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i don't know if i am putting this in the right place but didn't really know where to put it! we had a mother ask us today to not let her child go home with his father if he ever turns up to collect him. without going into too much detail mum and dad have recently split (mum decided she had had enough and has found love elsewhere!) dad is very upset as you can imagine so i believe from what mum is telling us,he is making noises about seeing the children alot more than she would like, (i think it's so sad when the children are mixed up in the middle of adults problems) xD

am i right in thinking that unless there is a safeguarding issue or unless there is a court order against a parent we are not in a position to prevent the parent from collecting the child?

we have only come across this once before but there was a court order against Dad and he never attempted to take the child so the stratigies put in place for the family and setting were different and never had to be used.

your thoughts and wise words of wisdom are much appreciated. :o

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re some of yesterday's posts, are mum and dad a married couple? I would take extra security at the door, looking out for him, if you know what he looks like for a start. I would tell mum to make sure she picks up earlier than normal "to head him off" so to speak. If he turns up at any other time, I would keep him calm and talking while another member of staff rang mum to let her know he had turned up. Until you have all the facts it is very difficult situation to put yourself, your team members and the children in. Estranged parents do silly things.

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we had a policy which included not letting child go with anyone other than those names on the registration form without written / phone consent of the primary carer / parent.

In our case we also had a signing in system where the person dropping off had to say who was collecting, and we did not let child go with anyone else without speaking directly to the parent.. sometimes it was by it by phone when they came to collect, and in some cases even if it was the father or other parent.. they were always happy to do this as they felt it an extra security for their child.

 

which of course does not help you at the moment.. but I think like you about the not able to stop without court order .. or we once had a police order for violent parent with direct dial to police if he turned up!

 

Not much help but maybe someone else may be more helpful... would your early years team be a place to ask for advice, or be able to tell you who to call fro advice...

 

Inge

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I think you need to approach your local early years team for advice.

 

How are you supposed to make a decision about whether someone should have access to a child or not? You have no proof as to whether he is the father or not and should not be trying to make judgements yourself. I have a section on my contracts stating who may collect the child but who knows whether that would stand up I refuse to let a parent take a child. I would seriously advise ringing them today or at least before the next time this child attends your setting.

 

It would be good to hear what they tell you so please report back to us!

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thanks Inge i hadn't thought of contacting them i'll call them tomorrow. we are quite lucky in the fact that our main pre school door has a spy hole in it and we can see who's there when they can't see us! so if he turns up mid session i can go through a different door to speak to him, obviously thinking about my own safety also! without him being able to get near the setting and children, i have spoken to all satff saying they are then to phone mum to let her know that he has turned up. i spoke to mum without saying i cannot prevent Dad from taking child, i did try to reassure her that we would contact her if he shows up mid session to seak advise from her before doing anything. at the moment he is one of the named collectors and he was the one that signed all forms when child started with us, it makes life more difficult as mum is now saying she want all of this changed. will definately be seeking advise from development officer thanks again

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You cannot prevent the father taking his child, unless you have evidence of a formal court order, blocking his access to him/her. I always tell parents this and I also say that all I can do is to telephone the mother if the father turns up unexpectedly..................and would ask the father to wait outside, alone, until I have done so.However, I also point out that if he insists on taking the child, there is nothing legally that I can do about it, though I might, if he seemed calm, ask him to reconsider his actions as we wouldn't want to upset the child, or other children and remind him it just might make matters worse for him? If possible, I might try to get his vehicle number too, just in case he was trying to take the child out of the country..............in our case, we could do this quite easily.Difficult one and often, unfortunately, it is simply mum being bolshie and deciding she doesn't want the father having access due to an affair ( nearly always the case in our experience)

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We had this experience a couple of years ago and it was very uncomfortable. Luckily 'Dad's' solicitor was my neighbour so I was able to pop round for his advice - which he happily gave. Dad wasn't to have contact at all except with Mum or SW present. He turned up one day with a friend, both the worse for drink, demanding to see his son, and was furious when I wouldn't let him into the building. Deputy was listening at the other side of the door with phone in hand ready to ring if she heard me raise my voice slightly. Luckily they left without incident, but it could have been nasty and I was shaking afterwards. His son wasn't actually in the building at the time as he had a dental appointment, but I didn't tell him that - he wouldn't have believed me anyway.

I contacted Mum to tell her anyway, and I had to write a letter to the solicitor about the incident for when their case went to court officially - so be prepared for that.

 

About 10 years ago we had an irate Dad turn up to collect his daughter - he wasn't allowed access either, but that was in the days when we were based in the school, and it wasn't a time when we were in session - I only heard about it the next day!

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I am similar to Narnia - I always inform mum that if dad has parental responsibility then we cannot legally stop him collecting if he insists and that mum needs to consult her solicitor - having said that we wouldn't just hand child over to anyone we weren't expecting so would follow normal policy and try to delay dad so we could phone mum.

