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Niece's failed access visit with 9 year old son!

(5 Posts)
kittylester Fri 19-Dec-14 18:40:07

On the Shepherd's Pie thread, I mentioned our niece who is a recovering alcoholic. She has not seen her 9 year old son since a couple of days after she came out of rehab and left her husband (early October, I think) as he informed SS (after she left) that she is an unfit mother and has applied for sole custody.

She had a supervised access visit booked for this morning but, when she arrived, was told that the child didn't want to see her as it would be too upsetting just before Christmas. The SW also informed DN that her husband seemed very controlling. His controlling behaviour and violence were the reasons she left him. She has two older sons who have made accusations against her - we think instigated by the father.

Any advice about the position regarding a child refusing to see it's mother in this situation.

Iam64 Fri 19-Dec-14 19:21:58

Is your niece's little boy in foster care and if so, is that on a voluntary basis or because he is the subject of care proceeding.

It isn't usual for social workers to become involved in contact issues unless there are child protection issues. Your niece has parental responsibility, the Children Act along with policies and procedures will mean contact should be promoted.

It is occasionally difficult to persuade children to see parents where this is a history of violence or drug/alcohol abuse, leaving the child feeling anxious. I would be surprised if the sw hand't spent time talking with the child about his refusal to see his mum.

If your niece doesn't already have an appointment to meet the social worker, I hope she'll make one asap. Meanwhile, she could take a christmas card and gift (not loads of cash needed) and write a short letter sending love, and her best wishes for him to have a good christmas. She may feel able to acknowledge his feelings, try to reassure him and to express a wish that it won't be too long before they meet.

It's so sad isn't it.

kittylester Sat 20-Dec-14 07:08:32

Thanks for your reply Iam.

DN's son is not in foster care, he lives with his father (by default really) in the family home until the custody hearing at the end of January. This visit was for her to give him a Christmas present as well as to see him. She is and has been in contact with the SW .

The reason for my question was that we feel the child is being manipulated by his father and I wondered whether she has any rights to see him at the moment.

The child has been given a mobile phone by his father and DN is able to send him texts which are then answered by his father!

Iam64 Sat 20-Dec-14 08:12:12

Manipulation of children by parents in contested contact/residence disputes is something the social worker, lawyers and family court will be alert to.

I've pm'd you

Nelliemoser Sat 20-Dec-14 08:20:11

Has this child actually told an independent person that he does not want to see his mum? He could have been set against her by propaganda from Dad or he might be genuinely scared of seeing his mum.

It is all to easy for a controlling parent to say all this about a child and often the poor child dare not contradict his parent.

As she has supervised contact has this been set up by a court order, in which case it could presumably be challenged.

A difficult situation indeed. Such allegations of "he doesn't want to see you." by a parent are commonly made and trying to find the truth of what is happening is a great deal harder.