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Child Collection


kristina
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Ok we have a child whose parents (not married) split up before Christmas and not very amicably! Both parent have parental responsibility, dad has come in and introduced his girlfriend and said that she may occasionaly collect child, mum has come in and said that no she cant!! What do we do if both parents have shared responsiblity??

 

Kris

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This is just a guess, not experience, but if the child is in the care of the father (or due to be) and he delegates responsibility to someone else it is nothing to do with you or the mother. You have no choice but to follow his wishes.

 

Clearly if the mother gives you a reason to believe that the child is at risk whilst in this person's care you would need to rethink it. You'd also have to make sure that the mother was aware of how seriously you'd have to take any allegations and that child protection procedures might be implemented.

 

I'm not sure who you can go to for advice on this. Have you tried your local Early Years Advisor?

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Best advice would be to check it out with your LA safeguarding officer however I have recently done a safeguarding update where this was covered - we have been advised that the parent that the child lives with should be considered primary carer so if child is living with mum and if girlfriend tried to pick up on a day when mum was collecting mum would have priority however if girlfriend wants to pick up on day that dad is meant to be collecting then his wishes (as someone with parental responsibility) should be respected - unless as upsy daisy says there is some sort of safeguarding issue concerning the girlfriend or dad in which case you should have a copy of some sort of court order that specifies who can collect and when.

 

Do you have on record what days what parent is meant to collect?

Have you spoken to both parents about this (preferably recording the discussion with a witness) pointing out that you cannot be put in the position of piggy in the middle!

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Mum has sent in a letter today saying that she doesn't want her child to go with other women, I have suggested mum comes in to discuss things on Monday. It's really awkward as us (and the poor child) are all stuck in the middle. Have a feeling when I explain to mum about parent responsibility etc she's not going to be happy!! There are no safeguarding issues with dad's new partner other thnt mum not wanting her to have access!! Our job description seems to change on a daily basis!!

 

Kris

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She needs to get used to the idea that she doesn't have any right to control who has access to her child when s/he's in the father's care. That can be very tough for some parents to come to term with.

 

While being very sympathetic and supportive you need to make it clear that it's a matter she should take up with the father or her solicitor if she wants to take it further (not that she'll get any joy).

 

It looks like this child could be in for a rocky ride.

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i think as long as both parents have PR, and the fathers girlfriend is down as a person to collect, then its not up to you as a setting to stop her -if you had a concern regarding the girlfriend (ie turing up intoxicated etc) then you could refuse her collection. as already mentioned its a matter for mum and dad to sort out together.

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Unfortunately a problem that occurs all to often. I think sometimes these mums need to understand that fathers have rights too and in this day and age alot more than before. I know that some of our social workers look more favourably on the dads being the primary carers now more than ever.

If it was the other way arund and mum had come in and said that her boyfriend could pick up and give you permission you wouldn't have thought twice about it. Both parents have the right to nominate who they want. As a grandma with a son in exactly the same position and also a Lead Professional for safeguarding the girls need to stop manipulating the situation. She has probably said no more for the fact to get back at the ex boyfriend!!!

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@ Kristina - awful position to be put in and @ all other comments some good points made. U nfortunately as said earlier this happens all too often, we are in a postion of care and unfortunately cannot take sides but what we can do is emphasise with both parties and obviously put the care/well being of the child first.

I too have been a single parent , my own marriage split up whilst my child attended nursery but due to work committments my husband would never have picked up son but I am one of the few mothers that have always allowed my chidren unlimited access to their fathers which has surprised many people!! but fathers have the right to see their children etc ( got to be careful not to go off on one here) but separating/divorce is a very emotional time for all involved, people do not always think rationally and don't always put their children first even if they claim they are.

In my previous setting , none of the staff had experienced any of this so i was often the one to try and support parents/ families in this situation, many may argue it is getting too involved or beyond the job but i beleive the more support and understanding and being able to direct people to mediation services the better it is for all as we are there for the children and we have to look at the bigger picture rather than judge what is right and wrong.

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Quick update on this, mum's reasons are that dad wont let her meet the new girlfriend, or pass on any contact details for her to mum which is why mum is saying she doesn't want the girlfriend to collect. She has siad if she could meet her or at least know where she lives or a contact number for her that would be fine. Dad has said no!!

