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I AM an unfit mother!! long sorry..(22 Posts)
I am so ashamed about this, please don't guess who I am! I haven't really talked on m/net for a while 'cause of this but am a regular...
In October, dh and I not arguing, house in a complete state 'cause drunken sil was living with us for few weeks, massive row, so I went to police for advice, both got arrested for the state of the house and kids went into care (3 under 5).
Later found out that SS were about to become involved anyway 'cause sil had left her kids to move with us 250 miles away (we didn't know this, she said her ex had taken kids off her and she was gonna fight through court). Conference follows and children on register for neglect.
Concerns the SS have:
- two incidents of domestic violence last year
- mess in the house
- sil living with us
We moved in November 200 miles away from sil (and where kids are) to start from scratch 'cause didn't really want to kick sil out, and didn't even want to live anywhere near her if we did do that, and we weren't from that area anyway. SS told us several times that they're not too concerned about dv 'cause it's happened twice and police involved both times, and dh and I now going to Relate + he's going to separate counselling to sort it out.
Their major concern is the house (which was a mess back in Oct due to all of our furniture and all of sils being crammed into one house) and they've said once they verify its ok, kids can come home. Kids will def. be home by xmas etc... Yet in 13 weeks nobodys been! They're passing buck to new SS area, that one says its the original ones responsibility etc...
Now review conf. coming up and just received the report for it. They're not bothered about the house anymore, its the dv. They say we've minimised the dv and happy for it to go on! The whole report looks so bad that I'm dreading going to the conf. And what it says is unfair because we've worked so hard to o/come this. I kicked dh out for 4 months after 2nd one (which was a couple of days after the 1st). He started counselling and ADs (turned out he had a mini breakdown due to worries that his abusive df had moved back in with dm, and his little db and ds are there).
Since then there's been the Relate etc and we've come so far, yet (I think) they're expecting me to just kick him in teeth after all his hard work and leave him! We've told the SW how much we want to change things so our children wouldn't suffer from it and they've twisted it around. E/thing we say they manipulate to make it go with the way they want their report to look.
ds1 is 4 and we hate contacts 'cause he begs us to take him home, saying he doesn't like SW or his foster carer. We have to lie and say "soon" which breaks our heart 'cause eventually he is not gonna believe us, and our relationship with him will be ruined. Him and dd (2) won't put their coats on to go back to foster carers at the end of contact, but SS have stated that ds1 hates contact 'cause he is nervous that he might have to come home with us. 4 weeks between last contacts meant ds2 (13 mo) has literally forgotten us.
I'm so stressed, I know I've done things wrong and this will all be over soon but SW is being so unfair, I'm seriously considering refusing any more contacts altogether 'cause she makes me feel I don't even deserve to see my kids at all.
Sorry so long, I understand any flame I might get, so feel free...
I know nothing about the legal/moral issues here but every instinct in me is screaming that you HAVE to keep on seeing your kids, whatever anyone else says or how they make you feel - your children must be pretty confused and scared about what is going to happen to them and I think that seeing you is the thing they are holding on to. They love you completely, whatever has happened and will be far better equipped to cope if they know that you love them. Whatever adult logic tells you that you shouldn't see them won't mean anything to them - they will just think you have left them and don't love them any more. As I said at the beginning, I am only another mum, with no experience in this field and my heart truly goes out to you but don't let anyone stop you seeing your children. Please.
messedupasamum, dont know what to say, except that im shocked and disgusted that ss would actually remove your children from your care rather than just put them on the at risk register if they had concerns, to take such small children away is disgusting, have you tried getting some legal advice, you might be entitled to legal aid, I dont know your circumstances, I hope someone comes along who can offer you better advice.
It all soundslike an absolute mess.
Are there social workers from both authrities involved. If this is the review after you moving, you could try to find out what kind of hand-over has been done. It seems strange that they would be comcerned about the house over the domestic violence and then change over. There may be reasoning for this that hasn't been discussed in your report.
Ask if it would help to have input from counsellors that have seen your DH about depression and relate issues. Your should be able to have some sort of GP involvement in this. That way, they can be made aware of progress of counselling.
You should have had a social worker assigned to you. Can you go and speak to them about upcoming conference. If you can, try to stay calm and listen to what they have to say, if they can offer any help to you to progress getting the kids back. Ask if it's possible to build up access time gradually.
Try to limit or cease contact with your SIL. The associationm with her may be harmmful as she has alked out on her kids and hasn't been upfront about it.
