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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33290
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Hello I am trying to help a friend who has been continually

Customer Question

Hello I am trying to help a friend who has been continually accused of neglect , emotional abuse towards her daughter. She has been accused of drug and alcohol abuse and anti social behaviour by social services. It is all based on hearsay and lies . The social services have put some awful lies in their reports even to the point that they claim my friend was seen to have dropped a small package of white powder in the school playground, whilst dropping her daughter off to school, which had been caught on CCTV by the school and was identified as cocaine! .. No police were involved! which makes it ludicrous.. However ther is so much more in the reports that according to them my friend is not fit to care for her own child ... The situation at the moment is , my friend recieved a 90 day prison sentence in January this year . This was due to unpaid fines that had built up over some time , so while she served her sentence her daughter who is six was to be looked after by her grandmother, with help from myself if needed and her eldest sister who is seventeen we all live in kent . But without consulting anybody social services intervened and her daughter was placed with her father who lives in Lincoln , was put into a school their two days before my friends release she was taken to Chatham family court where the father recieved an interim residents order and a prohibited steps order and the local authority a supervision order... She has contact with her at a contact centre in Lincoln for one hour a week and can ring her one night with the father and his parents listening on loud speaker.. She was represented in court but might as well not have as nothing was said in her defence and my friend has not recieved any advice as in opposing the orders or what steps to take next.. Her daughter wants to come home and has said so many times but this has been worded differently by the guardian in their report . My friend has evidence as in doctors reports etc to back up her defence but none of this has been shown in court . She is due back in court in June for the final hearing which will decide wether full residency will be given to her daughters father.. She is desperate as to what to do and how to get any help . It is stressful to say the least . Would just add that the father has never raised any concerns up until now and would be quite reluctant to see his daughter regularly at times . Would appreciate any advice
Regards amanda
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What were the fines for.
Has she done a hair strand test for drugs?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The fines were for driving offences and no she has not had a hair strand test, but has said she is willing to . She has never been arrested for alcohol or drug related offences and the police reports prove this. Her doctor , who has been her GP since she was young has said in his statement there is no history of substance abbuse. Also in previous reports from social services they have said their is no evidence of this.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Who actually prepared the last report and will the school confirm it is not accurate.
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

social services prepared the reports and I doubt the school would confirm as they have told lies them selves, their is no evidence to prove it however and considering the seriousness of the claim you would


expect my friend to have been questioned by the police at least! yet alone be charged with posessing a class a drug on primary school property. This is just one of many lies that have been used.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What has her solicitor said?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Her solicitor sent a clerk to represent my friend on the day of the initial hearing who said absolutely nothing in court and did the same at the last hearing which i also attended, in fact she was very rude to my friend before court began and spent most of the time talking to members from the other party. Now that my friend is looking through all the paperwork it was put to the court that she did not oppose any of the orders and that was all that was put as her statement.which is not what my friend had said at all.


the only paperwork from her solicitor is just letters about court dates and there terms and conditions of buisness


 

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Just to check - are these actually Care Proceedings?
has some one been appointed as a Guardian - representing the child?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

they are supervision proceedings and yes someone has been appointed guardian, she introduced herself to my friend at the last hearing and my friend asked how her daughter was and that she knows she wants to come home, to which the guardian cut my friend to the quick replied " no she said when am i going home ? their is a difference" and in her report she has stated that her daughter is not old enough to know how she feels

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
In fact they are Care Proceedings - it is just that at present Social Services have settled for a Supervision Order for now.
However knowing this does help in working out what needs to happen next,
Could you tell me when the next hearing is, and have you been able to draw out all the allegations that are being made against her
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The next hearing is on 26th june, according to the files my friend has that were submitted to court the local authorities allegations are neglect , emotional harm and the risk of physical harm , they give all the case notes and a chronology as evidence alongside a viability assessment of the father ,which i noticed was signed by a social worker who named a boy and his family when declaring she believed the statement to be true!!! I would have thought this not to be allowed as evidence due to the mistake she has clearly made...There are so many things that do not match the original reports.


There are also reports from the contact centre but my friend has not seen them

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Has a Parenting assessment been completed?
The allegations outlines usually relate to new partners, is this the case in this matter?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

on the childs father yes, as i said in my question LA are using chronology and previous core assessments as evidence against my friend!! As I wrote originally LA have continually accused her of neglect and emotional abuse etc. since her daughter was born more or less

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Sorry - I was asking if Social Services are raising issues about the mother's new relationships - it is a common thread in such cases.
As you can appreciate it is hard to give ant specific assistance within the question and answer nature of this forum
However the first point to make is that these are Care Proceedings - this is not about a Mum and Dad arguing it out in court this is about Social Services having to PROOVE that your friend is a risk to her child
As a starting point a trusted friend who can stay detached needs to sit and go through the paperwork with her and make notes on her comments on each and every allegation (this will take a few days - sometimes you need time for the memory to kick in when it comes to past allegations
That then needs to be turned into a chronological document - with a note beside each allegation as to where in the paperwork it is made)
Then she needs to go and see her solicitor - but not alone - she should always have someone with her to listen and take notes - and ask questions. This is an incredible stressful time and no one can function at their best.
She needs to make sure that her final statement deals with all the allegations
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask for any further details that you need
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My friend did do this with her solicitor just before the first hearing but the solicitor didn't speak . How can we obtain all files etc that are being used in the case ? Ie there was a hearing at end of March and she has received nothing plus there are reports from caf cass and a meeting held with social services in Lincoln
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Your friend will have copies of all the Statements and paperwork that goes before the Court
If you think that for any reason she may have lost some then write a letter for her to sign and send to her solicitor asking for a full copy of all the paperwork so that she and you can go through it together
Then create a list f questions she needs to ask her solicitor and go with her and make sure that they are all dealt with
If they are not - ask to see someone higher in the Department
Clare

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