The social worker is out to get me….

My social worker has is it in for me and is going to make sure that my child is taken off me.

All social workers have to work within a clear legal framework and cannot do anything without having a sound legal reason.  Any decision to take a child into care- even for a very short time – has meet the criteria set out in legislation.

We know that sometimes the working relationship between social workers and parents can break down. But always remember, even if you find your social worker difficult to work with,  it is the court who makes the final decisions, not the social worker.

We have given an explanation of the key legal processes here.  We also examine the investigation and referral procedures here.

The Department of Education has published guidance about how the Children Act works here 

Because my other children were taken that means they will take any future children as well.

Each and every decision relating to child protection has to be taken individually taking into account all the facts at that time.  Even a group of siblings living together with the same parents will be considered individually rather than a blanket assumption being made that they should all be treated the same.

If you have previously had a child removed, if you get pregnant again social services will need to be certain that you are able to look after this baby and will work with you to conduct an assessment and support you in getting any help you might need.

Even if your social worker decides that you are not currently able to look after this baby, they need to have evidence to support this conclusion.  Your social worker cannot just refer to the fact that you have had a previous child taken into care, and they need to get an independent judge to agree that there is a sound reason for removing this baby.

My social worker only cares about taking my child and doesn’t care about what happens to me.

Section 1 of The Children Act 1989 creates a statutory obligation to put the needs of the child first.  Often that means supporting parents so that children can remain at home with them, as that would be in the best interests of the child.  Where this isn’t possible, or the courts believe that this would not be in the child’s best interest, the court can make an order to remove a child from their parents.  This doesn’t mean that your social work doesn’t care about the impact this would have on you, but that they are obliged to put the child first and foremost.

My social worker has told me that they are thinking of applying to the courts for my child to be adopted.  That means I’ll never get her back.

Not necessarily.  There are a number of reasons why plans might change, including if you can demonstrate that you are willing and able to make the necessary changes to address the concerns that led to adoption being considered as an option for your child.

In England between 2009 and 2013, 9% of permanence plans (on average) moved away from adoption to another option, such as returning to a parent, residency with another family member or long term foster care.

The Government publishes statistics  (‘Adoption scorecards’) showing how local authorities place children for adoption, so you can check the figures there. As of  31 March 2013, 5% of children leaving care in England were placed with their parents and 5% were placed for adoption. The British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) is another useful source of statistics.

Social workers are targeting families, particularly white working class families, to meet targets for the number of children adopted and to provide babies for adoption by middle class families. This is because local authorities get paid a financial bonus to meet targets for removing children and getting them adopted.

There is no evidence that this is happening in the UK. For further discussion, please see our post on Forced Adoption. 

In fact, there is a lot of evidence that this is not happening, including:

  • The targets that local authorities are working to refer to the process for assessing prospective adopters and the process for finding adoptive families for children who have already been taken into care.  There are no targets for taking children into care in the first place.
  • Even though local authorities have targets to match children in their care with adoptive parents faster than before, in England the average age at adoption was three years and eight months at 31 March 2013.  Just 2% of children adopted in England in the year ending 31 March 2013 were under one year old . Again, see statistics published by BAAF.
  • Only 6% of Looked After Children in England were under one year old at 31 March 2013.
  • It usually takes at least three months for adoptive parents to be matched with a child after they have been approved to be adopters  – again, have a look at the local authority ‘score cards’ data.
  • It is the courts, not individual social workers or local authority managers, who decide whether a child should be placed for adoption.  Independent experts working in this field deny claims that there is a conspiracy to take babies for adoption. See what David Holmes, the Chief Executive of BAAF said:

Social services do not take children into care to unnecessarily be adopted. It is dangerous to suggest that this is happening and that the care system is not the right place for children who are at risk if they stay with their birth families.

Children come into care for many reasons including parental abuse and neglect.

The rise in the numbers of young children coming into care may be explained by a variety of factors including a rise in parental substance misuse.

