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Advice regarding xp having contact through my childminder

(18 Posts)
Brad79 Tue 14-Jul-09 21:45:14


Just after some other peoples views.

Basic background:

My two boys (aged 2 and 4) are now in my care. Their mother is currently in Rehab and has only been in there a week so far. She is expected to be in there for a total of five months. About 18 months ago her drug use got out of hand and she would disappear for several days on a coke binge. Up until last june when we split up. During which time when she was away I would manage my two boys and my work life.

After June we split up as she threw me out of the family home and the boys spent a couple of months living with my dad and step mum. Long story short,she appeared to be sorting herself out and was diagonosed with depression. But good on her she got a new house and had the boys back and I had the boys at my house every weekend.

However she would still disappear every few months for about a week. Social services are involved and a couple of months ago they were put on the at risk register due to emotional neglect caused by their mothers disapearing acts.

By now she had moved onto harder drugs. Through this time I have been in contact with social and with my xp mother we have petitioned them to get my xp into rehab, which has now been accomplished.

The boys are now with me and I have taken up e baton, so to speak. I work full tme and have a god career. I also have a wonderful child minder that is able to accomadate my work schedule.

Now to the point, sorry it is so long.

My childe minder today has informed me that the social worker has contacted her and asked if my xp can call her twice a week and speak to the children.

The more I think about it, I am seeing it as wrong.

This is because My boys are settled with the childminder and they know that Daddy drops them off and daddy then picks them up later on. I dont want them confused because mummy is now ringing. It would be out of their normal routine with the child minder.

Additonally I think it is unfair on the childminder to be dragged into an issue that is basically access.

My xp wants to go through the childminder as she does not want to talk to me to be able to speak to the boys.

Again sorry if its long. Any questions please ask.

Snorbs Tue 14-Jul-09 23:27:26

Yikes, what a situation. I've been in a vaguely similar one myself (my ex is an alcoholic, kids got put on Child Protection Register for 18mo, they now live with me and are off the Register etc).

My first impressions are that it seems inappropriate for the social worker to call your child minder, unless SS is financing the CM. I also agree that it would be confusing for your children and potentially upsetting. They've had a lot of upset and upheaval and I think it would be best if they could see the CM's as an environment where they do CM-things, and home as an environment where they do family things (and that includes speaking to their mum).

Moreover, based on my own experiences with my ex, there is one really significant benefit of having your ex phone you to talk to the children - you can assess what her mental state is before handing the phone over. My ex doesn't get to speak to the children when she's drunk as whenever she has, she scares and worries them.

Personally, I'd put your ex's claim that she doesn't want to speak to you in the Too bad, so sad, not my problem pile. All she need say to you is "Hello Brad, this is ex, can I speak to the children please?" That's a dozen words. But she's not prepared to do that in order to speak to the children? If I was away from my kids for months as a result of my own actions, I'd crawl over broken glass to get a chance to phone them regularly.

What's your relationship with your SW like? My family was very lucky in that our SW was damn good and would listen to my opinion. She didn't always go along with it, but she would at least explain why not or try to come to a compromise. Do you think your SW would be receptive to you saying something like "I understand ex's worries, but my priority is the children and I don't want their time at the CM to be intruded upon. I'm not going to pick arguments with her when she phones here, I'll just hand the phone over to the children"?

Good luck!

cestlavielife Wed 15-Jul-09 12:28:52

are you a vicar?

"a god career. " wink

i agree with snorbs - i contemmplated allowing my ex to see my ds at his repsite centre (he is disabled goes there once a month) but considered it inappropriate - as was said, that place is for him to be away from family have his own space etc. not to be mixed up with "parent time".

is ther a contact centre you could use?

my guess is SS looking for a cheap way out here, if contact centre is one which charges...

given the issues, i think people trainned to deal with contact sessions between a potentially unstable parent and dcs is much more appropriate.

re phone calls - get a pay as you go mobile for kids -she calls them on that - you dont have to speak at all - when it rings and is from her you pass it on to them without speaking.

or if you have caller display this can work at home too on landline.

ok re read -is about calling them at CM - but i think same applies - you dont call to speak with them during the day do you? (or do you??)

you might call CM to ask "are they fine, am coming late etc" but you wouldnt speak to them - so why should she?

but if it progresses to having contact with them suypervised then ask for contact centre not via CM.

