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Supervised sessions
#1
After a 9 month long child arrangement case at the family court where the order was issued in September 2019, i finally got to see my daughter in the first week of November 2019. I've had 3 weekly supervised sessions so far.
1st. Only held her for a few seconds as she was crying for her mom.

2nd. Had her for about 15 minutes, she cried the whole time, centre staff said they're only allowed to let children cry for 15 minutes.

3rd. 'Today', didnt even get to see her, she cries whenever mom leaves the room. So centre staff let them go. Mom says child distressed and been to GP after the last session etc. Excuse to influence contact supervisor maybe? Mother refusing to be in the same room as me to assist, usual oppression tactic.

I'm stuck at supervised stage. Which means il be attending every week paying the centre fees but no signs of any potential progress.

Any advice?

I think I need to go back to court and somehow get cafcass involved again.
Due to financial constraints I represented myself in court and got the final order. I thought it was final but by the looks of it I dont think it is final especially if I have to go back and ask court to put something else in the order to assist my kid to develop relationship. I.e. someone familiar being in the room with me.

At the moment I have
- weekly whatsapp.. 30 minutes a specific time specified by the mother. My kid is sleeping during that time and I only get to watch her sleep.

- 8 weekly supervised sessions in the order, then progressing onto supported and eventually into community and overnights. It does not look like it's going to work to that plan..

I'm going to call cafcass on Monday but its likely they wont assist without an active court case and instruction from the court.

Any advice please. Which form needs filling in? Do I need a solicitor? Any angles or approaches I can take to help me? This rough ride is even longer than I anticipated.

Any help appreciated please. I would be very grateful.

Thanks
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#2
how old is your child ? Depending on what age you could bring something along to break the ice. I imagine she is pretty young from what you have wrote about supervised sessions
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#3
Only allowed to let them cry for 15 minutes? How old is she? They can cry for ages. Someone else had an issue like this and the time of day was significant . Most young children have a nap in the afternoon and cry a lot if they am have just woken up or need the nap or it’s feeding time.

Could you have some food with you or a bottle or drink? Or as Warwickshire says - fun toy. A cuddly toy you can distract her with (I had a floppy dog and would shake it so it’s ears flapped and that made DOB laugh). Or a nursery rhyme book that plays the songs (fisher price do one).

Ask for a different time of day - mornings maybe.
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#4
(11-16-2019, 05:19 PM)warwickshire1 Wrote: how old is your child ?  Depending on what age you could bring something along to break the ice. I imagine she is pretty young from what you have wrote about supervised sessions

Hi warwickshire1, she turned 2 in September and is coming across as a bit stubborn. I do take sweets, crisps and kiddy drinks just in case she wants it and they have toys in the centre that I use.

In the 2nd session there was very small portion of interaction, where i asked her if she wanted me to open the door, she looked at me and nodded yes...

(11-16-2019, 06:32 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: Only allowed to let them cry for 15 minutes? How old is she? They can cry for ages. Someone else had an issue like this and the time of day was significant . Most young children have a nap in the afternoon and cry a lot if they am have just woken up or need the nap or it’s feeding time.

Could you have some food with you or a bottle or drink? Or as Warwickshire says - fun toy. A cuddly toy you can distract her with (I had a floppy dog and would shake it so it’s ears flapped and that made DOB laugh). Or a nursery rhyme book that plays the songs (fisher price do one).

Ask for a different time of day - mornings maybe.

She's two, i think they may have been acting under some condition set out in childcare or centre policy or something that they're only allowed to let the child cry or impose any voluntary distress for 15 minutes. My appointments were at 1pm and the supervision reports kind of express she is distressed when she visits the centre and mom leaves her company. Also noted that my kid is all happy and smiley again when its time to leave the centre. I get the feeling that it depends on which supervisor you get assigned (its never the same supervisor every session) and i get the feeling they have given up especially as theyre telling me to get in contact with my solicitor or go back to court.