Whatever those reasons are, it is important to remember that children cannot be taken into care without legal procedures. It is a very serious decision to take a child into care and this decision is carefully scrutinised by an independent children’s guardian and by the court. Furthermore, children are only adopted when it can be shown that it is in their best interest, and again, this decision is scrutinised by an independent guardian, as well as an adoption panel with a majority of members independent of the local authority, and by the court.

If birth parents believe they have had their child taken into care unfairly, they should lodge a formal complaint with their local authority. I believe that this is rare. I certainly do not believe children are systematically being taken into care to meet adoption targets.

Money paid to LA for meeting adoption targets did NOT exceed cost of care proceedings – so where’s the incentive?

Although the amounts of money paid to local authorities who meet their targets for placing children in their care and for assessing adoptive parents can be large – scroll down to the bottom of this page to see figures from September 2007 – they do not exceed the cost of the care proceedings.

For example, the largest payments in this table were made to Kent County Council, who received £2,156,583 over three years.  Information on the numbers of children placed for adoption by Kent County Council in 2005-2007 is not readily available, but more recent information suggests that the average number is 205 children per year if you look at the adoption scorecard for 2008-11.

Dividing £2,156,586 by 205 would give an average payment of £10,519.93 per child placed for adoption.  Even without details for the costs of all social workers involved in a case, plus legal representatives at court – usually for both the local authority and the family involved – plus court time, plus foster carers, it is clear that any money paid in the form of a bonus does not come close to covering the cost of removing a child from their family and placing them for adoption.

There are some further interesting statistics in this article ‘The Serial Removal of Children from Young Mothers – is it Right’

The cost of an internal foster placement, per infant, was £66,000. The cost of an external foster placement, per infant, was £102,000. The average number of children removed per mother was three. The average cost of removal per mother was £200,000 (for an internal foster placement) and £300,000 (for an external foster placement).

In respect of a mother who had had eight children removed the cost was between £500,000 and £800,000 to place her babies. It is interesting that the average cost of assessment of parenting capacity of a mother was £4,000.

Further, some councils have announced they are going to reduce the numbers of children they take into care in order to save money – Torbay council announced in September 2014 that it needed to save  money and would thus be looking to reduce the numbers of children in care; In 2013/14 the authority spent about £12.4m on looking after children and wants to reduce the budget to about £5.4m by 2018/19. 

 

It seems odd to suggest that LA deliberately set out to target children to adopt to ‘make money’ when you consider just how much care proceedings will cost them. Research from the University of Bristol in 2011 said this:

Bringing care proceedings is a costly and time consuming business for local authorities. It has been estimated that each care case takes up 20 per cent of a full-time social worker’s working hours for a year (Plowden 2009). In addition, the local authority will have to contribute towards independent assessments ordered by the court and may need to instruct barristers (counsel) to represent it at court. In order to ensure that proceedings are used only where the local authority can prove its case and court orders are required, as well as to control expenditure, local authorities have established internal procedures for approving court applications. Legal advice and senior management approval are generally required even where an application if made for an order to remove or detain a child in an emergency (Masson et al 2007; DCSF 2008, para 3.3).

 

The family courts operate in total secrecy and nothing that goes on inside them can be reported.

This isn’t true.  There are a number of restrictions in place that mean that details of the children involved cannot be published, but journalists are able to attend most hearings. We accept that it is difficult for journalists to write about family cases but there are signs that things are changing  – see this recent case.

You can find published cases on a number of websites which give you free access – see the Family Law Website and Family Law Week, for example.

The President of the Family Division Mr Justice Munby has also recently published guidelines on transparency in the family courts, which you can read here.

You may also be interested in our post on transparency.

Social workers didn’t even try to keep my children together when they were placed for adoption.

Social workers are expected to try to keep siblings together wherever possible but there may be reasons why it is not possible in the end for siblings to be placed together, including where one or more child is placed for adoption but one or more child is best suited to another type of placement such as long term foster care.

