See also: • Authoritarian Paradigm Collapse • Education or Indoctrination • Fractal Abuse
Children Services Abuse:
Dave Scott: Initial Assessment (August 2009)
4 March 2012
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Back in July 2009 Marion wrote to various people in high places expressing concern about her daughter's welfare.  In particular she seemed concerned about her lack of education.  But she couldn't resist describing Dave as "unemployable, educated, seductive, feckless, self depreciating and twisted".  Needless to say the Children Services were obliged to investigate.  Dave Scott, an independent investigator was commissioned to do the job.  This is his Initial Assessment Report and is possibly the most supportive report available to give a more balanced view of the real state of affairs for Dave and Helen.  The reason for its inclusion here is that it has been referenced many times in this ongoing fiasco with the Children Services.

This is the document as it was supplied to Dave. It seems to be complete but it does say there are 19 pages and there are only 16. Pages 16, 18 and 19 are missing. I suspect it is a printing error caused by some word processing package but it does mean that one cannot be sure there are not other pages on the Children Services ICS.




SS2/279
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Initial Assessment Record
An initial assessment is
deemed to have
commenced at the point
of referral to social
services or when new
information on an open
case indicates an initial
assessment should be
repeated.                                                  
     An initial assessment is defined as a brief assessment of each child referred to social services with a request for services to be provided. This should be undertaken within a maximum of 7 working days from the date of referral but could be very brief depending on the child's circumstances. In completing this initial assessment, if it is known that a core assessment will be required, social work staff should make a professional judgement about whether it is necessary to complete all sections before beginning a Core Assessment.
Date referral received:                                        
Date initial assessment commenced:                                        

CHILD/YOUNG PERSON'S DETAILS
Family:   Hook                                                          Given names:    Hellen                                
DoB or expected date of delivery:  31st January 1994   Gender:          Female                                 
Address:   80 Haslet Road, Biston, Sumshire.                                                                                        
Postcode:   AZ1 1ZA               Tel:    Confidential                                        
SWIFT No.:    123456



The Initial Assessment
Record provides a
summary of the work
undertaken by social
services in collaboration
with other agencies.

As part of an initial
assessment, the child
should be seen. This
includes observation and
communicating with the
child in an age
appropriate manner.                                                  
    
Reason for initial assessment, including views of child/young person and parent/carers:

Referral received via Sumshire Education Department following letters being sent to them by Marion Hook, who is the mother to Helen Hook:

The first such letter was sent to William McDavid and is dated the 15th July 2009.

From this letter I have particularly noted that the author of the same expresses:
  • Her concern that Helen has not been attending school since October 2008.

  • There is "A chance for the system to make one gesture that might finally give Helen some real help - that one gesture is to remove her from her father'

  • Her feelings (which are expressed in no uncertain terms) that the welfare system has 'let Helen down' .

  • Her view that "The state gave her to her father who is deeply disturbed, highly manipulative and very believable face to face" and that "he has no conscience".

  • Her view that Helen "is isolated in her fathers care, large and cold home, sleeping in his room, and linked now to her unemployable, educated, seductive, feckless, self depreciating and twisted father".

The second such letter was sent to Jeffrey Peters - Education Welfare Officer - and is dated the 14th July 2009.

In effect, the said letter expresses the same concerns for Helen's welfare as

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Reason for initial assessment, including views of child/young person and parent/carers:

a consequence of her living in her fathers care and also the authors dissatisfaction of the 'welfare' and 'state' system - whom she believes have collectively 'let Helen down'.

Marion Hook also attaches a Chronology of events, from her perspective, relating to her daughter Helen.

The concerns that Marion Hook has for her daughter, in the main, but not exclusively, cover areas of her educational social, emotional and psychological well-being.


SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Agencies should be
consulted and involved as
appropriate as part of the
initial assessment.
Parental permission to
contact other agencies
should be obtained unless
permission seeking may
itself place a child at risk
of Significant harm.
It should be ascertained
whether other
professionals agree to the
information provided
being shared with the
child and/or family.                                                  
     Date(s) child/young person and family members seen/interviewed:
Date Name(s) of family member(s) interviewed Please tick if child/
young person seen
during interview
11.08.09 Helen Hook Yes
11.08.09 Mr Hook - Father to Helen  
11.08.09 Mr and Mrs Hook - Paternal
Grandparents
 
     
   
 
 
     
     

Agencies contributing to initial assessment:
Please ensure that the agency's address and parental consent to contact are recorded in the Referral and Information Record.
Please tick if involved Other agencies (please specify)
GP
HV
Nursery/school/ educational Y Education Welfare Department.
establishment

Please ensure that the agency's address is recorded on the Involvements Proforma and parental consent is recorded on the Initial Assessment.

