Do we have to abide by what the judge said? help please!

(42 Posts)
Bananaketchup Tue 09-Jul-13 18:35:50

Hi all,
big day today, placement orders made so all systems go. Instead of being excited, I am freaked out! SW emailed that 'the judge's view is that DD should start school in September in Bananatown so that there is as little disruption as possible in her routines'. This was followed by me being copied into fairly frantic-sounding emails between SWs saying we need to have a meeting quick, prioritise the case because of the school issue, get to panel 1st week in August, speak to the panel advisor to see if we can get an early decision etc etc etc.

Right from the beginning I was told SWs think DD should delay starting school until January, to allow us to bond, and I agree with this. More importantly, DD has only recently been told she will not be returning to BM who she is very defensive of and attached to and who she states she wants to live with. The plan was for her to have CAMHS assessment and some lifestory work to get her ready to move, and it was emphasised even before we were linked that I'd have to be willing to go at DDs pace, which of course I am. Now suddenly a judge has an opinion and all of that sensible stuff seems to have gone out of the window and they're all running around going 'okay, panel in 2 weeks, move her, start school in September'!

I am freaking out. I feel like if DD is moved so quickly, before the lifestory work, and then made to start school very shortly after, we are going to have massive massive problems. I feel like we are being set up to fail, DD's not ready to move to her new family, she's not ready to start school straight away, I'm scared it'll go so badly.

What can I do? Do SWs have to abide by the judge's opinion in this? And by extension, do I as they still will have PR? Should I voice my concerns now, should I conveniently have a holiday booked for the August panel date? All the information I know about DD screams at me this will be bad but now all the SWs seem to be concerned about is getting it done asap with no concern for the stuff which previously was important. I don't agree that starting school in September will cause as little disruption as possible, this little girl is about to be removed from everything and everyone she has ever known, I think that's a bit more important and a bit more disruptive than not starting school the first week in September!! Can anyone advise me what to do?

Bananaketchup Thu 15-Aug-13 08:15:53

Hi Italian matching panel said yes grin so we are all systems go sort of - pending therapy for DD but SWs have got a therapist now so that should be imminent. I was sooo nervous driving to panel, I kept thinking soon I might be driving this same road to intros! But by the time I'd got there I was pretty calm and it all seemed to go quite smoothly. I was expecting a much harder time at matching panel than for approval panel, but for me this panel seemed much more positive than my approval panel.

School wise you are right MissFenella about keeping options open, the school have indicated they are willing to be very flexible, so if she's really keen to start school DD could do a few half days for a longer period and ease in that way and still give us lots of time together. Thanks guys.

Bananaketchup how is it going?

MissFenella Wed 14-Aug-13 21:33:31

Banana - keep an open mind re school. DD1 came to us in October and she started school 2 weeks after. I was worried it would be too soon but she was pleading to go and wanted to get on with making friends, wearing a new uniform and generally fitting in. I think for her it has helped with a feeling of permanency.

Good luck

Bananaketchup Thu 01-Aug-13 09:25:16

Hi Italian no news as such, no-one has let me know either way if the funding application was successful or if it hasn't been heard yet. I have been emailing with the lovely FCs who have sent me more photos as well as patiently answering my questions about what car seats and washing powder and stuff they have! Have a lovely holiday.

Hi Banana any news? I am going on hols tomorrow but will be thinking of you and all the adoption bunch.

fasparent Sun 21-Jul-13 23:55:38

Have been in same situation regards schools, and have moved children too suitable schools later, including SEN School's. But had too fight our ground. You will Know your child best in time and you will be the parent
so keep an open mind. Good luck and bless you all.

Piffyonarock Sun 21-Jul-13 21:22:57

That's sounds good Banana, hope it all works out well for you and DD.

Bananaketchup Sat 20-Jul-13 11:35:58

Hi all, had a really good meeting with the foster carers yesterday, they obviously care a lot and had brought along photos, nursery report etc, answered all of the questions I asked and asked a lot of questions about me too which I thought was a good sign!

Reading between the lines of a few things which were said by SWs it feels like the family finder is very much the driving force behind making sure the therapy happens for DD before the move, and an application has now been made for funding for this to be paid for privately rather than wait for CAMHS, so things can get moving. So intros might be end of August/early September depending how it goes.

