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Lovely DSD been placed in our care by Social workers... What next?

(79 Posts)
SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 09:48:19

DP has Parental responsibility order for her and has court ordered weekly access (FRI teatime from school until Sunday night).

Last friday, DSD was due to get off her school bus at end of our road and come to our house. Bus came and went and she was not on it. DP made calls to school but no one could give answers.
15 minutes later DSD appeared on doorstep flanked by two Social Workers.
It turns out they have come to get her from school as DSD and her other siblings (Not DP's children) have been taken into care.
Because DP and I know the social workers (We have liaised with them in the past due to poor DSD's chaotic home life) they have placed her with us.
She is doing fine, and appears to have settled in well.
However, it does not look like the Mum is getting them back anytime soon and our (lovely, helpful) social worker has told us we need to apply for permanent residency. She has said she will send us a list of solicitors.
Then what? Will it cost us a fortune in court fees?
I have tried googling this but the words seem to swim sad
We just want permanent stability for the girl, she's been through so much at the hands of her DM. Think neglect, emotional unavailability, violent partner, drug use.
Has anyone else been through similar?
Would love to hear and stories about it, Mine and DP's heads are swimming!
Many thanks in advance.
NB Social workers will not disclose reason or section children were removed under.

VanitasVanitatum Wed 26-Nov-14 09:51:17

It won't cost you a fortune in court fees. You sound a little bit like you're considering not applying? I would be very concerned if my partner wasn't pulling out all the stops to ensure he gets residency in this situation.

CoolCadbury Wed 26-Nov-14 09:57:19

That's actually not a very supportive post, vanitas. Maybe they need to know the costs so that they can adjust their (maybe very tight?) budget accordingly.

OP, I have no clue about this, but it's great that you are trying to provide stability for your DSD. flowers

QueenOfTheSlipstream Wed 26-Nov-14 09:58:16

I strongly suggest you see a family solicitor for advice. If SS have removed your DSD into care, then they have a Care Order, which gives them Parental Responsibility. Your DH should be a party to that, I think, and therefore detail should be revealed. But I imagine you would need to apply for a Child Arrangements Order with regard to residence. I would have thought that order could be made as part of the Local Authority's proceedings.

Ring your local court for advice too. They'll explain the process and costs. They should be helpful: in these days of virtually no legal aid, they have an obligation to signpost you appropriately.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 10:03:34

Vanitas Ithink you have misinterpreted my post. We want her with us and are doing all we can. We just need to know what we are up against.
I was hoping for similar stories.
Queen we will be seeing a solicitor. And ringing court for advice is a good idea too.
We need the transition to run smoothly and for that to happen we need to know what's what.
many thanks x

tahunny Wed 26-Nov-14 10:56:45

Having gone through something similar I can tell you first hand that it cost my family 20k in solicitors and court costs. Solicitor was charging hundreds of pounds per letter, plus money for representation in family court. It soon adds up. If parent of said child opposes then this is where it starts costing

Castlemilk Wed 26-Nov-14 11:07:43

Surely though that this isn't the same situation as a simple battle between parents for residency?

How can Mum oppose, given the situation?

I would suggest indeed speaking to SS and specifically asking what the process is for residency being awarded in this situation. Surely it should not cost you anything!

Castlemilk Wed 26-Nov-14 11:12:01

Where are the other children now OP? Do they have family to be placed with? Heartbreaking to think of siblings separated, even more so if the others are now in care. Hopefully you can keep contact with them? Do you know them?

Wishing you all help and strength flowers

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 11:12:30

Castlemilk thankyou, mum can't oppose I don't think, and SS are on our side and want us to gain residency of her for her long term stability.
I have heard that if social services are involved in a childs case (She has been subject to a Child Protection Plan and CiN)legal aid is given.
She is coping amazingly well, I think she is just glad to be here, DP is a great dad.
God knows what she's seen though, she won't tell us.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 11:14:52

Castlemilk her other siblings are in foster care. sad DSD is due to be taken to see them by SS at some point soon.
They've all been through so much.
Thankyou for your kind words. x

tahunny Wed 26-Nov-14 11:18:51

Trust me when I say mum can oppose. Childs parent was in prison doing a 5year stretch but had more rights than child. She wanted child looked after with no paper work. Seemed to think could walk out of prison and pick up where left off but residency order would stop that. Its never as easy as thinking that because they are on drugs or in prison etc that you will be granted residency so easily.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 11:20:20

Bit of background, Dp fought for access to her, as her DM new husband refused to allow DSD contact with DP. For a while, things looked very bleak. She made a fool of herself in family court and we were given this access. The DM is on a suspended sentence for a very serious crime and will go to prison if she contravenes the court order.

Castlemilk Wed 26-Nov-14 11:25:59

Oh no sad

I don't suppose you can help them, I know. But oh how sad.