 

Kris

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Oh dear.

 

She really is going to have to get her head round the fact that she doesn't get a say in it. Who the father allows to have access to the child when in his care is none of her business now.

 

I can imagine that this is going to be very difficult for her to come to terms with this. She's probably going to need a lot of support to let go and accept that she just can't be involved with that side of her child's life now.

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Dad's not making it easy though is he?

 

I would want a contact number for anyone who my husband decided was collecting our son from school and have told him I don't want his girlfriend to have the children on her own unless I have her phone number and she has mine, so I can let her know 'DS2's had a cold so might need his inhaler tonight', just as I would tell my parents-in-law or anyone else if they were collecting him.

 

I do see mum's got to be able to say 'Ok, dad does have parental resp, I'll have to accept that all I can do is tell him & expect him to pass it on.' Not easy though.

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I understand your point Lyanne but there is nothing to stop the mother from contacting the father with this sort of information if she thinks it relevant. Either that or pop a note in the childs bag.

 

It seems to me more the case that she can't feel she can trust a person with her child if she hasn't met them. However, it is out of her control - it is up to the father to decide who is responsible when the child is in his care. If there is good reason for her to distrust his judgement then this is something she needs to take up with the relevant authorities but otherwise she just needs to accept that there will be some parts of her sons life which she is no longer involved in. Separations are always tough, particularly where children are concerned. :o

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I understand your point Lyanne but there is nothing to stop the mother from contacting the father with this sort of information if she thinks it relevant. Either that or pop a note in the childs bag.

 

It seems to me more the case that she can't feel she can trust a person with her child if she hasn't met them. However, it is out of her control - it is up to the father to decide who is responsible when the child is in his care. If there is good reason for her to distrust his judgement then this is something she needs to take up with the relevant authorities but otherwise she just needs to accept that there will be some parts of her sons life which she is no longer involved in. Separations are always tough, particularly where children are concerned. :o

 

Oh yes, she has to work out a way of communicating with dad, be it by phone call, text, a parental diary...

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Had a long chat with mum today (spent whole weekend worrying about it!) she is saying that as child lives with her she has full guardianship of child even though dads name is on birth certificate and child has dads surname! She is adamant that she has full responsibility, although there are no legal papers to state this!! At present I am waiting for a call back from my EYA but not sure if she will be able to help.

 

Kris

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When the child first started you will have recorded who has parental responsibility (in line with EYFS requirements). If she is now saying different and the father says he has parental responsibility I think you're within your rights to ask for a letter from her solicitor clarifying the situation.

 

Who the child lives with makes no difference to who has parental responsibility.

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If the father is named on the birth certificate then since 2003 (England and Wales) he has parental responsibility regardless of who the child lives with. there is no need for any paperwork, that is the law.

(check it out here)

 

Many mums may not be aware there was a change in the law a few years back, giving unmarried fathers more rights than previously.

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If the father is named on the birth certificate then since 2003 (England and Wales) he has parental responsibility regardless of who the child lives with. there is no need for any paperwork, that is the law.

(check it out here)

 

Many mums may not be aware there was a change in the law a few years back, giving unmarried fathers more rights than previously.

 

Prior to 1 December 2003, if the father was named on the birth cert but the parents were not married, he did not have automatic parental resp, if they subsequently got married he acquired it - future divorce will not take it away (I checked!) Not that it will apply to children in preschool now, but worth knowing if you also work with older children or know children who fall into that category.

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I have spoken to my EYA today and she has suggested first port of call is Lawcall, if no joy she has then suggested I call the safeguarding board for advice. She has said that this is nothing to do with the pre-school and provided a I have details of people who collect then that is all I need. Easier said than done as obviously we are involved whether we want be or not!!

 

Kris

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I have spoken to my EYA today and she has suggested first port of call is Lawcall, if no joy she has then suggested I call the safeguarding board for advice. She has said that this is nothing to do with the pre-school and provided a I have details of people who collect then that is all I need. Easier said than done as obviously we are involved whether we want be or not!!