CHILD/YOUNG PERSON'S DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS

All children and young people develop over time. Parents have a responsibility to respond appropriately to the child/young person's needs. The purpose of this section is to identify areas of strength and areas of developmental need, in order for resources to be allocated appropriately to ensure the optimum development of this particular child/young person. You may consider using the HOME Inventory and relevant Questionnaires and Scales (Department of Health et al, 2000) during the Initial Assessment. The parent's capacity to respond should be considered in relation to basic care, ensuring safety, emotional warmth, stimulation, guidance and boundaries and stability. For further information consult the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000) pp. 19-23. If the child/young person or other children in the household have been the subject of child protection concerns, please record the implications for the child/young person's current circumstances.

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HEALTH:

In general day to day terms, Helen generally enjoys overall good physical health and has no known special health or developmental needs.

From talking to Helen, and her father and grandparents separately, it is evident that she eats a generally regular and adequate diet. There was no indication that Helen is suffering from any form of eating disorder.

Helen herself spoke of not particularly enjoying physical exercise.

In terms of her emotional / psychological health needs, Helen spoke of having had around five sessions with a Counsellor (CAMH) in April / May 2009 - which, she reports, came to an end due to the Student Counsellor leaving the said organisation. Helen also indicated that she found such sessions to be of benefit to her and where she also appears ,to my mind, not to be resistive to taking part in further sessions - should they be made available to her.

Helen makes no secret that she sees herself as being "overly sensitive" to some of the comments made to her by her peer group, within her previous school, and where she readily admits that these were often no more than 'teasing' comments and that she was far from the only one being subjected to the same.

Helen very clearly articulates that the origins of her insecurity's are to be found in her experiences of her parents marriage breakdown and the reported subsequent concerted, manipulative and harmful behaviours of her mother, against her and her father - which has reportedly led to her having massive issues around trust and, what can only be described as being, an unbridled "hatred" for her mother for what she sees as being her mothers continued attempts to disrupt and harm her life.


EDUCATION

Helen commenced Biston High School for Girls in December 2007 following moving to live in the area with her father.

Previous to this, Helen and her father were both living in Notherton and where Helen attended Wordsworth College and where she reports that she was not particularly happy within this school or in terms of living in Notherton in general.

The Sumshire Education Welfare Services have provided the following Chronology of their formal involvement with Helen and her parents:

25th November 2009 - Attendance Panel meeting at Biston High School with Mr Hook present. Concerns highlighted about attendance. Mr Hook stated that illness, distress and anxiety were

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reasons for Helen being absent from school. School offered reintegration package to encourage full-attendance.

4th December 2008 - letter sent to Mr Hook from Caitlyn Copeland (Biston High School Assistant Head) in response to letter from Mr Hook which had been sent on 1st December 2008 following meeting on 25th November 2008. C. Copeland also attached a written attendance plan which had been agreed at the meeting. Jeffrey Peters was liaising with school and Mr Hook.

19th December 2008 - following further non attendance - referral made by Caitlyn Copeland (Biston High School Assistant Head) to Jeffrey Peters.

5th January 2009 - referral is accepted and case file opened by Jeffrey Peters

26th January 2009 - home visited as Helen had not returned to school following Christmas break. Mr Hook and Helen not at home but Jeffrey Peters did speak to Mr Hook's father who assured him that Helen was well.

28th January 2009 - Jeffrey Peters sent L5 Formal Warning Letter to Mr Hook.

4th February 2009 - Jeffrey Peters made home visit and discussed with Mr Hook and Helen the options of finding another school, educating at home, returning to Biston High School or making a referral to Biston Hospital School for Education Support.

17th March 2009 - Jeffrey Peters has meeting with Mrs Hook and Caitlyn Copeland at Biston High School.

