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CAFCASS observations
#1
I met up today with CAFCASS officer at contact centre. He came to observe me how I interact with children and how they are with me etc even though I was the main carer for my older son over 2 years. He asked a few questions about children routine etc and asked me if I had facilities at home to look after my 1 year old which I responded yes. I still live in family home and everything is pretty much the same.
Contact centre in overcrowded and I can’t do much with the children. I asked him I’d like to take my children out and home to spend time with them. He said this is something we can discuss later. He is due to file his report by 15th Feb. I am thinking to give him a call on Monday and sk him to recommend to have unsupervised contact. My wife doesn’t talk to me and it will be difficult to arrange contact without communication. What’s the best way to approach CAFCASS?
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#2
I'd would have thought once CAFCASS make the recommendation which hopefully transpires into a court order, you ex would have not much of a choice but to communicate for handovers etc.
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#3
Thanks SeanS, next Hearing is on 20th Feb and I don’t think we can agree on child arrangement without a contested hearing. I am after an interim order to see my kids outside contact centre. I can’t do this without CAFCASS help.
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#4
For the officer to complete the sec7 report he would need to visit the home environment you live. I am concerned that he has not. Therefore suggesting he had already formed his opinion on contact arrangements.
I would be asking the question if he intends to visit you at home as to see living arrangements for you and your children when contact resumes unsupervised.
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#5
A cafcass officer does not need to visit your home to complete a s7 report. Also i wouldnt be ringing or contacting cafcass about any kind of contact .You need to wait until you get to court and you recieve report.
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#6
It is important to understand a role of the reporting officer. As myself working in SW and Social care It is necessary part of the Sec 7 report to undertake a home visit. Without one you simply cannot make a true and accurate
recommendations. Failing to do so is not in keeping with guidelines.

As per under Sec 7 children act."The Independent Social Worker will contact both parents and arrange to visit them at their home and will arrange to meet with the child, to observe the child with their parent and to talk to them on their own, dependent on their age and ability".

The report could simply be challenged due to this oversight,as it will not reflect the welfare checklist.

It is worrying to know many parents wait for reports to be completed and usually presented on the day or few nights before.

Any aspects of "contact" you feel the officer needs to know should be raised with them during the time the report is being undertaken.

Many reports I have encountered have stated that housing is not suitable,where no visit had never taken place.
When live with orders are made it is important that such reports are completed following correct procedures. You simply don't buy a car without seeing it first.
I cannot stress enough that reports are being written last minute. Simply its poor management of cases by the author of the report ie cutting corners .with no sense of the impact upon the child.
Been there and seen it.

If you have not had a home visit then expect such recommendations not to include shared care or live with order. The office has already made a decision which way they wish to steer the proceedings.
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#7
Just to let you know that I have had home visit from CAFCASS. I still live in FH and children rooms etc is exactly the same as before they left 6 months ago. My original question was how to approach CAFCASS to get recommendations for unsupervised contact as I have been going to contact centre for last 4 months.
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#8
Recommendations should be if no safeguarding arise from the officers report, for contact to be progressed to unsupervised. The officer would have acknowledged that you have attended 4months of supervised contact.
"how to approach CAFCASS to get recommendations for unsupervised contact "
There is no harm in asking the officer for there advise. For example You feel contact has been going extremely well over the period of 4 months and if they share your views around contact and the progression to unsupervised contact. That you feel the children will now benefit to regaining the level of normality away from a supervised environment. If this is something they can consider?

I always found asking for the officers professional opinion always works best rather than "This is what I want" etc however your position statement can be more direct.

I hope your report is balanced and fair and proceedings in court go as smoothly as you had planned.

Stay well



.
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