You may be interested in this article from Be My Parent, which discusses these issues.

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not siblings should be separated in order to make it easier to find permanent homes for them, but the court is very aware of the importance of the sibling bond though out our whole lives, and will want to examine this closely before making a final decision.

 

267 thoughts on “The social worker is out to get me….

  1. Matt Harding

    So the fact that someone has previous children taken into care doesn’t factor into their decision on the fitness of a parent?

    Reply
    1. Callam Burn Keen Friel

      “Each and every decision relating to child protection has to be taken individually taking into account all the facts at that time. Even a group of siblings living together with the same parents will be considered individually rather than a blanket assumption being made that they should all be treated the same.”

      This is actually 100% incorrect. I got my JD law degree at Cambridge specialising in Family law. All children under the age of 16 may be treated as individuals in some regard but there is quite often blanketing terms. For example in a Child Protection Plan 80% of the time there is no real individualisation of the children and they will usually be referred to as “the children” . Another factor of this being incorrect is the phrase ‘facts at that time’ specifically ‘at that time’. I know of a case where somebody had there children taken away because of, originally, a brutal feud with the mother of the children – now ex-girlfriend – who had pretty much kidnapped the children for 48 hours. SS had no idea how to respond and did nothing except “get on it”. Sorry, I went off on a bit there. This went to court. The court would have came to the verdict that the father would get full custody of the children and a restraining order would be filed against the mother, however, this was not the case due to the father having a drinking problem 10 YEARS AGO. Anyway, my point is, this is not accurate information at all to be honest. That is my professional opinion.

      Reply
      1. Vanessa

        My daughter is being discriminated against at the moment. She is according to her ex husband and even social services a brilliant mother of five practically. But when she had her younger two she developed post partum psychosis but despite this she was still considered a good mother and social services left the kids with her. But since her husband left home they have targeted her. My daughter phoned social services about her son who told his mum that his dad had abused him then another two kids did the same. They are declining mentally because social services won’t listen to them and the children’s psychiatrists and cams have told social services that the kids have definitely been abused by their dad but social services told these professionals that there was no evidence. They instead proceeded to put the children under protective services claiming Hayley’s mental health is causing emotional abuse. This is despite the fact Hayley’s consultant and mental health team have said Hayley is well and that it was post natal not affective now. One of the reasons for turning in my daughter is because a woman at the children’s school didn’t like being told off by my daughter for sending her son swimming with a broken toe. She made false allegations against my daughter and funnily enough the social worker listened to her. Since the allegations the social worker has seen a video which claimed this woman was lying and told the meeting to disregard her statement. The children have also talked to Pippa confidently about the abuse but she’s ignoring child psychiatrists and mental health Hayley’s mental health plus the health visitor and the children and is now having a court order drawn up to try take the children off their mother. With no evidence whatsoever and to make things worst she wants to assess their dad with the goal of giving the children to him despite the fact that the mention of him makes the oldest child try to kill himself on the roads at the age of eleven. If I were not seeing all this with my own eyes I would not believe it. Hayley has a solicitor but surely something can be done to stop this abuse of the children by this power hungry social worker

        Reply
        1. Jamie

          Social services or just out for certain people if you have been through hell or had a life been abused they think you will abuse or harm your baby even if someone else has come forward and said they did they don’t believe them because they come from a normal home and a normal family there very judgmentl and discriminating, all they care about is the money not the people they work with

          Reply
          1. Jean

            You go that right all they care about is the money not the child or you my family was Judged very badly by a social worker called [EDIT NAME REDACTED] from Redhill Surrey

    2. shaynel ahmed

      Hi,
      Please can you help?
      In a situation where teenagers are under care orders to a X local authority, but been resident in Y local authority permanently for 14 years – certain situations can arise:
      for example, the children cannot get self refer to the Advocacy services under Y local authority – where they reside.
      They have issues of mistrust with their SW and IRO – and often they are required to make referrals.
      Surely, the area in which they have resided has a duty of care, including to provide advcocacy? is that right?
      additionally,
      Can the children do anything to have the local authority they reside in take over the managment of their case?