23rd March 2009 - letter sent from Karen Spiker, Senior Practitioner Social Worker, to Caitlyn Copeland (Biston High School Assistant Head) informing Mrs Copeland that support was being requested at the Biston Hospital School. Karen Spiker was liaising with Jeffrey Peters. Helen also seeing CAMHS with a block of 5 appointments.

31st March 2009 - meeting held in school with Mr Hook, Jeffrey Peters and Mrs Copeland present. Agreed to make referral to Biston Hospital School and also send work home for Helen to complete.

14th April 2009 - Mrs Hook sends Jeffrey Peters letter thanking him for meeting with her and asking for notes from the meeting and follow up action plan. In the letter Mrs Hook expresses concern

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about the physical and mental state of her daughter and asks that Helen is removed from Mr Hook 'to a place of safety'.

27th April 2009 - Jeffrey Peters sends letter to Mrs Hook outlining actions which are as follows; - Helen is in regular contact with CAHMS - Helen has been referred to Biston Hospital School - Helen is engaging with Biston High School and Biston High School are looking at an eventual return to full-time attendance

18th May 2009 - letter sent from Mrs Hook to Jeffrey Peters asking for reply to her letter on 14th April 2009. Reply had been sent on 27th April 2009.

22nd May 2009 - letter was sent by Jeffrey Peters to Mrs Hook enclosing copy of letter sent on 27th April 2009.

22nd May 2009 - email sent from Mrs Hook to Caitlyn Copeland (Biston High School Assistant Head) stating she had received Jeffrey Peters' letter and stating that it was 'positive news'.

15th June 2009 - letter sent by Biston High School to Mr Hook (copied to Jeffrey Peters) stating that Biston Hospital School were still waiting for Mr Hook to respond regarding Education Support for Helen. Also, it was noted that Helen had stopped attending her CAHMS appointments and that work set for her to complete at home was not being returned as agreed.

30th June 2009 - Jeffrey Peters sends Mr Hook letter stating that further concerns have been raised by school about Helen's attendance. In a letter Jeffrey Peters asks to visit Mr Hook on 3rd July 2009 at 11.30am.

7th July 2009 - letter sent from E Boleyn, Assistant Head, Biston Hospital School (copied to Jeffrey Peters and Biston High School) outlining proposal made to support Helen and outcome. Initially two mornings per week offered to Helen commencing 23rd June 2009. Mr Hook asked for assurance that Helen could leave 'whenever she wished' or contact him by mobile phone 'when she wants'. This request was not agreed and Mr Hook has not accepted offer of Education Support at Biston Hospital School.

13th July 2009 - letter sent from Jeffrey Peters to Mr Hook informing Mr Hook that legal action would now be taken as he had refused to engage with Biston Hospital School, CAHMS and Biston High School.

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             13th July 2009 -letter is sent to Mrs Hook stating that that legal action may be taken against Mr Hook as he had refused to engage with Biston Hospital School, CAHMS and Biston High School.

14th July 2009 - letter sent by Mrs Hook to Jeffrey Peters and copied to Edith Cortright making complaint about how the case has been handled and asking for something to be done.

In discussing with Helen the reasons why she has found problems in attending school, on a regular basis, she reports that she is "overly sensitive" to some of the comments made to her by her peer group and not at all happy in general in the setting of Biston High School. Helen spoke of this making her "stomach curdle" with anxiety.

Helen (along with her father) also reported that, ultimately, Biston High School and the Biston Hospital School would not agree to their believed quite reasonable request for Mr Hook to be contacted at times of his daughter becoming upset and anxious within school - in order for him to immediately then be able to collect her from the school.

It would appear that the school work sent to Helen to complete in the absence of her attending school has not been fully completed.

Mr Hook offers the view that education professionals are being rigid and dogmatic in their refusal to allow Helen to contact him when she feels the need to and that if this could be agreed to then there is a good chance that Helen would return to school. Mr Hook also expresses that he and Helen have now "lost all trust" in the Sumshire Education Department and that he is most aggrieved over the 'threat' of them taking him to Court over the issue of Helen's non-school attendance.

Mr Hook spoke to me of possibly providing education for Helen at home.

