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Please please please help, CAFCASS :(

(60 Posts)
babyhammock Sat 21-Jan-12 12:29:57

Has anyone had a really bad experience with CAFCASS and what happened? Was it ok in the end? Did the court actually end up looking at any of the actual evidence, witness statements, anything aside from the CAFCASS report?

InTheThickOfIt Sat 21-Jan-12 12:50:04

My DP has had two CAFCASS reports re his DC, one was good and balanced and the latest one is one sided and very negative. No outcome as yet as there's a hearing coming up that will deal with it and other issues but at an earlier hearing the judge was not impressed by some of the contents of the last report.

singingprincess Sat 21-Jan-12 17:19:54

I had ongoing horror with cafcass. Bloody awful, just awful.

In the end the Twat that donated the sperm gave up and fucked off. Cafcass were worse than useless. And the court didn't take any notice of anything anyone said. I ended up representing myself, and on one occasion walked out of the "hearing" since no one was listening to anything anyone else was saying. It was utterly bizarre. No one knows what they are doing or how to deal with these situations. No one, certainly not in my case, where the Twat was merely using the court to tell someone/anyone, in authority how horrid I was.

And the second cafcass officer left a stain on my carpet that never came out.

Total waste of time, money, emotional resources.

babyhammock Sat 21-Jan-12 17:32:25

Thanks for your replies. I really apreciate them.
The CAFCASS report was suposed to be based on the court statements but literally everything in it was factually wrong (like massively) and unbelieveably onesided. I couldn't believe what I was reading and he also minimised every bit of abuse we suffered. We've been through a nightmare and I read that and just felt like killing myself. I know that sounds strong but I just don't know how mch more I can take there's no fight left sad

I'm so scared the court will look at the report and nothing else... no one seems to be looking at the actual evidence.. singingprincess I can really believe that was how it was in court... its such a farce sad

thanks again

singingprincess Sat 21-Jan-12 17:54:37

I ended up taking an overdose. It really was utterly horrific, like being in some kind of freaky parallel universe.

It was, looking back, as thought they were waiting for us to give up and move on, which would almost inevitably, leave ds with me, and his "father" not bothered. Which is what happened.

The thing that gets me most, is that seven or so years on, he STILL has joint parental responsibility, he never had to keep going to court for anything, ever. Twat.

And the thing that I didn't know then, and do now, is the extent to which twat was being goaded on by my "mother" and "sisters". Utter scum, the lot of them.

If they were to post some kind of defence on here, it would still maintain that I was a mad alcoholic, pathological liar, with a PD, and the incarnation of all that it evil, who must be stopped. I have that in writing from mommie dearest". Bunch of freaks, and what did cafcass do? Nowt.

mosschops30 Sat 21-Jan-12 17:58:26

Complete fuckers IME and a complete waste of time.
Dont want to talk about it sorry as its waaay in the past, but i wont forget what they made me do

Proudnscary Sat 21-Jan-12 18:12:17

A close friend went through a process with CAFCASS when she was moving to the states and wanted her dd to go with her and new husband and twin boys.
Her ex - dd's dad - objected.
CAFCASS found for her ex - even though I don't actually disagree with that decision in broad terms, the reasons they found for him were shocking. They had not checked things out properly - for example he said he picked dd up from school every day when he didn't.

Proudnscary Sat 21-Jan-12 18:13:29

Gosh sorry didn't read your last post - I'm really worried about you. Do you have RL support, someone to phone right now or who can be with you?

Does anyone know how babyhammock can appeal/object or get some legal help with this?

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 21-Jan-12 18:21:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ElsieMc Sat 21-Jan-12 18:25:58

CAFCASS are the work of the devil. They sided totally with the paternal family in our case, despite the fact they never wanted anything to do with my GS1 for the first two years of his life. They stated the father did not need anger management, I had only perceived his violence, etc, etc.

Worse than that was her pursuit of me personally. She insulted everyone and everything our family holds dear, upsetting my GS1's school with her rude, bullying manner and even insulted the LA social worker. She character assassinated me and the Judge went with her report. I was told I must stop complaining because it was damaging the child.

Three years later, a letter arrives by registered post. CAFCASS are being investigated by the Ombudsman and our case is one that has come up as incorrectly investigated.

We let them back in and a month later, I receive an email in error intended for the policy director. It made interesting reading, with issues about our case I had no idea about and also containing derogatory comments about me. It shows not only are they incompetent, you can never trust them and their complaints procedure is farcical, timewasting, soul destroying and cruel.

