'Culture Of Not Talking' With Fathers
By Emily Walker
SOCIAL services have apologised for a culture of failing to tell fathers about their children’s welfare.
A father, whose seven-year-old daughter lives with her mother, complained that East Sussex Social Services failed to notify him about his child’s welfare and that social workers had shown bias towards her mother.
After an internal investigation, officials admitted there had been a “considerable delay” in contacting the father and there was “a culture of staff not talking to dads” which was accepted as “poor practise”.
Children’s Services investigated the girl’s welfare after police were called to deal with her mother on a number of occasions.
But social services did not contact her father for almost two months, by which time the girl had been interviewed and an assessment made about her welfare.
The father, who The Argus is not naming to protect his daughter’s identity, said: “My complaint was upheld and they made a clear admission that they have a culture of not talking to fathers.
“I was not listened to and there must be thousands more non-resident fathers dealing with East Sussex Social Services in that same situation.
“They began an assessment about my daughter that I had no idea about.
“They made an assessment on my daughter based on untrue claims made by her mother that they didn’t ask me about.
“They were really biased against me and she made allegations they didn’t even give me the chance to respond to.”
A review of the father’s case last year found the assessment “fails to record the father’s view in any detail and contains factual errors and inconsistencies in testimonies”.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “In every assessment and investigation, our focus is the safety of the child or children and we will continue to work with parents to ensure their protection.”