I note that this was previously discussed with Mr Hook (on the 04.02.09) as being an option by Jeffrey Peters. Mr Hook reported to me, at time of my meeting with him, that he did not pursue this option at the time as he felt that this, in effect, 'removed' the Education Departments responsibility's towards Helen.




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From talking to Helen it is manifestly evident to me that she is a bright, intelligent and articulate young person who plainly has a good level of academic potential.

In overall summary of this area, it is of course a matter of Statute that Helen must attend education on a full time basis or be offered suitable alternative education on an home based basis.

It is evident that Helen's education needs have not been properly met for quite some time now and that, as such, the young persons obvious potential in this area is being much compromised.

If the 'stumbling' block' to Helen commencing Biston Hospital School is purely that of their refusal to contact Helen's father when she becomes upset / anxious this appears to my mind, and from a purely child welfare perspective, well worth an issue attempting to reach a compromise on.

Alternatively, it would appear that, under threat of prosecution, Mr Hook is now seriously considering to either educate Helen 'at home' or moving away from the area.
EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL DEVELOPMENT

The health aspect of this assessment has of course already offered detail on this issue.

Further to this, and from my meeting with her, Helen presented as being a seemingly well adjusted young person who was clearly interacting well with her father and other relatives of hers who were visiting around time of my visit to her.

It is evident that Helen is not engaging in any anti-social or risky behaviours within the community - or putting herself at risk of significant harm in any other way.

Notwithstanding this position, it is of course evident from talking to Helen that she has many unresolved issues of anger and mistrust arising from what she considers to be her mothers past, and continuing attempts, to disrupt and cause upset in her life.

It is also no less evident that Helen has some quite deep seated anxiety about returning to school.
IDENTITY

It is evident that Helen has a good understanding of her origins and the history and nature of relationships within her family.

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In reply to my specific question, Helen described herself as being "empathetic, creative, intelligent" and a little "over sensitive".
FAMILY AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

With regard to Helen's relationship with her mother, this assessment has of course already given clear indication of the young persons views on this.

Further to this, and when asked to recall her perception of her mother, Helen reported to me, in a seemingly thoughtful and considered manner that, "she is hard to work out personality wise - she tries to act nice all the time but when there is a problem she is ruthless" and where, when asked to give an example of this, she recalled being 'five minutes late home on one occasion' and her mother "screaming at me for ages which left me shaking and crying".

Helen also appeared to have a genuine recall of her mother misusing alcohol and, when I asked if this was an issue for her father, she was clear that it was not and that her father was very aware of her strong views on the misuse of alcohol - which "he respects". The paternal grandparents were clear that Mr Hook does not abuse alcohol.

At time of my visit, Helen had not long returned from staying with some obviously valued and trusted friends of hers from the Sumbury area - whom she appears to keep in quite regular contact with.

Helen reported to me that she misses these friends and that she would very much like to return to live in that area again and return to the Burrower School.

It is evident that Helen and her father have discussed this possibility on a number of occasions. However, whilst recognising the potential benefits of this move, Mr Hook is anxious as to how he could afford to make and sustain such a move.

Also, at time of my visit taking place, Helen and her father were being visited by a number of relatives and where Helen was also soon going to be staying, for a few days, with her paternal aunt, and her family, in the London area - which she appeared to be looking forward to.

My inquiry revealed that Helen has very limited peer group friendships within the Biston area and that she does not socialise much, if at all, within the community within which she lives.

This said, at time of my visit ending, Helen and Mr Hook were planning on visiting some local friends to share a meal with them and where it would appear that this is not an uncommon occurrence.
SOCIAL PRESENTATION

During the course of my visit to her, Helen presented as being an articulate, intelligent and co-operative young person who was more than able to discuss with me the matters to hand in an open, mature and reflective manner.

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It was also evident to me that Helen has a sense of humour.

No concerns were in evidence for any aspect of Helen's physical or psychological presentation at time of my visit being made to her.
SELF-CARE SKILLS

There are no evident concerns in this area.


