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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32994
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I desperately need help to fight my LA Social Services decision

Customer Question

I desperately need help to fight my LA Social Services decision to put my granddaughter up for adoption. I applied for an SGO but their assessment was negative because I couldn't guarentee I would live to her adulthood (can any of us guarentee that?). The big problem I have come across is the fact that I have no money to pay and would ideally need legal aid.
PLEASE CAN YOU HELP? Both my son and his partner want their daughter to come and live with me.
Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old is the child and how old are you?
Why has a Care Order been made
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Faith Elizabeth is 6 months and 4 days old. She was born 13 weeks premature.

I am 50 years old and I work as a volunteer Ambulance Service First Responder. I am pediatric trained so I am well able to care for a preemie.


Faith was taken from hospital at 8 weeks old and placed with foster carers (even though I had come forward as family) because of alcohol abuse (both parents) and domestic violence (both parents). Social Services deemed her to be at risk of neglect. Both parents have a degree of learning difficulties.


Thank you for trying to help me. I am most grateful.


Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
That is absurd - at 50 a woman can technically still be having babies - even if the thought would terrify me!
Is there any other reason for their reluctance - have you not accepted the need for Care Proceedings?
have you said anything that would make them question your willingness to stick to whatever contact is agreed
When is the Final Hearing and what is the Guardian saying?
Have the parents asked for an Independent Social Work assessment of you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The assessing Social Worker says in her report that because I have a decorated room that was originally going to be for Emma (mum) and Faith that I am in denial as to what the long term affects would be. Emma was still being assessed by the local mother and baby unit at the time and I was originally asked if I would be willing to take them both.

The assessing social worker kept saying 'if' it was long term and 'if' Faith came to you, so I assumed that it would be a short term arrangement. When it was made clear to me that this was not the case I told the SW that I would put my plans to go to University on the back burner, study part time with the Open University and be a full time carer for Faith. I fully accepted that it is a long term placement until adulthood.


Their other objection is that I refused to let them have a free rein in my medical records, going back to birth. I told them to mind their own business and my GP wrote to them saying that I was healthy and that she could see no reason why I should not care for my granddaughter (she knows she is a baby). The SW wanted a full report on my mental health because when she spoke to my ex- husband he said that I am depressed (he has a diploma in amenity horticulture which makes him a reliable referee). The SW says in the report that the divorce, 3 years ago was acrimonious and she has chosen to believe him over my Doctor!


I don't smoke, or drink and I live alone in a 3 bedroom house with my 15 year old LabradorXbeagle.


The Guardian has said that he will push for me to have a full medical, including Haemaglobins (bloods) to prove my health is good.


Both parents have been supportive of my application for their daughter and understand that I will abide by the courts decision over access even if they don't like it. They understand that my priority would be Faith and her safety and well-being.


No one has mentioned that we can get an independent assessment done. How would we do this?


There is a court hearing on march 12th.


Respectfully yours


Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Do you mean that the Guardian in fact favours your being considered as a carer?
Are you now willing to release your medical records in full?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I don't know what the Guardian thinks. He was part of a 3 person group who ambushed me at court when I was there for a different matter. He just stood there while the LA barrister fired questions at me about my health. I told them to stop bullying me and that what happened when I was 4 or 14 had absolutely no bearing on my ability to care for my granddaughter and that if the GP who has known me for years says I am fit then they should accept that.

In her letter my GP commented on the fact that I get seasonal asthma caused by silver birch pollen, that I was treated for post menopausal bleeding which was successful (I had an operation to cure it in August last year but was only in hospital for 8 hours) and that I take beta blockers for an irregular heartbeat that is under control. I take one beta blocker each day at bedtime and I have no other medication. I suffered post natal depression after the birth of all three of my children and was treated for that at the time.

I will not release my medical records because once they have left my Drs surgery they are a matter of public record and can be accessed by anyone! It would completely undermine my trust in patient confidentiality and would leave me unable to discuss any future problems, should they arise, with complete honesty. I would be looking over my shoulder wondering who would be demanding my records for the rest of my life. Heaven forbid, I would not feel free to get any treatment necessary.

So, no, I will not be releasing my medical records and they should not expect me to.

After I refused initially the LA agreed a compromise and said that they would accept my GPs letter detailing current treatments but reneged on the deal as soon as they got it.





Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
do the parents have a joint or separate solicitors acting for them?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Either Solicitor can ask for permission for an Independent assessment of you
Paying for it may be the problem.
You are not eligible for Legal Aid unless and until you become a Party to the case - so you need to attend the next hearing and ask to be joined - however first you have to be seen as a viable alternative
Whilst I have every sympathy with your view on the medical Records the approach you are taking is not helping the Guardian see you as being prepared to put everything on the line for the child - and it is the Guardian's view which is crucial in the case
The latest appeal court decision emphasises that at EVERY stage the possibility of family placement ha sto be considered - however late in the day
this Article details it
and the excuses being given for not considering you are not acceptable - with your medical records being the only negative.
You need to get the parents solicitors to make a concerted attempt to have you loined on the basis of that case
Please ask if you need further details

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