ElenorRigby Wed 15-Jul-09 14:03:17

I'm really surprised the SW phoned the CM. That to me is not on, to either you, the CM or the children. Any contact atm the moment needs to be supervised by you given the fragile state of your ex and the need to protect such young children given the emotional abuse they have be exposed to.
Thing is SS are an unpredicable bunch, Id advise posting here and here here for more advice.

Brad79 Thu 16-Jul-09 13:18:02

Thanks for all your replies.

I have spoken to the soical worker and told her that I am not happy about and explained the reasons why.

She has told the child minder that this course of action is on hold because I am not happy with it. I've got an appointment tonight to discuss it with her.

So it should be a barren of laughs.

oohLahLahRaver Thu 16-Jul-09 20:29:19

Should the SW be contacting the CM at all ?? I take it you employ her no SS so surley they should not need to be contacting her at all.

HerBeatitude Thu 16-Jul-09 20:34:28

The SW's sound mental. It is obviously a piss-poor idea for her to be in touch via the CM. I'm surprised your CM would even entertain the idea tbh - why on earth should she be dragged into an embarrassing contact situation? Has she been agreeable to it just because she doesn't want to offend you? Have you spoken to her about it? Because the easiest way to nip it in the bud, is to get the CM herself to say she would be uncomfortable about being in the middle of this.

thesilverlining Mon 20-Jul-09 18:07:48

oh god nightmare situation for you!!

As a childminder I have to say I wouldn't be comfortable with that set up at all - especially if you ex is prone to drug binges.....I'd find it a little scary to be too heavily involed tbh

I am also questioning like others on here why SS rang her in the first place.....I'm guessing its cos your ex has Parental Rights and I guess they just asked her permission and she said yes.....

Glad the process has been put on hold. Make sure you give the childminder and opportunity to discuss openly with you how she feels about it...after all its her dealing with it all

Poor you - hang in there sounds like you are doing fine and dandy with those DCs!

notevenamousie Mon 20-Jul-09 19:47:39

You really are doing brilliantly by your boys.

But back to the question asked - no, I would not be ok with it. My dd goes to nursery and I would not have DP collect her from there because she needs to know- even at 2 and a half - what is to be expected to happen. She says "mummy takes me to nursery and mummy always comes back again to get me". For us, Daddy phoning in the day, would be hugely unsettling (and my ex never took anything apart from a little excessive wine, when I was sober). Hope you can continue to do what you are doing, the best for your sons.

Brad79 Tue 21-Jul-09 12:00:56

Once again thank you for all your kind replies.

I have had my support worker out today and she couldn't understand why SS rang my childminder to discuss contact.

After meeting with the social worker last week she has agreed not to pursue this method of contact due to my objections and the fact as I am the resident parent then my wishes have to be adheared to. We have discussed several other options and the Social worker is getting back to my ex to get her feedback.

Brad79 Tue 28-Jul-09 12:22:52

I have received a letter from my ex over the weekend. Basically stating that alternative options that I have provided are of no use due to her limited income in rehab and it would be expensive to ring a mobile. Additionally she has stated that becuase I work varing shifts that for her to call when I am with the boys it woud be out of their routine. She has proposed to contact the childminder at a fixed time two days a wek to speak to the boys.

I dont think I can still agree to this for the reasons that I rejected it in the first place. I have now got to think of another solution to present her with when I write back with my reply.

I dont think I am being awkward regarding this and I certainly dont want to stop her having access to the boys but I just dont want it to be through my childminder.

Any more thoughts would be appreciated.

Snorbs Tue 28-Jul-09 16:25:41

What were the other options that the SW presented to your ex? And how variable are your shifts?

If cost is an issue then there are simple ways around that. Most importantly, though, they are options that she needs to sort out. If she's got any hope of dealing with her drug issues then she's got to put her big-girl knickers on and start acting like an adult rather than, eg, whining about how little money she gets in rehab. She can talk about that issue with her drug counsellors. It is Not Your Problem to try to fix.