 

Kris

 

Hi Kris, despite what your EYA said , I understand where your'e coming from , have you thought about talking to dad and trying to help him understand how mum may be feeling and at the end of the day if parents /mum are happy then how much better in the long run it is for the child, see if he will introduce gf to mum and give contact details and say how he would feel if boot on other foot , of course all in a very diplomatic way , hope this sorts out for the best

 

lashes

Edited by lashes2508
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Thank you for all the advice I am waiting for a call back from Lawcall, all the information we have on this child was completed by mum and she has put on paperwork that Dad has parental responsibility so don't think she will have much choice.

Haven't spokent to Dad yet, mum is lovely but with a temper too match her irish heritage and dad is bulit like a proverbial poo house!! Am thinking of suggesting a joint meeting and wearing body armour!! :o

 

Kris

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Are you sure that's a good idea Kristina?

 

I wouldn't voluntarily get in between warring divorcees, especially when trying to resolve such an emotive issue.

 

I know that supporting parents is part of our role but that goes beyond that remit by quite a long way.

 

I think it may be better to suggest to them both that they bring it up in mediation.

 

In the meantime you have documentation saying the father has parental responsibility so, unless Lawcall tell you differently, you appear to have no choice but to go along with his wishes.

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I had a situation like thisa few years ago. Mum and dad were fighting continuously, especially as new girlfriend was mum's best friend. I asked mum if she was willing to sit down with me and husband and girlfriend and talk things through. I am probably a bit older than you and even though it was a bit nerve racking the little boy was have so many problems at school coping with the adults behaviour I took the bull by the horns and got them in round a table. When they started going on about he does this and she does that talking about themselves, I just stopped them and said had they forgotten that they were the 3 people in this little boys life and as yet had spoken about him!!!!!! from that point it became so easy had to prompt a couple of times. they came to an agreement on how they would drop off and a system for communicating any problems. I remember mum when she left pre-school gave me a beautiful wooden angel holding a child and said that I was the one who had put her child first.

years later I saw her, she had re-married and so had her husband and friend and they were all on the best oif terms and the little boy was doing brilliantly in his school. I know everyone thought I was mad but we are very good mediators and sometimes it just needs a little jog for people to be told the truth.

 

I know it goes out of our remit but the child needed some one on his side, and I will never regret it

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I had a situation like thisa few years ago. Mum and dad were fighting continuously, especially as new girlfriend was mum's best friend. I asked mum if she was willing to sit down with me and husband and girlfriend and talk things through. I am probably a bit older than you and even though it was a bit nerve racking the little boy was have so many problems at school coping with the adults behaviour I took the bull by the horns and got them in round a table. When they started going on about he does this and she does that talking about themselves, I just stopped them and said had they forgotten that they were the 3 people in this little boys life and as yet had spoken about him!!!!!! from that point it became so easy had to prompt a couple of times. they came to an agreement on how they would drop off and a system for communicating any problems. I remember mum when she left pre-school gave me a beautiful wooden angel holding a child and said that I was the one who had put her child first.

years later I saw her, she had re-married and so had her husband and friend and they were all on the best oif terms and the little boy was doing brilliantly in his school. I know everyone thought I was mad but we are very good mediators and sometimes it just needs a little jog for people to be told the truth.

 

I know it goes out of our remit but the child needed some one on his side, and I will never regret it

 

Well done Steph, my sentiments and was definately worth it

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thought I would give you all an update as things had quietened down until last week!

I have taken advice from Lawcall as girlfriend turned up last week and thankfully member of staff on gate didn't let her collect as Lawcall have said even though dad has parental responsibility because mum has put it in writing that girlfriend can't collect if we had let the child go mum can complain to Ofsted about our safeguarding!!

So we have been advised that

 

A) It is nothing to do with us and to inform mum and dad they need to sort this out themselves.

xD Girlfriend isn't allowed onto premises unless with dad as mum has expressed concerns.

C) Both parents have to agree and sign a new collection form if they want it to change.

D) If dad wants to go tit for tat he can write and say doesn't want mum to collect!! :o

 

They have told me also that there is guidance on this on Ofsted website but do you think I can find it!!

 

So really had enough of it all now and am begining to wonder do I really need all this!!!!

 

Kris

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