Dads’ FAQs: Care system
Questions we have been asked include:
‘My child has been taken into care – what can I do as a dad to get him back?’
‘Man who had custody of his son became ill and social services have taken the son from him. Who can he speak to?’
Mother phoned: wants ‘advice to avoid son going into care’
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has the role of championing children’s best interests in the family court system – so if you end up in court fighting for custody of your child, or if the local authority takes out care proceedings, a CAFCASS social worker will be assigned to the case. You can find out more about them and how they work on the CAFCASS website. The website has a range of useful resources for parents and children, including leaflets about how to put your children first during separation or divorce; domestic violence; and care proceedings.
Care proceedings occur when there are serious concerns about your child’s safety. It may be that you yourself have concerns, and wish to raise them with the authorities. If that’s the case, your first port of call should be your local authority’s children’s services department. You can find a list of contact details for local authorities on the Government’s website.
If your child already has a social worker, or is given one, try to work with them; also try to make contact with the “guardian ad litem” if one has been appointed for your child by the court (which will usually be the case). It’s very important that you get invited to all key decision making meetings and are included in the assessment and planning process.
If you are not satisfied with the social worker, you can ask to see his or her manager – but this can easily be seen as being “aggressive” so needs to be done carefully. Remember that men are easily labelled as being “aggressive” and “threatening” so stay calm and reasonable, however frustrated you feel and however dismissively you feel you are treated.
Other useful organisations
Coram Children’s Legal Centre: Freephone: 0808 802 0008 (Mon-Fri 10am- 3.30pm) Textphone users: 18001 0808 801 0366
The Family Rights Group: Freephone: 0808 801 0366 (Mon-Fri 10am-12 noon + 1.30pm-3.30pm)
The National Parents Network offers help and support for parents who have lost their children to adoption.
The Who Cares Trust works for children in care but can point the families of those taken into care towards advice and support.
Find other FAQs here.Care proceedings, Child protection, Domestic violence, For fathers, Safeguarding, Separated families, Vulnerable families