I'm not a social worker, I though these might be helpful ideas. My mum was one so I can see it from both sides. Their primary concer (though the way they go about it sometimes) is the safety and well being of the child. I don't mean to sound antagonistic when I say that. Social workers are an easy ball to kick and like in many proffessions, there are good and bad ones. Try to have as much contact with yours as possible to show that you're trying to achieve the same goal as they are.
My thoughts are with you. Good luck with the review conference.
Thank you so much for saying we should keep up contact. Not having contact for 4 weeks was so hard for us anyway, and especially for the kids who we spoke to on the phone. ds2 has completely forgotten us, which I think is unforgivable for the SS to allow that to happen!
Its hard to think about whats actually happened and what the SS are trying to insinuate. I have wrote a four page response to their core assessment and am seeing a solicitor next week. We wrote a letter a few weeks ago on advice from FRG, but later overheard SW laughing to a colleague saying it was the biggest laugh she'd had all year!
They're voluntarily accommodated.
They're voluntarily accommodated.
Oh honey - what a dreadful time for you all. I'm not a SW so don't know huge amounts about how they work but think there is someone that posts here who is who might offer some advice.
Can you put in writing together with your hubby all their concerns and the progress you have made to address them - sit down and do it together. Have you got any proof of attendence at counselling for example for your hubby and copies of his prescriptions showing that he's been depressed.
They do take DV seriously BUT I know lots of families which experience this without SS ever becoming involved - why are they so involved with you? What exactly are their concerns now? Especially as your hubby is on AD and going for seperate counselling. You need to know from them - ask at the conference - what exact risk they think your husband now is to his children. What do they think will happen if the children come home? Why are they focusing on this when he has made efforts to progress with things.
Don't refuse contacts you are entitled to see your children and they are entitled to see you. It also shows your committment to them as parents.
Your SW will not be the only person present at the conference so feel free there to acknowledge that things haven't always been rosy but that you want to make changes and then show what you have done towards these changes (they will invite your contribution at some point).
You are not an unfit mother - just a mum who has experienced difficulties. You have acknowledged these difficulties and have made steps to sort things out - that is very positive.
I imagine there have been DV support telephone contacts and such given to you. There is also a group for men who abuse/have abused their partners called Respect (I think) will find their web address as it might give your hubby somewhere else to go for support as well.
Hang on in there, don't lose contact with your kids, you are committed to having them home - keep that your focus - you do deserve to see your kids.
Have posted the Respect stuff below - excuse the cut and pasting but thought it would help to see it all.. Mandy
The Respect Phoneline 0845 122 8609
Respect - the UK association for domestic violence perpetrator programmes and associated womens services is pleased to announce the launch of its new national phoneline for domestic violence perpetrators.
Funded by the Home Office, the phoneline is a pilot project offering information and advice to those who are violent and abusive to their partners. Domestic violence is most often perpetrated by men against women, but does also occur in same sex relationships and in a small number of cases from women to men. Because of this, the Respect phoneline will specialise in providing services to male perpetrators, but will also be available for female perpetrators and those in same sex relationships.
It is unlikely that one call to the phoneline will bring about lasting change in the men who ring. However, the phoneline will be able to:
encourage and motivate them to get help and to stop their violence and abuse
sign-post them to perpetrator programmes in their local area (where these exist)
calm down anyone who rings up angry or upset
Phoneline workers will have the safety of those experiencing domestic violence usually women and children as their primary concern. In most cases calls will be totally confidential, but if there are severe and immediate risks to known victims, Respect will take steps to protect those in danger.
The Respect phoneline welcomes calls from (ex) partners, friends and relatives who are concerned about a perpetrator and will also give information and advice to frontline workers who come into contact with perpetrators in their work.
The Respect Phoneline 0845 122 8609 will be launched on Monday 27th September 2004
10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm
If you have any queries, contact Ippo Panteloudakis, Phoneline Coordinator
on 020 8563 8523 / firstname.lastname@example.org
I asked SW if the kids would be able to come home if I left dh - as much as I don't want to do that, I want my kids back! They said the dv concerns weren't with him for doing it, but because I retracted a statement last year about it (I did that because he was looking at a 95% jail sentence and had already made really big efforts to change, and also because I knew the cps would still pursue it). They say I can't protect my kids properly because I allowed dh to "get away with it".
My sister works for SS, and I asked advice for a friend whose kids were taken into care in Nov. She was also told they would be home for Xmas, but my sister said that all cases are on 6 monthly reviews so it was unlikely that the kids would be home for Xmas (they weren't and still aren't)
You must keep contact, it will go in your favour. ((((hugs)))
And so do most other victims of DV. Nearly all retract their statements for various reasons. It seems odd that they should be punishing the victims ie you and the children.
