her, she openly talks about her concerns with us.

    It highlights no one in LA is being honest with her. She is of an age when these things should be discussed and her views considered.

    For example, she has made comment this weekend about being not too happy with living in FC. She has even said that a couple of times, the other child in their care has groped her. We have forwarded this to new SW to investigate. Along with other things AD has said to us including contact with dogs in the house. Absolutely against our wishes, as she is strongly allergic to pet hair, it causes an allergic eczema reaction.

    AD wants to talk about her future, who else but her Family should she talk to? No one is being honest with her.

    1. helensparkles

      I would only be repeating myself if I responded to this, you don’t concern yourself with any pressure you might be imposing on AD, which the SW has already talked to you about. I think you underestimate the impact of the very adult conversations you are having with her, about the Care Order for example, and how much AD has invested in you. AD will be aware of your views of CS and knows that making negative comments about FC fits in with what you want to hear. I would be very surprised if everything she tells you is true and everything she tells others is not, it would be unusual in a child with her experience and profile, from what we know here of course. It is also perfectly possible that she was saying to her SW that she didn’t want to return home and has now told you she said something different. It is all very complicated but the main thing is to concentrate on making your family work so that she can come home safely and stay there.

  102. Angelo Granda

    It is not always helpful to mention inappropriate experiences in care to SW’s. Rather you should find out mich more first and ,if AD is genuine and there is evidence against,the Police can be informed.Children,especially at her age ,are open to all kinds in ths care system not least from predators who are attracted to vulnerable children.
    In some areas ,LA’s are known to cover -up such wrongdoing and SW’s will not be all that keen on hearing allegations.Who knows?
    They aren’t able to investigate them anyway.
    The Police (Public Protection Department) are the ones with the duty to do it and protect children.
    The LA may discriminate against you even more especially if there is no evidence.Keep a careful note of everything as and when it emerges but remember AD’s history of invention aswell. She may have been targeted for illegitimate aims,that is my fear.

    1. helensparkles

      Allegations about placements can be made either to the police or CS, it is more comment to inform the SW who involves the police.

      What illegitimate aims are you talking about?

      1. Angelo Granda

        I am talking about ANY aims which are not lawful.
        The Law appears to say it is not legitimate to separate families unless the situation is so dire that nothing else will do.Thus when the CS go to extremes,egg-up family difficulties,concocts false evidence etc and looks to separate a family for longer than necessary when the scenario is not dire at all,it suggests they are following LA directives to exploit a situation and act in its own paramount interests. We have all know that looked after children are exploited in all sorts of ways mainly for money.
        That is ,i suppose ,why they aren’t open and honest,discourage contact etc.
        BTW, i think the LA gain something by procuring children into the care system(but i don’t know exactly what).I know of another case happening right now where a FC cared for a girl. From 8yrs to when she was 16. She asked for a bit of help in managing her behaviour as sge was waking early in the morning and wandering about disturbing everyone else.Next thing,the CS turned up on the doorstep and took the girl away to a residential home where they intend to keep her at least until she was 18. The FC was very distressed and so was the younger sibling.
        I don’t believe SW’s are dishonest,covert and contravene procedures by mistake.When they act unlawfully then it is more likely than not the LA. has illegitimate aims.

        1. helensparkles

          There isn’t some organisation called the LA that operates independently from the SW teams. If it is CS, the SW teams are the LA.

          1. Angelo Granda

            If you are right,why would so many of your colleagues (including most who attend CPR conferences) be so concerned that the LA prevent them from acting in a way which they think is best for children.?
            The CS is not an authority at all.The LA is an authority and the CS (SW’s) are merely its employees.The lawyers are also its employees and they instruct the SW’s what to do.

          2. helensparkles

            Example. A way of working changes. That would usually be sent out by an Assistant Director of CS. Of course they and the SW teams are employed by the LA, but it is the CS part of the LA which dictates how that policy is implemented. Or a budget is set, it is the CS councillor who takes that toe cabinet.

            Lawyers do not instruct SW, it is the opposite way around.

          3. Angelo Granda

            Of course,Helen that is very interesting to us all if you are saying that the CS is the author of all its own wrongdoing and for setting its own budget and making recommendsations to the LA (cabinet?). If it is the SW’s themselves who recommend whether support programmes can be financed or not and whether it goes to court or not,then does that mean there is no separation of powers at all?
            I presume you mean the CS managers run the whole show.
            This is all wrong and explains why SW reports and assessments appear to be biased .
            Do you also own up and say that the. CS instructs LAC reviews and CP conferences?
            Against this,i can only say that in the letter quoted by adoption the LA lawyer quite clearly refers to his ‘instructions’ rather than to advice.

          4. helensparkles

            We have discussed before how the council is a political body, cabinet make decisions about budget setting, I don’t know how much detail they drill down into but generally senior CS managers would be responsible for funding and commissioning specific services and resources. There are usually mechanisms for requesting funding outside that scope, which would be via senior managers.

            I am sure SW do say their LA doesn’t let them finance or source xyx, it is a turn of phrase, ‘they’ is the person other than them who won’t let them. It is one organisation that SW is part of and some tough decisions have to be made because budgets are limited. The decisions are not made by SW.

            It doesn’t ‘explain’ anything that your refer to.

            Lawyer gives advice, SW instructs lawyer based on what their view of that advice is. They can choose not to take it, in the same way as anyone else.

            Nobody instructs anything in a review or conference, so no idea what you mean by this.

            It’s interesting to me that this discussion is taking place on a page where an adopter is expecting an LA to fund therapy and support in a way that would never be possible for a family in the community at risk of losing their child. Obviously we don’t know the circumstances of this case, so it isn’t about these adopters, but the children removed from families and children placed with adopters are the same children. The adoption support fund has no cap and was introduced by a government who is pro adoption. Families do not have the same entitlement or any equivalent. I wonder why adopters can identify a source of support, be assessed for funding, and families can’t. That isn’t to say adopters shouldn’t have support but it seems very unjust.

  103. Adoptionp

    We are acutely aware that AD maybe causing a disruption in FC to try seek a route home. She could be saying these things subconsciously.

    AD is clearly worried about a CO and the impact it will have. The episode around the holiday is an example to the LA of where her loyalties lie. We said to LA she saw it as an attack on us.

    The situation was created by LA incompetence, this why we believe a CO will not work.

    In a few months of being in FC, there have been difficulty in FC; things that would never have happened in our care.

    We believe, as with her previous LA, they do not know what to do with AD. The decisions toggle, they think least path of resistance was best before leaving her in FC and now they want to promote rehab home, albeit at their place.

    We genuinely believe AD will suffer mentally in FC, and the irony is they are accusing us of emotional neglect?

    They want to give stability, yet she had been seen by so many SW and different CS managers.

    It is quite simple to us, support our ADOPTIVE family, stop their BLAME agenda and help AD to be happy with her family.

    They should by know see what her stress point are, as we do, or are they still blinkered? Uninformed? So caught up in their own procedures that they not child focussed anymore?

    I would love to ask the CS Manager, what do you know about my AD? Not what is written in a report, but what do you know of her personality, her character, her struggles, her strengths? If they get it right, then I might respect some of their decisions.

    It is simple, support the Family to support the AD. We are absolutely child focussed, we want to ensure AD is happy. Jointly parenting with the LA will be difficult, we need the experts to help us not ill informed CS Managers who are not prepared to consider AP views, only Barnardos seem to understand.

    Barnardos are educating LAs, maybe they have not reached our LA?

    1. helensparkles

      As part of their CPD, the adoption team would have accessed specialist training, it is provided by various agencies. Barnardos provide various services in various areas, they are sometimes commissioned by LAs as part of their service, or LAs are able to access training. It tells you here which areas they cover for adoption support There are other agencies which take on the same or similar roles.

      What the LA know about your child will be reflected in their care planning, along with their view about concerns at home. That is child focussed. If you want to ask a manager a question you should.

  104. Adoptionp

    Thank you, yes we have seen this Barnardo’s link. It is 20 hours of Reconnect Therapy that we have done so far. This now has halted as no further funding has been provided by LA.

    We will seek further therapy through solicitors and ask LA to apply. The AD has said she will not attend any further therapy if left in FC. We are comfortable with this approach as the Reconnect therapy is totally confidential.

    We have also proposed a rehab plan for AD to be back home by end of the month, with 2 overnights this weekend, 3 the following, 4 the following. The proposal is for AD to return home 1st Oct, the day after final hearing. In addition, mid-week contact seemed to have slipped, this has always been in place but we do not know why this has not been maintained. We have proposed every Weds evening AD returns to our house.

    In our minds, there is no reason why she cannot return home immediately. It is no different to Introductions in 2009 or when she was placed in respite for three weeks in Apr.

    It seems the actual people that are apprehensive are the LA. They have confidence in their decision making. It is likely there will be several internal planning meetings which will take another month with no engagement with us,

    It is likely they will just state what will happen – they seem to forget we still have 100% PR.

    So LA final evidence has yet to be submitted. We have made clear proposal and indications for AD to return to our care.

    1. helensparkles

      “In our minds, there is no reason why she cannot return home immediately. It is no different to Introductions in 2009 or when she was placed in respite for three weeks in Apr.”

      It is very different for a number of reasons, not least being she has been in care for 7 months and was placed their by her parents. Each transition has an impact on a child, so leaving birth family, leaving FC, leaving you because you can’t manage her. All of that has a resonance and the speed of rehab should absolutely not be the focus. The plan for her to return home needs to ensure the placement is sustainable.

  105. Adoptionp

    It seems the actual people that are apprehensive are the LA. They have NO confidence in their decision making

    1. helensparkles

      It is right and proper that these things are well thought out according to what is happening at the time. This is the 2nd time you have placed your daughter in care, I am not surprised that leads to a lack of confidence about her future. The best way to make a decision is in a multidisciplinary forum and the best way to plan rehab home is with the therapist who knows you all.

      You do have PR, nobody is forgetting that, but it is only a few weeks since the LA were very clear that they would seek an ICO if you revoked S20 at the time of the holiday. Unless all of those concerns that, in their view met threshold, have disappeared, you are in the same place.

      Courts cannot order the LA to fund anything. You need to make an application for funding from the ASF via your LA adoption team.

  106. Adoptionp

    The 1st time was from the hospital as we did know what more to do regarding her health, we did not actually place her in care. She remained at home as she started to take her medication.
    The 2nd time was to seek further support for a month or two as she again rejected her health plan and was abusive towards family members.

    What we have learnt through therapy is that the best place for AD to deal with all these concerns is back in the home. Attachment is heavily impacted by LA intrusion, this is what we are fighting.

    AD wants to return home, we know our AD more than anyone.

    Yes we made a mistake in Feb, but this has gone on for far too long. The LA procedures are creating more trauma that what they are accusing us of. It is clear, a child should be helped to reconcile not be kept in foster care.

    AD will reject FC, she already has.

    We have conveyed to new SW some of the statements AD has made to us with regards to living FC. It is very worrying her statement that she has been groped by the boy in FC household.

    We shall await the outcome. It will be an interesting test to see if AD actually backs up what she has said to us or ‘complies’ (not wanting to upset FC) and retracts the statements she made to us.

    We have also been informed, the LA have rejected our parents proposed contact plan for Sep, saying existing contact arrangements still apply. Whatever that is? The mid-week contact has slipped!

    The LA have also informed they want to pursue a CO and keep AD in FC. The evidence will be forwarded to us today.

    Therefore, as I suspected, the message we got last week is absolute rubbish. It is the LA again being totally INHUMANE, dangling the carrot. If they were serious about rehab home they would have agreed to the care plan.

    When we suggested our introductions in 2009 was only for 10 days prior to AD coming to us (after living in FC for 2 1/2 years!). The message we got today was that it is different, as there was permanency. It is absolutely INHUMAE for LA to allow overnight contact and then pull the rug from AD.

    AD wants to come home today and we will support her.

    The naivety on our part was to ever place trust in the LA to support us in a family crisis. The system is well and truly broken. AD will suffer in FC, we know her.

    We are quite frankly quite sick of the whole process. The LA have no integrity.

    They obviously did not like AD getting distressed about overnight contact. AD does not want to stay in FC.

    1. helensparkles

      Of course it would have been better if AD was not in care, and she’s been there a long time, but your family were in crisis.

      I think rehab home will need to be after the final hearing, when it has been agreed. The LA would be setting you up to fail if they don’t get it right, so I suggest you work with them, once you know what the plan is. It will need to reflect AD’s age, the breakdown in her placement, and the current concerns. It will give you the best opportunity to establish permanency if you get it right, rushing it is not getting it right in this circumstances (as far as I can tell from here).

      Whatever you say to the contrary, you appear to think AD is telling you the truth, and nobody else. This is very unlikely to be the case anyway and this is evident from her distress at overnight contact which you think was positive.

      What you have said is the SW understood you and that they said that there is flexibility, even up until a final hearing. Those things are still true but so are their concerns. You may not like what is happening but people are worried and I don’t think you think you are accountable for any of the things they are worried about. You seem to think the rights of the parents trump children’s and they don’t.

      If you just focus all your energies on fighting with the LA and trashing everyone you will miss the opportunity to think about your part in all of this and for rehab to be as successful as it can be. That will be incredibly sad for a long time.

  107. Adoptionp

    Having read the evidence and chronology since 9May, it absolutely clear the LA have no integrity.

    They have twisted every word and communication we have made with regards to therapy. They have completely fabricated statements made by AD, it is clear these people should not begin their jobs.

    I simply do not believe such people should be in public SERVICE, I am quite disgusted.

    A citizen of good and decent integrity.

    And you wonder why no one wants to work with SW? No trust what so ever.

    We have demonstrated good progress for Reconnect and every part of their evidence is to rubbish it??

    How can you work with such people?

    In the child’s best interest? I think not

    1. helensparkles

      There is nothing else I can say to you. You are determined on your own path, let us know how you get on in court.

    1. helensparkles

      Nobody said it was ok for SW to fabricate evidence. If you think that is the case, you should instruct your solicitors, and address it in court.

  108. Angelo Granda

    I hope now that you and other readers understand why i lay so much emphasis on illegitimate aims and as to WHY the CS have to fabricate or to use other terms,misinterpret. Issues grossly and present one-sided evidence to satisfy legal threshhold.If a parent is willing to sign an S20 ,sees the need for and actually requests professional support,they have to twist things round the other way.When they go to court ,they have to create a scenario where the parent does not acknowledge their concerns and apparently isn’t willing to work with them.In fact,the opposite is probably closer to the truth.
    They don’t upset parents and invent evidence in the child’s interests but because they want to promote cases to the Court arena.
    Why? They want to be able to say ( as Helen demonstrates) if you don’t like it,address your complaints to Court.They like to lay the law down,exceed their authority and say. SEE YOU IN COURT.
    Readers should understand how essential how essential it is to the illegitimate aims that the case goes to the Family Court. The LA(CS) know that were they to act openly,in full Public view,with all neutral professionals present,with support agencies present etc.etc. they would not be able to attain their aims! The parents and those pesky medics and supporters would get in the way and suggest all the less invasive alternatives; they would prefer mediation to arbitrary decision making.
    It is only at a Family Court held in secret are they able to present fabricated,one-sided evidence and it is only within court proceedings can they be unaccountable for slander and libel.It is only within a Family Court that they are allowed to get away with clear abuses of legal procedure and where they have the discretion to present false evidence recklessly.The Court will simply say ‘some of the CS evidence is clearly false but that does not mean their aims aren’t legitimate.
    It is only a Family Court that will endorse such INHUMAN sanctions as permanent separation ( next in seriousness to capital punishment) and where there is no automatic right to appeal such a severe decision.No other Court has that power.
    All of this happens on the grounds that it is in our children’s interests!

    Adoptionp. I myself guessed rightly the CS would go for the plan to remove and i predicted you would find the so-called assessments and facts and matters relied on even worse than the earlier ones.I expected the CS to do its utmost to discount the Barnados therapy.
    This is nothing new! The CS are very skilled at presenting hearsay ,concerns and speculation on what might happen (lots of it based on risk assessment) disguised as FACT.As Helen demonstrates so ably the dept.have a way of looking at everything from a critical angle.It is not so much ‘blame’ as fault finding.A witchhunt based on inaccurate notes,unsigned,unwitnessed statements etc.
    It is unfair ,we all know that.Unfortunately,by its nature, the Family Court will only put your arguments to the back.It will prefer the professional evidence to yours no matter how compelling it is.The Judge can simply turn round at the end and say you disagree with professionals and you are unlikely to change thus i will grant the order.This is how it is done in the final analysis.Thousands of ordinary parents will probably vouch for that!
    The Judge might not even have time to read your evidence.He listens mainly to what the professionals say.
    Don’t give them the chance of saying you are unable to work with professionals unless you have a really trustworthy barrister.
    Sarah has mainly stepped away from this discussion but she did come in to suggest you offer to accept a care-order. That will make all the difference.Think about her timely advice and oppose the care plan not the order itself.
    Most of all,get a good barrister.I can’t give legal advice just tell you how the system is corrupt.