ATTRIBUTES OF PARENTS'/CARERS' CAPACITIES WHICH AFFECT THEIR ABILITY TO RESPOND APPROPRIATELY TO THE CHILD/YOUNG PERSON'S NEEDS
It is important to be aware of parent(s)/carer(s) strengths as well as difficulties they are experiencing.
Research shows that the following
are most likely to affect parenting
capacity: physical illness; mental
illness; learning disability;
substance/alcohol misuse; domestic
violence; childhood abuse; history of
abusing children.  
It is important to record that an issue
is present, to whom it refers and its
affect on parenting.  
It is also important to record details
of adults who might pose a risk of
significant harm to the child/young
person.  
Consider whether a separate carer's
assessment is required under the
Carers and Disabled Children Act
2000.                                                  
    
The referrer has indicated that, whilst in a relationship with him, Mr hook misused alcohol and was, on occasion violent towards her.

It is evident that these issues, along with all other relevant factors were of course much considered by the Court at time of them making a Residence Order for Helen, in her father's favour, in June 2005.

Since this point, in time there has been no cogent evidence to indicate any concerns in this area.

Further to this, it is my understanding that the referrer has previously made allegations against Mr Hook of sexual impropriety against his daughter, Helen, which have been investigated and where it was ultimately concluded that there was no merit in such allegations.

The primary issue which has, without doubt, impacted on Helen is her parents acrimonious divorce - and the subsequent, and seemingly enduring, allegations and counter allegations that have followed.

There is no formal evidence of Mr Hook suffering from any form of mental illness.

  Should a referral be made to adult services?         Yes            No   x     
  If YES, please specify details in the Initial Plan.

FAMILY AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS WHICH IMPACT ON THE CHILD AND FAMILY
Please record relevant historical information as well as that relating to the current situation. It is important to record details of any adults who are considered to or are likely to be posing a risk of significant harm to the child/young person.
Family history and functioning:

Dave Hook and Marion Hook were divorced in May 2004 with the latter citing the fathers misuse of alcohol and occasional violence as being the primary grounds for this. It is evident that the ensuing legal proceedings were acrimonious in nature and where allegation vs allegation appears to have then (and subsequently) featured.

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June 2005 - a Residence Order was made in favour of Mr Dave Hook in respect of Helen and where it is course completely inconceivable that the Fraben Court would not have considered all the evidence filed before it - including that relating to issues of domestic violence, the misuse of alcohol and the emotional welfare of the child concerned.

Also, at time of the said Court hearing being held, it is my understanding that a defined Contact Order was also made in favour of Marion Hook - affording her fortnightly direct contact with Helen - and where it is evident that, in effect, Helen has chosen not to exercise the same.

2007 - Helen and her father move to live in Notherton but ultimately this appears not to be successful due to, at the very least, Helen not being happy in her school and also due to them being the subjects of a burglary.

2007 (December) - Helen and her father move to live in Biston - in the home of the Helen's paternal grandparents.

2008 - Helen being educated at Biston High School and where issues of attendance become an issue and which ultimately culminate in Helen not attending school since around October 2008.

It is evident from my inquiry that Helen does not enjoy the best of relationships with her paternal grandfather and where I detect that they keep a respectful distance from each other. In part, I detect that this is partly due to the fact that the paternal grandfather does not particularly enjoy the best of relationships with his son, Dave Hook and that, further to this, the paternal grandfather finds it difficult to 'accommodate' Helen and his son living in his house on a full time basis.

It appears evident that Helen and her father enjoy a more positive relationship with the Helen's paternal grandmother

Wider Family

It is evident that Helen has a level of positive contact with various members of her paternal extended family - who both visit and stay with her and she them.

Housing

Helen, along with her father, live in the family home of her paternal grandparents - which presents as a large home and where there was no evident concerns

Despite Marion Hook indicating, with n her correspondence, that the home is 'cold' and that 'Helen is sleeping her her fathers room' - this is without any foundation and as such one must question the referrers motivations for making such comments.

The reality is that the home presents as being a more than adequate family home and where Helen has her own room which, upon my express inquiry, appears to be more than private and properly respected by all other persons who live in the family home.

Employment

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Mr Hook has reported to me that he is a 'Software Engineer' by profession but has not been able to secure appropriate employment in this area for quite some time now.

Income (please include information regarding financial difficulties)

It is my understanding that Mr Hook is reliant on State Benefits for his income and where I have gained no information which would suggest that he is generally not able to appropriately prioritise and mange the same.

Family's social integration

No further information to add beyond that which has previously been detailed within the family and social relationships aspects of this document.