Italian good point, I do try to email rather than phone so I have a record of what's been said.

fasparent the LAC education team have advised as you say to apply for the school place as soon as the match is ratified, to be sure of a place. The school I've chosen isn't considered a desirable school by a lot of criteria though and the reception class for September is currently only half full, so hopefully it will be okay.

Thank you everyone for your support.

fasparent Fri 19-Jul-13 13:17:21

Glad too here everything is progressing more positive for you all.
There will still be issue's which will be made aware of , keep your thought private go with the flow , engage with court social worker and your solicitor regards any concerns you have, make sure you obtain full history of child (this is a requirement now by law) and life story work.
There may be issue's which have not been followed up Social or Medical,
this is not unusual, You will still be able too negotiate with LA's Education Department regards starting school best too enrol for September Term too secure a place though.
Very pleased for you hope everything work out OK for you.

Kindest regards

Banan fab, great news. I am sure you are already doing this but my total novice attitude would be to keep a note of all wording of conversations and all copies of emails etc and when the conversatins happened so if at any time the pace hots up again you can say but on 19 july at blah blah time we talked by phone about blah blah or I got this email etc etc. I am not sure it will make any difference but if they put in writing or say explicity 'this' is best then if thehy later try and say no 'this' is not best you can at least highlight it, you can the memory of what was decided even if the plans are not as firm as you would like them to be.

So pleased for you that common sense is prevailing.

Lilka Thu 18-Jul-13 19:09:02

Oh that's great news Banana I'm so pleased to hear this smile

Bananaketchup Thu 18-Jul-13 18:56:12

The meeting happened, and I am massively relieved! I don't know what went on in the meeting but my SW emailed afterwards saying panel will go ahead in August but they have agreed that DD definitely needs some therapy to help her move on and be able to attach to me. So although the judge advised moving quickly, the team have decided we must go at her pace, as well as consider her readiness for school. I'd be even happier if there was a bit more of an explicit timeframe/plan, but I'm very relieved the SWs now seem to be on the page I'm on! Thank you all for your support, I'm now looking forward to meeting the FC tomorrow feeling much better!

Lilka Wed 17-Jul-13 22:10:51

I'm keeping everything crossed for you and your future DD

Good luck for Friday, hope the meeting goes well smile

Really hope the family finder can get everyone to listen. Keep raising your concerns

Piffyonarock Wed 17-Jul-13 21:20:27

Good luck Banana, keeping my fingers crossed that sense prevails.

Bananaketchup Wed 17-Jul-13 18:04:36

I tried emailing the family finder but her out of office came back. My SW is pretty flakey and tends to only hear the bits she wants to, so I don't have a lot of faith in her advocating for what I'm saying. I'm clinging onto the tiny hope that the deputy team leader is pushing so fast because she has only skim read the details of the case, and will see sense when she has the facts. It's a slim hope though - the family finder was pretty clear in her email saying 'we need to plan this carefully and learn lessons from case x' which to me sounds like a previous case which didn't got that well for reasons I don't know but the deputy team leader should.

I'm due to meet the FC on Friday - I hope she will have something to say about the hurry as well, although this is her first placement so she may not have anything to compare it to. The point that DD may blame me for her not being able to see BM is a good one, thank you I will raise that if/when anyone decides to include me in discussions! I'll update when I know more, thanks all for your support.

TeenAndTween Wed 17-Jul-13 10:10:38

My concerns would also mainly be with respect to sudden reduction of contact.
IMO contact with BPs need to have ceased a month (at least) before introductions. Otherwise little one may get muddled and think you are the reason why she can no longer see them.

My ADD1 was older than yours, but after moving in we had a lot of tears in the first weeks over why she couldn't live with / see BM any more. But at least contact had stopped beforehand and we weren't being blamed (we directed that towards judge / SWs).

Also agree no rush to start school. You can do phonics and counting games with her at home which is all that is important.

Hope someone sees sense soon!

NeverendingStoryteller Wed 17-Jul-13 02:19:45

Be very, very, very wary of social workers who are pushing things through quickly without the preparation work being done... am speaking from experience. Do not let them bully you. In one case I know of, the social workers pushed through to introductions and placement without proper preparation work so the foster carers could go on holidays (which they were rightly due) and so the social workers wouldn't have to find respite care for the children. Just an example - I have a couple of others that are horrendous, but you are as much a part of this process as any of the 'professionals'. If you've been deemed as the best match for this child, you can feel confident that your voice should be heard as an equal partner in the preparation process.