  109. Angelo Granda

    Although i know Helen will disagree ,it is often said that possession is nine-tenths of the law and that applies to civil courts.Thus i say,once again,you should focus on your daughter’s wishes and let her come home now before the hearing. As a mere parent,i advise you to see your lawyer about it.If AD tells the Court she is happy at home they are less likely to remove her Likewise the Court will be averse to moving a child from foster care.t.

    1. helensparkles

      Before doing anything like that they should talk to their solicitors, children are not possessions and they are removed from families, so clearly that rule of thumb isn’t accurate.

      The LA were clear about their concerns if S20 was revoked now, so having AD home now would be a very good way of parents evidencing they are not able to work with the LA. It could be quite disastrous for everyone.

  110. Angelo Granda

    In my humble opinion, that is another example of how the CS can turn the facts on their heads.It is illogical.
    A parent has every right to request support and they can agree a Voluntary S20 with the CS.The right lies within the Children’s Act.These S20’s are agreed without prejudice. Furthermore,having seen one of these aggreements,they actually state that parents have the legal right to rescind the voluntary care arrangement at any time they deem suitable WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
    Thus it seems wrongto say withdrawing agreement will evidence inability to work with the LA.
    Making an agreement in writing and abiding strictly to its terms is always a good thing.

    1. helensparkles

      I was not discussing S20 generally, but in this case. S20 is actually really quite rare these days except on short breaks schemes offering respite for children with additional needs. Most LAs don’t accommodate children under S20, except in exceptional circumstances. ]

      These parents left AD in care for 7 months before they thought about rehab home. When children are placed in care under S20 for 7 months this is called drift. They are drifting without a clear care plan and LAs are not allowed to do this. This LA has also made it clear that they have enough concerns to apply for an ICO should parents have revoked at the time of the holiday. Parents may not agree with those concerns but they are about to be heard in court and they meet threshold in the LAs’ view. That means that means they would have to apply for an ICO if APs took AD home today. They can’t not act.

      I can either be helpful to people here or not and I chose to be helpful in telling APs to take legal advice before acting because I thought your advice would absolutely say these APs are not going to work with the LA, they are just going to take AD home and ignore what everyone is worried about. That does make people more worried about AD.

      1. Angelo Granda

        No, my advice was to think about rescinding the S20 but to see the lawyers about it first,naturally.
        Maybe they will be able to explain to him why the LA are always so eager to get children into care BEFORE they go to Court They will go to any lengths to achieve the advantage.Perhaps coerce parents into signing an S20,perhaps give Police false information and get them to use their S46 powers or perhaps go for emergency care orders(ex parte)..
        Adoption should not dither,in my opinion,he should exercise his legal rights whilst he still has them otherwise the CS will ignore AD’s wishes completely once they have their order.
        If he doesn’t allow her home nownit could be several months before she gets her wish.The CS aren’t bothered.

        1. helensparkles

          Angelo there was no coercion here and neither was the LA keen to have AD in care, her parents placed her there and did not consider revoking S20 until August.

          If you imagine just what we know if AD’s life, you would hopefully imagine that a well planned rehab home (perhaps with the support of the therapist the APs trust) would avoid setting everyone up to fail.

  111. Adoptionp

    We had an excellent overnight contact. The LA now have said that has to cease and proposed 10am to 8pm Sat and 10am to 6pm. So AD being returned for 12 hours. Why? To promote their agenda. Not once had they considered AD wish, lying through their teeth saying she agrees. Right in the middle if family time on Sat evening, they expect AD to clock watch and get dropped back.

    We have instructed sols to seek AD via Guardian, it is quite apparent CS have lost the plot.

    Their evidence us compiled of critiscising Reconnect, this was provided by LA Adoption team but yet they are saying I instigated withoutvworking with CYPS. They have also criticized how contact moved to unsupervised saying that I had exercised sec20 to instruct and compel them.

    What a load of twaddle, they are now criticising the positive output of the Reconnection process saying that we exerted pressure on AD to attend!!

    It is quite clear, the LA have no integrity. They are sickened by the success of Reconnect, they probably thought devalued not attend and use that as a criticism

    They haven criticised a positive statement made by AD that we had changed saying, she is anxious that we will revert if she came into care. Ye of little Faith.

    We have also instructed sols to investigate the groping incidents made by other child in FC who has learning difficulty and also pets in FC home that were removed due to her serious allergy but now have reappeared!

    It would interesting how a judge would issue an ICO if I revoked sec20 now?

    The last thing g I would:pd want though is to have AD at home but under a CO. It would be a total nightmare due attachment issues, she will go running every time we have a disagreement.

    Then only option that works 100% PR if she returned.

    1. helensparkles

      The overnight was distressing for AD. You know that, you just prefer to think it is about her returning to FC. It is just because it is distressing.
      AD is as likely to be lying to you as she is to her SW, she is more likely to trust the SW and the Guardian because she is aware of your expectations and wishes, they have no agenda. You do.
      Managing contact is important to rehab home, by all means discuss it, but please take concerns on board.
      You haven’t worked with the LA and you won’t. That much is clear.
      One of the LA’s concerns is that you have exerted pressure.
      The LA are not “ sickened by the success of Reconnect, they probably thought devalued not attend and use that as a criticism” they are worried ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER.

      There are cases in adoption where the law is clumsy, this, from what I have read here is not one of them. I am done with this post.

      1. Adoptionp

        You do not our AD, it is distressing because she is kept from seeing her family.

        AD was not in danger, we were seeking support, not criticism.

        The LA do not talk to each other.

        We are criticised for Reconnect Therapy. AD was never offered a route home or route out. They have no idea about who our AD is, only their immersive aims.

        The Reconnect we provided by Adoption team and we are criticised for evoking it? Do they not talk to each other? Totally DISORGANISED.

        In LA FC, AD has been subject to things that would never have happened in our care.

        Yesterday we had contact from the Adoption team who have funded further Adoption UK support. They have also inquired how Reconnect was going?

        Hmmmm…wonder why after 4 months?

        We have asked for further via ASF and instructed them to seek this ASAP

        Totally disjointed.

        We have also instructed sols to investigate groping incidents.

        Apparently the CIN team are having a strategy meeting NEXT WEEK!

        AD needs to be home and Reconnect provided.

        AD does not need a rehab plan, she has already suffered in LA hands. Our mistake was ever seeking their help. They are broken just like the NHS.

        We will continue with support from the Adoption team and Barnardos. The CYPS, CS teams are a joke, clueless. They do not even talk to each other i.e. manager decisions are different. Wonder which way the wind is blowing today?

        Talk parents, understand their needs and provide support.

        Do not act so stubborn to save your own faces

        1. helensparkles

          I don’t know your AD, I know what you have said here, I also know there are concerns about emotional harm.

          I don’t know what immersive aims means?

          I don’t know what being criticized for evoking something means?

          You have had funding and follow up from the adoption team, you have requested more, but you are still critical – can’t see why, they are doing what you wanted?

          The therapy is provided by the ASF via the adoption team, there is nothing disjointed about that, it is not provided by the childcare team.

          I don’t know what Adoption UK’s involvement is, they don’t run the ASF, LAs do?

          If you don’t have a planned rehab you are setting yourself up to fail and showing a lack of insight.

          If you want support for yourself, you need your adoption team, the childcare team have made their assessment of you, and you will be able to challenge that if you don’t agree it.

          Interesting that you use the word stubborn about the LA, if they are, you are equally stubborn. It doesn’t really get anyone anywhere does it?

          Please don’t personalise your comments about SW, I am not stubborn, your SW or your LA. You are as ever welcome to make comments about them.

  112. Angelo Granda

    Please do me a favour if you have the time.I assume you were given a copy of the S20.
    Is there any mention on it that there are time-limits?
    Helen appears to be saying that they isn’t good for children that they last longer than about six months (26weeks) without a care-plan thus in your case they simply have to go to the Court.
    I think you should emphasise to your solicitor(i repeat you must engage with them regularly) that you have always had a care-plan .You, as parent have been implementing it all along and that you nade the SWls aware of it.
    One item on the agenda of the plab was AD’s health care.You needed help with it and requested professional support.You reached a point (after less than26 weeks ) that you felt your plan had been successful and you wanted the child back home.She was quite happy to go home.Positive work had been done(as planned) and positive changes were made.
    So what reason have the CS to claim your family is in CRISIS or that it ever was?
    Also don’t forget to compile your own accurate chronology and five a copy to court and one to the Guardian.I can almost guarantee you that the one the SW’s compile will be wrong.They can’t help themselves.I don’t think it is malicious,they just do not keep accurate records of anything.They may even get names and dates of bith wrong.The episode you mentioned of racial abuse will probably be included in a way that makes it look like it was more recent or that you were to blame.
    If you are determined not to accept the care-order they want then you may be on a hiding to nothing.The Family Court is not a level playing field UNLESS you have lawyers who are really going to fight.Even then,time schedules are very tight and the Judge can turn round and stop them in their tracks at any time by warning them to keep their submissions short.
    As Sarah says the care-order isn’t everything.The care-plan is the important thing.
    I hope this cautionary advice helps you.You are smart and you seem pretty clear about your strategy etc. However, in the family court,you are at a great disadvantage.In normal family cases,the first thing the LA and Guardian do is order psychological reports on both parents.The obvious implication of that is that they are somehow mentally deficient.
    It is always best if you can keep the case out of court if you can is all i am saying.Bear it in mind.If you have good lawyers now is the time for MEDIATION.
    A good old compromise will be if you were to say you will agree to a care-order but not if it means separation.You want her at home where she belongs.Or tell them you understand and acknowledge their concerns and you feel supervision and monitoring will not be inappropriate.Agree to working with a CIN plan or even a supervision order.All these are viable alternatives the CS have written off without even considering them with you.
    Adoptionp, very occasionally parents have been on this forum or others telling us how they have actually come out on top in a dispute with the CS.It is very rare.
    One successful parent had the case against him withdrawn because he had a witness prepared to go to court and to attest that one of the SW’s had lied and /or fabricated evidence.The evidence was false and it could be proved.You should arrange for a witness to see your solicitor now,if you can get one.Once the court proceedings resume,it will be too late.They can ban you from asking for witnesses.Even the Barnados people will be useful witnesses.You should get evidence from one of them about how effective reconnection therapy is and how it works! That will rebut the LA evidence which denigrates it.
    Your solicitor should also consider calling your AD as witness.I am guessing she never actually said most of the things the SW’s are claiming.
    The other cases where parents have come out on top are when the solicitors have gone to the Court and pointed to the fact that cases have been incorrectly conducted.There are strict legal guidelines and procedures and when the SW’s flout them,cases may be stopped.Tell your lawyers to concentrate on them.It is hard to discredit every individual piece of criticism in court so it is best to point out that their evidence has been collected without due procedure so it is inadmissable en masse.
    As you know,i’m no lawyer but those are the only successful tactics i have heard of over many years.
    Most cases are actually sorted out behind the scenes by mediation.The solicitors decide the outcome between themselves before they get there.
    Hope this long post helps.

    1. helensparkles

      “Helen appears to be saying that they isn’t good for children that they last longer than about six months (26weeks) without a care-plan thus in your case they simply have to go to the Court.”

      I did not say that. Please read S20 timescales on appropriate lengths of time for children to be placed in care voluntarily and in what circumstances.

      What I did say is that APs had placed her for 7 months before offering rehab, this was too long for the LA to have left her in care, it has nothing to do with the 26 week timescale which is for proceedings once they have commenced.

  113. Angelo Granda

    I also agree with you that you made a big mistake asking for help ans support from the CS in the first place.
    The CS are inhumane to suggest that your family was in crisis or that they are so dire,only separation will do.
    It is quite human (especially when teenagers are involved) for a parent to feel like they want to walk out. I bet you feel that way sometimes.We all do.
    Perhaps a couple of months holiday for Mum might have done the trick. Next time,think about it.Often family members need respite from each other. At 14 or 15 children should be quite capable of cooking for themselves,keeping themselves clean and getting themselves off to school.
    Before anyone calls upon the CS,they should thing of every possible alternative first.
    Or disaster is the distinctly possible outcome as you now realise.
    I have read nearly all the posts on the CPR and one very astute parent commented that the CS aren’t actually out to get you.They just can’t help themselves!

    1. helensparkles

      It was the family that said they were in crisis and asked the LA to accommodate AD. I assume they had explored all other alternatives otherwise why do such a thing? Most parents do not place their children in care, they ask for support from their friends/family.

      When adopters are assessed their support network is assessed, I assume the APs accessed it on this occasion before asking the LA to look after their child. It is part of the process that adopters are asked to think about who would help them when they need it and with the issues that adopted children can present.

      It is probably not a good idea to expect a child who has experienced trauma to be as independent as other children as a teenager. It can be a period of time when they are very vulnerable, there is a link between risk taking as a teenager and early years trauma. AD probably needs as much support as a much younger child.

  114. Adoptionp

    Our confusion is that the CIN SW is raising criticism on the way Reconnect was conducted and how they were not consulted in the output from the therapy e.g. Unsupervised contact, even though they authorised it!

    Therapy is confidential, we discuss next steps within the therapy and with the therapist for Reconnection. The CIN team are not there to be consulted on everything. They should support if it is positive.

    The reason I say they are disjointed is that the ‘LA’ are bringing a case against AP yet there are conflicting decisions being made:-

    1. The Adoption team commission Reconnect, we engaged and provided positive outcome to the courts. Yet the CIN team are using this as a criticism in their evidence and they are not providing further support for Reconnection. i.e. Disjointed and conflicting view from the LA.
    2. One CIN team manager authorised overnight contact (while the other one was on leave). She attended court 9May and is the direct line manager to the new SW 1Sep and now on leave for a month!. The old SW (who has now left) dealt with senior CS Manager who attended court 22Jul who now is not supporting overnight i.e. not the Reconnection, even though AD found it positive and wants more. SO NOT CHILD FOCUSSED.
    3. In proceedings, this is the third SW who has just picked our case (with the original had a student). All previous SW have left.

    What is clear is there is definitely an ‘agenda’, the above proves it.

    We have said we want to work towards Reconnection back in May, as we stated in our court response AD wants to come back home? Nothing was communicated and nothing was sought from AD, in SUPERVISED contact we were never allowed to talk about proceedings. Any discussion to AD about returning home was criticised of us. AD told us in secret in Apr. It is clear the LA team were quashing our contact. This is the illegitimate aim.

    We knew if we sought a few days or weeks respite our AD would treat it as a holiday. She did this before in old FC. We wanted a month or two to ensure she could be treated properly for Health and ensure we could work out what was going on in her head. We just wanted SUPPORT to help her. We though this would be provided by the Adoption team.

    They never asked us what we wanted or what help we needed so AD could return.

    The CS team just went into criticising mode, exercising their powers , assessing our family, including of half-sibling. Why? Because of AD statements said in anger. They never thought, she an AD with experience of telling untruths in anger? They never looked at past records? No? That is because on 11Feb they had a ‘legal planning’ meeting and their AGENDA was set. No going back. No review and asking themselves, have we got this correct? Why? Because the inexperienced STUDENT SW was the one who visited our AD at school on 2Feb and went for it. The original SW was an two day course.

    So AD was placed into FC voluntarily under sec20. No emergency ICO was pursued. It was a voluntary arrangement for AP to seek support for AD.

    So you keep saying they had an opportunity to revoke sec20? At point could we do that when we never were allowed to speak with AD freely and understand what was happening. At what point did the CS team ever explain to us our rights? We were getting assessed, attending PLO meetings in Mar and awaiting a final outcome of the PC report. We even feared was half-sibling also getting removed (fortunately her file is closed now).

    It was only in May when we could freely assess and make a decision based on their court statements which we disputed threshold. it was only in June, we were offered Reconnect. We thought this was from the CS/CIN team, and now we find out it was actually from the Adoption team, and that is being used as a criticism now in their final evidence.