Worse than any of this however is the fact that the violence I "perceived" has now been perceived by half a dozen others, one of whom has had their skull fractured in four places, suffered bleeding on the brain etc.

Someone may come on and tell you they had a good officer. I hope so for everyone's sake.

Sapphirefling Sat 21-Jan-12 18:30:25

We haven't got 'as far' as carcass yet but have had a nightmare scenaio with social workers from the domestic violence team. Innacurate records, case conferences chaired by social workers with NO knowledge of the back ground and kids questioned by a newly qualified SW with no clue and a bully of a n Ex who manipulated and controlled the whole process until I finally realsied what he was doing.

I finally found the guts, with the support of Womens Aid and the police to write a long complaint - they have now started to amend all of the factual inconsistencies in all of the original referrals and have issued a huge apology. All of a sudden, exs bullish soliciotor has started to back track.
Would absolutely recommend putting things in very strongly worded terms and good luck with it all.
It's a painful road to be on :-(

Nineflowers Sat 21-Jan-12 18:36:44

I have to say I had the opposite experience of many here. They were brilliant. The CAFCASS man was also made my kids' guardian ad litem and he did a very good job. My solicitor told me it was rare in her experience for a judge to go against whatever CAFCASS recommended. But I was still terrified. The day of the final hearing, the judge totally went along with the CAFCASS report - result being my deadbeat dad ex got only indirect contact (he'd been going for residency!) He can send them 6 letters a year - but rarely bothers, unless it's a rant about how great and lovely Jesus is. Jesus apparently hates kids and doesn't bother with xmas or birthday presents for them...

He did try and take the CAFCASS officer to a tribunal, saying i'd shagged him and that was why he backed me up. I never heard anymore about that so assume he lost.

CAFCASS did a sterling job in my case but then maybe I would say that as they backed me, not the idiot.

Sparks1 Sat 21-Jan-12 19:04:49

By definition if CAFCASS have become involved the case has already turned ugly and there will be two sides with polarised views.

They no doubt get cases wrong but they do provide a vital role in the system.

singingprincess I think the importance of PR is often overstated. In most cases it's more symbolic than anything else.

seaofyou Sat 21-Jan-12 21:21:09

sorry to hear you are going through this BM (((hugs)))

There is a website that I have never joined but someone else said here was good called

Maybe more advice their?

I always think that if I act 'professionally' so will the person in return...if you treat it buisness like...not like a friend don't get upset etc...just keep to facts...maybe that will help...also police reports/crime numbers have all them ready etc as well judge can't argue with police reports as they are the same.

Lots of people I have read about says depends on who you get and that is why you call the person 'mrs/Miss/Mr' not breaking any professional boundries in ensuring they are professional back.

Sorry if that was as useful as a choc teapot...but you have been so good to me and really wanted to show my support/help somehow.

babyhammock Sat 21-Jan-12 21:52:46

Thanks everyone
Singingprincess sad I can just imagine how you must have felt... its just desperate isn't it and that's exactly how I feel, being in a parallel universe... I just feel so utterly utterly spent now. I just don't normally cry and I've been cying all day.. I feel like its never going to end..

Proundnscary thank you. I've been talking to my best friend all day who's been with me through all of it. Their first rection to the report was that ex must have paid him off. Seriously its that one sided and all factually incorrect....every bit of it.

ElsieMc that's just awful. So you got no where then complaining?

SGM thankyou, I am going to put in an official complaint. I've got all the adresses from the mothers-for-justice website...

Seaofyou I'll look that up, and yes I'll keep reminding myself to do that when I write the letter x

izzyswinterwarmer Sun 22-Jan-12 01:30:09

This is a low blow and yet another hassle you don't need, but I do hope you were able to get a good night's sleep and are feeling a bit stronger today, baby.

When is the next Court hearing?

This may help you frame your response to the biased and inaccurate CAFCASS report you have received:

Get the fucker CAFCASS officer into Court so that you can go through their report and take issue with any inaccuracies point by point and, if possible, provide documentation such as police and other agency reports to substantiate your assertions.

We see so many responses here urging 'go to the police', 'contact WA', ' 'get SS involved' but these institutions/organisations are only as good as the personnel that are allocated to a victim's case.

IME and IMO no-one has cause for placing blind faith in any bureaucratic institution as many fall far short of expectations and it can be lottery as to whether a victim will get the help and support they need.

babyhammock Sun 22-Jan-12 08:09:48

Thanks Izzy.. This is a low blow and yet another hassle you don't need.. yup sad
That's really helpful and I've read through the link and I will do the position statement and try and get the CAFCASS officer in court too.
Would you also make a complaint through CAFCASS? x

izzyskungheifatchoy Mon 23-Jan-12 01:49:05

If you don't have a solicitor, I would suggest your first step should be to talk to the CAFCASS officer in a calm and reasonable manner (yeah, I know) and point out the discrepancies in the report in comparison with the facts of the matter.

