The other aspect of the medal here is that a waiting contract can give parents a framework or guide for the kind of things they should focus on to make sure they keep their children or pick them up at the end of the process – but it is important for parents to understand that holding on to an agreement is not a guarantee of a particular outcome. Sometimes parents have ticked everything off the list, but there are concerns – for example, social workers may think that parents are just going through the applications without really understanding why they need to make changes, or maybe if they don`t really believe they were necessary. It is often referred to as “disguised compliance” (no fault if we didn`t do that) and in this situation, social workers will be concerned that, although a parent can “talk,” things can go back as they were when they resigned because the parents did not make profound changes. It is important for parents to think about why they were asked to make practical changes or take certain steps so that they can understand why social workers were worried and keep children safe in the future, instead of just thinking – if I do these 5 things, I get the kids back. The agreement and any evidence whether or not a parent has maintained it will potentially be important information in any family court proceeding concerning children. It can be abandoned by a social worker who says that children should be abducted because parents cannot rely on it, because they have already broken their promises, or to show parents that they have said what they are worried about and what needs to change, the support they have been offering and the clear instructions they have given. It can be abandoned by a parent who says they have done everything they asked for and that they should keep (or recover) their children. It can be provided by a parent who says that the local authority has not offered enough support or that they do not have enough clear what they are doing. It is also a good assessment of what, at one point, was really worrying social services – and therefore what was not enough concern to include them. These documents, in addition to proving what has actually happened since then, can be very useful for the courts trying to determine whether the parents have been shot fairly. “I can understand why there is controversy about this [in practice].

We are often jargonists in what we do. Sometimes we don`t understand what`s written in the agreement, let alone families – especially if we use generic terms like “risk” or “significant damage,” Birchall admits. Eleanor Schooling, national director of social assistance at Ofsted, says written agreements for domestic violence are often “aimed at the wrong people.” An assistant director commented on the written agreements and said they were “unenforceable, draconian and offer no protection to the child.” Unfortunately, our work has shown that written agreements are sometimes used in a way that is manifestly inappropriate.