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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34902
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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Social services have got involved in my family life, due to

Customer Question

Social services have got involved in my family life, due to the fact that I suffer from panic disorder and have drunk alcohol inappropriately to calm me down. I have been sober from December, but social services want a meeting with me and my husband. They have composed a report which is full of lies, and our children have been upset by what they have said, as they are quoted as saying things they never did. They have also stated that I have to sign a form saying that I will never be "intoxicated" infront of my kids. I do not want to put my signature to any form that I havent received legal advice about. Can you pls advise?

Wendy C Seaton
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 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 are the children and why are they aware of what is in the report?
What is your objection to signing the Undertaking requested?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My children are 12 and 14. I do not want to put my name to anything and would like to know legally why they want this done. can they take action if I dont adhere to what they have asked for. (Obviously I have no intention of ever being intoxicated infront of my girls). There are also lies in the report about how my children have been treated. My girls have also read the report and told my husband and i that they never said half of what is stated. Its basically painting a pretty bad picture when they told us they were here to help and support our family. My husband and I cant make the Children in plan meeting this Thursday as we both work, but they are saying that they will go ahead with the meeting in our absence. Can they do this?

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Please treat this seriously - Social services will and they have wide ranging powers which can cause even more distress in your lives than has already happened
I am afraid that this is a meeting you have to attend - they can indeed go ahead in your absence as it is their assessment that your children are potentially at risk and you and your husband need to reassure them that no further intervention is required.
Your failure to attend would, unfortunately, simply convince them that in fact the matter is more serious and will trigger further more extreme intervention - something to be avoided if at all possible - as you have found their involvement is neither easy nor pleasant
I am not sure what event triggered this involvement - but you yourself admit that you have in the past used alcohol inappropriately and a contract confirming that you will not do so in front of the children is in fact a minimal requirement from them in terms of a "Contract"
Please also be discreet about the fact that the children have read the report - it is highly likely that Social Services would view this as "emotional abuse" ( their perception of abuse is not the same as yours and mine)
Their inaccuracies are also sadly not unusual - and this meeting is your chance to challenge them
Most councils have online leaflets such as this one
setting out the structure in their area and you can use that to assess the steps that have been taken to date
Please ask if you need further details