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CAFCASS have let me down badly, help!

(13 Posts)
Joze Tue 25-Aug-09 15:18:47

Hi I need some help please. I have been taken to court by my ex wanting access to our son. He's never had contact as I found out early in the pregnancy he already had a partner and 2 kids and then wanted nothing to do with me or the baby resorting to threats, abuse and intimidation towards me in order to keep his partner finding out about the baby. This was 4 years ago, my son is now 3.5. He's claimed he didn't know I was pregnant and then when he did find out I said it wasn't his and stated these lies in his application for contact. This is all untrue and he attended hospital and a scan and it suited him to threaten me and have nothing to do with our child. Then I got a court summons for DNA tests to be done and now he wants contact! We met CAFCASS yesterday before the hearing as I wanted reports done due to the lies and abuse before contact was discussed as to me and my son this guy is a stranger. CAFCASS took one look at me....single mom and one at him who brought his wife and 3 kids, believed him and recommended immediate access and no reports! I'm totally distraught; I was treated so badly as a mother and made to be a liar. CAFCASS even said there was no allegation of domestic abuse which there was and even to the extent I reported him to the police on one occasion! The magistrates went along with the CAFCASS officer and I still refused contact at this point in my son's life as I wanted reassurance to this man's background and commitment etc. It has now got to go to a hearing and I have to give evidence and I?m scared. I don't know what to do, I'm scared of this man and I?ve seen his manipulation first hand with his other children and I?m concerned about him having contact with my son. I've been badly let down by CAFCASS and they didn't even listen to my solicitor. I don't believe direct contact will be good for my son at this age and until this man has been checked and shown his commitment to my son but I?m stuck and so upset! As a mother who loves her son I want the best for him but I have been dismissed and my concerns have been ignored and I just don't know what to do. I can't eat or sleep and I?m in total shock that CAFCASS has let me and my son down so very badly! Please, please help, I have nowhere to turn now, I have tried looking on the internet but there are so many websites for fathers but nothing to help mothers in my situation! I can make a complaint to CAFCASS but ultimately that?s not going to change the court?s mind now, it?s too late! I just don't know what to do next!

njmomof1 Tue 25-Aug-09 16:44:03

Firstly calm down.....I'm not patronising you at all but you sound so upset.

Put the kettle on and breath.

As your son's lone guardian for 3.5yrs your opinion has more weight than anyone's. My solicitor told me that if my situation came to it that this was the only thing that mattered. This man has shown no interest, has he known where you and DC live? Your tel number? etc...he has never approached you to have contact and that is what matters here.

You cannot by law deny your child's right to see their father but as his mother you can set the boundaries for any contact. I was told that neither myself or DP have rights, just that I am the keeper of theirs.

If you're not comfortable with this man being at your address, offer a contact centre, but do not say no. If you're worried about time keeping or have had threats that he will take DC get a Residential Order this states that the child lives with you and the father cannot keep him over night unless the father applies for a Contact Order through the court. If he is 5mins late you are within your right to report him to the police and stop contact immediately until the courts deal with the order violation.

This may sound melodramatic but i'm trying to fill the gaps as to how bad this man has treated you and the kind of things he might have said.

njmomof1 Tue 25-Aug-09 16:48:29

Oh and contact centres are chargeable now, the courts will no longer fund them so it is upto the father to pay and it costs. This in itself may offer you the chance to see his commitment, will he or won't he put his money where his mouth is. Will he turn up on time? If he's late and you've already left, what can he/anyone else say?

saddest Tue 25-Aug-09 16:50:39

I am so sorry for you.

I wish I could say something to help. I found cafcass to be truly awful. They don't listen, they have a rigid agenda which seems to only allow one outcome, that unsuitable people have access to children.

Cafcass, in my experience, is just all wrong.

I wish I could say something more helpful than that. The only thing I can say is that nothing ever stays the same, situations change. My ex h gave up in the end, when his circumstances changed. He has absolutely no contact with my ds, not a birthday card, nothing since. It was all about hurting me.

I knew that, but cafcass refused to listen, despite there being all kinds of evidence of lies and slurs.

They weren't even interested in his addiction to pornography that was so bad he was not aware of my ds being in the same room as him whilst he indulged himself.

Hang on in there for your ds. Your love for him really is more powerful than you think, and especially more powerful than men with dodgy motives causing unecessary distress to you both.

Be strong.

GypsyMoth Tue 25-Aug-09 16:51:47

the way he's treated you will have very little bearing on the outcome here.

a section 7 report is not going to happen unless you have some proof of welfare issues. this man neds to be a continuing abuser/drug taker etc before he will be questioned. has he ? has he got such a bad character? its not good enough that you want to know.

with no welfare issues,then cafcass wont be able to report anything will they?

he doesn't know the child,so i would imagine a contact centre will be the starting point here. little and often building up to overnights,weekends,then school hols later. this is the best outcome for your ds. he has a dad,and half siblings,and extended family. why deny your child of this? fact is,you can't. its his rights.

dont block contact,am going through courts myself,and believe me,with no good reason,you won't be looked upon favourably.

GypsyMoth Tue 25-Aug-09 16:53:47 sure about that? there are two types of contact centre,paid and unpaid. have they stopped the free ones since may?

njmomof1 Tue 25-Aug-09 17:34:21

That's what my solicitor told me and that was April time.

