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Residence Order & Facebook

(34 Posts)
tigerlillyd02 Mon 25-Jul-11 22:16:25

I currently have my little one on a Residence Order and soon to be pressing ahead with an adoption (wish me luck!!) as he will never be placed back with his biological mother.

I am very worried about his emotional wellbeing at the moment, as well as his security. He currently has contact with his birth mum 6 times yearly and each contact session feels like he's gone for a photo shoot as she must take one hundred pictures, easily.

Because of his age (20 months) I have been advised that direct contact at the very least is likely to stop altogether if the adoption goes through.

However, in the meantime, I am worried that his biological mother puts these pictures she takes on facebook, with details of his name, where born, date of birth etc and information about myself and what she thinks of me (not nice things as you can probably imagine).

I've recently had a group of girls stopping us when out shopping saying "oh this is X's little boy and so you must be X". I didn't deny it but looking back now, wished I had! Then they were commenting saying how unfair it was he was taken from X and that he should be with her and should love her etc. I had to say to them that details about his case were confidential and certainly don't need to be discussed whilst out shopping, in front of him!

She has also requested that she bring her new boyfriend (one of many) to contact, who goes by the name of X 'The Hitman' X. I refused entirely as, just by his name he sounds a danger and the little boy in question, in my opinion doesn't need to be meeting her boyfriends, who change frequently. But, I worry about these types of people knowing exactly what he looks like.

Anyway, my main question really is - can I stop her placing these pictures on facebook whilst he is on a Residence Order? I have asked her directly to remove them but she refuses. I just worry about him having to grow up around here and all these strangers approaching him and knowing his business. He could possibly even attend school with some of them as we live quite close. If they didn't know what he looked like, it wouldn't be so much of an issue.

KristinaM Mon 25-Jul-11 22:45:21

i am not a lawyer and i think you need legal advice. why dont you phone the Child Law centre for the country in which you live?

however i am wondering......was your residence order granted through the court? if so, were you not parental responsiibilty at the same time? who is arranging these access visits and allowing the taking of photographs

hester Mon 25-Jul-11 22:57:22

I agree with Kristina - you need expert advice. Have you tried the adoptionuk helpline? What about your social worker - what do they say?

The situation sounds ghastly, and you have all my sympathies.

tigerlillyd02 Tue 26-Jul-11 01:11:12

Kristina,
Yes, the residence order was granted through the court, and I have parental responsibility. However, as an adoption has not gone through yet, she also has some level of parental responsibility, even though she's not exercising it.
It is myself that has to supervise contact sessions, and have had very little advice on what to allow or not allow. Because she also holds PR, I did not think I could stop her taking photographs or placing them on facebook?
There is no social worker involved in the case now, it was all just left to me to deal with. But upon speaking to her not so long ago, she just told me to reduce (not stop) contact, which I did. But that doesn't really solve the situation... she also advised that if she "harrasses" us, to call the police. I'm not sure if this is deemed harrassment?
I agree, I probably need some more expert advice. I thought somebody on here may be able to advise first before I take any action...
My initial thought, is that is it not in the childs best interests for the pictures to be on there, so as his only caregiver, surely I have a right to ask for them to be removed, to protect him?
I will have a look on the website mentioned also - thank you!

KristinaM Tue 26-Jul-11 07:13:34

So you are a family member and you share PR with your childs mother? And this is all voluntary on her part as there is no social work involvement? I dint quite understand this as you say he was " taken from her" and you imply that she is not consenting to the adoption. And im not sure why all contcat woupd cease aftre the adoption?