    The CS/CIN team reside in a building with Police. The Adoption team do not.

    Confused, so were we, but no one was representing us from the LA in proceedings.

    The only person that did support us and explain what was going on was the Reconnect therapist, being a CAMHS mental health worker and SW, she understood how much pain were in. It was only from June we could think clearly about next course of actions and it was only in Unsupervised contact we could freely talk to AD and ask her what she wanted, to then decide if we could help and support her in her decisions.

    Revoking sec20 at any point in the above would have not been that easy. We did not know our rights or what was happening. All closed door agendas, including the IRO, who seems to agree with everything the LA are doing, with the usual comment in their evidences….not very independent.

    This is what I mean by Disjointed.

    1. helensparkles

      You placed AD in Feb under S20. I would hope that a SW would have explained the legal status, but if you weren’t sure, you had a solicitor by March. I am sure they commented on S20 but by then there were concerns.

      I am not saying you could easily have revoked S20 in that time, you couldn’t, the LA would have made an ICO application if their grounds are the same as they were at the time of the holiday. I am saying your wife didn’t offer rehab home in that time and she has only just done so. You were quite clear about that. You didn’t need to speak to AD about rehab home, just the grown ups involved in her life needed to make those decisions, and have less grown up conversations with her.

      It is right and proper that a therapist looks after you and I am glad that has happened.

      Your daughter is in care, you are parenting her with the LA, so things do need to be discussed with them by you.

      Nobody from the LA would be representing you in proceedings. The LA file their evidence, as do you, including the adoption team if relevant/requested.

  115. Adoptionp

    If a CO is issued, it is only the LA CIN team that could apply for it to be discharged.
    We do not think we could work with a team that acts so illegitimately.

    We understand it is not that easy to discharge a CO once issued, even if AD wants to do it at 16, she would need to demonstrate to court all the threshold criteria no longer apply which includes gathering the necessary evidence.

    The last 7 months has been very stressful, we simply do not want to do it. It will be very stressful to continually have SW scrutiny and monitoring.

    As our sols have said, many AP would have walked away by now. We are fighting NOW, for AD sake, as we want to ensure her life will not be ruined in long term care. The last 7 months shows that. We have not been fully informed of all the details with regards to what went on before.

    For this latest incident of groping and pets in the home, I WILL be exercising my PR to ensure my AD is protected from incompetence.

    A positive note, we have had contact from the Adoption team…..maybe they will support us in court….this is the ‘LA’ we will demonstrate to the courts we will work for the sake of AD. We will demonstrate ASF will fund further Reconnect therapy and we will show we have engaged with Adoption UK as well.

    1. helensparkles

      You can apply to revoke a Care Order, as you say you will need evidence of change. Care Orders expire at 18 I believe.

  116. Angelo Granda

    Of course you aren’t wrong at all but how to achieve justice in a Family Court ?
    I mentioned 2 winning ways of approach but forgot to mention the third.
    Instruct your lawyer to demand a full social work parenting assessment from an INDEPENDENT SOCIAL WORKER when you get to Court.The Judge may be reluctant but your lawyer must insist strongly.The parent i have in mind had to ask three times before the Judge agreed. The ISW report was almost the complete antithesis of the C. S. Assessment and the child was returned home forthwith.
    To get the Judge to agree,you have to point out all the many holes in the CS opinions.For example, they probably not examined all less invasive alternatives and given reasons for their rejection.The ISW will do the job properly and he will not be influenced by LA aims or budgets.
    As soon as the ISW report was issued,the LA folded and agreed to rehabilitate.
    Hope this helps.Remember,your own evidence (no matter how solid) will be disregarded.You need professionals on you side to put against the CS professionals.

  117. Adoptionp

    4 days of LA silence regards to our protest at them refusing overnight contact this weekend.

    They have said our proposal is ‘too soon’ and need to ‘take it slow’, the new SW puppet is like a broken record. Our sols have said they simply have no answer to our point that their actions are sabotaging attachment. It is against their plans of ltfc. ‘We do support her coming back’, I said you have had her for 7 months, what when she is 18?

    So the LA refused overnight, something AD wants after successful last week, and the LA SW had no answer to my claim saying YOU are causing her emotional harm by refusing it. Oh the irony. AD gets coerced into thinking the same being an an overly compliant child.

    The latest debacle, ‘FC want to take AD on holiday in half term, please can you provide consent?’. Absolutely NO, was our answer, AD needs to go on holiday with us and we have even texted FC to not book any holiday as AD will be with us. When informing the SW who rang up this afternoon, we asked do you actually understand Adoption disruption and reconnection?? I think not, our previous SW was actually encouraging Reconnect with saying we should talk about it in therapy…this was until she got converted to dark side. It seems this one lasted one day until she also got bitten by the illegitimate aim bug and there is no vaccine.


    Let’s talk positive

    The Adoption team SW us arranging further Reconnect using ASF and funded further Adoption UK consultancy. When we informed her of latest re contact and holiday she understood, tried to ring CIN team, but has been told to back off. Her fingers were burnt.

    GUARDIAN VISIT TODAY, suburb, she understood and realised, even though there are attachment issues, there is some, it is wrong to separate AD but better to rebuild.

    She wanted to know what support there would be and we said, Reconnect and also we said AD would attend if back at home.

    She is highly experienced, one of the best, she was guardian for boy in FC ironically, downplaying his groping. She understood that AD has inhibited attachment issues and was impressed by all the hard work we had been doing including the coping mechanisms and strategies we would use if AD back with us.

    She understood totally the psychopathic a CO or even SO, although the latter is something she was contemplating to ensure the support will be there.

    She knew that AD is confused and very much driven by the last people she speaks to. We said she desperately wants to come and she mentions to us in contact.

    OUR CASE IS VERY RARE, most AP walk away considering AD age. Even in her vast experience, our case is quite rare purely at the fact, even though we have had difficulties, we are still here, it is a testimony to our commitment and for our AD.

  118. Adoptionp

    ‘Guardian understood totally the PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT of a CO or even SO, although the latter is something she was contemplating to ensure the support will be there.’

    She will contact Adoption team to ensure the support will be there. We said we are prepared to work with therapist for quite long time, if it was funded and support was there.

    Let us hope the illegitimate aim of CIN team dark forces do not scupper that as well.

    The CIN team seem to think, THEY decide a course of action e.g. holiday in half term, and everyone has to listen to their directive, then throw their toys out, when parents object or exercise a LEGITIMATE alternative e.g. AD spend time with AP to Reconnect. They call this ‘working together’ ! This a prime example of what it would be like under a CO. Not feasible, this the emotional harm and trauma AD will suffer in their care. Many SWs, no handover, different views of what is ‘appropriate’ parenting and in the midst of all this our AD who gets confused over over who her parents are……AP are and we will fight and exercise that right…..We are her parents 100%.

    The psychological battle will be too much to handle, we think they want to break our relationship permanently. It is actions of LA that is causing emotional harm to our AD.

    We think the Guardian can this clearly, let us hope she will support us.

    1. helensparkles

      The adoption worker hasn’t been warned off, she’s been updated on your case and the concerns.

      Of course the Guardian understands the difficulties posed by a Care Order, everyone does.

      It is a shame you are not agreeing to the holiday again, rehab does need to be planned properly.

      Your commitment is great, and yes some adopters walk away, but most don’t. The breakdown rate is very low.

  119. Sam

    If you disagree with the LA at all, they will do what they can to make sure that all ties with your children are broken. It is a very very sick system. It does not recognise those parents who actually care about their children, those that are child centred will fight to the bitter end. It reminds me of the abuse, you do exactly what I tell you , even if I am clearly lying or I will exercise our immense control over you even if what I do is illegal.
    Parents may complain to divert attention from their abuse towards their children , but I would say in the vast majority of cases parents complain because there is something to complain about. LA’s cannot help the turnover of workers, but management should factor in what effect this actually has on the working relationship between SW and parent .
    I haven’t managed to follow the replies completely, but I think there is no court order in place therefore the LA cannot stop you from seeing your daughter. The LA is likely to down play the groping, though I do prefer to give a proper label, sexual assault. My children have been assaulted whilst in care and on one occasion I only found out when I saw the bruises. They have also been in regular contact with an alleged child rapist . The way this was dealt with was by altering records.
    What this post has also thrown up for me , is that proceedings really should only be the very last resort, without attributing blame because I don’t know the full circumstances, what this poor child has gone through must leave deep scars. I wonder how much better it would have been if the birth mother was given support.

    1. helensparkles

      The quality and cost of the support given to adopters (there is no cap to the Adoption Support Fund) is far beyond that given to birth parents and I think it is a huge injustice. I think adopters should be supported of course, but like you I wonder what birth families would do with that kind of support.

  120. Sam

    I think at a conservative estimate just one of my children’s placement will add up to £750,000 by the time they leave care. That is of course without legal costs which must have for the initial proceedings cost the public purse around £100,000 and Social work costs. I estimate to have actually supported my children to remain at home would have cost a maximum of £30,000 and that is only because I needed respite care. I expect you won’t be surprised to hear that my LA do not offer short breaks at all. It is so shortsighted and any person running a household in the same manner would soon be bankrupt.

    1. Angelo Granda

      Helen and Sám,
      Can we assume from this that when children are procured into LA care and placed for adoption,the LA gains access to and can tap into uncapped funding from thA doption Support Fund.
      Surely this has the potential to prejudice LA decisions if there is no uncapped support fund to give support to natural families.
      Or does the Adoption Support Fund only. Offer funds in those cases where adoption has actually been finalised?

      1. helensparkles

        The Adoption Support Fund is what it says on the tin, it supports adopters when children are placed with them for adoption. It isn’t paid to anyone else for anything else. It isn’t the LA’s income.

        Although the funding for adopters is uncapped, the funding to the LA is not. The government fund the adoption support fund, give the LA money, and they assess adopters’ needs to justify funding for therapy etc. The LA actually runs into deficit very easily, their income for the ASF is limited, their outgoings are not, so there is no benefit to the LA.

        This doesn’t prejudice decisions those children are placed for adoption regardless.

        1. Angelo Granda

          Thanks for your reply, Helen. Naturally I share your concerns and agree it is a huge injustice that there is no parity between the funds available to support natural families and those to adopted children.
          The next logical questions from me are these.Is there an uncapped fund for children placed into LA residential care or into foster-care which it can access and tap? If so, would that HAVE THE POTENTIAL to prejudice welfare decisions regarding those children? We know all systems are open to abuse and we know guidelines and safeguards are often passed over. But why? Is the lack of funds available to support children to remain with natural family a critical factor? I think many victims will answer…..Yes, it is!

          1. helensparkles

            The LA doesn’t tap into the funds, they are allocated and are finite. The funds are only uncapped for adopters. The LA doesn’t benefit from the ASF, they are more likely to run into a deficit.

            Adopters needs are assessed and resources identified before ASF funding is available to them.

            Fostering/residential care and adoption are very different because there is a team around the child if they are in care. The child has a social worker, foster carers have their own social worker, so both have support. There are statutory provisions for children in care in education and CAMHS have a specific service. Specialist therapeutic services or other are sometimes accessed, but not routinely.

  121. Adoptionp

    Excellent contact with AD, who once again pleaded with us if she could return home NOW.

    The LA decision HAS caused emotional harm, as she was very upset at the overnight request being turned down. She showed the pleading text to new SW.

    Fortunately, the FC had not booked the holiday, not sure if they were appeasing AD, as they did not want to go through the stress again. They have said to AD they will place future foster children in respite for future holidays apart from the boy in their long term care.

    It is clear AD wants to return ASAP.

  122. Angelo Granda

    In theory now is the time for the Guardian to take decisive action then ,I guess.
    I suggest you keep in close contact with her and inform her of all this. She is supposed to be AD’s representative. Do you have her ‘phone number or postal address?
    In my experience, the LA (CS) liaise closely with Guardians at all times, persuading and influencing her towards their views. Also the Guardian ‘phones solicitors, experts etc. As you can imagine it is not unknown for her to be misinformed by SW’s.
    Don’t let her exclude you from the loop ( as often happens with vulnerable mothers and fathers). You might also consider enabling ADF to contact her representative directly by ‘phone.

  123. Adoptionp

    Our sols have notified Guardian sols and LA sols of how distressed AD was that there was no overnight.

    We have sought an explanation for their reason and to reconsider for AD sake.

    The LA have are continuing to support and seeking further funding.

    Meanwhile the LA CIN team continue to ignore our request for an update on concerns raised re AD in FC. The police have been notified and sec47 reported to them. What a complete strange way to ‘support AD back home’.

  124. Adoptionp

    The LA ADOPTION team are continuing to support and seeking further funding for Reconnect therapy.

    It would interesting to see how the contrasting agenda WITHIN the LA is viewed in court. We are working with professionals that understand this complex case

    1. helensparkles

      This is not necessarily conflict, people can understand and be concerned at the same time, to say otherwise is over simplistic.

  125. Adoptionp

    Raising contradictory subjective ‘concerns’ in one thing but they actively promoting the contra to Reconnection is absolutely illegal.

    Promoting I mean is keeping AD from seeing AP for no reason apart from to suit their own selfish agenda is not acting in best interest of AD, especially when the success and positive progression of Reconnection is reported in court at the interim. It is a complete abuse of powers which we AP could have fought, but we did not.

    We kept integral in our actions.

    Here lies the conflict….It is obvious for all to see.

  126. Angelo Granda

    Yes,follow Helen’s advice and report LA failures to your solicitor.Ask him or her to bring unlawfulmess, ultra viries actions etc to the attention of their solicitors.However,you may find that the LA simoly ignore attempts to intervene and make no efforts at correcting its behaviour.
    What you have to watch out for is failure to check facts.The LA tends to look at past precedents usually templates of cases where it has gained care-orders before.It will use them without checking whether the facts themselves apply to your family in reality.The risks and concerns will be the same and will be applied to your case indiscriminately.
    Check everything especially the reporting of facts.SW’s can be quite reckless and often present so-called facts which bear little relation to the truth.
    Have the original fabrications been exorcised from the case? I doubt it.They will be left in and the ripples will continue to spread .
    Check their original application for the care-order too! Is every detail correct?
    Applications and all other documents(chronologies,statements etc) are lodged with the Court under oath and are accepted by the office as true.Make sure they are because no-one else will check.
    It will be interesting to know if you find something.

  127. Angelo Granda

    Another valid questioo if you have time,adoptionp.
    When you originally requested support , who was it that suggested to ypu that you sign an S20 and place AD into care? You or a SW?

    1. helensparkles

      Both parties would have been aware that an S20 agreement needed to be signed for an episode of care, APs have done it before for respite, and a SW would have to have explained that.

  128. Adoptionp

    We asked AD to be taken into care for 1 to 2 months for health. We had no idea about the sec20 process and its implications of signing it. We were just under the impression that she could return just as easily, we just wanted SUPPORT. We missed her straight away but in a few weeks it had turned into this nightmare. As AD was not wanting to return home, under SW1 her ‘best friend’, we decided to just accept her decision but have been fighting to clear any accusation of threshold. We have admitted the way it happened could have been handled better, but not any of the other criteria. It is just subjective concerns you could raise about any family but to us that does justify them being in ltfc and PR shared.

    It is so obvious the issue here is ATTACHMENT, but the LA cannot see that and they blindly go about their procedures without thinking about the impact it is having on relationship with AD and ultimately making her attachment issues worse. They simply do not understand the long term impact of their short term ‘gains’ , such as holiday and can overnight etc..We have pointed all this out in our court response.

    We have reported to sols all our concerns and even yesterday I found e-mails from SW2 in Jul which shows how Reconnection was positively progressing and her conversations with AD of how to overcome her anxieties to unsupervised and even suggesting overnight and asking US how we felt about it. This was back in July!

    I have forward all to sols and to the Adoption team SW who will talk to CIN SW. They are clearly naïve or deliberate in the actions to adversely impact our relationship with AD.

    The LA sols have also admitted there were dogs in the house over summer! Apparently the FC made their own decision and ‘took the risk’ including AD walking them with FC mum! No doubt LA will blame the FC in their response to us when clearly it is their fault! No consent asked fro us and direct contravention to health advice, so they have caused physical harm to AD and then trying to say it was our holiday! The groping is being downplayed and the FC will keep a ‘watchful’ eye. Not good enough.