Sending you the very best of luck for sorting this out.

Maiyakat Bosnia-Herzegovina Tue 16-Jul-13 21:32:50

I agree with Hayley - you need to fight for what you know is right. You need someone advocating for you in that meeting. Will the family finder be there? Can you speak to her beforehand? If not, can you write a statement of your concerns for your SW to take? At the end of the day it will be you and your daughter living with the consequences of these decisions, not the SWs or the judge.

Have you met the foster carer yet? What does she/he think?

Really hope you get the support you need

Some good news then. Hope it works out well.

Bananaketchup Tue 16-Jul-13 18:50:08

Further update - the family finder came back from holiday and sent an email to my SW, DDs SW, team leader and copying me in, and as I'd hoped was the voice of reason. She said they need to think carefully about timings of intros to be sure DD is in the right place to attach to me and that therapy needs to have started. She also said she still thinks Jan or at the most October is plenty of time to start school, so we have time together and that that is more important than school which DD will catch up with. Then my SW pitched in ignoring the therapy/attachment bit but saying she also thinks there are ground for delaying the school start. So I was pretty relieved!

Then just as I was starting to feel like things were looking up, the team leader emailed saying panel is booked, the decision maker has said the decision will be made 2 days later, so she wants intros to start the next day - i.e. in 4 weeks from now!

So I'm still pretty stressed, the team leader seems to be ignoring the reasons for going slower and just ploughing on. Upshot is they're all having this matching meeting this week and the team leader has put (very graciously I feel hmm) that my SW can update me what the plan for intros is afterwards. Urgh!

Bananaketchup Sat 13-Jul-13 19:27:12

Lilka you have said what I want to, but eloquently! I am thinking about her best interests, and I don't want my strong desire to be her mum to let SWs railroad me into something which is going to have a world of fallout for us both. I really hope someone notices that what they're planning is insane.

I'm still confused about the matching meeting - I've been told I'm the match, all the matching forms are filled in, adoption allowance applied for, panel date set - why do they need a matching meeting at this point? Maybe it's a standard meeting before matching panel which could probably do with having a different name?

Hayley that is really sad. Thank you for your support.

Hayleyh34 Sat 13-Jul-13 12:30:23

Totally agree with Lilka. Our DD went on holiday a week before intros with her foster family. We felt this was a bad idea but didn't say anything. Now if we go on holiday she gets anxious when we come home and worries that she's getting a new family confused. Fight for what you think is right

Lilka Sat 13-Jul-13 12:24:57

I think they always have a matching meeting to make sure all the SW's are on board before proceeding

I disagree that Banana should keep her concerns private. Adoptive parents advocate for their children's best interests, and it's not in a childs best interests to have their contact with their mother (who they love very much) cut, a new adoptive parent introduced and a move in the space of a few weeks. It's insane. That way serious problems probably lie.

By all means let them have a meeting and let them decide that you are the match they want first, and then keep raising your concerns and tell them that you want therapeutic work before a move. Hopefully if they do look into it more closely someone is going to say 'such a quick move isn't really a good idea'. I hope that little sentence might mean sense will prevail.

fasparent Fri 12-Jul-13 23:18:58

Afraid you will have too go with the flow at this stage eat humble pie, keeping all your concerns private , there may be many things regards child you are not privy too at this stage these will be made more clear as
process evolves, main thing is matching in the child's best interest.
We have been foster parents for 38 years have seen many children placed, some with multiple choice matches, have seen academics refused, all including us have too be none judgmental in this process , at times we wish there were a better process but the best interest of the child comes 1st as they say its for a for ever family.

Bananaketchup Fri 12-Jul-13 18:40:11

Got a reply from my SW, she ignored my questions re lifestory work and CAMHS and said this: 'We are doing a matching meeting next week, we will look into this more closely and keep you in the loop.' Why do they need a matching meeting, I've been told I'm the match? Really confused, and worried that me saying 'hang on a minute what about all this stuff?' is making them think again about the match. From the paperwork for matching panel I know they didn't consider any other families just me. I have no idea what's going on.

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