The meeting went ahead despite the difficult beginning. It was me, the Social Worker, our Supervising Social Worker, Social Work Manager and Mum who had been allowed to return on promise of good behaviour. Mum apologised for the behaviour of her friend who was, apparently, unwell. Mum was reminded about what was acceptable behaviour and the meeting commenced. Looking at Mum you could see that she was definitely under the influence of something as she was very twitchy and very animated about something. She asked why the children were not at the meeting and the Social Work manager replied that it was a meeting and not a contact. The Social Worker manager was quite a scary figure, very stern looking and not somebody you want to get on the wrong side of. She was, obviously, a very experienced Social Worker and I am guessing that she had seen it all before and she wasn’t going to be dictated to or intimidated by Mum. The first part of the meeting was me giving an update on how the children were progressing and how they had taken to being in our care. Mum asked about the youngest baby and had she put on weight, a question that had already been discussed. She then asked why we had stolen the clothes that had been left at the hospital by her. I replied that the clothes were with us and had been washed and were being stored as we were looking after her. I also told her that new clothes had been born as a lot of the clothes she had were far too big and some were badly stained, I also mentioned that they smelled of cannabis despite being washed on a number of occasions. Mum didn’t take kindly to this and accused me and the other attendees of kidnapping her children and that I was probably abusing them. Once again Mum was warned about her behaviour and she calmed down, slightly. The subject then changed to contact and the practicalities of it. Mum was asked, realistically, how often she wanted to have contact, Mum replied three times a week at which time I nearly choked on my coffee. The Social Work Manager replied that three times a week wasn’t practical and suggested one contact a week for two hours. Mum started ‘kicking off’ again and she was given a final warning about her behaviour. So once a week was agreed but now Mum wanted it to be at her house which was refused out of hand. Mum was told that a contact centre would be found and that the contact would be supervised by the Social Worker initially. So a contact plan was agreed at once a week on a Tuesday at a contact centre at 10am. The time wasn’t ideal as it meant a really early start but it was felt that there should be a concession to Mum on something. Mum then asked when the children would be returning home and the Social Work manager replied that there needed to be signs from Mum that she was capable of providing care and commitment to the young children and that she was taking her responsibility as a parent seriously. The meeting, with Mums involvement, finished and she left. We were then told that Mum had followed exactly the same behaviour with her oldest child, aged 6, but that she didn’t stick to any agreed arrangements and had the child taken away from her and placed with the child’s father. It was felt that the same pattern would be followed here.

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