The Failings of Two Lives

Apparently there was a court case this week which was deciding where the children were going to go and live. There are 3 children in total, but only two fostered with us. There are 3 fathers seeking guardianship, one mother and the grandparents from the youngest child – who are interested in the 2 youngest, so the two we have.

We were led to believe that the court hearing this week was to formalise the grandparents having the youngest two and the father of the eldest having his child. Afterall that was why contact with the grandparents had changed over the past few weeks, causing the decrease in behaviour and why we’d been given a plan of sleepovers the kids could have and even a moving date. Wasn’t it?

Well, no. Not exactly.

The hearing was only a residency hearing, which apparently means that it was only for all parties to learn of the proposed plan so that any objections could be made. Now perhaps in a “perfect” world this would mean no objections and the actual court case proper can go ahead. Oh, yeah the *actual* courtcase is in over a month so the moving date (two weeks’ time) was never going to be possible.

So social services, in their wisdom and experience in fostering children (afterall their OFSTED was a good, I believe) started upping contact between the children and their grandparents. These are two children who’ve spent over a year seeing their grandparents and a father once every 2 weeks and their mother every week within the safe confines of a contact centre suddenly seeing their grandparents pretty much every other day for up to 8 hours.

But they needed to become more used to the people they were going to go and live with. Which is completely fine, but there’s one little snag. The all knowing social services increased this contact in preparation for a court hearing that could be objected to.

Can anyone see where a problem could arise? The children’s lives were put through turmoil and upheaval, breaking their routine and altering their lives with no explanation in preparation for a court hearing where a residency decision would be made. Except objections could be made.

And made they were. The mother and father of the middle child are both (individually) objecting to in part the decision of grandparents and of the low level of contact the grandparents are setting.

My current annoyance isn’t over a group of adults who can’t try and do what’s best for two under 5s but that social services have handled things so badly. They altered contact before objections were made as if there was no chance of there being any objections. Except there were. Could they not have foreseen that? In all their time dealing with foster children in the system, have they never had objections before? Had it never crossed their minds that one of the total-4 parents could object to not being allowed their child? Or that they wouldn’t mind agreeing to only seeing their child three times a year?

No, in all of their experience and wisdom, objections were never going to happen so they increased the grandparents’ contact ready for the move. And the children didn’t know what was going on because no one from social services came to tell them, which didn’t matter because it was a done deal.

Until 2 parents objected. Now we have a month where sleepovers had been planned to ready the children which might not be needed. A judge may decide that no parties will ever be happy so no one can have these two children. So what was the point in all of that increased contact when, if it goes to adoption, all contact will stop?

How can social services have been so short sighted? Do they not realise that there are 2 incredibly confused children involved in this, that they are more important than the mother, the fathers and the grandparents? Why could they not have waited 2 weeks until this residency hearing and then started altering contact?

If they’re barely coping with an increase in contact, how will they cope if it suddenly vanishes? Especially if no one comes around to explain it to them. Have the local social services ever dealt with these cases before or has there truly never been a case like this before? Or can they just not do their job?

~Persephone M

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