Your situation sounds quite complicated and you really need legal advice from soemone who knows the law AND all the facts in your case. Good luck

tigerlillyd02 Tue 26-Jul-11 13:26:10

Hi Kristina, Yes, it does sound complicated! I never fully understood it myself. Yes, the PR is shared with the childs mother. However, it wasn't voluntary on her part, the child was removed at birth and placed with foster carers until I applied to take care of him. Social Services placed him with me and fought on my behalf for the residence order (initially an adoption or SGO but they ended up on settling for residence because of complications in court), however, have had no further involvement since the Residence Order came into effect and have left me to it.
All contact would cease after the adoption, according to Social Services, because of the stress it puts on him now. Because of his age etc, they think it's not in his best interests to be having the contact. Yet, because he's currently on a Residence Order, it legally could cause complications to stop it altogether. There was no contact order made in court though and was advised that the less contact the better and to "just do what I thought best!".
Other than her contact sessions once every 2 months, she has no other involvement whatsoever and doesn't know anything at all about his day to day life. She can't know where we live because of safety issues and will not be able to know what nurseries and schools he's attending etc (this has been advised prior to me taking him on). Prior to me taking him on, other than at birth, she refused to have any contact with him at all in the first 6 months of his life (it was set up by SS weekly) and only requested to see him once he was in my care.
All this seems daft given the order he's placed on, because legally, she probably had a right to be a part of and know about these things! And, as his only caregiver making all his every day decisions, it would be majorly unfair and confusing on his part for her to suddenly exercise her rights in the future.
I think I will definitely get that legal advice!! This obviously needs sorting and writing it down in black and white has shown me how ridiculous and potentially harmful situation is!!

tigerlillyd02 Tue 26-Jul-11 14:03:27

I have an appointment with a family solicitor around here on 8th August!
This whole situation should hopefully be made clearer then and I can press forward with obtaining a more secure order for him.

hester Tue 26-Jul-11 14:09:46

But if he is on track to adoption, he is still a looked after child, and therefore his social worker can't just bow out. They can, of course, wander off and pretend they don't know you're there (I have some experience of this myself) but they are legally responsible and you can call on them. If legal advice is needed, they should obtain it or pay for it.

I have to say I'm a bit shocked by your posts. It sounds like you've taken advantage of, to put it mildly.

tigerlillyd02 Tue 26-Jul-11 22:22:00

hester, I think so too now looking back on it all!! At the time of taking him on, I just did exactly what was asked and accepted it at that (I had him which was most important then).
But, we struggled from day 1. I was given just 3 weeks notice of his arrival. As I wasn't already a parent I had literally nothing for a child so went on a mad shopping spree trying to get everything required. I was working full time when he came to me. Because it wasn't an adoption, I wasn't entitled to leave of any sort. He was placed on a Friday so I had the weekend with him, then straight back into full time work on the Monday! Because of the short notice, I couldn't get any annual leave at that time.
They also brought him with 3 lots of medication - I had to go to my own GP that very same day to find out what they were for and what I needed to do etc and when he came he had what seemed like a cold so they left him advising I take him to a doctor! It was horendous, really was!
Then, on top of that, we had no clear advice on money. It took me from May last year until December to sort out child benefit and tax credits and I had to find it all out for myself by seeking legal advice, phoning every office I thought could help and having to write numerous letters fighting my case.
Because we were left so long with no financial support, I literally could not afford his childcare and pay my rent! It meant I had to give up my job, my relationship ended due to all the stress, not just of taking on a baby but all the other worry of finances etc.
It certainly wasn't the start I wanted for him. Everything has obviously worked out very well now. If I could go back, I'd have given up work from the offset as it was only from then that we managed to truely build a strong bond and luckily he's formed a secure attachment and is a lovely, content and happy little boy. You wouldn't think he'd been through so much.
But, the story obviously continues!
I'm looking forward to the legal advice on the 8th. Hopefully everything will be much clearer and I'll actually have someone fighting our corner for a change! Let's hope I can sort this situation sooner rather than later....
Thank you all for your responses, it's much appreciated and just me writing it all down has given me that shove and made me realise I urgently need to do something for this beautiful little boy!

hester Wed 27-Jul-11 12:14:01

My jaw is hanging open, actually. And what happens next? Are you being assessed to adopt him?

tigerlillyd02 Wed 27-Jul-11 15:45:23

Not as yet - again I can't get very clear advice on all that either, despite contacting his social worker (or ex social worker as she puts it) on several occasions. She is all for it as that's what they all wanted to begin with and tells me to go ahead as soon as possible but can't advise on what I actually need to do.