Community resources


Helen and her father live in an area relatively well served by a range of community resources which they plainly have the necessary skills to access should they so choose.


ANALYSIS OF INFORMATION GATHERED DURING THE INITIAL ASSESSMENT
The analysis should identify the factors that have an impact on different aspects of the child's development and parenting capacity, and explore the relationship between them. This process of analysing the information available about the child's needs, parenting capacity and wider family and environmental factors should result in a clear understanding of the child's needs, and what types of service provision would best address these needs to ensure the child has the opportunity to achieve his/her potential. It is important to include any evidence that the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.

Firstly, I believe that it is highly necessary to appreciate the historical background and the nature of 'family' relationships within which the concerns for Helen, and that of her fathers character and functioning, have been expressed within.

That is plainly one where the divorce of the parents was one of a highly acrimonious nature and where allegation vs allegation between the parents appears to have been a substantial, if not continuing, feature.

Within the Court proceedings relating to the residence of Helen, the Honourable Court (Fraben) would of course have considered all of the available evidence and allegations set before it - alongside the professional views of at least the CAFCASS officer - to suggest otherwise would be amount to nothing less than folly and be wholly disrespectful to the 'rule of law'.

I note that Marion Hook was legally represented within those proceedings and, had there been grounds for appeal, I presume that those acting for her would have advised her

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accordingly.

In fact, there was no subsequent appeal and neither has there been, despite her stated concern for her daughter, any subsequent application made by Marion Hook before any court in relation to issues of contact and residence relating to her daughter, Helen.

I also consider it necessary to observe that Helen has chosen, over the course of many years now, not to exercise her 'right to contact' with her mother and where her opinions of her mother can only be described as being those of outright mistrust and antipathy towards her - and where Helen conveys that the origins of this circumstance are to be found in her mothers manipulative, unfounded and concerted attempts to disrupt her life and cause her upset.

Notwithstanding these observations, the plain fact that Helen has not been attending school on a regular basis since at least October 2008 is of course a valid concern and not one which I will in any way seek to minimise.

The potential impact of this upon, at the very least, Helen's future education and employment prospects, coupled with the lack of opportunity's for peer group interaction and socialisation, must of course not be underestimated.

The primary reasons for Helen's non school attendance primarily appear to find their origins in her 'sensitive' character - which she in turn conveys originates from her experiences of her parents marriage breakdown and the reported subsequent concerted, manipulative and harmful behaviours of her mother, against her and her father - which have reportedly led to her having massive issues around trust and, what can only be described as being, an unbridled "hatred" for her mother - for what she sees as being her mothers continued attempts to disrupt and harm her life.

This said, Helen is of course required by legal statute to attend school on a regular basis - or be 'educated otherwise'.The Education Welfare Department, who of course are primarily responsible for ensuring that Helen attends school and also in terms of taking any action to remedy this when problems arise, have issued Mr Hook with a notice of proceedings in relation to Helen's non-school attendance. That is not a matter for itself which should involve Children's Services and neither does it, for itself, constitute 'significant harm' under the Children Act 1989.

Accordingly, it seems to me that there are a number of options available:

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One: If the 'stumbling' block' to Helen commencing Biston Hospital School is purely that of their refusal to contact Helen's father when she becomes upset I anxious this appears to my mind, and from a purely child welfare perspective, well worth an issue attempting to reach a compromise on given the particular circumstances of this case.

Two: Mr Hook to ensure that Helen is provided with 'education otherwise' - to the required standard.

Three: Mr Hook and Helen have spoken of the possibility of moving back to the Sumbury area - and where Helen expresses that she would find it much easier to re-commence school and be with her trusted friends of some many years standing.

My inquiry generally revealed that:
  • Whilst Helen is plainly somewhat hyper sensitive to some of the comments and behaviours of her peer group within school and has many unresolved issues around her mother - she generally presents as being a seemingly well adjusted young person who was clearly interacting well with her father and other relatives of hers who were visiting around time of my visit to her.

  • It is evident that Helen is not engaging in any anti-social or risky behaviours within the community - or putting herself at risk of significant harm in any other way.

