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Cafcass - do they always make the right recommendations?

(13 Posts)
Benswifetobe Sat 06-Apr-13 10:22:50

Almost two years ago, my (now) partner and his ex split amicably due to mutual agreement. They have two Young sons. Access to his boys was regular and continual, everyone was happy. My partner has a great career, and is a much loved member of the community. Then she found out about me. Suddenly all access stopped, he had to take her to court to see them, at which point she flung a whole ream of (false) allegations at him and the judge which duly meant Cafcass and other bodies having to become involved. As I said, almost two years later, he is still battling to prove his innocence. It seems his ex is not obliged to prove his guilt. We have todays received the findings from the cafcass wishes and feelings report, whereby they have suggested he sends the boys a monthly letter to start with, with the view of moving on to chaperoned access in a contact centre months later. This is a man who took the boys to and from school every day, entertained them all weekend, took them on trips, ferried them to their out of school activities, because their mother is a high powered career woman and was generally working. He and I have successful jobs, a beautiful home, and I have two children of my own, who are perfectly rounded, bright little people. Having him in their lives has only been a positive thing and has benefited them immensely. Based on the cafcass report, it will be at least 30 months by the time he sees his own childrem, that's if she doesn't throw any more spanners into the works. It crushes him every day, and I am doing my best to be a supportive partner. Has anyone been through anything similar? Can anyone offer any words of support? This is so tough sad xxx

Riakin Sat 06-Apr-13 10:46:49

Tell your husband to head over to dadtalk and post in legal eagle, wealth of top notch advice

Children are being used here sad

Benswifetobe Sat 06-Apr-13 10:52:51

Thankyou Riakin, the children are being used, And undoubtedly poisoned against him/ us. I will get him onto it now x

kittycat68 Sat 06-Apr-13 12:15:09

cafcass are a bit of a joke TBH. they are not impatrial and will often base their views biasly no matter what the evidence says and they will not change thier minds no matter what. dont rely on the truth being seen it rarely comes to the fore with cafcass.

HopingItllBeOK Sat 06-Apr-13 12:27:27

Just because the initial Cafcass report sets out a proposed pathway of contact, doesn't mean it is set in stone and will actually take that long. My own report said 18 months of supervised contact in a contact centre and now a mere 7 months and 2 contact sessions later, it has already gone to unsupervised and there is definite talk of overnight visits.

How long was your partner seeing the boys regularly after the split? And how long is it since he has now seen them? If he can prove that he was a large part of their life while living together and that contact went well initially after the split, that would be reason enough to push for contact to resume quickly, even if that means going to a contact centre for it. It is usual to get some form of face to face contact arranged quite quickly when children are young as they live so much in the moment that prolonged lack of contact can damage the future relationship.

That said, they must be some damn weighty allegations that his ex has made if Cafcass are recommending no physical contact at all and such a long time before it becomes a consideration. Just because Cafcass haven't included any evidence from her in a report, doesn't mean she doesn't have any. How certain are you that her allegations are entirely unfounded?

Collaborate Sat 06-Apr-13 17:05:24

Cafcass just report on what the children are saying, and how in the light of that contact can progress. They don't/shouldn't ever comment on disputed facts as if they have found in favour of one party or the other telling the truth. That's the job of the judge.

Benswifetobe Sat 06-Apr-13 18:13:32

Thanks all for your points and advice x hopingitllallbeok, thankyou for your message, the boys saw their father regularly unsupervised for some 3 months before contact was stopped. Her allegations were put forward in the way of a Scot Schedule and there was no evidence provided to substantiate her claims other than 'witness statements' from 3 of her friends in which they describe what she accounted to them 'happened' because none of them were actually there. This is why we cannot understand the severity of what is happening. She is alleging one account of domestic violence 5 years previous to their separation. After which, they then had another child together and made plans to marry and move to Australia. He has now not seen his children for almost 19 months. He hasn't been allowed so much as a phone call. I appreciate that the courts and associated support services have to be 100% certain that the children are safe, but there is nothing other than her word, that they aren't. I have seen every court bundle and all correspondence between her, the courts and my partner, I am completely at a loss, as is his Mackenzie Friend, as to why they have been so against any contact at all.

Benswifetobe Sat 06-Apr-13 18:14:03

thanks

STIDW Sun 07-Apr-13 11:06:57

It can be very frustrating. Although no assumption should be made sometimes the authorities need to treat allegations of DV as though they might be true just in case whilst investigations are carried out. Unfortunately that can take time and if there has been a long break in contact it may take a little time to re-establish the relationship particularly if the children are young.

Benswifetobe Sun 07-Apr-13 12:19:31

Thankyou x it's just so frustrating x I know thurs acting in the best Interests of the children that's what's keeping us going xxx

Benswifetobe Sun 07-Apr-13 12:19:51

*they're

carelessdad Mon 08-Apr-13 08:37:17

In my experience, CAFCASS did not report the children’s views accurately. My eldest asked what had been said about his comments, disagreed and then sent a two page letter to CAFCASS, stating what his views actually were. I would like to hope that this action did not adversely influence what happened next, and it was incompetence rather than deliberate maliciousness from the CAFCASS reporter.

The subsequent wishes and feelings report made reference to police checks which supposedly stated that I had been investigated for serious assault on my ex-wife some years before. This was completely untrue, and CAFCASS were sent a letter from the police’s legal department to say that they had had no reports of any assault by me whatsoever, and that no investigations had ever been made. This letter was ignored, and the allegation was repeated in a subsequent report.

I made a formal complaint to CAFCASS, and months later, after the final custody hearing, I was informed that the piece of paper from the police which supposedly told CAFCASS about the investigations could not be found. A senior officer from CAFCASS had also told the officer concerned to write to me to apologise for their error. I received a grudging apology seven months later, after much prompting.

CAFCASS have their own agenda and can operate without the necessary checks and balances which one would expect in on organisation which has so much power and influence on children’s lives. It would not surprise me if the CAFCASS officer in your case has taken the view ‘if the mother has made these accusations it must be true’, and has framed their recommendations accordingly. It doesn’t mean you can’t fight against the CAFC ASS recommendation, just that it can be an uphill struggle and you and your partner should be prepared for buckets of nasty stuff to be thrown in your direction. A lot will depend on the ages of the children, whether your partner was married to their mother (you imply they weren’t, I think) what you can prove by way of contact before the split and what you’re trying to claim in the proceedings. If you can afford it, I would also recommend a shit hot lawyer, as this may be outside the experience of a McKenzie friend.

The kids wanted to live with me which they now do, and the youngest lives with his mother on alternate weekends. I’ve had a long and exhausting fight to achieve what the children told me they wanted. It has been worth it though.

kittycat68 Thu 11-Apr-13 10:32:02

its worth remembering that cafcass officers/ guardian ad litems are all different there are some that are shocking and actually emotionally abuse children into going for contact they do not want. Some also come into the case with a very biased attitudes of their own personal belifes too. Saying that some are reasonable too. Mostly they are not there to represent the childrens wishes and feelings but to promote NRP contact.

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