However, someone on here has very kindly been talking to me through private messaging and has given some sound advice on the process including assessment. Along with the solicitor on the phone yesterday who thinks we can press ahead with it right away and it should have been done in the first instance, so after that meeting on the 8th, we'll definitely get the wheels in motion.

They should have 3 months to assess me apparently (although I have to be prepared because they can be awkward saying they don't have the resources etc). But, hopefully I've got some sound knowledge now I can throw at them and my solicitor will hopefully be able to give them a good push too!!

Time to get tough on them I think!

hester Wed 27-Jul-11 16:24:52

Jeepers. It sounds like they got him to a safe place then just dusted off their hands and moved on, leaving it all hanging in the air.

I'm really glad you're getting help off-board. If I can be of help just contact me.

Yes, definitely time to get tough - best of luck.

NanaNina Wed 27-Jul-11 17:57:37

Hi Tigerlilly - just to say that the 3 months notice that you need to give the LA of your intention to apply for the SGO does not not mean that they have to carry out the assessment in 3 months. Sounds like you might be thinking more in terms of adoption now. PM me any time and I will do my best to help.

Some posters are thinking that this is still a LAC but in fact he isn't because there is a Residence Order in your favour in respect of the child. This of course means that the PR is no longer held by the LA - it is transferred to the holder of the RO and the birthparents. Social workers are very keen on Residence Orders because it means a relatively short assessment and if the RO is granted then they no longer hold PR so the case is closed.

Re the pictures of facebook, I wonder if there is any possibility of the Judge making a Prohibited Steps Order (S.8 of the CA 1989) to disallow the birth mother to take pictures of the child to put up on facebook, as this could cause a great deal of distress for both you and the child. You could talk to your solicitor about this. This Order came in as part of the Children Act to stop someone from doing something that was not in the best interests of the child, and again I think it would need to be your application, but well worth a try I think.

tigerlillyd02 Wed 27-Jul-11 19:29:11

NanaNina,
Received your messages but going to look through them properly once the lo goes to bed so will get back to you then.
Thank you for making the above clear as I think I was failing!! I don't quite understand it all fully myself but getting there now!
I'm still unsure on adoption or SGO but at the very least it'd definitely be an SGO and it will be my aim to obtain this regardless!
I will ask the solicitor about the Prohibited Steps Order also. Even though it's my application, they should be able to advice on what exactly I need to do and if I'm able to do so in this event. Thank you for providing me with so much information - I really cannot thank you enough!!
Hester, thank you for your offer of help also!!
I'm so glad I joined this site now as I'd have still been confused and doing nothing about it through fear of losing him.

hester Wed 27-Jul-11 20:02:42

So NN, does that mean that the child is not released for adoption and there would be a long, long process to go through to remove parental rights from the bm, even before OP is considered to adopt him?

I think I see. i was confused because I thought adoption was definitely happening, but it sounds as if SS have closed the case at status quo.

Anyway, it sounds as if you're getting the advice you need, tigerlilly, so all I'll say is very best of luck and I look forward to hearing about a good resolution smile

tigerlillyd02 Wed 27-Jul-11 20:12:51

Ahhhh, see, I didn't know they had to remove her PR first - thought that would be done depending on whether or not they agree for me to adopt him.

I think I might make a good family lawyer after learning about all this! haha

I will, of course, keep you good people updated as events occur! smile

NanaNina Thu 28-Jul-11 13:22:56

Hi Hester. If a child is removed from parents and is young enough to make adoption a viable option and in the best interests of the child, the LA will ask the Judge at the final hearing to make a Placement Order (which actually frees the child for adoption). After the child has been placed, the prospective adoptors simply go to court for the judge (in chambers) to make the Adoption Order. Most Judges are very nice and give the child a few sweets or a book and it is a pleasant occasion for the adoptors and the child.

