We heard back from Cafcass on my partners residence application last night. Please see previous threads for history but basically his ex has stopped all contact since November - been involved in court actions since last May and two significant Cafcass delays have occured.
They and the school agree that there are significant care issues, and that he can actually probably care for his daughter better than mum can. Was amazing to hear that from a Cafcass officer to be honest.
Because we live 160 miles away however, they have to balance the care issues with the fact that the school is a stable feature in her life (when she is there) and that she has her mums extended family there, whereas my partner doesnt have any family.
His daughter was with the officer for three hours, and the officer said "She is desperate to see Dad, partner and children again"
She agreed that there was no reason for contact to have stopped, mum has acted totally unreasonably.
After this long conversation, where basically she said my partner was a good dad, she said she still has a couple of checks to do but that her current recommendation is probably going to be shared residency with mum having the majority. Dad to get probably every other weekend and half school holidays. This is soley due it seems to where we live, and the fact that she would ahve to change schools and leave aunties and uncles behind. They also referred to the new baby half sister that she has, and said that relationship is also important.
They have however said that Cafcass will want to stay involved, with a review after 6 months and the situation may change if mum doesnt accept help to improve his daughters health, cleanliness, hygiene and critically her school attendance which is now below 80%
Overall we are viewing this with a "Glass half full" attitude as its more than some dads get, and are crossing our fingers that the report says the same as she said on the phone - will know next Thursday!
Thanks to all Wikis so much for your help in what has been a real battle !!
Reading what you posted I can see why CAFCASS appear to be reaching the conclusion that they have, particular with regard to school and extended family. It may not be all that your partner wanted but it does seem like positive movement, as long as the report echos what you were told on the phone.
The fight will be worth it just a pity that it is necessary.
We arent seeing it as negative either, he wants his ex to get the help, and if the court proceedings have forced the issue then his little gilrl we feel will benefit all round.
I have to say I had heard nightmare stories about Cafcass and the delays we had were ridiculous but the officer does seem to have her head screwed on in terms of looking at the childs needs rather than the parents.
It is positive, because initially he only set out for contact as he does hold a belief that his daughter at least initially was better off with her mum. If she pulls her socks up about the care issues and school then thats brilliant, and if not then it seems Cafcass will then look to outweigh the factor of the school and extended family with her care needs. Hopefully there wont be a need for that for her sake.
The shared residence if awarded acknowledges clearly his role as a parent, and makes no one a winner or loser, and then he can try and support his ex with the issues, and if that doesnt work - he isnt scared of going back down this route now.
We just now cant wait for the report and final hearing, and hopefully some time with his daughter following it
It''s always an uphill struggle to change the status quo. Any risks of harm are weighed up against the strengths maintaining a child''s sense of security and established relationships with school, friends and family and measures that can be put into place. Although your partner might be a bit disappointed about residence it does seem as though measures are being put in place to improve the situation for his daughter and contact/shared residence.