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Section 47. Help please?!

(30 Posts)
Danielle1424 Fri 18-Dec-15 00:00:47

Hiya right I'm new on here so bare with me. But basically I've had my beautiful boy taken away from me and placed with his dad while social services do a section 47 assessment on myself and this is what's happened from start until now....
Back maybe 2 months ago I was having a really rough time couldn't seem to pic myself up out of the rut that I was stuck in, so I went to the Drs to see my gp who changed meds and arranged counselling, as I have been suffering with anxiety and depression now for the past year or so. Following that appointment I had a phone call off my Dr to see how I was doing and suggested that maybe as I had been struggling that she could put in a referral to social services for a 'child in need' so that I could get some support in place and get myself back on my feet, I agreed as it seemed like the best thing to do at the time. Also she had made it clear that this was totally voluntary and nothing to worry about. On the 4th of Dec I had a knock on the door which was a social worker she came in and done her assessment on myself asked a million questions so I was as honest as I could be with her. The following Monday she called me and said that I wasn't to pick my son up from school that his dad was and that he was being placed there while they carried out further assessments and gathered info from dr etc. Her reasoning behind this was that she was concerned about my alcohol use, which I had told her that I maybe have 2 maybe 3 drinks in the evening (not every single night) maybe while I'm in the bath .... Literally everyone I know enjoys a glass of wine in the bath or maybe whilst watching a film, then she asked about weekends and I said well that depends on what's going on (my son stays with his dad Friday to Sunday most weekends anyway) so I said that on weekends that could go up to maybe 6 or 7 don't really know as I don't count.
So as you could imagine I found this extremely hard to swallow and I was a complete wreck. So since then I've phoned the social worker many times and only twice have they contacted me back, I've had nothing in writing in fact no correspondence whatsoever. And that leads me to where I am at now, I had a phone all today off the social worker who has informed me that my son won't be returning Home he's being moved schools, and now it's because they are concerned about my mental health. Which then leads me on to the fact that my ex is the total nightmare ex, he's a good dad but a shitty person. When we split two years ago he tried to make out like I was crazy, the reason why we split was due to his disgusting behaviour there was violence and he treated me like dirt at first when no one was there but then it didn't matter who was there, so I packed up and Took our son to my friends in the middle of the night cause he'd smashed up my house and me a little too. I never ever took it any further because I thought my son had seen and been through enough. He managed to convince my family that I was a horrible person to the point where they still don't speak to me now. He's always said that I would end up with nothing and now he's done it!! My son a few weeks ago, over a period of about 4 days had been pulling his hair out and when I finally got to the bottom of it I had found that he had brought plasticine home from school and stuck it to his bed, which then when bed time came around he was in bed putting the plasticine in his hair and then pulling it out, I informed the school and also took him to the Drs because although I got the the bottom of it I still wanted to be sure that there was no more to it. Which there wasn't plasticine gone - he stopped pulling out his hair. I think that's pretty self explanatory. But now my wonderful ex has made out like he was doing this because of me, and hen I questioned him about why he didn't tell the social worker the reason behind it like I had his response was that he didn't want to argue and ended the convo. As he had clearly been caught out. He's very clever with what he says although he can't be as clever as he thinks as he's failed his law degree 3 times!
So now my son is living with his dad who works 7am to 7pm so he's being looked after by his girlfriend of no longer than 3 months. Which I think is totally unfair due to the fact he should be home with me any ways not being brought up by a stranger.
Also went to the school today and spoke with the head master who has told me that he hasn't had any concerns for my son he's always dressed well etc. He said the only concern he had was about me a few months ago as he said there was a few days where I looked like I had the weight of the world on mY shoulders which is a fair comment.
I have a solicitors appointment Tuesday, but I don't know how much longer I can dangle from this string I'm hanging on.... No one wants to give me any help or advice (social services) they are totally against me and all for his dad, who they don't even know.
This is where I'm at now I'm heartbroken and struggling to find the strength to keep going because I feel no one wants to help, except for the head teacher he seems to want to help me.
Does anyone know about a section 47 or what the procedures are?? I'm pretty sure they can't just decide this without there being something I writing or even through the courts?
I would be great full of any help or advice, and thanks in advance for taking the time to read this as I know it's rather long.

