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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Barrister at law
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A social worker has banned me from speaking to my children

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A social worker has banned me from speaking to my children for teaching them about Jesus. I’ve fought back but I don’t no longer want to work with her can I refuse
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Brighton and hove
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I reported this to her manager as a formal complaint and the reviewing officer who said that it would be relook at after a supervised contact which was really good but the social worker is still refusing to give me back my phone calls. I was a single mum when they took my children, recovering from a severe disability, I was never given any help and I didn’t fight back and since then been treated really unfairly.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: They never gave me any help before they took my kids, I’m a practising christian so Jesus is my life and have always raised my kids ro know God but they don’t have faith and so have banned my phone calls which were monthly yet I don’t teach them bad things. To love God and others etc.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I’ll do my best to assist you today.

Please bear in mind as this is an email service and not live chat I may not respond immediately.

Is this in court for care proceedings?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No! I never fought back in court so I’ve never been able to defend myself. I pulled out of the proceedings believing there dad would eventually win custody. This is yet to happen.

OK, thank you. So if there are no current proceedings, what role does the social worker have? Because if this is not in proceedings, it's not up to a social worker to tell you whether you have contact or not. Or, are they in long term foster care?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My children are in foster care, they have 51% parental responsibility and I see my kids every 8 weeks and spoke for them monthly, I was a struggling single mother recovering from severe fibromyalgia and had been bedridden for several years when I took over parenting. The original social worker never liked me and they took my kids after 2 visits and no help when there was a mistake at the doctors who couldn’t find record of my illness but I had just moved so this was why but rather then give them back to me Once I proved I had been sick the social worker severely persecuted me for everything and I gave up the court case giving them parental rights. The social worker now is against my faith in Jesus and has always tried to stop me speaking about him, we don’t get along and so I feel she’s using this as a excuse to exercise her authority. She stopped my monthly phone calls as I speak about God to much. I don’t feel once a month is enough and have now made them send my kids to a christian youth group but despite this and the contact being positive they refuse to allow me my phone calls and so I’m arguing with the social worker as I’ve done nothing wrong.

Are your phone calls in the current care plan?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No they were additional. The social worker allowed me to have them as we use to get on but we run into issues before all this started and since then she’s been using my faith as a way to exalt her power I feel and I’ve told her as much, complained to her manager but none of this has made any difference.

OK, so what contact is in the current care plan and when is the next LAC review?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That I have 6 visits a year! We had a contact which spoke about the contact being supervised. What I would like to know is can I refuse to work with her since we don’t get along and what rights do I have to teach my children about Jesus.

You can ask to have a different social worker at the next LAC review. You are also free to teach your children about religion. However, with so few contacts the focus should be on quality contact with the children rather than lecturing about religious issues. Perhaps the social worker is concerned that the religious teaching has become the focus of the contact rather than spending quality time with the children?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yeh I’ve tried to do both, so as and when I can I try to teach my children about God while having a contact so this seems extreme as I don’t speak to my kids often which is why I’ve now got them going to youth groups, the social worker has always had an issue with my faith and tried to tell me to tell my son not to keep Gods sabbath holy, I practise what I preach so I refused, we later had other issues which I reported and had already made the Rio aware of the relationship break down and then since then all this. I’ve been the same throughout with regards ***** ***** faith and not changed so feel it’s personal yet they won’t agree, they tend to stick together and I’ve requested a different social worker but they allocated a second social worker while refusing to change her, so I will have 2 who I work with! I have a contact review Over my son who’s 14 who I’ve just started seeing non-supervised. There going to try this afternoon to impose a set of rules when I just see him when he wants which they don’t like, can they control this? Also I struggled as a single mother with 6 kids while recovering from fibromyalgia having been bedridden for 3:5 years so I’ve always felt I needed help and support but haven’t ever received any due to the failings from the last social worker. I’m not a danger to anyone especially my children so feel as if this is bullying and they over exaggerate on everything to exercise there position. I feel there’s no justification for any of this.

I understand but you are in the position where you have to work to some extent with the LA or you will end up in a worse position that you are currently in. There's nothing to be gained by going over the past - the court intervened and made care orders.

You have to focus on the present and future - and raise issues that you are having at the LAC review to the independent chair.

I hope that's clear?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, Thank you, ***** ***** impose restrictions on my contact with my 14 year old who I now see on my own, which the meeting today is going to assess. His allowed out with his friends and so wants to see me and I don’t feel how they can stop this and at the same time impose restrictions. It would just be good to know where I stand with this before the meeting?

They can suggest guidelines for contact. In reality it's going to be impossible to impose restrictions if he is seeing you on his own.

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plclegal and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for helping me! Would I have a good case against the social worker for discriminating against me over my faith since she stopped my phone calls? This is my last question. Legally what can I do?

You'd have to make a formal complaint and then follow this up with the local government ombudsman if you didn't;t get a satisfactory reply.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, thank you for your time.

My pleasure. Best wishes, Peter