Cafcass...just a joke?or effective at preventing harm?

(21 Posts)
foolonthehill Thu 24-Apr-14 10:48:24

So a long story...short version.

Married 14 years, separated 2.5. 4 children now 12,11, 9,7.
EA, PA, VA to me but also more to children. Extreme psych problems needing over a year of therapy for effects in children by rhe time we got to court evry one was doing well
Initial contact post separation with DC very damaging leading to skype only contact.

Sept 2013 absent parent applied to court for contact after 2 years of skype contact every Saturday except when absent parent unavailable:
directions:Supervised face to face...absent parent missed 2/3 of them, children unhappy.
Finding of fact found "denying and minimising abuse" had "little comprehension of the hurt and damage that behaviour caused others" and that the (grand) parents "had adjusted their testimony as they obviously want to love and support their child." Absent parent had already done a n abuse perp course. Residence order and listed for directions.
Directions: further increased contact to be supervised by parents (!!) and cafcass report.
Directions: Unsupervised contact
2 nd Cafcass report: children unhappy, do not want to progress to overnight, regular contact is OK but don't want more, feel like they are walking on eggshells and have to be careful around non resident parent. unhappy, behaviour is difficult at home. Non R Parent missed many contacts without notice. But recommend that "CHILDREN'S CONCERNS SHOULD NOT BE A BARRIER TO CONTACT PROGRESSING TO EVERY OTHER WEEKEND, HALF OF ALL SCHOOL HOLIDAYS AND TEA TIME DURING WEEK" effective now.
Directions listed for tomorrow

Children feel very vulnerable and exposed having shared some ofn their worries which both parents willsee in the report....why ask them if they make no difference? They are very grown up articulate pre teens. They understand what their parent does and their vulnerability.

If the outcome is always the same why go through the motions?

converselover Thu 24-Apr-14 13:29:52

yep its a joke. basically unless NRP has proven recent violence against children direct contact will be ordered
but seems also that at 11-12, they won't enforce it; might drag you into court to bully you but thats about it as if you say they are refusing they have to have criminal level of proof to impose sanctions

foolonthehill Thu 24-Apr-14 15:43:00

sad poor children

I'm out but when will they be?

converselover Fri 25-Apr-14 08:20:10

detail is here;

www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed98218

You would get more response in lone parents or legal matter.

best x

foolonthehill Fri 25-Apr-14 23:07:34

thanks for that...it is interesting.

in our case the children are already seeing their parent twice per week...the resistance from the children is to over night stays and extended periods as they "don 't feel safe"...this is due to his ongoing problem with managing his emotions and theirs, inability to engage with the children leading to him doing tasks (eg cooking) rather than interacting and the sheer leaden boredom of being with him at his home.

some of these problems would be relatively easy for him to address but my suspicion is that he is more interested in the fight than the reality of contact.

Such a waste...he could have a good time with the children and then they might be happy to go for the extra.

converselover Sat 26-Apr-14 17:18:28

yes seems the same here. My son might go but not overnight. father seems to be more focused on "winning" in court (and harassing me through it) than the hard work of childcare and long slog of building a relationship with his son. If he did that (and got his temper tantrums under control) then my son might WANT to stay with him
Not much you can do to change their attitude…

foolonthehill Sun 27-Apr-14 14:28:01

just having a slightly hysterical laugh....contact order established on friday 25th, first contact weekend next weekend. Saturday 26th eamil from father...cancelling first weekend contact....

good luck with yours!
xx fool

BorisJohnsonsHairdresser Sun 27-Apr-14 14:32:47

They have odd ways of thinking. I am sure in years to come this will all come out as being barbaric. In the mean time you are dealing with people who could order a change of residency.

converselover Sun 27-Apr-14 15:56:41

BJH read the case law on that too…. aint gonna happen

Pinkballoon Sat 24-May-14 20:49:05

We've been through the CAFCASS thing re contact. I think courts find preteens quite difficult to make orders on. My DC was adamant to CAFCASS that she didn't want contact with father. Judge said she wouldn't have any child dragged kicking and screaming to contact. Made no order and it was left at that.

wheresthelight Mon 26-May-14 14:05:14

Cafcass were absolutely diabolical when my friend and her kids were in court. Their sperm donor used to attack their mum, tried to throw her down the stairs in front of the kids, attacked me in front of the kids when I stepped in to stop him hurting them, drove drunk/drugged up, left them unsupervised as he was in bed asleep having got drunk/stoned on contact weekends and cafcass still recommended regular overnight contact etc

They are a nightmare to deal with and ime the kids well being is the last thing they care about!! My friends kids counsellor told the cafcass woman that contact was harmful and damaging to the kids and it was ignored

foolonthehill Tue 27-May-14 11:13:25

Yes we had similar (though my husband is more subtle)

Now we are 1 month since contact order. he has not seen the children. However he is getting kittens and bean bags and has set up their bedrooms confused ...he just doesn't see the children!