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Found this on the direct.gov website.

 

'Who has parental responsibility?

In England and Wales, if the parents of a child are married to each other at the time of the birth, or if they have jointly adopted a child, then they both have parental responsibility. Parents do not lose parental responsibility if they divorce, and this applies to both the resident and the non-resident parent.

 

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/ParentsRights/DG_4002954

 

I would have thought that if the father is on your admission form as the person with legal responsibility for the child alongside the mother and assuming there is no written evidence (ie court order) to say he must not have access then surely he has every right to collect his child and I would have thought you would be on dangerous grounds if you refused and if it is just that the parents are splitting up why should you refuse?

I will be interested to hear the advice form your early years advisor

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If the father has been named on the registration form as having parental resonsibility, you cannot legally stop him taking the child. Unless there is a court order.

 

That is why it is so important to clearly eastablish when parent/s are completing the form exactly who has responsibility - and beware Ofsted are very hot on that at the moment.

 

You need to explain this clearly to mother.

 

I would also advise that you have a plan should he turn up. Plan to stall him, as others have suggested (your collections policy can, I agree, be very useful) and phone mother to tell her.

 

As I am in a Children's Centre we come up against this sort of thing quite often so, when I do registration forms now I explain to all parents that if they put a name on the form as having responsibility, we will not be able to stop that collecting whatever the situation. Some look as this would never happen to them - but it certainly can. I just think it is better to be clear from the word go.

 

It's always a difficult situation, so good luck with it.

Gruffalo2 :o

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That is why it is so important to clearly eastablish when parent/s are completing the form exactly who has responsibility - and beware Ofsted are very hot on that at the moment.

 

When I queried with Ofsted how to define parental responsibility and what I would use the information for I was told very clearly that I should not be using it to make judgements about who should have access to a child. This left me feeling very confused about why I was required to hold the information in the first place. I am still non the wiser.

 

Clearly there are lots of us who are unclear about this matter and any one of us could have to deal with it at any time. Surely there must be some clear guidance out there? What about the reception teachers amongst us - do the schools have clear guidelines?

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I'm astounded that Ofsted would say this. How else can we possibly know? If the parent completing the registration form gives incorrect information, we cannot be held to blame.

Do I dare to suggest, some inspectors get things wrong??!

 

Gruffalo2 :o

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It was the Ofsted helpline who told me this but as you say it might change if you spoke to someone else. My questions did seem to put them in a bit of a flap and I gave up trying to get any clear and coherent advice in the end. It just wasn't going to happen.

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Found this on the direct.gov website.

 

'Who has parental responsibility?

In England and Wales, if the parents of a child are married to each other at the time of the birth, or if they have jointly adopted a child, then they both have parental responsibility. Parents do not lose parental responsibility if they divorce, and this applies to both the resident and the non-resident parent.

 

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/ParentsRights/DG_4002954

 

 

Who has parental responsibility?

In England and Wales, if the parents of a child are married to each other at the time of the birth, or if they have jointly adopted a child, then they both have parental responsibility. Parents do not lose parental responsibility if they divorce, and this applies to both the resident and the non-resident parent.

 

This is not automatically the case for unmarried parents. According to current law, a mother always has parental responsibility for her child. A father, however, has this responsibility only if he is married to the mother when the child is born or has acquired legal responsibility for his child through one of these three routes:

 

  • (from 1 December 2003) by jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother
  • by a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
  • by a parental responsibility order, made by a court

Living with the mother, even for a long time, does not give a father parental responsibility and if the parents are not married, parental responsibility does not always pass to the natural father if the mother dies.

 

All parents (including adoptive parents) have a legal duty to financially support their child, whether they have parental responsibility or not.

 

As of 1 December, 2003, unmarried fathers also have parental responsibility if the parents 'jointly registered the birth of the child' above.

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  • 1 month later...
i don't know if i am putting this in the right place but didn't really know where to put it! we had a mother ask us today to not let her child go home with his father if he ever turns up to collect him. without going into too much detail mum and dad have recently split (mum decided she had had enough and has found love elsewhere!) dad is very upset as you can imagine so i believe from what mum is telling us,he is making noises about seeing the children alot more than she would like, (i think it's so sad when the children are mixed up in the middle of adults problems) xD

am i right in thinking that unless there is a safeguarding issue or unless there is a court order against a parent we are not in a position to prevent the parent from collecting the child?

we have only come across this once before but there was a court order against Dad and he never attempted to take the child so the stratigies put in place for the family and setting were different and never had to be used.

your thoughts and wise words of wisdom are much appreciated. :o

 

I run a local pre-school and had a similar situation not that long ago...v difficult, especially living and working in a small community!!...ultimately i said that i would not allow pre-school to be put in this situation and advised them to "sort something out"....luckily there was a third party/family friend who mediated and helped to reach a satisfactory conclusion for all parties.

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