    LA CIN have still have not provided reason why overnight was cancelled apart saying ‘they support it and SW wants to work closely with AD and Family’. They have even denied the overnight was agreed! I have had to dig texts from CS Manager who authorised it. So it all points towards inappropriate act of deliberately trying to sabotage the excellent progress of Reconnection!

    We awaiting for Guardian response, as it is clear AD is very upset regarding to overnight being cancelled. If she agrees, we will exercise sec20 PR and await the LA bullying response.

  129. Adoptionp

    It is just subjective concerns you could raise about any family but to us that does NOT justify AD being in ltfc and PR shared.

  130. Adoptionp

    AD is very distressed why overnight was cancelled. She is now starting to show resentment at LA decision.
    We have sought Guardian opinion and will then insist if she agrees.

    LA SW3 is saying via Adoption team ‘regular overnights’ were never agreed even though our DOCUMENTED SW2 comms in Jul clearly show a progression towards it.

    Absolute fabrication and stalling tactics by SW3. I simply do understand what they are trying to achieve and they are accusing us of emotional harm?

    1. helensparkles

      They are trying to plan rehab home carefully because there is a risk of disruption. Regular overnights would seem premature at this stage, even if there had been a plan to progress towards that (which there always would be).

      You need to stop talking to AD about all of this, if she brings it up, you need a response that tells her that is the grown up are talking to each other to sort out what is best for her.

  131. Adoptionp

    I really do not understand why no one gets the point that we asked AD to be in respite for one to two months.

    There was never a disruption, our concern was for her health. There was no big arguments between us, there was no untruths being told while at home.

    AD reacted angrily and had an audience to it. The lack of in depth knowledge of those that cannot see this in a different way apart from following normal procedures is the issue and the rehab home is no different.

    The issue is attachment which everyday is worsened by those that cannot understand how to resolve it, only therapy, where we discussed the rehab plan and how best to move things forward.

    It is in RECONNECTION therapy in confidence where rehab should be discussed and driven. Permission for it should not be sought, the SW do not have insight into our case and relationship.

    1. helensparkles

      Because you have said here that you placed your child in care and did not discuss revocation of S20 or rehab home for 7 months.

      Simplistically, attachment is about a child having a secure base, knowing their needs will be met by that person, and that they are safe. I don’t know if you are AD’s secure base.

      You are right that the therapeutic process is critical to AD’s outcomes, but that is perfectly possible with a Care Order.

      1. Adoptionp

        Rehab home was discussed in first hearing. We did not consider until AD expressed a wish to return home. For months AD did not want to, or at least that was what we were being told.

        It was only in SUPERVISED contact in May, she took the courage to say she wanted to return home. We had no idea until then.

        We are told only in Sep this was her feelings all along? We feel a lot has been kept from us deliberately.

        Even now we cannot talk freely to AD knowing she will get cross examined after every contact. So she feels restricted.

        We know AD very well, she is not saying things to what we want hear. People forget we have had a relationship with her for 7 years and there is a strong connection. She is just confused of how she acts when she is angry, she is a victim of her circumstances. That is what we need to work on therapy. We do not think she needs to be care or under a CO to do that, it simply will be a huge psychological barrier to the Reconnection knowing there is LA scrutiny. It is bad enough now over simple things. We are not in a custody battle.

  132. Adoptionp

    It is quite clear when AD says something negative about AP they take it literally and use it as heavy criticism but when something positive is said by AD about rebuilding relationship and negative about LA, it gets ignored or coerced into something different. So the eagerness for further overnights expressed by AD TO SW is downplayed.

    The LA cannot be selective of how they use AD statements, it lacks consistency of approach and is quite an abuse of the system.

    1. helensparkles

      I think you need to consider that AD is over complaint and has a lot invested in you, what she says to you may or may not be true, but you also can’t take it at face value. There is probably a lot of communication to do in therapy to get anywhere near a point where she doesn’t tell you what she thinks you want to hear.

  133. Angelo Granda

    It is a common complaint,i’m afraid. Commomn law expects SW’s to make PROFESSIONALreports which are professionally impartial.They are not supposed to present only that informstion which supports the LA case. They’re also meant to put all that contra-indicativer of the case for removal AND an examination of all less invasive altrernatives to removal! Also all its reports have to be true
    In the Family Court ,standards are low and these rules tend to be overlooked .
    So this is why i suggested you request your lawyer to demand the involvement of an Independent Social Worker(ISW).


    1. helensparkles

      I don’t think anyone is talking about removal. From what I can gather, planned SW intervention would be rehab home with a Care Order.

      1. Adoptionp

        As previously mentioned, it will definitely feel like removal. The LA involvement is the issue on Reconnection.

        A CO will feel conditions are laid down and you to have justify or prove yourself and AD will know they are on tap. This is the exact issue.

        The only proceed is for AD to return immediately , progress further therapy and LA scrutiny to disappear…i.e. normality…..but we know they cannot see sense in that.

        1. Sam

          I would n’t worry too much about a care order if AD is at home. In my experience, with my abusive ex husband, the LA do very little to actually check on the welfare of a child anyway, even if the child is being significantly harmed. Though possibly you may have a more on the ball LA and they may do in your case as you would be seen as non compliant. I am not saying you are, just as in any dysfunctional system, if your are the one to tell the truth you will be vilified.

          1. Angelo Granda

            That is absolutely true, Sam. Indeed ,I would say that because of the bloody mindedness of the LA, a child at home under a care-order is better off than one at home under a supervision order!
            If a supervision order is issued against the LA’s aims to remove under a care-order, then it sets about sabotaging the supervision order. That is the experience of many parents. It will put a specialist SW on the job who will concoct a case to get it back to court as soon as it can do within reason. That means within six months. It never lets go of any case when it thinks it has failed to get its wishes. It has happened right now in a case I know about but I won’t mention the LA. The fabrications are much worse this time!
            As I see these things happen, it just confirms for me, the aims were illegitimate in the first place as they so often are.

  134. Angelo Granda

    In practice,it seems to be a fact to me,i don’t know about others,that your AD is removed right now against the wishes of parents and herself..
    This appears to have been imposed on you against the spirit of the Children’s Act which states unequivocally that parents can rescind an S20 at any time they choose and také their child home.
    It appears to be an abuse of authority that the LA have threatened use of the law to stop the parents exercising parental authority.

    I can only assume that your sols have recommended it is best that you cooperate with the LA at least until the next hearing.
    Effectively AD is removed illicitly,in my view.
    Even though AD is not at such serious risk of imminent harm at home that nothing else will do and even though there is no real probability that she has suffered significant harm at home (apart from that harm proposed by fabricated evidence ) and even though concerns about future harm are only suggested possibilities arrived at by ‘risk assessment’ ( which can be applied to any adopted child) the LA is misusing its authority by its actions.It is going to law to enforce its will upon you.
    Yet the Law is there to protect AD from just such abuse.I don’t think this could happen under the auspices of any other court but the Family Court.
    Under any other circumstances,i believe your parental rights would be enforced immediately.Less discretion would be applied in LA’s favour by lawyers,i think.
    All comments welcome especially if i’m wrong.

    1. helensparkles

      AD was placed in care voluntarily for 7 months before rehab home was considered by her parents. Nobody removed her.

      She is still there because her parents did not consider rehab home (for whatever reason) until August, which would in itself be a concern, and there are other concerns that the LA think reach threshold.

      There is no misuse of power here, parents can revoke S20, and the LA have told APs what their response would be because of those concerns. Since the final hearing is this month, it would be less disruptive for AD if everyone waited for that.

      Rehab home is not simple, it is complex and needs to be planned, I posted a link for the APs. Anything else would set everyone up to fail.

  135. ian josephs

    Re N

    The President of the family courts says this at para 169:

    This is related to the fourth problem, the seeming reluctance of local authorities to return the child to the parent(s) immediately upon a withdrawal of parental consent. It is important for local authorities to recognise that, as section 20(8) of the 1989 Act provides: “Any person who has parental responsibility for a child may at any time remove the child from accommodation provided by or on behalf of the local authority under this section.” This means what it says. A local authority which fails to permit a parent to remove a child in circumstances within section 20(8) acts unlawfully, exposes itself to proceedings at the suit of the parent and may even be guilty of a criminal offence. A parent in that position could bring a claim against the local authority for judicial review or, indeed, seek an immediate writ of habeas corpus against the local authority. I should add that I am exceedingly sceptical as to whether a parent can lawfully contract out of section 20(8) in advance, as by agreeing with the local authority to give a specified period of notice before exercising their section 20(8) right. – See more at:

    Remember that you are free to take back your children any time!

    At your next contact just walk out with your children and take them home ! If they try to stop you by force it will be an assault so they very rarely do it;

    1. helensparkles

      This is true, but this LA said they would seek an ICO in August if S20 was revoked, and nothing has changed.

  136. Angelo Granda

    Perhaps I misunderstand the case, adoption p, but I thought the LA had already made an application for an order which is why you are going to a hearing this month. Am I right to say they have threatened to take some sort of extra proceedings to deter you from exercising your parental right to take AD home in advance of the hearing? Despite the fact she wants to come home to you and despite the fact she is in no danger of imminent significant harm?
    Had an ICO really been necessary pending this month’s Court decision, the LA should have applied for it months ago! Clearly , the authority is denigrating your rights, being cruel to a child and using its authority unlawfully.
    As far as I’m concerned, the Law is there to protect citizens from authoritarianism such as this. The lawyers are trained to stop Local Authorities from carrying on in such a way at the expense of our children. Why do they grant the LA so much leeway? Because they feel their is a tension between claiming our rights and leaving it too long to remove children in their interests. I think lawyers and the Judge should quit thinking they are child-savers or that they have an affinity with the Local Authority ‘rescuers’. They are not! The main task of the lawyers is to protect citizens from the authorities and I believe this is why we have H.M.Courts. Unfortunately ,the Family Court is more in keeping with a professional tribunal, it administrates civil procedures set up to issue care-orders. It has lost sight of why the Children’s Act calls for these orders and that is to support families to keep children at home or ,in some circumstances, to remove them into care temporarily pending a rehabilitation plan.
    No way should a (secret) civil court with the protocol these Family proceedings courts have be given the power to endorse and enforce care-plans for permanent removal. Even a Crown Court will not issue an order of such severity.
    Adoption p. In your case the LA is not going for permanent removal ,I hope, but you face a court with a flawed protocol . One that has lax procedures, shows too much grace to the LA and which does not have the time necessary to examine LA evidence rigidly. Sometimes the Judge doesn’t bother reading the evidence. He leaves it to the Guardian and other professionals to decide the case for him.
    So despite the apparent strength of your case and despite all the LA failures etc. it could still win its way unless your lawyers fight your case strongly.

    1. helensparkles

      The LA has not yet made an application for an order, and they may not, should things have changed. They were clear that they would need to apply for an ICO should S20 be revoked at this point, that will be partly because APs left AD in care for 7 months.

  137. Sam

    Helen I can see your point, however why should LA’s be able threaten court proceedings to stop a parent ending a section 20. It is simply unfair

    1. helensparkles

      They are not threatening, they do just have to tell people what their intentions are.

      At the time of the holiday, the LA’s concerns were such that they felt they needed to go to court and make an ICO application. Nothing has changed, so you’d assume they are in the same position. It isn’t a threat, it is about what they are asking the court to decide on at the end of the month.

      In most cases rehab home should not be an immediate full time return home. To do so would be to sabotatge success.

  138. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p and Helen
    Sorry i misunderstood.As there is a final hearing at the end of the month and because threshhold criteria have apparently been met,i assumed some party or other had made a court application for a care-order but an ICO had not been issued .What is the court hearing in aid of if not an order of some kind.Did the LA never want to hold AD in care till she is 18?
    Or do they just want the power to do what they want and direct the case?.

    1. helensparkles

      I only know what I read here. At the time of the holiday, the LA indicated they would be concerned about revocation of S20, and would make an application for an ICO because their view is that they had met threshold. This didn’t come about because APs agreed to the holiday.

      The LA have indicated previously that they would make an application for a Care Order, and they continue to view threshold met, however they have also said that they are flexible right up until the final hearing,

      Nobody has applied for anything yet, & even if they do, the court may make a different decision.

  139. Adoptionp

    Today we had a 3 hour meeting with Adoption team SW. She totally understood us and we informed how the CIN team have very inconsistent in their approach yo-yoing to Reconnection. Poor AD does not if she is coming home or not. We expressed our concerns over the lack of open communication from them and also the support we would need. We said it is likely the Guardian will talk to her before issuing her report. We explained how AD angry statements have not been understood and the full throttle attitude to issue proceedings without even talking to us.

    We explained how the pressure of any LA involvement would hinder our Reconnection.

    She really listened, took notes and said she will have a meeting with CIN. Although she has no authority, she may be able communicate from an Adopters view. Let us hope they will listen.

    We asked if CIN was lying to her with Rehab home plan, but deep down we know their position interim was to leave AD in ltfc as they feared there would further disruption.

    The CIN SW had strategy meeting with FC ‘re groping and dogs in FC house. Apparently dogs was for one day, which was a load of twaddle as we knew how AD spoke about talking them for walks for many weeks. The boy and AD will not play out if sight and not go in each other’s rooms. We have also instructed FC to remove inappropriate clothing, this should not have been offered to AD in the first place. It is a clear message to ensure AD should not be given the choice to wear even if she wants to. These should not have been bought in the first place. FC may not like it, but tough, we are her parents and we shall exercise our rights, especially over her health.

    We have made it absolutely clear attachment is worsened by LA action , e.g. threat of ICO over holiday and this is what life would like under CO. She said their policy for children to returned home as they are under scrutiny to reduce costs as well. I think she got it, she understood exactly our point, she knew under CO, AD would try to rule us.

    The difficulties now, would be ten times worst as our parenting is undermined and they will just exert abuse of power when they want it.

    If CO is granted, watch AD get whisked away at halftime. Th LA would not give a monkeys about Reconnection.

  140. ian josephs

    Social workers routinel threaten parents with “going to court and getting an ICO” if the dare revoke a section 20. Parents are often intimidated by what is a very clear threat and leave their children in what is jokingly still called” voluntary care .”

    1. helensparkles

      In this case it wasn’t a threat. It was a very clear explanation of what the concerns were and the LA’s view of them meeting threshold, APs posted the solicitor’s letter here.

  141. Angelo Granda

    Sorry,it was a threat,blackmail or whatever parents want to call it. It wad cohersion with the clear intention of keeping a complaining, suffering child from returning to her parents as she was crying out to do.
    I have no doubt such actions are all in a days work to the heartless bureaucrats who were quite willing to use the previously fabricated reports to satisfy threshhold just to get their own way about a holiday. Don’t they realise how frightening it will have been to those innocent folk involved to be told the case would be taken to the court arena.
    That is the sad thing about inhumanity when it occurs,the perpetrators are quite convinced they are doing the right thing.Cruelty to be kind or so they think.
    The truth is they wanted to overrule AP’s decision for reasons of the litigation so they threatened him with court action.
    Let’s be real!

    1. helensparkles

      I completely disagree, it is an LA doing exactly what they need to do and explaining it, along with their concerns. Are they supposed to keep it secret & just jump out with an order? That isn’t a serious question. The holiday was planned by the people caring for and offering stability and security for AD at a time her APs were not. It was part of normal family life which earlier in this dialogue it was very clear her mum was not offering. The case is already in the court arena, they are in proceedings, having been in pre-proceedings, they know what all the concerns are (they may not agree with them but they know). I am not convinced that mum hasn’t been coerced into rehab home, that these APs understand the pressure they put on AD, or that they will cooperate with a planned rehab. You seem to think being her parents is enough Angelo, and whilst their commitment and love for AD is admirable, that is not enough for a complex child who was adopted late in her life. I have a view about adopting older children and it would be that those adopters need to be people who were not just those who wanted their own children, to have the capacity to parent this child, they need to have skills as well as support – that last comment is not of course is not a comment on these APs, it is general.

  142. Angelo Granda

    The aim is to do everything possible to reunite the family and to solve all the attachment problems.To work together with the AP’s and the problem child towards a happy life together.
    Not to analyse all the known risks and deliberately delay reunification in a vain attempt to eliminate them.
    That is not a legitimate aim..The AP’s are responsible for keeping the child safe , they want her home;she has been suffering in care.What are the SW’s doing except going into denial mode and covering up the facts about the dogs and everything else? The parents are not convinced about the behaviour of the CS management which appears to be contradicting them and all the other progfressionals (including SW’s).Neither am I.
    The poor girl should be granted her wish to go home NOW.