Last week the mother said the child vomited and had to go AnE, 2 days after the contact date and so the contact supervisor became more hesitant to cause the little one distress. Clearly the vomiting and AnE episode and contact session experience are not related?

i will consider the toys and the different time of day. thank you.
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#5
I have used a Contact Center in Birmingham before - I have to admit the ones in Birmingham have wildly different rules to the ones where I live
The opinions here are not that of Separated Dads, but merely a loving father who has been through the process and has come out the other side.
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#6
"I have used a Contact Center in Birmingham before - I have to admit the ones in Birmingham have wildly different rules to the ones where I live"

@invisibleintellectual I have to go weekly to one in ilford. Also depends on the supervisor on how proactive they are in trying to promote the relationship. One lady always ends up cancelling contact, I.e she gives up too easy. Time and money wasted.

Most likely I will have to go back to court to get cafcass involved with the contact. That will be another 2 or 3 months away :-(
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#7
In today's session child stayed in the centre for approximately 40 minutes. Child spent time with mother and the supervisor in their own room. Around the 35th minute, centre manager told me to go into the room. Minutes after I entered child started crying so contact came to a stop.

Centre advises wait few more sessions while child gets acquainted with centre staff before going to court. Allegedly mother agreed to come mid week (week after next) with kid to spend time with centre staff. Delay tactic/string along? Who knows.. I was ready to apply again to the courts this week. I'm thinking if i should hold on. Would prefer dealing with supervisor instead of M or M relative.
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#8
I would suggest trying to be a bit proactive with the contact centre staff and put something in writing (it holds more weight and they will need to show they have tried to achieve things). eg

Dear xyz

I am writing to ask for consideration as to how contact should best progress with my child. On the last occasion, Mother spent 35 minutes with child and contact centre employee x name. I wish to suggest that it is not helping matters for the Mother to be with the child immediately prior the child has contact with me as this may well exacerbate any feeling of leaving the Mother. I therefore request that at the next session, Mother leaves and child is left with contact centre worker and toys etc for a good 20 minutes, before my one hour contact session. To enable child to adjust to Mother not being there, being with someone else around, and some distraction, before being with me also. I also think that time of day is important and that after lunch is not a good time as that is generally a nap time when children cry more if they are tired and needing a sleep. I suggest lunch time with the opportunity to also give child lunch at the centre. Or have a drink or snacks available.

Something like that. That letter can also be used as evidence if you do apply to court again and the contact centre will need to document things also. Is your child being breast fed? If not there is no reason why you can't bottle feed or give baby food on a spoon at lunch time.
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#9
(11-24-2019, 02:05 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: I would suggest trying to be a bit proactive with the contact centre staff and put something in writing (it holds more weight and they will need to show they have tried to achieve things). eg

Dear xyz

I am writing to ask for consideration as to how contact should best progress with my child. On the last occasion, Mother spent 35 minutes with child and contact centre employee x name. I wish to suggest that it is not helping matters for the Mother to be with the child immediately prior the child has contact with me as this may well exacerbate any feeling of leaving the Mother. I therefore request that at the next session, Mother leaves and child is left with contact centre worker and toys etc for a good 20 minutes, before my one hour contact session. To enable child to adjust to Mother not being there, being with someone else around, and some distraction, before being with me also. I also think that time of day is important and that after lunch is not a good time as that is generally a nap time when children cry more if they are tired and needing a sleep. I suggest lunch time with the opportunity to also give child lunch at the centre. Or have a drink or snacks available.

Something like that. That letter can also be used as evidence if you do apply to court again and the contact centre will need to document things also. Is your child being breast fed? If not there is no reason why you can't bottle feed or give baby food on a spoon at lunch time.

Thanks, centre and myself is making suggestions. Yesterdays session started at 3, didnt get to see her at all, observations suggest that intermittently she showed signs of being tired. Next week we'll try for 11am or 12pm midday. No more late afternoon sessions, it seems to get dark earlier too.

i think i need to re-apply to the courts for a variation straight up and get cafcass involved again and see if the court can charge someone to be with the child (someone who she is familiar with) without delay. who knows when the FHDRA will be scheduled, doubt it will be this year.

