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CAFCASS and 1st hearing for Child Arrangements Order

(5 Posts)
bella1968 Fri 19-Dec-14 11:33:55

I wonder if anyone has any experiences of this. I am due in court on 21st January, just heard yesterday. I have received a letter from CAFCASS on the same day explaining what they do and they will call to find out information about the situation and children to do a safeguarding letter to the court by the 21st.

Does anyone know what they ask and what they are looking at initially? will they only call or want to visit? They say they will call if they have my contact details, is it a good idea to call them and just acknowledge the letter and make sure they have my telephone number? or would this look bad?

My daughter is getting very moody at the moment and missing her dad (11 years old, I've posted lots before) she is saying that when Dad has a place to live she wants to live with him for 1 term then another with me. Could this work? and what about her twin brother?

Thanks.

STIDW Fri 19-Dec-14 20:25:09

What are the current arrangements and why alternate terms?

The grass is greener on the other side and young adolescents often miss a parent and say they want to live with the other parent. They then miss the other parent and change their mind. the problem with this is they are focusing on the time they spend with parents when in development terms they need to start becoming independent from parents and developing relationships with their peers. If they don't they are more likely to have dysfunctional relationships in adulthood.

Before the first hearing CAFCASS carry out a safeguarding check. They need some details from parents so they can contact the police and social services to find out if they hold any information about the family.

At the hearing the first thing is to see if any agreement can be reached. The court may refuse to hear the case if the applicant to the proceedings didn't organise a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting. Otherwise if no agreement is reached the judge will decide what further information is required (if any) in the form of reports to assist him/her with making a decision and sets a timetable for future hearings. An interim order may be made.

Above all arrangements should meet the needs of children. Practicalities are also important. Obviously routines change when parents separate, but for children to maintain a sense of security many routines and established bonds need to remain the same. Depending on the existing arrangement it may be worth considering your daughter spending more time with the other parent if he is missed. IF care is to be shared 50:50 alternate weeks is a better arrangement for maintaining existing bonds.

lateblooming Tue 23-Dec-14 17:11:53

Yes I have experienced this! And got some adviceof someone who worked in the trade. I had some concerns to express at the time and was advised that above all I need to show that my requests go for the good and wellbeing of the children, respecting them as their own independent being who would benefit (most of the time) of having every parent involved in their life. It was almost like an interview where I was talking of what I can bring to them in areas where he is not as 'strong'.
They want to ensure stability and not to many changes in the children's routines (school and activities). Show that you will ensure that this will be maintained if possible. But also YOU are part of the stability.
Also above all have a plan: how many days will you have them, how will you handle the handovers.
I had 3 timetables to provide alternative (alternative weeks, mid week handover...) You van google parenting plans.
What will happen during the holidays? What if the child is sick?
Let the interviewer lead but make sure you place the important bits. I had everything in writing.
...and good luck flowers

bella1968 Sun 28-Dec-14 09:41:02

Thanks for the advice.
What questions do they ask, I have a telephone interview. On the 9th January, what preparations do I make?

Thanks.

bella1968 Mon 29-Dec-14 11:48:50

STIDW there are currently no formal arrangements except that their Dad has been having them on Sundays 7.30-7pm and then adhoc during the week, but most weeks he doesn't see them and calls now and then.

I would dearly love them to spend more time with their Dad but he has refused to discuss it, that's why I've instigated the court proceedings.

Does anyone else have any advice on what types of questions that CAFCASS will ask on the first telephone interview that I have scheduled for 9th January. I'm desperate to make sure that I'm doing the right thing by the children and for the children so want to make the right impression on them. I don't intend to 'slag' off my stbxh but just make sure that they understand that I have the children's best interests at heart (and mind of course!)

It has gotten much more difficult now, my dd is really expressing her anger and feelings about our break up, she is taking it out on me and blaming me for every giving birth to her, it's not daddy's fault it's mine, she wants to live with him and never see me again, she's swore at me (f word and c word) screamed in my face 'go away' and called me names and is very very sarky alot of the times.

So far I have told her that her behaviour is unacceptable and she mustn't speak to me this way, I have taken her ipod away for a month after her nasty language and behaviour continued for more than one day and yes I did warn her. I have now said for every day that she can't behave I shall take something of her's away from her, she replied "oh so not only have you taken my dad away from me and my life but now you're taking my fun away from me nice eh!"

And yes I have told her I love her and tried to hug her but she flinches and doesn't hug back.

I'm frightened that when CAFCASS do eventually come round that she tells them she hates me and wants to live with her dad and that they will make this happen. Living with her Dad is not the best thing for her at the moment, apart from the fact that he hasn't got a job or his own house/flat so that they can stay over (he's living with his aunt and uncle) he's a very angry nasty man and has anger issues since late 2013, obviously the way we have split up hasn't helped him and has probably affected his work but he won't accept that his behaviour towards me and previously his children too in abuse. I think he's twisting his dd's way of thinking because she's said "maybe my dad is right about you!?" meaning that I'm a nasty woman etc etc.

Thanks so much for any advice, I really appreciate any help right now. sad

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