Also the other thing she told me was that Contact Granted does not mean he has to support Financially. It is upto you to claim from the CSA. I did and they were so understanding, DP started paying within 2wks of their contact and it's one less thing to argue about because he can't argue with them about how much and when.

GypsyMoth Tue 25-Aug-09 17:43:05

rule number one....never mix contact and money!!

contact centres here are still free!

Joze Wed 26-Aug-09 09:38:41

Thank you for your comments but CAFCASS really didn't listen to me and told me one thing then when it got into court said another!

I know how he treated me has no bearing on this but i saw him bully and manipulate his other children. I did not oppose contact in principle, i informed CAFCASS that after the abuse i suffered and that he had had no contact, or even attempted contact in nearly 4 years that i wanted a report in order for me to make an informed decision about contact. I had to oppose contact to try and get these reports but this wasn't explained by CAFCASS in court. 4 years is a long time and i have no idea if this man has drug or alcohol issues etc hence why i wanted CAFCASS to intervene to ensure the best outcome for my son! They ignored everything and were completely biased against me, therefore so were the magistrates!

I am not interested in money or maintenance despite which he doesn't work even though he has 3 other children to support and i have no idea why not. In effect this man is a stranger to me and my son and the least i want to know is that there isn't anything detrimental in his past that may affect my son!

Surely as a mother I should have some rights as to keeping my child safe and have some information as to the person i'm supposed to leave my child with?!

Joze Wed 26-Aug-09 09:40:52

PS. He knew where we lived and had tel numbers til my son was nearly 5 but he doesn't know now, my solicitor has kept my new address confidential because of the abuse I suffered. He's claiming he didn't know i was pregnant and then when he did find out i told him the baby wasn't his. I can't prove otherwise apart from witnesses but none of that matters, i just want my son to be safe and not psychologically damaged by this controlling person

njmomof1 Wed 26-Aug-09 10:13:16

I completely understand how your feeling, and by understand I mean I have actually been there too x it's crap as a crappy thing is crap!

Complain to CAFCASS, at least there may be a chance to review the case even if you have to put up with the judgement of the courts for now.

As for your son being safe and unharmed, he will be, cause he's got a bloody good mother who doesn't treat him that way and when your ex tries to, your son is gonna come home and tell his mommy why he's upset and you'll find a way to sort it out. It's our job! x

My DP threatened me with DNA and allsorts and then he was going to take my DS and not bring him back, and he made up some crap about me hitting him. At that point I told him that if he was questioning parentage to arrange a test, he didn't, I then told him his access days would be at my house 3 times a week minimum from half 4 til 6, he told me he couldn't because of his work, I knew he wouldn't be able to but i'd offered and he'd refused. Then he refused to come to my house at all so I told him that was his choice but I wasn't going to have my son out of the house late at night to satisfy his contact as DS needed his bedtime routine a whole lot more.

It sounds awful when I think back to it but I kept a diary of EVERYTHING!! and I mean everything, every txt, details of every call and even now I still do it and will keep doing it until my mind is satified he's not gonna bugger off again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can't really stop this from happening but you can take control of some things and cover your backside for the rest. It feels petty and unnecessary but it's worth it just in case.

Joze Wed 26-Aug-09 11:05:22

Thank you, it is crappy, really crappy. A crap system supposedly to protect children but it lets them down at every turn!

I will complain to CAFCASS but i need to speak to my solicitor to confirm that it won't harm my case in any way first. The officer had the nerve to say in court that they are seeing far too many of these cases.....instant judgments but as far as i was aware every case was individual and should be treated and respected as such!

Your ordeal sounds just as awful and i can really sympathise. I was threatened with my baby being taken from hospital when he was born and so much more but it's all just heresay. childrens rights? The fact is, they don't have any!!

You're right though and thanks for the tip. I will keep a diary and a note of everything, that's a good idea. Funnily before court the ex had no problem with reports, his solicitor said he'd agree but it was the CAFCASS officer that put the spanner in the works!

I don't want that man at my house, around me and my kids but if necessary I will. I don't like the idea of contact centres as I know my little one is very clingy and wouldn't want me to leave him there at all, he hates it when i go anywhere without him!

You're so right though, there are things i can control and i need to get some perspective.

I hope things are easier for you now too, it's a horrible situation to be in isn't it? You must have gone to hell and back and i can really sympathise with you. thank you.

njmomof1 Wed 26-Aug-09 11:38:34

Situation is much easier now for me, I'm really fortunate that I knew DP so well and understood that he was struggling with something and needed the time to figure it out. I wanted to help to save him missing DS and spending time apart but it's taken 4 months and about 5 trips to Relate so far but we are working on things and it's going ok. Been VVVVV hard to try to forgive him and not throw things in his face but we'll get there and if not then ast least we've tried everything.

Your siuation is very different to that I know but as long as you keep your mind on the things you can control and try not to overthink things, I know only too well that it all feels like a conspiricy against you but it isn't.

When you're writing down your txts you have to write them exactly (i.e, 2moro/2moz) cause everyone has there own txt language.

The other thing I offered was that I would provide I Pay as You go telephone number for DP to contact me on, I would switch this phone on at the same time each week and he could txt any questions about DS or problems with contact commitments but other than that I didn't have to worry about the abuse. Chances are if you do this then he'll abuse you but it'll be there in Black and White too.

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