If you are represented, delegate this task to your solicitor.

Depending on the response received you can make a decision as to whether you need/want to invoke the complaints procedure.

FWIW, in general, where any institution's performance falls short of reasonable expectations I advocate making all/any complaints necessary in the vain hope that it will improve standards.

Unfortunately, this can place an additional burden on the complainant at a time when they may not be best placed to take on a bureaucratic system that has lost sight of commonsense the reason why it came into being and has come to be little more than a Kafka-esque behemoth

cestlavielife Mon 23-Jan-12 11:05:16

definitely pointing out inaccuracies in writing.
i was happy overall with cAFCASS but some semantics of the way things were worded left me looking like a bitter ex "she is angry due to his behaviour..." reads - "she is angry.. full stop. " is a danger espec if judge only reads thru the report briefly. if report is "he says..." "she says.." the inevitably it jsut looks like him versus her...

if you have hard evidence, police reports, Ss reports anything to back up your version then make sure they presented . take copies with you to court etc.

choosingwisely Mon 23-Jan-12 12:27:48

So sorry that you are suffering. It is truly horrid to be stuck in our dreadful court system; I'm there too. The Court has appointed an independent social worker to do the report in our case (exH asked for it, as its quicker) instead of CAFCASS. It might be too late for you to change route now (and you do have to pay for it yourself) but if the CAFCASS report is that bad and you can show/prove that to the Court its worth asking for. In the meantime, you MUST (with every ounce of strength you have left..) set out, in writing, all the inaccuracies in the report and cross reference them with any documents you have (even just emails that you've sent or diary entries if you have nothing 'official') - anything to support your version of events. I wholly agree with izzy's comment that you cannot place your faith in any bureaucratic system, not even the Court (I am a lawyer) and, therefore, you must keep fighting.... knowing that you aren't alone!

ayjay85 Sat 28-Jan-12 12:10:41

id say theyve met their match with me, im awaiting their phonecall within 3 weeks of the letter ive received from them, not had me 1st hearing yet, and ive already got hold of my NHS and social services notes along with a fully detailed report of my cleared CRB check, with evidence against my mother, whos the other party in my situation.

RingMyBella Thu 02-Feb-12 10:41:35

So far, I've had an awful experience with Cafcass. I applied to Court because of serious concerns about the other party and a residency order was made in my favour. However, after brief discussions with me, the other party and our daughter, the Cafcass officer has done a half-arsed report based on my word against the other party's, not looked into the case or questioned why the order was made in my favour in the first place and made a recommendation of 50/50 for, as far as I can see, no good reason! I've contested the report and will just have to wait until the last hearing to find out whether I get taken seriously or not but for now, I've concluded that Cafcass have an agenda and just apply it to the majority of cases. There's a reason why they are more popular with fathers than with mothers.

Bongobaby Thu 02-Feb-12 11:17:30

RingMyBella- I truely now believe what you say that Cafcass has a hidden agenda. I am at my wits end with my one who doesn,t seem to listen to decent reasoning on my dc welfare and intrests. Cafcass seek to placate ex,s feelings first and foremost. Ex still has ongoing anger issues and displays unstable behaviour. Cafcass knows this and the courts do but they seem to want to push on regardless. Twice now the judge has gone against the Cafcass reports.Judge even threw out police reports of ex,s previous of nearly 100 convictions, injunctions and threatening behaviour towards me. judge said (they never happened).
It,s important for any Dc to have a realationship with DF, So Cafcass should not be about making it into a battleground between the two parents and favouring one over the other. It,s a hateful place to be in when it goes down the court route, these people are imcompetant and you are just a case number to them, horrid bastards! No child should ever have the misfortune to have these stupid people in their lives!!!

RingMyBella Thu 02-Feb-12 11:32:33

What makes it worse is that she told him what she wanted to happen and speaking to him was a big deal for her and now I might have to tell her that she won't be getting what she's always wanted. How are kids supposed to feel as though they matter after something like that? She's only 6 but she's not stupid.

Bongobaby Thu 02-Feb-12 11:38:12

Are we supposed to go along and agree with what the cafcass says, as i,m feeling very bullied into doing what i,m told by them. even been threatend with community service if i don,t.

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