Children are more confused and upset than ever. Oldest is allowed to say no but as she says (12) " if I do that I have to deal with Daddy's moods" she really wanted court to limit the contact and told them so (bravely)

so now he is due to have them for half of half term. He's emailed to say he will pick them up from school on Friday (!!!!) and return them back lunchtime Sat. I despair. Not that I think he is a good influence but now instead of feeling protected the children feel abandoned! grrr

wheresthelight Tue 27-May-14 11:46:27

Have the schools noticed any I'll effects on the children? Their input may be helpful!

I would also make sure that you speak to your solicitor or email cafcass every time he cancels contact etc so that there is a record of it. Make sure that you get him cancelling on paper so to speak either text messages or email and never verbally! If you have a smartphone their is a great app that backs up sms messages to your Google email account so that you can either print them out or email them on to someone else. Ultimately this was very helpful with the courts in dealing with my friend's ex as he admitted stuff to me on text that he tried to deny had happened in court.

In the end he had a car accident and made the kids lie to their mum, failed to tell her anything and it was only when his car insurance people tried to pursue a compo claim that she knew anything about it. At that point an emergency order was put in place banning contact and when he repeatedly failed to turn up to court they removed any right to access from him.

Cafcass are shit!! All they care about it that dad gets access not about what is best for the kids. If your eldest refuses to go you can't and shouldn't make her imo and she certainly shouldn't be subject to his emotional blackmail around moods!! I would make sure the school counsellor is aware of this and can back you guys up in court

foolonthehill Wed 28-May-14 10:44:07

I am finished with court now. Cafcass were not interested in the fact that he did only 30 % of the contact in the 2 previous interim contact orders....just ramped it up to "normal" at the final hearing. In all the 4 hearings took over 7 months.

I had a fact finding hearing that showed his behaviour was as bad as I said and all the psychiatric stuff for the DC. Unfortunately we had been separated for 2 years and the court viewed this as "historic" even though he had continued to misbehave even via indirect contact.

I don;t and won;t make children go but they have to decide not to...it can;t be me. And that is the problem, they feel duty to him and unprotected by the courts who disclosed what they had said to my husband even though it placed them in a difficult position.

All that is left for me is to wait and support the children eventually he will get bored (probably already is!)

Purpuliar Wed 28-May-14 10:56:15

They are useless.

Ds told them all the things that had happened (neglect leading to harm, anger etc.) and x denied it all. It was ignored as it wasn't "proven" despite having emails etc that proved at least two thirds of what he said was lies. The younger dcs were couched by him to ask for more visits. They are only small. Older son ignored, younger two listened to. Cafcass made loads of assurances to my face and then didn't put them in the report.

One of the conditions of the order is no drinking. He had them two weeks ago and all report him drinking to the point of being well over the limit. But it'll just be their word against his again. So how can I enforce it? The court system does nothing to protect the dcs. He admits historical abuse, but denies it is current. Useless.

Purpuliar Wed 28-May-14 10:57:20

Oh and Court didn't care that he also only does 30% of the contact he should.

foolonthehill Wed 28-May-14 14:52:11

I guess that I am grateful that he takes the children less than he could and I have decided that as for him it is all about the fight and controlling me the less interested and in touch I am the better. not good as it means the DC have to put up with not knowing whether he is coming or not....but good that I have worked out how not to add fuel to the fire!

By the way, to anyone lurking and reading my "D"H is a respectable, professional highly educated man and looks every inch the perfect father.

Oh same here foolonthehill, intelligent, respectable, professional. I think that's what Cafcass can't deal with. They say all the right things, knowing full well they won't follow through.

tiredandsadmum Wed 28-May-14 17:27:44

At least yours are getting bored. Mine has started yet another attempt to go to court, this time to be over residency and schooling. Again a wealthy, intelligent, respectable professional who has never been denied access for contact to his DC. I dread CAFCASS being involved. They really do seem to despise mothers.

foolonthehill Thu 29-May-14 09:06:46

Tired:/ FYCATH , I guess the veneer is thin but believable....

on Cafcass, some officers are rubbish some are good BUT the courts all have their hands effectively tied by rulings in the high court over the last decade overturning individualised decisions in favour of the one size fits all.

I really object to the LIE that they look at our cases and make decisions based on facts when really they just work out how fast they can get to the every other weekend/half of all holidays one size fits all result.

tired...I truly hope your own personal FW can be persuaded to keep out of court. However the one good thing that came out of my case is that I have a cast iron tied down contact order with dates and times for the next 2 years which means that although I never know if he will take up his contact I DO know when I am free to live life my way! Take the good where we can hey?!

good luck to you all

Tanya2011 Tue 03-Jun-14 11:40:01

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