      Reply
      1. HelenSparkles

        The LA of origin remains responsible for the child/YP in care regardless of where they live. Children from their LA of origin do live all over the country, particularly when a specialist resource is needed to meet their needs, and there isn’t anything that can be done about that until they are 18. Practically speaking, whilst I understand you have issues with the SW, that could potentially mean a lot of different SW (if children move to a different placement) and from lots of different LAs. The duty of care applies when a child on a child protection plan moves to another area, because they are at risk.

        But that does mean that the child/YP has access to services from their LA, such as advocacy, I would recommend looking up the Children’s Right’s Officer in the LA of origin as a first step. Alternatively, some services in the LA a child/YP resides in will support them, i.e. CAMHS, so you could see if there is an advocacy service locally because there are some who are independent of the LA.

        Reply
      2. Sarah Phillimore

        Sounds as if the best thing here would be to persuade the LA of the area where they live to take over the care order. But many LAs refuse to do this because there are costs implications. The 2 different LA’s need to talk to each other and work together but sadly this is often difficult to achieve.

        Reply
  2. phillimoresarah

    the answer is – it all depends. It is not something that can be ignored but depending on when this happened, what were the reasons it could be very relevant or not very relevant at all. Say for example you had a child removed from your care when you were 16 and using drugs. Ten years later, you haven’t touched drugs for many years, you are in a stable relationship and doing well.

    Of course the social workers are going to want to know about your history and to talk about it. But I would be very surprised if that kind of history would mean you couldn’t keep a child ten years later.

    On the other hand, if you had a child taken into care only a year ago then it is much more likely that the issues and problems which caused you to lose that child are still going on and therefore this will be a much more prominent feature of the current concerns about your parenting.

    Reply
    1. JoJo

      I think social services are the worst set of evil bastards i hate um specially this big fat one [rest of comment continues in this way and threatens to kill a social worker so I am deleting it. I do understand (I hope) that these proceedings can be really difficult and emotional for parents but if you talk in this way you are simply confirming every prejudice a professional might have about your ability to parent – as well as possibly getting a visit from the police. They take threats to kill quite seriously]

      Reply
    2. Carravagio

      A total rubbish! [REDACTED BY SVP for being very typical and very boring abuse. At least try to give me something a bit interesting to read.]

      Reply
  3. Matt Harding

    One thing I wonder about is Child Abuse is a crime in the UK correct? Why do they seem not to pursue the parents on criminal charges? I understand the civil court aspect with probabilities, however if they have a solid case they should prosecute them in criminal court as well.

    Reply
    1. MerlinC

      You asked a very interesting question…. By the way, maybe you should ask a lawyer involved in DV trials… I guess it also depends on the abuse (emotional, sexual, physical) if someone can be criminally prosecuted or not.

      Reply
    2. phillimoresarah

      As I understand it – and I am not a criminal lawyer so am grateful to be corrected by those who know better – the test for whether or not a prosecution should go ahead involves two considerations: is there a real chance of succeeding in getting a conviction, bearing in mind the standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt and then is it in the public interest to proceed?

      for a lot of my clients, either there isn’t enough evidence to satisfy the criminal standard of proof and/or it isn’t in the pubic interest to proceed as the children have been removed.

      Reply
      1. Carravagio

        Phillimore you are a [edited by SVP person who is absolutely sick of random abusive people thinking they can come on MY blog and swear at me. Well, you can’t. Go and waste someone else’s time]

        Reply
  4. Matt Harding

    What would happen if a child was adopted outside of parental consent, then later on the child needed an o matching organ donor to save their life? What would be the procedure to handle such a situation?

