The reasons for the botched (adjourned) hearing have come to light. The Local Authority, who initially told the parties that they did not have time to furnish everyone with the documents were in fact unable to do so because they had not prepared all the documents, in the first instance. They ask the court for a minimum of two weeks to be able to prepare the evidence they want to put forward for the interim care order of the three children they seek.
Mohammed doesn’t understand why the hearing took place at all, especially as the Local Authority had asked for it on the grounds that they wanted the court to grant an interim care order. Which could not have been done in any event, given that they had not prepared all of their evidence. Mohammed also doesn’t understand why his lawyer was unable to block any potential order, as no one has explained to him how the process works. Confusion and anxiety dominate.
Mina is panicked by a forceful request from the social worker: she must go with her youngest child to have an assessment the following day. The appointment has been booked, without speaking to Mina first or explaining to her what is happening and why. She is overwhelmed by the disorganisation and the speed of the process, as it seems to jut along like a wobbly juggernaut without rhyme or reason. She feels the need to put on the breaks, and tells the social worker that she would like to be assessed by an independent professional of her choosing and does not want to go to the appointment that has been made for her. The social worker tells Mina that this will “go against her”.
Feeling increasingly harassed, Mina does not understand why an independent referral is viewed negatively. No one has explained to her how the process works, or made sure what she has been told is understood and repeated if necessary, with kindness and compassion. Someone eventually explains to Mina how professionals can be chosen and she understands.
The process is brusque and abrupt and causing deeper fractures within the family unit. Mina’s parenting is suffering. It will be hard for a professional to separate any old anxieties from the new ones taking shape, and to assess Mina on the merits of her circumstances as they were before the process began.