Good luck.

tahunny Wed 26-Nov-14 11:34:09

Best advice I can give you is to get advice from a legal professional regarding your precise case and then decide whats best for you to do. Good luck

Windywinston Wed 26-Nov-14 11:46:12

What a desperately sad situation for all involved. Your DSD is very lucky to have you and your DP, I feel so sorry for her siblings.

I think maybe your first port of call should be CItizens' Advice Bureau initially and also contact a few local family solicitors to see if they'd give you a free half hour to discuss costs, process and legal aid.

I hope the DM doesn't contest.

wherethewildthingis Wed 26-Nov-14 11:49:28

Hello OP, there can't have been care proceedings yet or your partner would have been a party to them. The other route by which children come into care is voluntarily signed in by the parent, which is called "section 20". If that had happened, again your partner would have been informed as he has PR.
So, she isn't in care at the moment. There are many different legal situations that can lead to a child being moved like this- your partner really needs to ask the social worker. Never mind they won't disclose, they MUST disclose to him the legal position regarding his child.
It's important to find out if there will be care proceedings as this changes things in terms of what you need to do. It is unlikely that there would be care proceedings while a child has another parent they can live with. But the local authority should support you in accessing legal advice, legal aid etc,ask about that. They may fund your legal fees in some circumstances.
Good luck!

wherethewildthingis Wed 26-Nov-14 11:50:30

Also - you may well be asked at some point of you can also take your DSD's siblings so it would be good to think about how you would feel about that.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 12:03:23

Wildlings many thanks for your post. We physically could not take in the three siblings, I have two children myself and we simply don't have room. I would love to keep them together but I have a feeling their Grandmother (lovely lady, heartbroken by all this) may request that they live at her house. She has a large property, containing their toys etc.
We are due to speak to our SW later, so will keep you informed.
I know it was not a section 20, as children were taken with police present. Luckily DSD was at school so did not witness it (She 11 by the way) Her poor siblings must have been terrified sad
I'm feeling angry for the DC's today. The selfishness of the DM is staggering.
She is truly a lovely girl.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 12:05:02

Should say DSD is a lovely girl.

VanitasVanitatum Wed 26-Nov-14 12:12:50

Apologies OP, reading back my post does sound unsupportive. You're obviously in a horrible situation, no wonder the words are swimming flowers

The court order itself is £215 for the application, though you can apply for relief on low income/benefits. The lawyers will be the expensive bit if you need them/use them. It is possible to represent yourselves though, especially if the mother is unrepresented you may not need a solicitor, courts try to be very helpful to litigants in person.

ElsieMc Wed 26-Nov-14 12:28:20

My GS1 and GS2 were placed with me through the courts under RO. I was pressed hard to apply by SS with my second GS and as I knew the costs situation with my first, I was a bit hesitant at first as we had already remortgaged. However, we went ahead and the first hearing alone was �1000. This was the initial court fee and the solicitor for most of the day and they tend to charge �160 plus vat per hour.

For a basic case supported by SS then you may not need representation, although if it is contested you will because it becomes incredibly stressful and it is a buffer between you and other parties. In a highly emotional setting, you sometimes do feel browbeaten into agreeing to something that may be wrong in the long term.

Remember, if you have legal representation you cannot present your case to the court, the solicitor does it for you.

Your DSD is very lucky to have someone who sounds as caring as you do. Do speak to the social worker to see if they could assist you with costs. I wish you luck.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 12:32:38

Vanitas its quite alright. DP represented himself in family court against his ex and won. She had a solicitor. Her father paid for it as he didn't trust her to not screw up representing herself. her (DM) family are nice people. DM has financially used them for years, lending her money, buying nappies food formula milk etc.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Wed 26-Nov-14 12:33:56

I was aware of the £215, it cost DP that to get PR order, its just like flat rate for applications isn't it.

ElsieMc Wed 26-Nov-14 12:35:45

Castlemilk - I am afraid mum can oppose. The Family Courts view it as a very serious life changing decision to remove a child from it's mother and she will be a party to proceedings whatever. Sadly whilst you are quite right that it shouldn't cost anything, I am afraid it does.

Op, you could also use a solicitor on an ad hoc basis, ie for representation at a particular hearing or taking specific advice and getting them to put this in writing. A directions appointment, for example, is just setting a timetable for the proceedings and you could manage okay without representation at one of these hearings. The judge should assist you.

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Wed 26-Nov-14 12:37:58

Silence flowers I could just cry at this. I know the DSD is safe now with you and her Dad but her poor siblings and is she worried about them? Bless her and them and Are you going to be ok for money this Christmas? Sorry to be blunt but an extra child to buy for can be a lot....I wish I could help kids in this situation.

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