TheHouseOnTheLane Fri 18-Dec-15 03:33:35

Op I do feel for you. Here is what a Section 47 is

Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty on LAs to investigate and make inquiries into the circumstances of children considered to be at risk of ‘significant harm’ and, where these inquiries indicate the need, to decide what action, if any, it may need to take to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare. The investigation will form a core assessment, which is an in-depth assessment of the nature of the child’s needs and the capacity of his or her parents to meet those needs within the wider family and community context.

I have to say that whilst I'm not accusing you of lying, Section 47s aren't put into action unless there is significant evidence of a child being at risk of harm....and as it says above, "significant harm". And to actually remove him is very definite behaviour on the part of SS....I don't think they'd just take your exes word for it OP...is it possible that you're not being entirely honest here?

I think that in order to get the best advice, you should be honest.

Danielle1424 Fri 18-Dec-15 14:30:24

When she cane out there was 2 empty larger cans in my living room and also one in the bin... Which I know looks bad and I don't think she was too impressed. on the Sunday before the Monday I had the phonecall saying he would he placed with his dad, his dad brought him home which should be so simple but it never is. As everytime I say bring him home at a certain time he has to make it extremely difficult and brings home home ussually late or if its convenient to him then it will be early theres never any consistency. Anyways he brought him home at maybe half 9 quarter to ten - very late for a 6 year old and I had already told him on the phone that this is too late etc and he didn't like that, he cane to the door and I sent my son inside while I grabbed his bag etc, then because he had a major attitude problem instead of another pointless argument I shut the door quite literally in his face, he then shouted through the letter box you wait untill I speak to the social worker and watch what happens so I do honestly believe he has a big part to play. Today I have been to a place called TEDS who said that I clearly dont have any drink or substance issues and they will be informing ss of this. I have written everything here that has happened in the last few weeks here there is nothing more I can say because this is all I know, id never harm my son hes my absolute world.
I cant get my head around any of it I dont understand why no one from ss will explain anything to me, the head teacher from the school is trying to contact the sw to find out more info for me as he hasn't even been informed that my son wont be returning to the school. I dont know what more to say I hope I'm making sense, I'm not sleeping at all when I am its only cause ive exhausted myself from crying. So I dont mean to be repeating this or for it to be all mixed up

Danielle1424 Fri 18-Dec-15 14:30:52

Repeating * things even

Eachpeachpearplum1985 Fri 18-Dec-15 20:14:19

A child can only be removed from their parents under a court order unless you sign a s.20 agreement. In this case your ex has parental responsibility and is able to care for your DS. He can make this decidion with support from ss without you going to court. If he is not allowing you any contact with your DS you would need to go to a solicitor and seek a contact order from the court. A contact order can also state who a child should live with. This would be complicated by the fact ss are recommending that DS lives with dad due to your current circumstances. My advice is to be open and honest with ss about any difficulties you've been having. The most important thing is that you accept any help and support that is offered. Try not to panic at this stage, they are just taking precautions and nothing should be set in stone.

When there is a s.47 investigation there should be a much more thorough assessment which will include information from other people that work with you and your DS such as the head teacher, your doctor etc. They will also speak to your DS and get his views. Be clear with ss about the abusive relationship with your ex.

There should be a child protection meeting held within 10 working days of the s.47 starting. You need to get your points across calmly and clearly. If you struggle in meetings I would write down some bullet points and hand it to the chair of the meeting at the start, that way they can prompt you or just read out what you have written if you feel too overwhelmed.

Well done for contacting a solicitor. You can ask them if they can accompany you to the meeting. They won't be able to say anything but can give you advice afterwards.

