Q: After I got out of an abusive marriage almost a year ago I was in a bad way mentally and the local authority took my sons away from me. At the time I could see there was no other option as their father was likely to abuse them like he had abused me and I couldn’t even look after myself let alone them. I have been allowed to see them under supervision once a month. Now I am in a much better place mentally but Children’s Services won’t increase access to my children. What can I do?
A: If you think you are well enough to increase the level of contact you have had until now you can apply to increase it under section 34 of the Children’s Act 1989. As you are the children’s mother and they lived with you prior to the Care Order under which they are currently living, you will not need the Court’s permission to make an application.
You will need to complete a C1 form and the supplement for C15. If the children are the subjects of existing court proceedings you would also need to complete a C2 form. You will also need to inform the local authority and whoever is currently caring for the children about the application. You can get information about application fees from your local court. In some cases legal aid may be available and certain law firms such as ours may run free advice clinics.
You should be aware that the court will still be at liberty to attach conditions to the contact, for example. that it is supervised. It can also stipulate that certain other persons are not present during contact. Contact can be granted for several days at a time.