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Advice needed

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We attended a hearing today on what we thought was to appeal a viability assessment failure to become foster carers.  I have since failed on my part as a have a conviction 16 years ago for harrassesment with putting putting a family in fear of their lives. Long story short I was found guilty but I didn't do it and there was no evidence to prove otherwise. I wasn't fit enough to take the stand and they decided to make an example of me and found me guilty on circumstantial evidence only. Social services tried to get the judge to dismiss our application today but the judge wouldn't listen. We've now been told that our application is being treated as a private care order as we are not eligible to foster. What chances do I have with a private order with a conviction and how do we go representing ourselves as we can't afford legal help. The reason this has all come about is that my niece was murdered last July by her ex partner and her 3 year old son is the one in emergency foster care. They want to place him with his side of the family too, they reckon we can't give him what he needs and that we live too far away from where he is now. We feel he would benefit from a fresh start with us so he stays in the family and still has contact with both sides of the family but that he's away from being so close to where his poor mum was horrendously taken away from him. I'm at my wits end as nobody will give us any help or advice  :( 

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