    1. helensparkles

      There seems no doubt that everyone is working on reunification here, including the LA but there are concerns about her home which undermine the APs ability to keep AD safe, they need to be tested in court, because the LA views them as meeting legal threshold. The court may not agree, an order may not be granted, but sending AD home now is not considered safe. That is legitimate and it is the role of CS. I can only repeat that immediate rehab is setting everyone up to fail and if the APs don’t work with a rehab plan they are likely to sabotage success. I am sure they will then blame the LA.

  143. Angelo Granda

    Helen,You appear to be saying that the LA are not convinced that AD will be SAFE at home
    It is not legitimate to separate a family just because the CS thinks a child is not safe.
    Had an ICO been necessary,the Court would have issued one way back at the first hearing.
    Helen, do you think there is a risk that adoption p may have pressured Mum into agreeing to také AD home? Or that AD may not be safe because he does not agree with the care-order?
    It is not the legitimate role of the CS to keep children safe.It is the legitimate aim of those with parental responsibility to do so.
    If anyone is suggesting that the situation is so dire that nothing but immediate separation will do,for example,if there are abuse concerns or allegations,they should be reported to the Police for full impartional investigation.Only a court can decide on separation and it needs facts not suspicion and risk.
    The LA does not have the power to stop AD from going home so it has threatened to go for an ICO. Yet the child is not at risk of any serious harm at home and has never been.There aren’t any facts on which to conclude it.
    Thus the CS resort to threats as a last ditch attempt to hold AD in care.
    Parents are not convinced that the CS are not acting deliberately to keep AD in an abusive situation in the placement.They won’t discuss the topic honestly and haven’t even offered a better placement.
    It seems their intentions are illegal.

    1. helensparkles

      The LA’s concerns, in their view, meet threshold. That means AD, unless things change, is at risk of significant harm. Hopefully things have changed but it is the role of the LA to tell the court that. The LA didn’t make an application for an order, they had S20, and the court were aware of that. If the LA applies for a Care Order at the next hearing it is because they think they need to share PR to keep AD safe. The order is to support rehab home not separate anyone. This is legitimate and legal, to do otherwise would not be so.

  144. Adoptionp

    We think there is doubt of LA plan of a ‘rehab home’.

    The issue here is ATTACHMENT.

    The LA concern is not of safeguarding, but future risk of disruption.

    We are going through a RECONNECTION process.

    The LA want to persue a CO, but no care plan has been communicated to all and no reason for their INCONSISTENT approach to reunite or not reunite.

    The constant battle under s20 including the threat of ICO has impacted on our ATTACHMENT, it makes it worse. Every comment they make, every action they make to support the FC impacts on our attachment. Such as dress sense not upholding our family values, dogs, groping etc.. It makes unifying harder. Double standards of the LA parent compared to AP.

    The FC may be experienced, but this is their first Adoption disruption FChild, the true FC is mum only, the rest of their family just support the process as FC dad works. This is their first Asian child.

    We AP are constantly trying to ensure we spend QUALITY time with AD to ensure AD can reunify, but when there is the constant PULL from SW, FC to meet their own selfish needs impacts on our Reconnection. Imagine we are lifting something up and the LA constantly keep on adding weights.They need to be lightening the load.

    The LA have not briefed the FC, they have not understood the PSYCHOLOGY of this case. They are completely out of their depth. Or is it they know it, but choose to blame us, attack us through proceedings, use their muscle when it suits them, without taking a step back and thinking, for their short term gain, they are having a long term adverse impact. Is anyone looking at the bigger picture?

    Apparently, the FC are meant to ensure the FC boy and AD are not meant to be in the same room, but yet yesterday morning, AD is saying to us, they were both in kitchen alone where boy aggressively was asking AD to make toast. The AD went upstairs immediately to tell FC mum who came running downstairs. Why was this situation allowed to happen even after a few days of SW implementing an agreed plan of keeping a watchful eye and not been left alone? No different to dogs? I do not believe in FC, AD needs will be met. They do not understand AD.

    So how does a CO meet the needs of AD and her ATTACHMENT issues? The LA need to bring Positive intent in their actions, a positive message to AD of Reunification. Not negative connotations and concerns. What chance will there be under a CO, none, the constant battle of who AD see as parents will be hard to break. She already is getting pulled from every direction, she makes these statements to us. Not because she is playing each other against one another, but she is sick of the whole process, as are we, which clearly does not fit SUPPORTING an Adoption case.

    Apparently, we are not alone, it is common, for AP to seek respite and the LA to seek proceedings. This is their instant reaction, as they cannot see beyond the Adoption order.

    1. helensparkles

      It is rare for APs to be in proceedings. You are partly because you left your daughter in care for 7 months and you can’t do that, I’ve explained that before. The LA is not allowed to under the law. Adoption breakdown is rare, it may be FC’s first experience, but their job is to give AD a normal, stable and secure family to live in whilst she hasn’t been able to live with you. The things you mention do affect your relationship with AD and you will have to adjust to that when she returns home but none of the things you mention affect AD’s attachment to you. If you are her secure base you will remain so, if you are not, you will need to build that during the rehab process, as I said before it is perfectly possible you have never been- this is just one of the issues involved in adopting an older traumatised child.,

      1. Adoptionp

        We have mentioned several times, had we revoked s20, the LA would pursue a ICO. For months we were under scrutiny with a PC assessment. This only concluded just after the 9May hearing, so we were not in a position to fully exercise our PR. We did not know what was happening.

        The message we were getting from LA was AD did not want to return and we were not allowed to talk freely to AD under supervised contact. We still are not.

        So from Feb to June, our communications with AD were restricted…so how on earth can we make a judgement to revoke s20? How on earth could we know how AD felt? It was only in therapy in June where she opened her heart and everyone could see she was desperate to return.

        So the LA have been totally illegitimate in their actions here. They have restricted communications, not engaged, not been open and honest and not understood our situation.

        So AP parents view is that it is the LA that has ‘kept’ her in care for 7 months.

        Had the LA given a clear message from the start we will support AP to ensure AD can return and we will ensure AD gets that message, we would have revoked s20 a long time ago. It is the LA who have prevented us from doing this!

        So please, stop saying AP could have revoked s20 at anytime, it really is insulting.

    2. Sam

      How is it possible in a family home to keep two children apart? With the best will in the world the FC can not be there watching all the time. Surely another placement is necessary if she cannot return straight home

      1. helensparkles

        The LA are likely to be avoiding another placement because all transitions have an impact, particularly on attachment, and that his so key in this case. Was rehab home not a realistic proposition, the LA would be working on matching to a long term placement.

        There will be a safe caring policy in place and it probably part of the agreement with teenagers that AD or the other child let’s FC know if they are in a room together without supervision. You can’t police teenagers the same way as other children, AD did the right thing.

  145. Angelo Granda

    I don’t want to give unwanted advice,Adoptionp.
    As a mere parent myself,i don’t want to complicate matters and i don’t necessarily disagree with all so-called concerns.Indeed,neither do you and it is you who raised many yourself and set out to work consructively towards allaying them.
    I would say that immediately evidence was fabricated,illegitimate aims were indicated and they were further proved when the S20 agreement was broken in regard to the placement.
    If this case has gone wrong then is it because the fabrications and facts were not argued sufficiently at the first judicial hearing?
    The Courts often accept LA evidence too readily.Has the LA withdrawn it or were the fabrications as it too well disguised? It is alleged,it is noted,we are concerned,the SW is not convinced,it may be etc etc.

  146. Adoptionp

    The first hearing of 9May, was a start to understand all the issues and plan to seek clarity.

    We heavily disputed the intent to proceed a CO, we disputed the threshold argument and it was then we sought to understand more with LA ordered to seek individual therapy and for us to understand more through Reconnect.

    Back then, we did not dispute AD ‘wanting to stay in FC’, as she had made court statement to say so. We did not fight it, however we did document that AD was changing her mind, but it was uncertain then as she only did so in supervised contact, which must have been brave and hard thing for her to do. So we believe she got caught up in the juggernaut of LA proceedings, she was enjoying their empowerment.

    Our sols say to us, it is usual for cases to change dramatically during proceedings and this case is one of them. It definitely highlights in such cases the court is not the right place to resolve because it adds undue pressure and results in ineffective decision making, it shows the confusion caused by it all.

    This is why in the interim of 22Jul, we asked for it all to cease. We could see the detrimental impact of it all.

    At the heart if it all is AD and her relationship with her AP. We think people have lost sight of this completely, they are so caught up in the bureaucracy of it all.

  147. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p,As regards Courtroom being the right or wrong place for proceedings, have you had the time to check whether the application,chronology,SW statements ( all lodged with Court under a solemn oath of truth) are compiled correctly.Are they fact or fabrication?
    If not and if the threshhold document contains false facts then the case should not be in court.
    If the facts are correct,it will be different but if they are then don’t worry anyway.If they are true,it is more likely the LA aims are legitimate.Your AD will be returned home under a care-plan to support her and her parents in accordance with the Act.There is nothing so dire to suggest otherwise!
    If i were you,i would concentrate on the hearing right now and making sure you are heard pre-proceedings.
    Remember,be brief.JUST make it plain and JUST make it absolutely clear.Concentrate on the facts and focus on AD’s desires and needs.Don’t be drawn into speculation, suspicions,allegations and projected risk.That will také forever and they will raise them forever.

    1. helensparkles

      “If not and if the threshhold document contains false facts then the case should not be in court.” Were that to be the case, it should still be in court, court is where the evidence is tested.

  148. Adoptionp

    The court is not the correct place to test if the evidence is fabricated, as the judges and even the advocates do not have time to look at all the fabrication.

    We have made it crystal clear in our 10 page response to the PC report, this was submitted as an appendix to the LA court bundle by the LA SW1. It highlights AP concerns over how the LA have not correctly documented our statements. As mentioned before anyone can make up a concern based on incorrect facts. For the courts we simply pointed out that they have mis-represented OUR statements.

    The second batch of evidence recently submitted again has twisted our communications done in good faith to SW2 with regards to Reconnection therapy. For example there were communications made by just after therapy by text and also by e-mail to ensure we could progress to Unsupervised contact. The SW2 was clearly in favour of this, but yet when it got to the interim hearing, SW2 Manager kicked off in the deliberations and the evidence submitted recently clearly show how they have twisted a situation which was in favour of Reconnection to a criticism. How on earth can anyone TRUST such people.

    Do they actually have people employed to do such specialist documentation? You act in good faith and you put your trust in these people and they string you a line and then they change like the wind, and then they accuse YOU of emotional harm when they are doing the very same thing they are accusing us of!

    Is the culture so wrong in the CS department? How on earth can you ever work with such people of little integrity? They are meant to be CHILD FOCUSED, but their actions are not, it is self-centred.

    Is it CLUB? Is it a CULT? Are they FREEMASONS? We might as well be dealing with such people in similar manner? You could certainly could equate the closed door culture to be the same. They certainly do not act like public servants.

    Bullying means one person, or group of persons, being deliberately cruel to another person or group. When challenged they ramp up the bullying. In this case it is no different, they are getting challenged and we are providing points their actions have been unacceptable the reactions was to stop the Reconnection. The LA did not like being made fools of in court, which clearly happened in the interim.

    What was their response, not to reflect and reconsider if their actions were right or wrong, but pretty much remove AD away from AP. Was it that bad for them to see the Reconnection working. Was it a threat TO THEM that they family were reuniting?

    What is their aim of a CO? We still do not know. All we AP know is that they seek to share PR. Why? Do they not accept the impact it has on our ATTACHMENT?

    Hello? Is anyone listening in the LA? Can you not see the obvious or are they too blinkered that they cannot see AD WILL suffer further under their ‘care’.

    1. helensparkles

      The court will make a decision based on the evidence in front of them so it is your responsibility to ensure your statement reflects your views accurately. I can’t comment on any of that, nobody here could, we don’t know the case.

      Things change over time; they clearly have done here, when that happens decisions made need to be changed. At a point in time something changed which meant that overnight contact was not a good idea.

      I have read nothing that says the LA were made fools of or that they are bullying you, you just have different positions and perspectives.

      The LA will make an application for a CO if they think they need to share PR, that depends on their concerns, and the court will decide on those.

      An order can affect your relationship with AD if you let it but it doesn’t have to. If you think it will affect attachment you don’t understand attachment theory, even after all that therapy.

      The trouble with focusing on blame and the battle, as you are, is that the child gets lost, you are focused on discrediting those you are working with.

      I don’t know about the concerns, as I say, nobody could comment without knowing the case but you are accountable here too. You did place your daughter in care for 7 months, you still weren’t sure yet about mum having her home at the point of the holiday, and you don’t want a planned rehab. None of that is good for AD, you have to take some ownership here.

      As for your LA listening, I am sure they are reading this. Your name is attached to the petition and your location is easy to identify.

  149. Adoptionp

    I hope the LA do read this, it might educate them. It might actually make them listen to AP and reflect how poor they have been in their communications and decision making. The fact they still do not want to have an open and honest conversation with us, shows how inadequate they have been in our case.

    The LA back in Feb clearly got a message from us, we were seeking SUPPORT, respite for her health concerns. For one or two months only. Not a permanent removal od AD from AP.

    I simply do not believe people of little integrity.

    1. helensparkles

      But you left AD in care for a lot longer than 2 months and did not offer rehab home until the holiday, at which point you were angry about the decision making for your daughter in care, so threatened to revoke S20. You have had a series of meetings with SW of various kinds and managers, they have listened to you (at one stage in a 3 hour meeting) and have understood you. I don’t think you can say that communication is not taking place, I think you can say that you don’t like what they say.

      1. Adoptionp

        The first hearing of 9May, was a start to understand all the issues and plan to seek clarity.

        We heavily disputed the intent to proceed a CO, we disputed the threshold argument and it was then we sought to understand more with LA ordered to seek individual therapy and for us to understand more through Reconnect.

        Back then, we did not dispute AD ‘wanting to stay in FC’, as she had made court statement to say so. We did not fight it, however we did document that AD was changing her mind, but it was uncertain then as she only did so in supervised contact, which must have been brave and hard thing for her to do. So we believe she got caught up in the juggernaut of LA proceedings, she was enjoying their empowerment.

        Our sols say to us, it is usual for cases to change dramatically during proceedings and this case is one of them. It definitely highlights in such cases the court is not the right place to resolve because it adds undue pressure and results in ineffective decision making, it shows the confusion caused by it all.

        This is why in the interim of 22Jul, we asked for it all to cease. We could see the detrimental impact of it all.

        At the heart if it all is AD and her relationship with her AP. We think people have lost sight of this completely, they are so caught up in the bureaucracy of it all.

  150. Adoptionp

    The 3 hour communication was last Friday 16Sep, was by the Adoption team SW and who is the only person so far (apart from therapist) who has taken the trouble to listen and understand our concerns.

    We called a meeting Jun8, to talk about rehab home with SW2 and Adoption team and it went silent since then until beginning of Sep..

    The remaining comms with SW was all their ‘directives’. I do not think they have been working with us but just telling us of their closed door decisions.

    The LA are completely surprised in our opinion, the Reconnection has worked and because they are too late into proceedings they simply do not know what to do. I would not regard this as ‘flexible’. AP have requested several times stop proceedings. They could have.

    I would say the CIN are not consistent with the Adoption team, who we understand very recently are the ones that provided Reconnect therapy. The CIN have done nothing towards rehab home. If they did they would have consulted Adoption team first and offered the Reconnect service first before jumping into proceedings.

    The concerns are just subjective opinion. They just do not want to be challenged by honest and open communication and have to hide behind the court process.

    I challenge them right now, Stop the court process and have a conversation with me. Revoke s20. I would be happy to attend and have an open and frank conversation with senior CS managers. I would be happy to sit in front of all them and make the case for having AD home and demonstrate that we AP are not a risk to AD. This is what I call open and honest communication, engagement to meet the needs of AD.

    No one still to this day, understand the need for a CO, they are still not providing any valid reason apart from exercising control.

    It is no point trying to make someone see, who does not understand Adoption disruption and understand our case and understand how a CO would impact on our relationship with AD. It is quite obvious the LA actions do not understand their actions has and will have. Attachment has already been impacted adversely. The AD can use the LA on tap. I have pointed this out several times that this is the issue but they continue to just go steaming ahead without thinking of what they are doing on our AD relationship.