What's the worst that would happen if you simply wrote back saying "No, as previously discussed, I do not agree with you phoning the boys while they're with their childminder"?

franklymydear Tue 28-Jul-09 16:31:38

why doesn't she call 10 mins before bedtime routine then or at weekends?

Niceguy2 Tue 28-Jul-09 16:58:54

I'm totally with Snorbs. Don't feel like you have to fix this problem. Its her problem.

The childminder should not be used as a third party regarding access. You pay her to mind your children, not facilitate contact. You are well within your rights and I'm sure your CM is grateful.

Perhaps if she was so bloody concerned with contact then she'd have not gotten herself on drugs in the first place. Sympathy? None.

Brad79 Fri 31-Jul-09 14:31:31

I dont F*ing believe my ex. Sorry need to rant.

Today I have ahd a call of her saying that she is back and could I pop round to her mums to chat with her. I felt like a nervous wreak before I went round and spoke to her.

She's informed me that she has been discharged from her rehab after just three weeks but didn't give me a reason why (Ican only imagine). She then asked if I had agreed to her contacting the boys through the child minder. I said no to her (not an easy thing as I have been worn away so much by her in the past that everything used to be an instant yes what ever you say).

She then began to state that my counsellers thinks its a good idea and so does the social worker. I still told her the answer was no as that is what I had decided and listed off the reasons why. The social worker hasn't said yes its a good idea to her as she has told me that I am the ones caring for the boys so I call the shots.

I offered for her to call my home phone at pre-arranged times and the boys can answer so she doesn't have to speak to me, but this was no good for her. So she declared that she wont be seeing the boys till she has spoken to them first, which suits me right down to the ground. She then said that she will be going through a solicitor. Which I agreed with.

I just cannot believe the dam right supidity and self obessed crap that she comes out with.

Rant over. Cheers feel better.
Although I'm sure there will be more agro over the next few days.

Snorbs Fri 31-Jul-09 15:52:22


If she's out early then either a) she's been kicked out for not following the rules, b) she walked out voluntarily, or c) the money's run out.

I don't know the details of how the rehab was arranged/financed but if it was part of the requirements of a Section 47 Child Protection Register case conference, then her being kicked out or walking out would both count as "non-compliance". Which is bad (for her).

Sadly, lies, self-obsession and stupidity goes hand in hand with addictions. Given her short stay in rehab and behaviour so far then I would assume she will relapse, and sooner rather than later (that's assuming she hasn't relapsed already).

If I were in your shoes I'd not agree to any contact, including phone contact, until you've talked to the social worker. If she does get a solicitor then her solicitor can battle it out with SS's solicitors - that's not your fight.

I'd also be very wary about being anywhere with her where there are no independent witnesses. Don't go to her house without other adults there that you can trust, don't let her into your house alone. Ideally, only discuss contact with her when the social worker's there. If you have to meet her, do it somewhere public like a coffee shop. I know this sounds paranoid but you need to protect yourself. All she needs is the opportunity to make a few wild accusations and life could get very uncomfortable for you and your children, very quickly.

I never thought my ex would make bogus and grotesque accusations against me. Until she did. I was very lucky in that our SW knew me and my ex well enough to be able to tell that my ex was making it up. But I'll not let her have that kind of opportunity again.

Brad79 Fri 31-Jul-09 17:17:31

Cheers Snorbs, your advice is very sound.

I have already informed the soical worker and let her know the details of the exchange. She has told me that I am the one that calls the shots, so to speak as my two boys are in my care.

Thankfully I've now got a week off as my childminder is off on hols, so I wont have to worry about her turning up there.

Like you said if she decides to see a solicitor then SS can deal with it as at present they do have legal backing if required because the boys are on the at risk register.

dollparts Sat 01-Aug-09 12:27:28

Hi Brad, I haven't posted on this thread until now but have been following over the past few days.

I would second what snorbs advised about keeping the contact within conditions that always allow for an independent witness-her background goes hand in hand with her ability to make things very ugly for you which could de-stabilise what you have built for your sons. Let her go and find a solicitor that is fool enough to listen to her whining, she wouldn't have a leg to stand on with that carry on.

That aside I just wanted to say I think you seem like a diamond specimen, and I admire you for coping so well with all of this and looking after your boys at the same time.

Good luck

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