At present TL has a Residence Order which means that she shares Parental Responsibility for the child with the BPs but she is in the driving seat, in that she makes all the day to day decisions. This situation continues until an application is made to vary the Residence Order to a Special Guardianship Order or an Adoption Order. In the SGO, PR is still shared with BPs but to a much lesser extent and there are only 3 things that the holder of the SGO has to be aware of which are not of great importance. If an Adoption Order is made, then all PR transfers from the BPs to the Adoptors.

hester Thu 28-Jul-11 15:47:23

I see, NN. So would OP need to go through home study etc, as in a normal adoption, or would it be a relatively quick and easy step for her to be approved as the adopter?

thefirstMrsDeVere Thu 28-Jul-11 20:28:27

Hi,

Just to say to all those shocked at the situation - these are very common circumstances for kinship carers to find theirselves in. Hence me always jumping in on related threads with a desperate 'contact FRG NOW'.

OP. I have been in this situation with birth mother re facebook and myspace and several other networking sites. In my case it was only a couple of years ago but the adoption community and SS were totally unprepared and unware of the seriousness of the situation.

I discovered that b.mum had a myspace account. On it she listed the names of her children (my DS and his sister). She also had pornographic photos of herself on the site and a huge logo declaring she was a MILF. She listed her location etc and had a direct link to a site set up the childrens' names. As well as photos she included graphics she had chosen for the kids. Her DD's was a bunny girl logo (child was 2 at the time). Basically what she had set up was an invitation for any predator with a bit of computor nouse to find her and her DD.

I was very alarmed at my DS's photo being on these sites. There was nothing I could do. I tried everything. The only thing that worked was bothering MYspace on a daily basis until they took the photos off and the name of my DS.

This was the catalyst to all contact stopping because SS couldnt trust her to have any access to DS whilst she thought this was all appropriate.

I think you are going to have problems until you have full PR at this point FB can remove the photos of your boy. I hope I am wrong and perhaps things have moved on as social networking sites have become more widely used.

You could express your concern to SS about the security of the child and see if they can convince his birth mum to remove the photos etc but she has PR and is therefore legally entitled to post them.

It is a very difficult situation and one of the many reasons why SS should stay involved with children removed via care orders and not just leave kinship carers to sink or swim.

I would be interested to hear how you get on regarding the photos. Its quite a big problem and will only get worse IMO

hester Thu 28-Jul-11 21:09:49

Well, this thread has been an education sad. MrsDV, it must feel like having a ticking timebomb on the periphery of your lives.

thefirstMrsDeVere Thu 28-Jul-11 22:07:12

Pretty much Hester.

But with support it can be managed.

This sort of difficulty can be used as a reason not to place children within family.

Now that legal aid is getting even harder to access, kinship carers need the full support of SS more than ever.

B.mum has wandered into a solicitors office several times when the fancy takes her. We have had letters demanding contact etc. We are lucky that we have a supportive after adoption team.

Too many families get dumped on by SS. Its done with the veiled threat of losing the child which is generally enough to shut anyone up who rocks the boat.

hester Thu 28-Jul-11 22:09:34

I wish Martin Narey had asked us to write his report. The collective wisdom of the adoptive parents on here leaves him back at the starting line. I've learned so much from you, MrsDV.

thefirstMrsDeVere Thu 28-Jul-11 22:16:12

Me from you too Hester, and the other adopters and professionals on these boards.
smile

tigerlillyd02 Sat 30-Jul-11 18:49:18

Mrs DV - something about these parents!
DS's BM also has pornographic type pictures of herself on facebook, along with newborn pictures of my ds in the bath and all his bits on show! I know some people don't seem to have a problem with things like this but it really doesn't sit well with me at all. And, given the fact BM now lives back with her parents and there's a convicted paedophile in the household, I just don't feel comfortable with it.
Roll on this appointment on the 8th. If I can't do anything legally now - hopefully it'll at least be raised as an important issue once I apply for an SGO or Adoption order and support that case!
You good people have been so kind and helpful!

thefirstMrsDeVere Sat 30-Jul-11 18:54:26

I know how frustrating it is. I makes me cringe when I think about it. I have had a few people dismiss it until I say 'so how would you feel about someone putting a photo of your child on the same page as them with their tits out and their little finger in their mouth'

As wrong as this all is I think you are going to have to hang fire until you get PR and b.mum doesnt have it at all.

She will be thinking you are being very unreasonable to expect to tell her what to do with photos of HER son. Nothing is going to change that so you have to wait till you have the law on your side.

I hope it goes well for you and your DS.

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