The beginning is a referral. It can be annonymous or non existent but that will start the process off and the social workers will want to come round. Referrals are routinely made by any government establishment, schools, nurseries, libraries and can be for all sorts of small things. Often referrals are made by people you have asked to help you, like domestic violence help lines, child obesity help centres, counselling services, alcoholics annonymous etc. Every government agency has had Child Protection training to help them look out and record anything such as a child wearing old shoes or a child being quiet or disruptive.
They will tell you that they believe you and your child will benefit from being on a child protection plan and they will arrange a meeting. The child protection plan will aim to have you taken off the plan after you have been checked every couple of weeks, had a core assessment and had core meetings. A bunch of people you don't know will be there and they will have privately (without you being there) been told that you are a risk to your children.
Once the plan is agreed they will start calling the police to make daily spot checks. The police will comment on your demeanor - were you under the influence, crying, is your house tidy etc. They will come round several times a day to check. Eventually you will get annoyed with this and tell them to go away. They will then say you are not cooperating with professionals and are preventing safety checks so they will apply to the court for a care order.
At the first hearing you will be asked to sign a Consent Order to produce all your medical and criminal records, allow the Social services to speak to any professional about you or your children (including your bank manager or anyone they want) they will insist on the children staying with a foster carer a couple of nights a week to give you respite where they can have access to the children while you are not there. You will also have to consent to a psychological assessment. You will be told that if you don't consent then the judge will make an interim care order and you won't get your children back that day, they will be collected from their school or nursery immediately after the hearing and taken to stay with strangers. So you sign the Consent Order.
A few days later you will be back in court for another hearing. This time the court will order the children be taken into care as a precaution because they need to draw a line in the sand! Now they have got the Consent Order they can start digging into every aspect of your personal life. They will get healthcare records, school records, hospital and doctor records, old care records if you were ever in care. They will discard everything positive in the records and make a note of anything negative in their Statement to Support a Care Order. Alot of the things noted you will never have known about previously and will never have had a chance to challenge.
You will be offered a contested hearing and you will be told that you will get the Local authority statement for you to respond to in time for the hearing. While waiting for the hearing the foster carer will quiz the children on whether they have ever been punished by you or if they have ever felt unhappy or scared. The children will think hard and might come up with examples which will be noted down, notwithstanding that these examples may have been from years before and from the perspective of a very small child. eg. Yes, once my mum smacked me and my mum shouts at me sometimes. Once she told me she would cut my hair off if I get headlice, once I saw her cry etc. These will be noted in the foster carer's daily logs and given to the Local authority to be added to the evidence against you to support the claim that you emotionally abuse your children.
On the Friday before the Monday hearing you will be sent the statement from the Local Authority. There will be so many allegations pulled from all your records and you will be in utter shock because it will make you look like an atrocious parent. You won't be able to get legal advice before the hearing cause it's a weekend. You might try to write a statement in response but you are likely to be in a very distressed and nervous state, not know what is going on and in utter shock.
At the contested hearing they will say the threshold has been met and therefore only a change in circumstances will get your children out of care.
Once the Court has given you an ICO every 28 days you can oppose the renewal of the Interim Care Order. The ICO is normally renewed automatically by consent on the basis that your circumstances have not changed and therefore the threshold is still met.
The Judge rarely accepts any submitted change of circumstances as adequate and submitting changes of circumstances is one of their scams to get you to admit that there was something wrong that you need to change. This is normal practice although precedent says that the Judge has to test whether the threshold has been met every 28 days - this NEVER happens.
You are able to ask for a hearing every 28 days in which case to present your change in circumstances in opposition to the renewal but the Judge usually just asks you to write in and state what your changes are and then says that it is not enough to justify a hearing! Totally unlawful and illegal if you ask me but that's what happens. You can't appeal an interim Care Order usually because they only last 28 days and it takes longer than that to get to the appeal hearing so by the time you appeal the order has expired and your appeal will fail. I do believe though that you should be able to argue in your appeal that you should still be able to appeal an expired order because the future orders all depend on the threshold being met for the expired orders as the threshold is not freshly tested.
As the threshold is so low any child on this planet will pass it. Ie on the balance of probablity is the child at risk of emotional harm. Of course it is. We live life on Earth. It is an evil destructive place to live. Every child is at risk of emotional harm on the balance of probability. Especially where balance of probability means that any allegation made by a social worker will be fact unless you have evidence to prove it is not fact. How can you get evidence to prove your child will never suffer from emotional harm!!
You will at first have been offered contact with you children at a rate of 3 hours per week. At the contact your older children will be looking to you to tell them what is going on. You will try to tell them that you are fighting for them but you will be told by the supervisor that you are not allowed to discuss adult issues with the children and are not allowed to tell them anything about the proceedings or show any emotion. The contact sessions are for you to enjoy and if you don't get on and happily enjoy them then you will lose them. Your children will be totally distressed and pissed off and will want to know why you seem so emotionless and happy when they are stuck with strangers. Your younger children will scream uncontrollably whenever you leave after the hour and the supervisor will make allegations that you squeezed or pinched your younger child to make them cry.