  • Helen has highly limited peer group / social networks within the community within which she presently lives - which of course is far from desirable. This said, it is no less evident that Helen, with much support from her father, maintains seemingly good links with various members of her paternal family (including young people around her own age) and also with her very valued friends from the Sumbury area - whom she misses greatly. This does of course provide some compensation and balance to the identified limitations and where it of course cannot reasonably be argued that Helen is completely isolated and without 'networks'.

  • Helen appears to have a satisfactory diet and, like may of her peer group, she is not particularly interested in the 'outdoors' and exercise - which again, whilst arguably not desirable, can in no way be deemed to represent 'significant harm' under meanings as clearly set out in the Children Act 1989.

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  • The home presents as being a more than adequate and where Helen has her own room which, upon my express inquiry, appears to be more than private and properly respected by all other persons who live in the family home.

  • Helen does spend quite some time on her computer (not unlike many of her peer group) and that this does on occasion involve her staying up perhaps a little later than is good for her. Again, this does not constitute 'significant harm' under the meanings as clearly set out in the Children Act 1989.

  • There was no presenting evidence to indicate concerns for Mr Hook's general functioning and character - sufficient for them to be a cause for concern for his parenting of Helen.

Having concluded that the matter of Helen's school attendance is one for the Education Department to deal with, which they are evidently doing, I now address the issue of Helen's 'wider welfare' which, the referrer suggests, in somewhat emotionally charged and accusatory terms, is so concerning as to require her daughter to be 'removed' from her fathers care and be either placed with her or in foster care - against her will.

In so doing, and whilst openly acknowledging that there are of course evident areas which are not completely ideal, it is manifestly evident to me that these areas do in no way constitute 'significant harm' under the meanings of s.47 the Children Act 1989.

In the clear absence of this well defined legal threshold being met, the Local Authority cannot, as a matter of law, initiate care proceedings for Helen. Rather, Helen's current welfare circumstances do meet the definition of a 'Child In Need' under s.17 of the Children Act 1989.

With further regard to the plain demand of Marion Hook that her daughter be either placed with her or in foster care, and whilst openly recognising that her concern relating to her daughters educational needs is of course valid, I am compelled to observe that such demand does in no reasonably minded way, represent an action that can be founded in the best welfare interests of her daughter.

Rather, it is my clear professional view that such demand represents an abject and quite concerning failure to be able to appreciate, and apply, a child focused, proportionate and balanced

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response to the identified difficulties in respect of Helen and also a failure to, in any meaningful way, appreciate the likely significant, long term emotional and psychological damage that would be caused to her by removing her, against her will, from the only person she trusts. The fact that Ms Marion Hook is a qualified 'therapist 'only serves, to my mind, to add further concern in this regard as one would have, at the very least, expected her to have had far more insight into these issues and be far more balanced than those who are outside of the 'care arena'.

Accordingly, and leaving aside the obvious concern for Helen's education, which is of course an entirely valid concern, I am compelled to conclude that a major factor behind Ms Marion Hook's referral originates from her, seemingly as yet unresolved, antipathy towards her former husband and the judgement of the Honourable Court concerning Helen - which she has been at liberty to challenge if she was so minded - and also where I note that her correspondence is entirely silent on the judicial reasons which ultimately led to Helen not being placed in her care.

In terms of support services to be offered to Helen, and aside from the educational issues, I would recommend that:

  • Consideration be given to making a further referral to CAMH or similar service.

  • Consideration be given to making a referral to a Befriender / Advocacy / Youth Service organisation in order to, at the very least, afford Helen greater social, peer group and community links and provide a 'listening ear' for her.


DECISIONS
This section should be completed following discussion with the team manager.
Yes No
1.    Is the child/young person a child in need as defined in the Children Act 1989?        x                       
2.    2. If YES, please tick which child in need category/ies is/are appropriate:
a) a child whose vulnerability is such they are unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development without the provision of services        x                       
b) child whose health or development will be significantly impaired without the provision of services (is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm)                        x       
c) disabled child                        x       
     If the child is disabled, please record the types of impairment(s) (using the children in need categories):

     If the child's name is not on the disability register, have the parents consented to it being placed there?

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SS2/279
Rev. 05/07
Sumshire
COUNTY COUNCIL

Name and signature of social worker completing initial assessment:
Date:                                
Allocated to    Dave Scott - ISW                Team    FAST                         Date:                                
Name and signature of team manager:
Date:                                








































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