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Birth mother contact(4 Posts)
DD1 is my stepsisters child who (for various reasons) has lived with us since a few months old. It was a temporary arrangement that was extended and extended and formalised at 4yo with us having PR. We have to facilitate contact for 2 weeks every summer (this involved packing DH into respite care and taking all three children to stay near DD1's mum and DD1 spending the days with mum under supervision at first and gradually more hands off as the fortnight progresses). DD1 doesn't enjoy this time, but we are positive about it and encourage her to do it and make plans of what to talk about/show/suggestions for activities etc.
DD1 is now 13 and has friends with divorced parents. One of these has told her that once you get to 12 years old, no one can make you visit the non-resident parent. I'm not sure whether this is true and/or whether it applies in our (private fostering) circumstance. Also, whether it would be the right thing to do. Should I continue to encourage the visiting because it is the best or right thing to do (particularly for birth mum), or should I take DD1's wishes into account? Or am I just looking for a personal "out" as it is inconvenient?
2 weeks seem a lot, but if this was agreed in court you would need to contact social worker to change anything or possibly lawyer but at 12 year old her
Feelings need to be considered x
Thanks for responding. It's probably too late to change anything for this summer, but I will contact SW and ask for them to have a discussion with DD1 about it. Even if it can't be changed, at least DD1 may feel listened to. At 13 years old there needs to be some sort of balance between doing necessary things you don't want to do (like homework/dentist) and opinions or choices about your life. And I'm not sure where exactly this BM visit sits on that line or who it benefits. A discussion with a neutral person would be helpful if they can find the time.
Child one would think is at Legal Competence age, able to make own
choices for her age. see Webb Child Legal Competence, and Gillick Competence Guidance.
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