Then the Local Authority will reduce contact, at first because they haven't got any supervisors available. They will reduce contact to 1 hour a week as soon as possible. This will have a devastating effect on the children and the children will start playing up. You and the children will be under so much pressure to enjoy that one hour a week that it will become impossible, especially when that one hour is the same day you have a court hearing, a solicitors appointment a meeting with the local authority or cafcass where you will be told even more false allegations and so you will go to contact feeling totally wound up and scared about what is happening to you and your children.
The LA will then apply for a S34.4 Order because you can't behave appropriately (like some CBBC presenter) in contact. They may make an allegation that you abused your child or the social worker because they know that on the balance of probability you are guilty unless you have evidence to prove your innocence and as it is their contact centre you won't have any evidence. they also won't let the children give evidence because this is considered to be emotionally abusing the children.
You will also be prevented from seeing the children because you have been telling the children you love them and miss them. If your children or you cried or showed emotion during contact this will also be considered to be emotionally harmful/neglectful to the children.
You may have shown elements of anger at the social worker in your tone of voice for lying and being abusive but this will show YOUR unstable mental state and therefore your risk to the children so you will be prevented from seeing the children at all by the S34.4.
While you were allowed contact the times of contact will have been determined by social services. The times are likely to be in the middle of the day during the week and never on weekends or bank holidays. If you normally worked or studied at those times before the children were taken you will have to give up your job or your studies because if you don't you will lose your children. The Local Authority will not arrange contact at your convenience. It is when they say or not at all.
Once you have lost your job and your income you may then lose your house, your car, get into serious debt and this will start allsorts of new problems. If you are lucky to keep your home you may find it difficult to live there because it will be so distressing to see all the children's toys, clothes and empty beds around you. You will miss your children terribly and feel an overbearing sense of loss.
You will become depressed and you won't want to associate with your old friends because they all have children and they just want to go to the park and do child orientated things which you will now find heartbreaking, without your children. People that didn't know you will have labeled you as a child abuser and won't be able to look at you or talk to you. Neighbours will think you are trouble because they will remember the police always coming round your house shortly before your children were taken. Your family will have turned against you because the Local Authority will have contacted them in their duty to consider family and made many unfounded allegations against you and presented them with their statement showing you are an atrocious parent.
You may have by this time got so depressed and distressed that you have either gone to the doctor for some mind numbing drugs or maybe you will turn to alcohol. You will feel isolated, a failure, empty, depressed and you will be desperately missing your children.
Then the Psychologist appointment you agreed to will come through and you will be Psychologically examined. The psychologist will ask you allsorts of questions based on the information provided by the Local Authority and the Guardian. You may show that you are upset about all the false allegations. You might say you think you were treated unfairly. You might cry. Whatever you do the Psychologist will say you have no insight and you are emotionally unstable and recommend that your children are found a permanent placement.
Then there will be a final hearing. Anything that has happened over the previous 9 months or so will be added to the social services statement to show that you are unable to care for your children. They will then make a final care order. The Social Workers will have a celebration at their win!
Once they have a final care order you can only apply to have it discharged on the same impossible change of circumstances every 6 months. But as soon as they get the Care Order they will start adoption proceedings. (the children may have been with prospective adoptive parents under the interim care order as a foster adopter) The children need to be placed for I think 10 weeks before the LA apply for an adoption Order. You can oppose a placement order and an adoption order on a change of circumstances but the change does not need to be significant. However the Judge will ultimately say that the welfare of the child is their priority and go through the welfare checklist. They will always find that it is not in the child's interest to be returned.
The LA and guardian will have written a report saying the children have settled with the adoptive family and praise the adoptive family as if they are perfect people from another planet and at the same time they will say that the children have lost their bond with you and repeat all the allegations they made of you. Some of these allegations you will have admitted to under duress because they will have told you 'If you admit to this you can have your children back, or if you admit to this you can see your children'. These allegations will all be fact now because you didn't have the evidence to disprove them and then they will arrange a goodbye contact with clowns and balloons and you will wave goodbye to your children forever, and you will never know what happened to them.
So that's a summary of how it all works. Your job is to stop it!! Don't expect your solicitor to stop it. Your solicitor will always tell you this is normal practice and you don't have grounds for appeal and you won't get legal funding to appeal. You solicitor will always be too busy to make any enquiries and will take a week or more to get back to you.
If you tell your solicitor that you expect them to fight for you because you need justice and there must be something wrong with what they are doing because you love your children, they were healthy, happy, thriving in your care. They were top of their class. Their first health assessment said they were perfect in every way. YouR solicitor will say you are being unreasonable and will write to the court to come off the court record and discharge your legal aid certificate - leaving you to fight this horribly unjust system on your own