It doesn't sound like the social worker has been very good at explaining what is going on. Perhaps ask the head teacher or another professional to explain or to speak to the sw on your behalf? You should get a copy of the social workers report at least 2 days before the meeting so you will understand their concerns more. If you don't receive it please mention it at the meeting and make sure you get a copy!

This sounds really hard. Please get as much support as you can. It doesn't feel like it at the minute but people are there to help flowers

Danielle1424 Fri 18-Dec-15 21:16:11

I was totally open with them, told them I was in a bad place at the time of the referral (October) but my son wasn't suffering because of it and I was in a much better place and felt like I was getting back to my old self until this happened 😞 It will be two weeks Monday since they moved him to his dad's and started the section 47, and nothing has been arranged with regards to a meeting. Which was another reason why the headteacher contacted them after I spoke with him Thursday, he phoned and they told him that the sw that's working with my son is off until Tuesday. So I'm guessing there will be nothing until then. This is so horrible and I feel like I'm being treated really unfairly. Is there anyone above a sw that maybe I could speak to?

Eachpeachpearplum1985 Fri 18-Dec-15 21:32:37

That's really unfair and procedurally wrong. Ask to speak to a manager and ask for a complaints form. You could also ask to speak to the independent chair of the child protection meetings. Explain you know that a meeting should have been organised and they are out of timescale. Ofsted are really hot on timescales and this won't look good. Your solicitor might be able to support you with this. It sounds like the head teacher is very supportive and hopefully they can continue to help to put the pressure on in terms of getting things moving.

On the plus side, at least you will have time prior to the meeting to go to the support services (I assume Ted is alcohol support?)and show how committed you are which will back you up at the meeting.

Danielle1424 Fri 18-Dec-15 22:28:14

Yes Teds is alcohol support, they assessed me and said that there was no need for support as there are no misuse issues. I'm also going to cdat on Tuesday which is the community drugs and alcohol team I'm hoping that they will maybe do blood tests or something maybe to back me up a little unsure though as I've never been before. I will do what you said eachpeachpearplum1985 first thing Monday. Hopefully then they will start sorting things out soon. I am willing to accept any support offered its just so far I haven't been offered any, everything I've done has been for my own back through phoning around different places etc. Thankyou for taking the time to read and give advice everyone, it's much appreciated flowers

Danielle1424 Tue 29-Dec-15 19:59:46

Hello again....
Following all the above ive been to see a solicitor who has told me that if I get my son in my care to keep him with me as there isnt anything anyone can do about it at this moment.
Felt extremely frustrated on Christmas Eve so I contacted the social worker and demanded some kinda explanation, about what had happened so far and why there hasnt been any meeting. She informed me there hadn't been any meeting because there was no need for one due to the decision being made by his father for him to go there not ss. So therefore no meeting no further action to he taken by ss just that they will write a report and send it via post. So that vile twisted manipulative ahole took it upon himself to make this decision and I practically feel like hes kidnapped my son!!!! Havent informed my solicitor of what the sw said as they have been closed cause of Christmas and all!!! I was supposed to be going to see my son tomorrow and ges now told me he's busy. Phone calls are constantly getting shorter and less often and right now I dunno what to do im so angry its unbelievable. I didnt inform ss of what my solicitor said to do as I didnt know if it was a very wise move.... As they may tell his dad but with him not letting me see my son that would be extremely difficult anyways. I do have a plan up my sleeve but I iust don't know. Surely ss cant just say aw well never mind we arent involved anymore?!

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 20:17:18

As your ex has PR, they're isn't anything that can be done other than going down the legal route.
I'm confused though, did your sw not tell you that your son needed to go and live with your ex?

Danielle1424 Tue 29-Dec-15 20:21:51

When they phoned they said that my son would be going to to stay with his dad and that he would be picking him up from school. So I assumed it was their decision. Yet when I spoke to them Xmas eve they said it wasn't their decision it was his dads.