    1. helensparkles

      The two teams have very different roles. The adoption team is supporting you & any therapeutic support would have had to come from them – the ASF is run by the adoption team (CIN budgets wouldn’t have that remit). The role of the childcare team is to assess you and their concerns about you and AD’s further stability and security.

      You are of course right, as I have pointed out, that I don’t know your case. I can’t know what the concerns are but I do understand adoption and disruption. If you wish to undermine that knowledge you are welcome to but I am fairly confident it is evident in my responses.

  151. Adoptionp

    OK, a simple question.

    Re Holiday, what do think the LA threat of CO (which AD was made aware of by FC) would have on her attachment with us AP?

    1. helensparkles

      I agree communication sounds like it could have been better, I said that before. But as I have also said before, if you are her secure base, you will continue to be. Children can have more than one attachment, to mum and dad for example, as well as a person in their extended family or a FC. Disruption to attachments is caused by not a child not feeling confident that their needs will be met. Some children will never feel that their needs will be met, because they are traumatised and that part of their brain has been affected. The holiday was immaterial and I advised you to ignore it at the time, your battle about it did more damage that good, and AD was aware of the fight which was counterproductive.

      1. helensparkles

        Sorry, missed this bit out.

        The ICO explanation is very clear and either her SW or FC should have shared this with AD, age appropriately, at her age, AD does need to know what is going on in her life. Until that point she’d just been drifting in care.

        1. Adoptionp

          No, in therapy in June, AD knew we were wanting her back.

          The holiday is very significant for attachment, the AD did not know she had an opportunity to bond with us. It was never offered.

          AD wanted to spend time with us, she was just being compliant to FC (who be acting in AD best interest but did not know the damage it has caused). The holiday was very material as AD wanted spend time with us, she jumped at it when offered.

          The AD made clear in therapy how desperate she was to return home.

          If the LA were serious about Reconnection, they would not have allowed the holiday and again have made an unreasonable request again for half term by FC.

          Yet again prioritising her life in FC over spending time with AP and her family. Again the AD yesterday during family event loved the chance to spend time with her cousins at halfterm, she was asking her aunt about it.

          The FC, SW and LA do not want AD to spend time with her family. It is obvious all to see in their actions. Even after incidents in FC, they want to brush that aside as trivial when it is extremely SERIOUS. Our AD was groped, that is ASSAULT.

          The dogs in FC house has caused PHYSICAL HARM.

          The FC Mum and LA are responsible as the FC boy is not of criminal age.

          These are all things that seems to be not so important in the LA eyes but yet they jump at any minor thing when it comes to AP.

          Double standards

          1. helensparkles

            If you are worried about the boy in FC you can make a complaint to the police.

            Did your daughter have an allergic reaction to the dog that needed medical attention?

            At the stage of the holiday in August, you were not revoking S20 or offering rehab home, even if AD knew you wanted her home (which it seemed to me here you were unsure about). It was also too soon for her to spend those 10 days with you and there were those pesky concerns that reach threshold. That and half term are holidays that are a normal part of family life in FC.

            A bond is NOT attachment. In the rehab home plan you will get an opportunity to renew that bond and alter the family dynamic. Neither of those things are attachment.

            You again view compliance as a one way street, compliant with others but not with you. It doesn’t work like that. Over compliant children tell everyone what they want to hear, including your extended family members.

  152. Adoptionp

    We have contacted the Police, it was referred to MASH. They told us to get AD.

    AD did have an allergic reaction for weeks to dogs, which the LA were trying to blame AP for.

    Re compliance, we know AD very well. We know she will just agree with FC, she finds it difficult to say what she really feels and assert her inner emotions.

    With us, she is natural. We know that, we did spend 7 years with us. AD speaks her mind with us, she is not afraid to do so.

    With FC she is not, she puts it on, we have seen it. She continually tells us that in FC she cannot be herself, we do not ask her anything, she just says it. She has to, otherwise she knows she will shoved off to diff FC. The struggle AD has, is that she had to adjust between two families and lifestyles, she is getting pulled. She knows she wants to come, she openly says in front of FC in calls. The trouble is the pull from FC mum is now impacting her attachment to us.

    A common theme which no ones seems to understand is the constant interference by all impacts her attachment. She gets confused and pulled from one person to another. There is no consistent message, as everyone will have their opinion.

    1. helensparkles

      If AD knew that all the adults who love and care about her were working together that would be helpful. That means you with the LA and with FC, i is a tough call, but it is what works best for children and their attachments.

  153. helensparkles

    “With us, she is natural. We know that, we did spend 7 years with us. AD speaks her mind with us, she is not afraid to do so.” The LA do not appear to think this is the case, they think your expectations of AD are unrealistic and you put her under pressure.

    1. Adoptionp

      The LA doe not seem to understand that our expectation of AD is no different to any parent wanting the best for their child. They have taken the literal words of a child compliant and used that as a criticism. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. We would be criticised if we did not assist in her education. Well you could do that will all children, you do not instigate proceedings against parents!

      We AP have worked hard over the years to progress her education, she has done so much with our help. We have now concentrated on lowering our expectations of AD, we have said this to Guardian and Adoption team SW. We have decided to leave school at school and even discussed this with AD and how we will be there if she needs our help.

      AD has always played the school against AP, she has never been comfortable with school and she does not like the academic side and has a lot of peer issues. We have always known that, we need to consider how AD will succeed now in life in different ways and support her in that.

      1. helensparkles

        “The LA doe not seem to understand that our expectation of AD is no different to any parent wanting the best for their child.”

        They did understand that those expectations are not realistic for this child, which is the conclusion you have also come to, that’s good.

        School is very very difficult for some children, there are barriers to learning and forming relationships.

  154. Adoptionp

    We know not to, but it is the way we feel.

    If the Guardian is due to report next week, what would be happening now?

    Would advocates meetings be taking place?

  155. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p,
    As a fellow parent,I can only advise that at this stage you keep your mind clear of attachment theory . The CS can speculate,theorise and go on about it forever and use it to make a simple case complex especially those who don’t understand it and are merely looking for an opportunity to fox you and the court professionals.
    They are not psychologists and neither are you or Helen.The simple truth is that AD has attachment difficulties and in the light of the difficulties the family experienced,you asked for professional support and accessed help as recommended ( funded by the ASF) from a psychology service experienced in the problems.This is ongoing.It has already reaped dividends.I suppose it is only natural we question the aims of the LA when it appears to reject the therapy but if you engage in argument about the trivia and contrived ‘concerns’ you are on a loser.As you can gather from Helen’s kind advice,dispute merely results in an opening for them to state you will not work with them when the opposite is the case.
    State your evidence pure and simple.Focus on AD and don’t be sidetracked.
    A warning, as this case goes on ,whilst ignoring you to a great degree,they will be hard at it behind the scenes on the phone to Guardian, Adoption Support and others.These professionals will not include you.There may be shocks to come.If they can,the LA will bring the Guardian round to their view that it is you who are uncooperative and defensive.
    When professionals are ‘silent’ with you,believe me,they keep in close contact with each other and they are a closely-knit team(Children’sLegal Panel included).They decide their verdict as a panel of jurors do and usually the Judge accepts the panels advice.
    I believe 94 per cent of cases go in the LA’s favour.Family Courts aren’t real courts,they are secret professional tribunals .
    The trouble is that unlike most tribunals, there is no automatic permission to appeal. Even if a care-order is issued, you haven’t really lost.How can one lose an unfair contest?
    The C.O. Is secondary.The care-plan is the primary concern especially for AD so you should focus on that.

  156. Adoptionp

    The trouble is Angelo, the CO is the LA exercising its control over Parenting AD. We know what that has been like over the last few months.

    We do discuss in therapy what it would be like if one was granted and how it would work or not. The psychology in this case is the very crux of the matter.

    It us the constant battle with AD of who her parents are. The CS do not get this. The Guardian and therapist did.

    At the end of IRH it is about AD, but everyone seems to forget that it is our relationship with her. It is about the day to day living with her that matters. If there is intrusion and scrutiny, then life will be very difficult.

    Hence the court, as you say favours LA, well we are challenging the threshold and therefore it is our indication their opinion is wrong in this complex case.

    1. helensparkles

      The court may agree with you that the threshold is not met, things may have changed much as the example you gave about school, and that is positive. The LA do have concerns though and they have to ask the court about those if they view their concerns as meeting threshold.

  157. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p. You don’t have to tell us fellow parents about the frustrations you are facing.We know all about it. We are well aware the system lacks fairness and we know LA have a financial interest in taking children into care. The system has its corrupt elements and even many of the professionals acknowledge the flaws.
    The main thing i want to you in the short time you have left is that the Family Court is not fair.There are many,many miscarriages of justice which only come to light at appeal.The problem is that most parents don’t get permission to appeal.
    Sarah always emphasises how important it is that you ENGAGE and INSTRUCT your lawyers well before the hearing.
    Don’t forget your solicitors are colleagues of theirs and they all get together as a panel to judge the case before the hearing. They discuss precedent etc. And the LA will already be 94 percent certain of the C.O.
    It doesn’t matter about your arguments.Their evidence will be accepted by the other professionals as kosher .For example ,they probably won’t tell any of the others that whilst you have left AD in care for seven months,they won’t mention that it was only because they deterred you from taking her home.Plus they won’t tell them that they did not warn you there is a time limit and that seven months is unacceptable.This is why the advice we get from Helen is so helpful.Had the CS been honest and open,you could have took her home ages ago.You were duped.
    When instructing the barrister be sure to instruct the following:-
    1. You want an ISW because of the lack of openness ad failure to keep you informed etc.Plus they haven’t discussed less invasive alternatives with you or circulated your disagreements.If they deny it,your lawyer should ask for meeting dates,minutes and a full list of alternatives and the reason for their rejection.There have not been any!
    2.Instruct barrister you want to call witnesses if it isn’t too late.AD can testify she wants to return to you immediately and is not to young to tell the Judge so.If possible ,the Barnados psychologist to testify as to the efficacacy of the reconnection therapy.Anyone who can bear witness against fabrications will also be useful.
    3. Instruct barrister to protest at every break with legal guidelines and procedure.Go through them with him.One i can think of is that they presented their evidence later than September 2nd. There will be several others.They can’t help themselves .
    Before you go in to court,tell barrister if the outcome is that AD remains in care,you want to appeal immediately on these grounds.
    That’s all the advice i can give.
    Helen,it is a little bit sinister that you say the LA will be reading theseposts because AP has attached his name to a petition.I thought you said there was no intelligence unit or covert surveillance and monitoring of thoughts etc.

    1. helensparkles

      ” we know LA have a financial interest in taking children into care.”

      The LA have not financial interested in taking children into care.

      1. helensparkles

        Sorry, pressed post too soon.

        This is a public forum Angelo, it doesn’t take surveillance to read what people put online and APs have made themselves very easily identifiable.

        I clearly contradicted you when you said there was a time limit on how long a child could stay in care before proceedings are initiated, I hope I was clear it was the drift not the timescales that meant this LA would have had to act. They held a pre proceedings meeting which APs told us about so APs would have been clear about all of the concerns, including drift. This was not a respite arrangement, a child was placed in care full time because her parents had reached a crisis.

        1. Adoptionp

          Yes we placed her in RESPITE (“a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant”), with a clear message that it was for an interim period. We did not seek a long term placement in FC.

          We were seeking support and not criticism.

          If the CS team actually consulted with parents and the Adoption team they would have got a better understanding of the case. This is no ordinary situation and we were not abandoning our child, we were seeking help and not criticism.

          If CS took a step back and saw the bigger picture and not take a literal word of a child who they know has made untruths in the past and considered the impact of their processes, then things would be very different.

          The Adoption team involved was only last week and we are not sure why this was not the first thing that happened and why they went into Child protection mode. We did not leave AD on street, we asked for some help to assist her for her health concerns, s20 was signed on a voluntary basis. There was no ‘removal’ as they would in normal circumstances but yet the CS cannot get round this at all.

          1. Adoptionp

            Back in Feb, we AP categorically said AD was not to go into a emergency crash pad, but yet the CS Manager made that call based on a STUDENT SW who visited AD at school. The SW1 was on a two day course.

            This hit a raw nerve as when mentioned in the PLO meeting in Mar, the CS Manager reacted when we said that we never asked for AD to into a crash pad but yet we were getting a phone call saying it is ‘not that bad’, when the previous CS Manager who was dealing with our case from a different location said to us they are not very pleasant.

            This clearly demonstrates we wanted RESPITE to be planned and we notified the school in open and honest communication but yet this is now used as a criticism against US, when it was the action of CS.

          2. helensparkles

            You planned respite but there was drift and there were concerns. Concerns are just those, not criticisms.

            You want the SW to listen to AD only when she says something in your favour. Otherwise she is lying. Hopefully she will be honest with the Guardian.

            The adoption team have been involved previously, they are providing the therapy, they may not have been involved directly with you, but they have been liaising with the childcare team. You have also had a meeting and a conversation with them.

  158. Angelo Granda

    Placement did not ‘break down’. Placement has always been open to AD. Family were not in ‘crisis’.
    SW manager (not SW herself) misrepresented AP statements and fabricated evidence to satisfy threshhold.Precedent, as clearly described by Sarah in her preface to the post ,is that LA’s usually apply for a CO when placements reach crisis and break down.
    This one had not broken down.AD was placed in TEMPORARY care whilst the family obtained support and with the hope that AD would follow her health care plan.
    Any DRIFT was not caused by either AP or AD.AP wanted to bring her home after a month or two AS PLANNED and AD wanted out of care where she is suffering privations and possibly abuse.

    Reconnection therapy helpful but to be discredited by CS.
    SW’s,on the surface,have been impressed by AP but their notes have been twisted by manager in the interests of the care order.
    Focus on child: Desperate to be back at home with loving family for several months but CS totally deaf to the poor soul.
    Instead of fitting the statements and evidence to precedent to remove when adoptive placements break down,the CS changed the facts to fit the precedents.
    Alas, the LA will abuse the system for just as long as appeals are denied and the Courts let them get away with it.

    Inhumanity with a capital I!
    As i have said many times SW’s can’t be blamed for going along with malpractices which are commonplace because they are trained to follow rigid directives from above.We can absolve them somewhat because they aren’t really experienced professionals able to lead LA’s as they should.They are not ISW’s. They are merely graduates employed by the LA to help carry out its illegitimate will which is to remove children into care when unnecessary.

    1. Adoptionp

      AD was angry when we placed her in care, she used the tools that she had used before (when 5) to ‘attack us’ AP.

      Anyone who took a step back could see this, it is what AD has learnt as a survival mode. AD has always used the LA when she wants to.

      This is why normal procedures do not apply, it is an Adoption case.

    2. helensparkles

      You have a lot more case knowledge than I do if you can make those comments Angelo.

      Nobody plans drift. Drift + concerns led to pre proceedings. These parents have known exactly what those concerns are for months now. They may not agree but it is not possible for any SW to just send someone home if they don’t think they are safe to the degree that thresholds are met.

  159. Adoptionp

    So on the 11Feb, they just came up with a threshold after an INTERNAL legal planning meeting without consulting with AP. What kind of process is that? Total lack of engagement with AP and thought process.
    No understanding, no empathy whatsoever about the situation of what clearly is an Adoption case.

    In the PLO Mar meeting, which was chaired by a Senior CS service manager, I asked a round table question, do you have records about AD’s past (as she came from a different LA) including the allegations made against previous FC, this was met instantly with a collective response ‘No!’. So it clearly shows the decisions made to progress to proceedings is completely uninformed.

    You are correct…SW ‘don’t think’.

    1. helensparkles

      You can take two words and quote them out of context if you wish.

      Nobody just came up with a threshold, it is a legal term regarding significant harm. The process has been followed exactly as it should have been, SW/Managers have concerns and they seek legal advice from their lawyers. That is indeed an internal meeting. If their legal advice is that they have reached threshold, they invite you to a PLO meeting. They had concerns regardless of any other allegations, they had to act and they had to inform you why.

      1. Adoptionp

        I was trying to illustrate what SW Managers have done in their fabricated reports.

        The threshold in our case is based on subjective opinion on emotional harm and they have based this in a few days without considering all the facts nor understanding of the family or history. No separate meeting was held with family to understand more.

        I cannot reiterate enough the decision made in an internal meeting is uninformed. They have decided on an internal DIRECTIVE which is reactionary rather than on fully informed facts. There was no engagement whatsoever with the family to understand the facts before deciding threshold was met. It is irrational. It is just speculation of a future event.