Thanks so much for that info Amanda, I will show it to dh 'cause he's feeling so upset and guilty that something he stupidly done last year when he wasn't himself is ruining our lives and our childrens, now.
Thanks sparkly, its so good to know its probably nothing personal...
I did hear from a law student friend that the SS are worried that when the case gets transferred to the new SS, they won't have the same point of view as the old one, so they're trying to make sure it's the same in the new SS. If that makes sense.
((hugs)) I would keep fighting it, but you have to do whatever they say, If they say Jump, do it. I can see why SS are being careful, especially with the DV. BUt if it only happened twice and your DH took medical advice surely that will go in your favour.
Hope you stay around and let us know how things are going.
Thanks, we are going to do everything they say. I agree that the kids have to come first and SS wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't investigate properly, but we've showed her receipts for Relate and dhs counselling, to prove we've been and counsellors at both have said that even if we give written consent, they can't disclose progress of the sessions to anyone.
We're just upset because things have been dreadful with this SW since the beginning. She's told us different stories daily, neglected to inform us our children were ill so we've travelled 3.5 hours to a contact only to find its cancelled and have to come home; and I was consoling myself with the fact that it would all get transferred to new SS, but this core assessment she's written is going to them too, so we're already starting on the wrong footing.
I've wrote in my comments on it that the dv issue has not been minimised by us, and we are working very hard to improve our situation, and that we're aware of the potential impact its had on our children, and will send a copy to new SS too, to try and get our side across as soon as possible.
Thanks for everyones advice.
Was your dh violent towards your children? Because this would explain their not being allowed home. How bad was it? If it was 95% certain he was going to get a custodial sentence then presumably he nearly killed you? (since courts don't tend to be that hard re assault cases imo) If this is the case I can understand the ss pov, especially if you then retracted your statement. I don't suppose that's very helpful but I think their view (and mine) is that it'll take more than a couple of counselling sessions to sort out and they cannot let children live somewhere where they might be hurt. I agree, you should keep seeing your children, I can't quite understand why you stopped contact for 4 weeks, maybe I missed something.
can you not ask to have another SW? this one seems a bit, well has made her mind up about you and thats that sort of a thing, I agree with everyone else thou, DONT LOOSE CONTACT!, could you not ring your children once a week and speak to them all?
There was a 4 week gap in contact because the SS was on holiday for 2 weeks (over xmas) and then ds1 had measles, so contact had to be cancelled for further 2 weeks.
He kicked me in the face and broke my nose. The charge was assault causing abh, but he had a previous conviction from a few years before where his dad stabbed him and he punched his dad in the face, so got a conditional discharge for that; and his solicitor said max. sentence would be 5 years because the courts are being harsh on DV at the moment (last year anyway).
MUAAM, he kicked you in the face and broke your nose - why did you withdraw your statement? Was he violent towards the children? I understand if you don't want to answer that but I think it's relevant isn't it? I hope you're ok and he's not being violent now.
Sorry, no he has never been violent towards the kids and I'm 100% sure he never would. Of course I would never have even posted if he had, I would have left!
I've thought about leaving several times just because he's been violent towards me, and have gotten details of refuges and even been to one for 3 nights, so it's not just a case of me saying I would leave, but not daring to if it came to the crunch.
And I kicked him out for four mths after he did hit me. I decided to stay with him (and retract statement) because he was really sorry (and I know they all are) but he straight away went for help, and told everyone what he'd done and how ashamed he was...
he was the first to admit it all to SS, and we've uncovered that he had a mini-breakdown because his alcoholic abusive father moved back in with his mum. He has a 13 yo sis and a 5 yo brother, and his sister has become very withdrawn and is terrified of her dad. When dh and his other siblings were growing up, they had horrific things happen to them (dh was even stabbed in the chest on his 6th b'day and has a scar!), and he is really concerned for his brother and sister. But we're talking now about him going to the police about all this, as his other siblings are all witnesses (and victims).
That sounds awful, no wonder he's f*d up. Yep, they all say they're sorry.
You say "We moved in November 200 miles away from sil (and where kids are) to start from scratch 'cause didn't really want to kick sil out, and didn't even want to live anywhere near her if we did do that" Sorry but I don't understand why you prioritised sil over your children though, by moving 200 miles away from the children. I don't think I can be any help though so will leave this thread now.
Thanks for your replies www. You have been a help, and I understand what you're saying. We'd actually only lived in that area for 6 weeks so weren't really settled and the whole thing was awful because sil was with us. She moved there at the same time with us and wanted to stay there, and we didn't want to live near her, so we moved back where we'd come from.
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