Danielle1424 Tue 29-Dec-15 20:26:50

So what if I followed my solicitors advice? And just took him home where he belongs? He doesnt even have anywhere to speep at his dads he currently sharing a bed with his dad an gf. My son has previously told me that he has seen his dads gfs privates which I then asked how and he said cause all she wears to bed is a nighty and nothing underneath.... Hes missed two weeks of school. his whole life has been turned upside down on what just because his dad says so?! If we have equap rights then where do mine come into it?

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 20:26:55

But by them telling you that they made it sound like it was their decision. Why on earth did they tell you and not your dh. Are you having contact with your son at all? Does he definitely have PR, is he on the birth certificate?

Eachpeachpearplum1985 Tue 29-Dec-15 20:29:06

Hey, sorry to hear you've had such a rubbish Christmas. Social services just have to make sure that children are safe. They don't get involved in 'private law' matters unless they are already involved for other reasons. I suspect they now feel that because your ex is caring for your child full time, the 'risks' they were investigating when they spoke to you are no longer an issue and therefore there is no role for them.

If a parent is withholding contact from the other parent the only way to deal with this is through going for a contact order in court. Unfortunately there is no legal aid available for this.

I really hope you can get this sorted with the minimum disruption for your poor DS flowers

Danielle1424 Tue 29-Dec-15 20:35:42

Yes unfortunately hes on the birth certificate. Contact is minimal, I was supposed to be going to see him tomorrow but now his dad has decided that they are busy.... But yet this had been arranged for days. I feel like im just banging my head against a wall.... What about what my solicitor has said? Are my rights just non existent now?!

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 20:40:43

You can apply to a court to have your son live with you, I think it's a child arrangements order now, but you would have to pay for your solicitor.
Have you been sent the assessment from the sw?

Danielle1424 Tue 29-Dec-15 20:50:25

No I havent recieved anything from sw.

Danielle1424 Tue 29-Dec-15 20:57:55

What about the solicitor saying that if I get him into my care to keep him? This is so damn frustrating thanks to everyone for their advice so far I iust hope this nightmare is over soon sad

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 20:58:29

In that case I would be requesting a meeting with the sw and manager to discuss what's happened and why they told you ds would be going to live with his dad.

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 21:00:16

Well you also have PR so there is nothing to stop you doing that. And then applying for a child arrangements order.
I'm so sorry you're going through all of this.

Danielle1424 Tue 29-Dec-15 21:10:12

Thanks... And thanks for your input flowers I think thats what im going to do. His dad is currently demanding my sons passport apparently he needs it to get my son into school and now hes said I can see him tomorrow but I have to take that with Me -.- Ive phoned them and asked them to send out a complaints form. So ill be doing that too. Do you know how much roughly it will cost to go through court or does it vary to much to take a guess?

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 21:12:10

Having just read your op again , the sw told you they were placing your son with his dad?

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 21:13:39

Sorry I have no idea how much it costs. Will look into it a bit for you while I have insomnia tonight.
Your mental health should not have anything to do with it unless it is impacting on you meeting your son's needs. I will see what I can find out for you.

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 29-Dec-15 21:16:07

www.advicenow.org.uk/articles/if-you-have-go-court

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Tue 29-Dec-15 21:23:43

Your solicitor is right, if there is no Child Arrangment Order in place stating who your DS resides with then if you have him over for a visit you don't have to hand him back. ( I only know this as my ex tried to run off with my son and was told by police that if he had managed to wrestle him off me they couldn't do anything as we both have PR and no formal arrangment ).

Then you need to get a formal arrangment in place to stop your ex taking your DS again. And keep a record of the visits he has cancelled the last few weeks as it shows that he is trying to push you out of your sons life.

Good luck and stay strong - I know you must be heartbroken not seeing your DS over christmas but hopefully it will be sorted soon. flowers

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