        There was no room to change anything in the PLO meeting, again a directive being made of an internal decision. There was no transparency here either.

        The culture seems to be, here is MY decision, live with it.

        I would call this not in the interest of the society to act in this way, it is dictatorial and authoritative. We do not live in this type of society where a few people can rule the people they are employed by and serve. It is an abuse of their powers.

        When you make a speculative decision about future events, you need to base your decision on hard facts and ensure it is rationale. Every decision needs to be explained and clearly documented to those that you are making a decision on. I am not talking about the court process but the duty of care you have in performing your jobs.

        I have said before, if CS Managers are held ACCOUNTABLE for their decisions they would think first before acting irrationally.

        Cases should be reviewed and audited by an independent body and CS Managers should be bought before a select committee on a random basis to explain how they derived their conclusions, they would not act as they do in such a secret closed door manner. They would not abuse their powers as they do.

        I would love to be on that panel, as I certainly would be asking them the right type of questions.

        1. helensparkles

          I have already said that it is easy to view emotional harm as subjective concerns, unfortunately this is often not the case, just because there isn’t a visible injury.

          The LA don’t meet with you first to discuss threshold, they have to meet with a lawyer to do that. The PLO meeting was held for exactly the purpose of explaining concerns. Any issues with them not being clear needed to be taken up with your solicitor.

          Pre proceedings do end, yours haven’t, proceedings were initiated. CS will be held accountable for that in court, and the evidence can be tested, hopefully (as I keep saying) enough has changed at home for everyone to know AD is safe.

          1. Adoptionp

            AD was never subject to significant harm.

            AP sought Support, that was it.

            The ‘drift’ was caused by the LA being totally incompetent in their procedures. That is the problem, which has caused emotional harm to AD by the SW not listening to AP of the help they needed.

            It is no different to taking AD to hospital and then removing a child on the grounds they are ill.

            Totally irrational behaviour by the LA procedures and they need to be held accountable for their actions.

            We do not live in such society where there is so much state intrusion, the LA have fallen into the trap of Social engineering and unjustifiabily kept a child from their family and extended family for a long time.

            That is what I call emotional harm.

            I repeat, the same SW1 made a conclusion before we asked for longer respite to keep the same child in the family.

          2. helensparkles

            This is where the LA disagree with you, meeting threshold means their concerns are about significant harm.

            I’m afraid you did cause the drift. Your daughter was in care for 7 months before you considered revoking S20. Most parents don’t place their child in care in the first place, they call on their support network.

            I think a lot of people have listened to you, but they don’t agree with you, I hope things have now changed enough for AD to come home safely and with planned rehab.

  160. Adoptionp

    “The LA don’t meet with you first to discuss threshold, they have to meet with a lawyer to do that”

    Why not? This is the problem in LA procedures.

    The lawyer AND CS Managers might get more information of the case, understand the history, empathise with parents of the difficulties to then make an informed decision. This would be more supportive. This is more rational, then making reactionary statements made by frontline SW who themselves are not close to the history.

    For Adoption especially, a rational and competent thing to do is consult with the Adoption team. This never happened in our case!

    Directives are already made by the PLO.

    1. helensparkles

      It is only a lawyer who can give legal advice and advising on threshold is legal advice, the issues are discussed with you in the PLO meeting with your lawyer who can advise you.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Adoption p.
        I know Helen cannot comnent in your particular case (not knowing all the details).However, the legal guidelines and frameworks dictate that at the outset,the CS must carry out a full and comprehensive,impartial investigation into the facts of a case.This inquiry must involve fully parents and all professionalsinvolved with a child( adoption team,school,GP etc). All decisions to involve parents and LA working together.
        If the inquiry into facts did not occur then the C
        S can only have devised ways to satisfy threshhold on the basis of past precedent,risk assessment etc. The guidelines don’t say they are to do an immediate risk assessment in order to examine threshhold to my knowledge.
        The ad hoc purpose of a risk assessment is to establish the need and areas for support.
        Quite often,the CS bypass the guidelines and don’t talk to parents or other professionals unless it is to pass on to them decisions already taken arbitrarily.
        Make sure you engage with your barrister and instruct him to question every contravention of guidelines.

  161. Adoptionp

    We believe the LA have deliberately not engaged with AP with a hope that the longer they take, we will just give up, which we are not prepared to do. We have endured months of unnecessary scrutiny and supervision. They have not demonstrated any ‘plan for rehab home’, there was never any communication of this and so have fabricated any intention to do so.

    The connection with our AD is strong, as we discovered in therapy, and their actions were just try to break it at every opportunity. Their aim is quite clear. For some time (including at the IRO meeting in Apr), I have been trying to establish what their aim was. No one was telling us after several attempts to understand what they wanted.

    This eventually was communicated to us just before the interim hearing in Jul. It was just a clear directive made to us, this is OUR decision with no explanation of how the LA derived it. When questioned, the LA SW simply said we will discuss in court. Why not beforehand? I was offering to do so and they rejected my request.

    The fact they have excluded AD Family from contact (which includes her extended family of many years) goes to show exactly what they intend to do. AD has open communications (i.e. Facebook, Whats App and Telecons) with school friends and FC family. How do you think that makes us feel? This is our AD of 7 years!

    This we believe has been totally unacceptable. It is a deliberate attempt to cut all ties with her previous family and set up life with a new one; this all happening before proceedings have even concluded and while the court is observing the output from therapy!

    The yo-yoing of their support for Reconnection shows that the above agenda, and I call it a clear agenda by their actions, show even now, they are at complete loss as to why they have behaved in this manner without any explanation e.g. they still have not explained why overnight was cancelled. It was a deliberate act of sabotage to the Reconnection process which has caused AD emotional harm, as she is still airing her complaints to us.

    AD is caught in the middle of it and it is the LA actions that have caused her anxiety and uncertainly over her future. There has been no clear leadership or decision making. In demonstrates clearly they have been incompetent. This is why we feel the court process should have ceased. If the court decides for AD to come home, how on earth can you work with such people? Leopards do not change their spots.

    Yes, we are a little aggrieved and angry at the whole process. It is the way it has made us feel. And the CS Managers hide behind the court process,

    I am still her if they would like to talk to me. I am happy to sit in front of all of them so they can provide me with a clear explanation of their actions and decisions. Or is it they do not have one….

    1. helensparkles

      The court process doesn’t end when there are concerns that reach threshold, the court is asked about those, nobody is hiding behind that process.

      You’ve had many meetings and everything has been explained to you, even if you don’t agree. Anything you aren’t clear about, ask your solicitors, you have free legal representation.

      There will be a plan for rehab home if that is agreed at the final hearing, it would be premature to preempt the outcome of a court case.

      Nobody is going to be helped by your hostility to the LA but mainly AD.

  162. Adoptionp

    “You’ve had many meetings and everything has been explained to you, even if you don’t agree”

    We have had not many meetings, we have tried to seek clarification from those making the decisions but nothing has ever been provided. It is unacceptable during the court process that no one has explained their decisions.

    Even our solicitors have tried to seek explanations and nothing has been forthcoming. This has been made clear to all advocates.

    1. helensparkles

      You have had a pre proceedings meeting, you have had an intent to issue meeting, you have been in court, you have a threshold document – how can that not be clear? If it really isn’t, your solicitor’s role is to clarify.

  163. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p. The legitimate aim of the LA under the Children’s Act is to provide support in order to keep families together.
    Removal of children into care should never be ordered unless legal guidelines and correct procedures have observed scrupulously.

    Unless the situation is so dire that nothing else will do!

    Your case is not one of serious child abuse or neglect; there are lots of alternatives to removal.Plus AD wants to go home.
    I don’t believe there is any suggestion (yet) that either you or Mum are requiring MH therapy or that time-scales for said therapy is not within time-scales for the child. That reason is often pulled out of the hat with natural mums and dads.
    The LA cannot go to Court and claim austerity or lack of finance for support as reason to claim that nothing else will do.If the Judge issued a care-order in that scenario, it would be instantly appealable.
    The only other way,in my humble opinion,the LA can justify a care-order with a removal plan is by claiming AP’s do not understand its concerns,do not acknowledge its concerns,are defensive and hostile towards SW’s thus unable to work with them and are unlikely to change in time-scales relevant to the child.

    So ,as i explained before,the LA has to create hostility and disagreements if it has illegitimate aims.
    Parents walk a tightrope,express disagreements with false evidence or procedural failures and they risk accusations of hostility. The more talking they do the more the CS love it because it can be used as hearsay evidence against them.
    This is why many respondent solicitors recommend cooperation at all times is the best policy.Accept all the BS and at least they can’t pull that argument out.
    The only ways,in my limited experience,parents can beat the LA is by one of the three strategies i have already mentioned.
    It is not you that is hostile,it is they.

  164. Adoptionp

    The LA have acted if they have done so. On 2Feb, they were trying to convince AP that a crash pad was not that bad, even though we strictly said that was against our wishes. We wanted it to be planned.

    They then performed a PC assessment, this is not support but acting if they had removed the child.

    They then threat AP at will and disagree with supporting Reconnection. I call that removal.

    It us quite clear, the LA agenda is removal and that was confirmed by their intent to leave AD in ltfc even she wants to return. I call that removal.

    We are prepared to work with LA, the Adoption team who in one 3 hour meeting last Fri have provided more support to us than the CIN team in 7 months! Meanwhile the CIN team SW has gone awol.

    1. helensparkles

      You abdicate all responsibility for leaving your child in care for 7 months before considering revoking S20 or rehab home. That’s interesting, I don’t know many parents who place their children in care as a resolution to a family crisis.

      1. Adoptionp

        We never had any choice to revoke s20 as our AD was kept from us. I keep on saying that the LA did not give us any choice. For months the MESSAGE from the LA was AD did not want to return, so what was the point, we could nor force if she did not wish to do so at her age. It was only from June we started to Reconnect and only from July when we truly did when we requested unsupervised contact.

        If the LA had their way, they would have had supervised contact till the final hearing.

        Helen, you really need to understand, revoking s20 was not ever a possibility till we Reconnected. That opportunity was never there as the LA were feeding us a load of !yes about what AD wanted to do.

        1. helensparkles

          I understand that placing a child in care was a very drastic solution to a family crisis, particularly when you have adopted an older child, and the resonance with rejection for that child. AD might be telling you now that she wanted to come home all along, but it is very possible that she wasn’t saying that at the time, it is likely to have been too painful a risk to take.

          The ASF has existed for some time; most adopters seek support whilst their child is at home, with the intervention of their own support network (which you were assessed as having?). Sometimes respite is planned at intervals such as once a month where really necessary, but this is rare. The message for an older child that they can be returned to the care system when they become too difficult to manage is emotionally damaging.

          You reached crisis, your wife was about to walk out, and you placed your daughter in care. You have been clear here that your wife didn’t feel able to have AD home until August. That suggests that, whatever your daughter was saying, your wife did not think that it was a good idea for her to be at home. You’ve also expressed concern about the sibling relationship.

          7 months is a long time for a child to be in care with future uncertainty and the LA could not allow that to continue. You had free legal advice in the room, so I assume you have taken it on S20. If you wanted to tell the LA that you didn’t agree with keeping your child in care, you just had to do it. The practicalities of rehab home for a teenager are another matter and I agree they are challenging, but SW do challenging all the time.

      2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Helen makes a fair point. I am afraid I do think that you and your wife have to engage with this point and accept it. You seem to want it to be ALL the LA’s ‘fault’ – but your own choices have contributed, at least in some way, to where you are now.

  165. Angelo Granda

    Thank heavens for that.Perhaps you See what i mean now,adoption p.Engaging with your lawyer and the Guardian must have done the trick.

    I am glad your AD is to be rehabilitated and removal is not a part of the plan.
    There is no real need for a care-order. Should you require help in the future,go straight to Barnardo’s.,

    1. helensparkles

      Angelo- there was never a plan for the LA to remove AD.

      The need for the Care Order will be determined in court based on the concerns which the LA views as reaching threshold. If there is no need, that means things have changed, and that would be good.

  166. Angelo Granda

    It is impossible for parents to turn a blind eye and ignore the sheer ,callous blatant cruelty to which their children are subjected by such obviously inhuman practices.The sobbing and misery on the faces of little children does not seem to affect the perpetrators one bit.
    Heartless bureacrats .Often the decision making managers don’t even see the children.They never leave their computer consoles and office desks.
    Significant harm indeed! Parents inform them of the abuse in care,assaults and distress and they are ignored.Hillsborough syndrome.Denial and cover-up the norm.
    Isn’t it about time we had accountability?

    1. Adoptionp

      Angelo, our AD is not at home, only the courts will decide next week.

      I have left a message today for senior CS Manager (who we met at PLO) with regards overnight contact being re-instated as I have said AD is distressed at it being cancelled. AD continues to be upset as to why it was cancelled after it happened.

      It seems they want to ignore the emotional harm THEY are causing AD by doing this!

  167. Angelo Granda

    Hopefully,AD will be returned home next week if removal is not the LA’s care-plan after all but malpractice,in my view,on the part of the CS has effectively removed the child in the interim when they followed their common tactic which is to threaten court action should AP have rescinded the S20. We shall have to live with that one now.
    Readers,remember this in the future.
    Adoption p. Obviously, i have no wish to alarm you and other readers. Sám has already referred to the significant harm her children have suffered in the care system.
    You have just had a brief experience of the kind of fate ( exploitation and distress mental and physical) which awaits adolescent girls and boys taken into care at such a vulnerable age.
    14 year-old girls are particularly vulnerable and ripe for it. Equally, you have had a small taster of what happens when the children are finally given the opening to report their treatment to a responsible adult.
    Little is done,things are covered up and NFA in most cases.
    Many girls up expecting children under-age,forced into inappropriate sexual relationships with rogue cab drivers,criminal gangs and other predators.Rape is not uncommon and even prostitution.
    All covered-up by the totally irresponsible Authorities.Drink,drugs , crime. If there is a next time and they don’t conform with your placement instructions,think about rescinding the S20 immediately.

    1. helensparkles

      If rehab home isn’t phased and planned it will be very likely to fail. APs will need to find a way to work with the LA because that would be a disaster for AD. I’d suggest a multi agency meeting with a therapeutic worker who knows AD, that may be reconnect, but it is important they know the child v well because this needs to be child led.

      Immediately rescinding S20 seems fairly pointless at this stage, given the case is in court next week. Hopefully enough has changed and AD can return home to stability and no more care episodes now that APs have all that therapeutic support in place.

  168. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p.
    As regards immediately rescinding the S20,i was referring to next time(if there is one).
    However,as a fellow father of a teenage girl, i hope you don’t mind me being absolutely frank .If my daughter came to me in desperation begging to come home and complaining of sexual harassment or unhappiness as to the foster home( with allergy sores too) and if i had the power too i would také her home immediately right now and if i didn’t i don’t think my daughter would ever come to me and trust me again.Your AD had probably let down by her SW who went AWOL.
    Furthermore,she could be in greater danger now that it is probably the last week.When time runs out she might be assaulted or interfered on the last night..
    Then who will share some of the blame in her eyes?
    I have to disagree with Helen who thinks there is little point with only a week left .
    Plus don’t forget the fait -accomplis aspect i mentioned in an earlier post.I doubt if the CS will bother applying for an emergency order or an ICO at this late stage but this week could be a vital one for AD’s safety.
    On the other hand, nothing might happen in the last week. You have parental responsibility and the duty to protect her but is it best to cooperate with them for a little longer.
    Who can say? Focus on AD and what she wants. Ask her and act accordingly.Teenagers like to know about decisions and want the opportunity to be consulted at the time when they can influence them according to research.

  169. Adoptionp


    It is Adoptionp here, sorry for not writing but it was advised not to continue by our sols after this blog was reported to CS. So thanks to whoever that person was!

    In summary, since my last post we had a hearing at the end of Sep, where the LA turned up with nothing apart from their position was the same, AD should remain in FC, even though the legal guardian supported AD return home sooner than later and supported no order.

    They went for a ICO which was heard at higher court and we are glad that it got heard in front of judge, coincidently was the same as who heard our Adoption order many years ago. After many hours of deliberation, it was decided a reunification assessment was to be conducted and also AD would be returned home by XMAS if not sooner. The judge was not happy the case went over the 6 month ruling and would be reporting the LA to the senior judge. We are not sure what happened to this referral.