Reading through all the observation notes (over the past 4 sessions) where mothers comments are noted, it seems the mother is trying to make up excuses to show that contact attempts with the father is actually a detriment to the child's health in all aspects.

excuses include:

- loss of appetite
- lack of motivation and interaction, apparently she doesn't go to external family members anymore where she resides. (i find that hard to believe)
- mother unable to work 2 shifts because she had to tend to her daughter.
- change in sleep pattern (she now sleeps during the weekly allocated face-time interval)
- the involvement of CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), 
- Regular visits to the doctors and AnE (i am in the process of obtaining medical records)
- Emotional issues, behavioural issues, eating issues, sleeping issues

The mother is making out to be that this all started since contact attempts commenced. Mother seems to mentions stuff every-time to centre supervisor, so its noted within contact notes. Case of a genuinely concerned mother OR is there a conniving plot behind it?

Despite all this there are mentions of the child's behaviour coming across as normal, she engages with the supervisor, plays with toys etc, laughs during session, says 'bye bye' and waves bye when leaving the centre (at one time she put stickers on all the centre staff jumpers as she was leaving). All seems like normal behaviour as long as the mother is present.

the courts always look at the welfare of the child. given the above whats the likelihood of the courts saying to me, listen 'dad', you should give it up, its affecting your kid
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#10
(12-01-2019, 10:45 PM)BirminghamUK Wrote:
(11-24-2019, 02:05 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: I would suggest trying to be a bit proactive with the contact centre staff and put something in writing (it holds more weight and they will need to show they have tried to achieve things). eg

Dear xyz

I am writing to ask for consideration as to how contact should best progress with my child. On the last occasion, Mother spent 35 minutes with child and contact centre employee x name.  I wish to suggest that it is not helping matters for the Mother to be with the child immediately prior the child has contact with me as this may well exacerbate any feeling of leaving the Mother.  I therefore request that at the next session, Mother leaves and child is left with contact centre worker and toys etc for a good 20 minutes, before my one hour contact session. To enable child to adjust to Mother not being there, being with someone else around, and some distraction, before being with me also.  I also think that time of day is important and that after lunch is not a good time as that is generally a nap time when children cry more if they are tired and needing a sleep.  I suggest lunch time with the opportunity to also give child lunch at the centre.  Or have a drink or snacks available.

Something like that. That letter can also be used as evidence if you do apply to court again and the contact centre will need to document things also.  Is your child being breast fed?  If not there is no reason why you can't bottle feed or give baby food on a spoon at lunch time.

Thanks, centre and myself is making suggestions. Yesterdays session started at 3, didnt get to see her at all, observations suggest that intermittently she showed signs of being tired. Next week we'll try for 11am or 12pm midday. No more late afternoon sessions, it seems to get dark earlier too.

i think i need to re-apply to the courts for a variation straight up and get cafcass involved again and see if the court can charge someone to be with the child (someone who she is familiar with) without delay. who knows when the FHDRA will be scheduled, doubt it will be this year.

Reading through all the observation notes (over the past 4 sessions) where mothers comments are noted, it seems the mother is trying to make up excuses to show that contact attempts with the father is actually a detriment to the child's health in all aspects.

excuses include:

- loss of appetite
- lack of motivation and interaction, apparently she doesn't go to external family members anymore where she resides. (i find that hard to believe)
- mother unable to work 2 shifts because she had to tend to her daughter.
- change in sleep pattern (she now sleeps during the weekly allocated face-time interval)
- the involvement of CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), 
- Regular visits to the doctors and AnE (i am in the process of obtaining medical records)
- Emotional issues, behavioural issues, eating issues, sleeping issues

The mother is making out to be that this all started since contact attempts commenced. Mother seems to mentions stuff every-time to centre supervisor, so its noted within contact notes. Case of a genuinely concerned mother OR is there a conniving plot behind it?

Despite all this there are mentions of the child's behaviour coming across as normal, she engages with the supervisor, plays with toys etc, laughs during session, says 'bye bye' and waves bye when leaving the centre (at one time she put stickers on all the centre staff jumpers as she was leaving). All seems like normal behaviour as long as the mother is present.

the courts always look at the welfare of the child. given the above whats the likelihood of the courts saying to me, listen 'dad', you should give it up, its affecting your kid

Sounds like a load of codswallop/excuses. Why would a child have all those problems just spending time with anyone?  Ridiculous.  Ok so she cries when her Mother isn't there.  That's fairly normal - they can usually be distracted out of it and they get used to it.  11am to 12 sounds better - maybe you can give her lunch - they like being fed!  Food is a good distraction.
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