    We got to see her more of AD including an overnight during the Oct Halfterm with increased contact plan and alternative overnights at weekends; but even then that was not organised well with the FC feeling aggrieved when they could not organise simple travel arrangements. It felt quite humiliating as I had to pick and drop by AD where the FC were staying during the Halfterm! It really did feel like a custody battle when they had no legal right.

    Prior to Halfterm, AD has been groomed online, exposing herself on social media (a modern concern for all parents of teenagers) and this was downplayed by the LA. I raised serious concerns with the police.

    The reunification assessment went well, with AD scoring similarly to us with regards LA danger statements and the conclusion was AD would return home! The LA final evidence was submitted and what can I say but 8 pages of criticisms, just a page on the reunification and criticisms raised even over the grooming incident! The LA simply are clueless when it comes Adoption!

    After meeting with the LA Adoption team they concluded no SO would be made but we would need to sign a written agreement to agree ‘monitoring’ by a SW for 6 months. This document went and back and forth just before the Final hearing mid Dec. The language used again was simply prescriptive and even had a threatening statement to say if AD was subject to harm they would threaten to remove her.

    We had enough and put our foot down. We again wrote a comprehensive response in our evidencing objecting to their ridiculous criticisms, they simply cannot help themselves, they simply do not get Adoption!

    The weekend before the final hearing, AD had a major wobble and on the day before decided she wanted to live in a care home! That evening she was quite abusive over the phone at the FC to us feeling empowered and we had no choice but to contact CS SW. We knew she was just ‘pushing us away’ feeling anxious about returning home.

    Well after 10months of asking, the LA SW saw sense, they explained she would not go into a carehome but she was ‘upset’. After much persuasion by me, I managed to get AD and the LA SW to bring AD back to ours that evening. This proved to be absolutely critical. We explained there were two sides to a story and mentioned that AD exaggerates. Well what can I say, the LA SW supported us parents and communicated to AD to respect our PR!

    The next day in court was spent deliberating the written agreement and we managed to get our version agreed. Ours was written on the basis of support and had no threatening language in there. There was a request by Guardian for AD to still see FC for brief amount of time, this was even put forward to the judge as we completely refused. We still think no one understands Adoption and related attachment issues. To us the only people that do are other adoptive parents, the true ‘experts’ who all have similar view that LA CS simply do not understand when issues arise.

    The judgement was made and quite simply we were amazed by the statement made by the judge. It was one of true Support, recognition of the hard work and commitment we have put in for the last 10 months, emphasised WHEN things do crop up (i.e. a true recognition that our AD has a past and behaviour issues caused by past trauma) that SUPPORT is key and working together.

    The judge even recognised that we AP have had disagreements with the LA, he even did not want to know the detail over the wobble at the weekend previous but recognised these are issues that are underlying, but said these are our decisions as parents to deal with and need to be supported. It felt as we had a huge endorsement over what we had been trying to say all along, the our AD has past traumatic events and behaviours are attributable to these, which we have said we never blame her for but just wanted support. The whole reason why we rang CS in the first place! The judge wished us and our family the best for the future and concurred NO ORDER.

    Our AD was returned home and we have shown her nothing but affection which she has responded well to. She has even respected our boundaries over her mobile phone. She has appreciated us giving her little more freedom such as contact with her friends and even letting her go to the an under 18 nightclub.

    At this moment, we are celebrating, not only our AD back with us and together as a family, but also hopefully we have established a principle that when Adoption issues occur, the LA CS do not go in guns blazing but understand there some things that are Beyond Parental Control and such adopted children are simply ‘wired’ differently due to past trauma and support is key.

    We hope this blog has enlightened a few people and also lessons have been learnt to help adoptive parents in the future.

    Kind regards


    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Thank you very much for the update and I am glad you felt the Judge was listening and understood. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and can look forward to a Happy New Year.

      I am very sorry that someone reported your comments here. I quite understand the need for privacy where children are involved but I am also increasingly concerned that attempts to shut down genuine and necessary debate about such important issues are really counterproductive.

      I also wish the person who saw fit to report this had told me about their concerns. I am always happy to delete or edit anything that would cause any problems.

    2. Angelo Granda

      Thanks for the update. I think the Judge was right especially that `the behaviours are attributable to past traumatic events suffered by AD.
      He is right, these problems are for you to deal with not the CS. It is your job to protect her not theirs. It is their task to provide support when asked for it. Has the judgment been issued yet and can we access a copy?
      Like you say, you have struck something of a blow for other parents especially adoptive ones who should be able to use the same arguments you used. I thought you were brilliant throughout ,managing to keep your eyes on the facts alone and refusing to be diverted. I am so glad you got NO ORDER, which you stood out for despite all the various advice given to you particularly that co-operation might be the best course!
      Thanks too for the original post and I hope the many comments were some assistance to you. Regarding someone informing on you, how could they when you are anonymous? Is it more likely they got wind of it through the petition as Helen suspected might be likely?

  170. Adoptionp

    Yes, likely through the petition, but it was poor show by LA who thought the need to make a point, even though I had anonymised the post. This post was really supportive to us through this difficult period and anyone else reading would have also have gained much support e.g. I did not know anything about the Adoption Support Fund and I used this to leverage another 20 hours of Attachment Focussed Therapy for 6 months.

    We went on an Adoption UK course parenting an adoptive teenager and it was good to hear other adoptive parents who similarly felt the lack of support by LA when seeking help. When communicating this to CS, their response was ‘that is what birth parents say when we remove the child’, this comment says it all and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding by CS over adoptive issues.

    The judgement 13Dec16:

    I am really sorry but I have decided to delete the quotes from the judgment. If this thread has been reported then disclosing what was actually said in court could be a breach of section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act. If you had the Judge’s permission to publish it, I will be happy to. I am sorry to be so cautious but I do note one of Helen’s comments earlier that you can be identified through a link to the petition.

    Very supportive words and my wife was in tears. I hope they also move you.

    I would welcome your thoughts including also your opinion from a legal standpoint which could assist adoptive parents?
    I am not sure what else I can say – it sounds like a humane and sensible decision was reached and I hope that it all works out. I do think the message about not automatically ‘blaming’ adoptive parents needs wider dissemination but I am afraid the fact that they so often are is probably the inevitable consequence of the prevalent ‘child rescue’ narrative that informs so much of the intervention in this area.

    Kind regards


  171. Adoptionp

    Update Oct17, AD home since Dec16.

    AD did not engage in 6 month therapy plan and when she did attend, she felt forced and was very disruptive, the therapist said she was almost bullying us as parents. There were several ups and downs during the reunification where AD thought by being disruptive she can get what she wants (this behaviour generally on a Friday after school). It escalated one weekend in May where she became violent towards dad. It was more of an frustration outburst as we think she wanted to go back into care, to get a new FC with all new SW attention towards her and getting what she wants. This is how the ‘system’ has warped her sense of reality. Her thinking was to get this was to be disruptive so we can put her back in care.

    Several calls to SW line that weekend expressing our concerns and stating AD wants to leave resulted in another SW assessment, this time AD said she was sorry she had acted in this way. We had good meeting with school who were very supportive, but the SW who visited us, listened but to no surprise the resultant SW report was still using the language of blaming parents! The outcome was to continue to gain support from therapist. It is clear the LA not learnt anything from our case and what happened in 2016, no handover between SW teams.

    Thereafter, we invited Adoption SW to a meeting with therapist to discuss strategies, the Adoption SW bought a colleague ‘to take take notes’. During this session, the therapist could see the Adoption team SW was quite insulting and questioning her profession by asking probing questions, her colleague was quite vocal for someone who was taking notes. The therapist ended session abruptly as she could see they had their clipboards out and how counterproductive it was to the forum and objective of therapy. This was quite insulting towards us and very aggressive in nature, completely unprofessional. We subsequently found out the Adoption SW was not acting in the family’s interest but solely for AD, a clear indication that they did not understand the Attachment Focused Therapy we were undergoing and to illustrate the lack of trust, we discovered the Adoption SW uninvited guest was actually consultant SW, so the very team that were meant to support us completely breached our trust! Do these people never learn! Why do SWs lack integrity? Why do they have this cultural problem in their organisation?

    Anyway to cut a long story short, we then had a call with Adoption SW Manager who approved a further 20 sessions of therapy which was successfully approved for funding by the Adoption Support fund (this after the Adoption SW dragged her feet to apply and eventually confirmed in July of the approval).

    In the last 6 months, AD has abused her mobile phone again contacting strangers online so after reporting and a visit from Police to educate her of safeguarding concerns, AD has accepted she has no phone and no access to Social Media. AD seems to be a calmer person without her phone.

    We are continuing to seek support from therapist who respects our confidentially, family boundaries and attachment issues. AD has had a good calmer summer, where we bonded on holiday and now settling into GCSE year at school. We think the intervention of totally inexperienced unempathetic SWs is the root cause of the problem with our AD having attachment issues. The system clearly does not work and they continue to blame.

    I have raised a complaint with the local government ombudsman and sought a meeting with Head of Social Services to specifically discuss why LA procedures have not changed nor is there any appetite to change, with regards supporting parents when Adoption disruption occurs. They seem completely unpragmatic and blinded by their procedures. Are they really that ignorant? It is pure common sense – help the family to support the child.

    It is clear the ‘blame game’ is still present with regards to Adoption disruption. When will it ever change?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am really sorry to hear that things are still unsettled. I can only hope that over time this will get better, and I wish you strength to hang in there while you wait.

    2. HelenSparkles

      I’m not going to say the SW weren’t at fault, but as you know yourself, apportioning blame is not helpful. Focus on solutions and everyone who will help you work towards them.

  172. Angelo Granda

    Adoption p, I also wish you well .
    As a non-professional, ordinary parent I am wondering what form the therapy is taking. As you know, we did predict AD would tend to disrespect you and your wife somewhat and use the threat of the Social Workers to her advantage.
    What is the position as regards her natural Mum ,if you don’t mind me asking? Does AD have letter-box contact? Don’t forget the trauma she was put through in the first place. Is it still a problem for her? Perhaps you could look ahead to the future as AD is almost a year older already. In two years she will be 18. Has the therapist broached the subject? Do you think AD still has a remaining bond with her family which you might now consider restoring at 18.She is bound to ask, i suppose.

    1. Adoptionp

      Hi Angelo,
      AD birth mum could not be traced and she has no contact with birth family. AD has accepted for now she is hard to locate. Birth mum has always been part of our family from the onset. We have always been open about her existence and often look at internet to see if she has any online prescience.
      I think experience of recent assessment where we called SW but AD did not get what she wanted has ‘calmed’ AD somewhat. The adults did not jump to her tune and we think support by the school and police have had a much more impact on AD, she certainly did not like what they said but something sunk in. Therapy is only useful if AD engages, but she is in the plan, however we parents find it useful to communicate with someone who supports us and gets it, unlike SWs who are completely clueless.

      A year on, AD is calmer and feeling more settled with her family, the summer break was good and AD is planning her future, she will be 16 soon, taking her GCSEs next year and wants to attend college. She is growing up and respecting boundaries (apart from the occasional rant). We really do not know what she is like at school, but we have learnt to try and separate the two, although we were surprised how she made effort and accepted help by dad on maths over the half term (this was recommended by school) and she has accepted extra tuition at school. The school have also arranged for a course on teenage relationships, where AD listens to women who have been in abusive relationships. Hopefully she may learn something.

      It is quite ironic to hear apportioning blame is not helpful, so why do SW do it in their sleep? Time for change, anyone in the LA want to listen?….The whole point of this blog to ensure all parents are supported not blamed. Put your clipboards away and empathise, stop worrying about covering yourselves and provide the correct type of support that is needed when times become difficult.

      1. HelenSparkles

        I don’t have a clipboard, most of the time I don’t even have a notebook, unless someone wants me to write down something because it is important.

        That parents feel blame & shame is true. That SW are blaming them is not necessarily true. You don’t own any of your contribution to this situation, try looking at that first, instead of trying to blame everyone else – that reflection is what your daughter needs.

  173. looked_after_child

    Quote – The whole point of this blog to ensure all parents are supported not blamed. Put your clipboards away and empathise, stop worrying about covering yourselves and provide the correct type of support that is needed when times become difficult

    … If only..

    I’m really glad your daughter is settled and life has a fairly normal tenor. Hurrah! Enjoy

  174. Angelo Gandar


    You may or may not bé aware of the following agencies.


    Assuming the LA was instrumental in arranging it all in the first place, it may bé that it worked in a way designed to alienate the birth mum completely.It may not bé the truth you have been told.These Mum’s are hung out to dry (as i call it) and not informed of the child’s whereabouts either.The CS have probably cut her off completely.She may not even bé alive but you won’t bé told.
    She may bé right now thinking about AD and looking forward to her 18th.
    After adoption support to birth families is virtually non-existent.Even when a Judge recommends letter box contact ,the “LA loses interest after a year or so and cuts it off.
    As far as your AD is concerned, she is now of an age when all teenagers become strppy with parents,rebel against authority etc.Who lnows what is to come .
    She is now of an age where she can vote with her feet which is probably why the CS is losing interest.

  175. Adoptionp

    As I write this e-mail, our case is being presented to weekly panel tomorrow.
    Unfortunately after second violent incident and risk of third, AD threatening to make it happen so she may be removed, we notified CS. A month later an assessment is resulting in AD being proposed to go back to FC, which our AD will not be pleased with as she wants supported lodgings now she has turned 16, she has been waiting a year to make her case (in the way she wants to by threatening violence).

    I have complained to Head of Safeguarding, Head of Corporate Parenting and Managers, the local government ombudsman and our local MP about the conduct of LA during 2016 and the way we were not treated with respect and dignity and the lack of engagement in decision making nor open two way open honest TRANSPARENT decision making.

    …2018, has anything changed. No.

    After my request I asked SW to inform me of assessment and also the investigations of FC placement PRIOR to panel tomorrow. The phone this afternoon was basically insulting and clearly demonstrates why change is so drastically needed.

    I inquired what work has been done to investigate placements (this a week after I spoke to the SW Manager) and surprise surprise, a wall of silence and the response ‘it will be discussed in panel tomorrow’, and nothing more was said even after asking several times. Do they find it that difficult to provide customer service and be open and honest?!? It appears they have a mental block here.

    I asked for SW Manager to ring me as I have notified several times, parents must be involved in the decision making and potential placements, prior to panel……no phone call

    This LA simply lack the culture or ability to engage and treat adoptive parents with respect….yet another closed door decision.

    I would be happy to attend the weekly panel tomorrow and have the conversation with senior managers but they are too busy hiding behind closed door meetings.

    IRONIC, they accuse parents of being uncooperative!

    I shall gladly inform the local government ombudsman and MP of this practice. It really is poor.

  176. Angelo Granda

    Sorry to hear about this difficulty.I can only suggest that you concentrate on her wishes and paramount interests as you did before.
    If she wants her own lodgings, I think she should wait until she leaves school and gets a job.I don’t think she can leave home at 16.
    Who led her to believe she can?

  177. looked_after_child

    I’m sorry about the situation with your daughter. I know it will be heartbreaking and very worrying.

    Ignoring parents of teens is absolutely the norm from all professionals sadly. I’ve concluded that all involved hope parents will just go away if they are ignored long enough. It is at best, all about ‘listening to the voice of the child’ as though the child were a competent adult, not a child.At worst, it is about short-changing a vulnerable child, by placing them in a situation where they are bound to fail, without scrutiny.

    You probably know you just have to hang in there and fight for your child as best you can. Will she ask you to advocate for her? Have you made contact with the IRO?

    1. looked_after_child

      It is also my experience that SWs only know about/ever consider the Children’s Act and there is often other legislation that should apply – particularly if a child has a diagnosis of anything that confers a particular vulnerability – The Care Act might apply and I’m pretty sure it has something called a Preventative Duty within it ( in short really robust Risk assessment and risk mitigation measures ). The IRO is the person to raise this with – in writing/by email obviously – forwarding all health notes and pointing out that all plans MUST take account of these vulnerabilities to meet your child’s needs.

  178. Angelo Granda

    Tell AD that she can enlist for a career in either army,navy or RAF at 16 or in the merchant navy(with 4 GCSE’s.
    That way she will get lodgings,uniform and wages whilst learning a skill.
    You will be able to keep an eye on her and after Initial training ,she will get regular home leave.But she must have a good record,of course.

  179. Coral Smith

    Dear Angela,

    As I am planning to carry out PhD research into the appropriateness of section 31 in the case of adoption breakdowns, I would very much like to know the outcome of your petition and any further update you can give me. Many thanks.

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