    Reply
    1. phillimoresarah

      I don’t think there is any guarantee that a parent’s organ would provide a match for a child – but I have no medical qualifications, so don’t quote me on that. But as with everything in life I think it is a question of trying to balance risk and benefit. If it is in a child’s benefit to be removed from a harmful home situation and adopted by others, that probably outweighs the presumably quite small risk that the child will one day need an organ donation and the natural parents could have been a good match.

      Reply
      1. Matt Harding

        I mean in the hypothetical of the child being adopted for years then suddenly needing let say a bone marrow transplant. How they handle the situation. I am not talking about leaving them in the care of their birth parents.

        Reply
        1. Anna

          Actually, 7 out of 10 people who need a bone marrow transplant are not able to be matched to family members – they will need donated bone marrow from a matching process, either NHS or Anthony Nolan Trust.

          Reply
  5. Sarah Phillimore

    Sorry, I am not sure I understand the comment. I guess they try to ‘handle it’ as any person would – get advice from doctors, support from family and friends. I don’t see what is the relevance of them being adopted to this situation, unless you are arguing it is unfair to deprive people of easy access to those with whom they share genetic material.

    Reply
    1. Matt Harding

      I mean would it be breaking the no contact/relationship restriction for the parent to donate an organ or what not to possibly save the child. I am all for separating bad parents, but does this restrict them from being a donor? I apologize if I am being confusing as it is not my intent to do so. Just wondering how the system deals with a difficult situation.

      Reply
      1. phillimoresarah

        I think what we first need to unpick is your reference to the ‘no contact/relationship restriction’ – in the vast majority of adoption cases there IS some form of on going contact, albeit that in most cases it is letter box contact only. So if a situation did arise where a child needed an organ donation the adoptive parents could presumably contact the birth parent and ask if they would be tested to see if they were a match?

        Reply
        1. Matt Harding

          Thanks for the reply I was wondering how they would handle it with restrictions in places, I hope you are correct.

          Reply
  6. Philip Measures

    The Welfare of the child has to always remain the paramount consideration – such a scenario you refer to would be highly uncommon but IF it did arise then I would hope that birth family considerations would be high on the agenda.

    Reply
  7. cheryl corless

    the people running this site are social workers from mumsnet the sarah philimore stalked and abuse me on twitter do NOT trust anyone on this site just had a quick flick through its all lies the main issue of family court is to destroy the family unit and sell our kids to adopters check out fasssit and john hemming

    Reply
    1. phillimoresarah

      I am sorry you feel that I ‘stalked and abused’ you. I certainly don’t accept I ever acted in that way.

      the aim of this site is certainly not to ‘sell our kids to adopters’.

      I don’t want anyone to feel they are not welcome to contribute here or tell their story but your type of comments are malicious and unhelpful and any future comments of this nature will be removed.

      Reply
    2. MerlinC

      Cheryl, I am glad Sarah left your comment there.

      Because I am gathering all the victims of child abuse and I hope to convince them to speak out. Might try to reach out to the child “you ironed at home” too, in order to show what kind of ‘families’ you and Hemming AIM to keep together.

      Sarah P, I agree that some of the comments of the conspirators should stand up on your website. It is of great help indeed, it shows that the decisions that many mothers and fathers were deemed not suitable to keep their children is right, indeed.
      Thanks.

      Reply
      1. phillimoresarah

        Thanks Merlin for your comment. I don’t want anyone to feel that they are not welcome here or that we won’t listen to what they have to say – we know things go wrong in the child protection system, sometimes badly wrong, and we want to be part of a constructive debate about how to make things better.

        But what we refuse to promote is allegations of ‘child stealing’ without any evidence to back it up, and we are not keen on unfounded or malicious personal allegations either.

        if anyone would like to check my twitter feed, you can make up your own mind about whether or not I have abused Ms Corless. I am very sorry that she feels I have but I don’t accept it. @SVPhillimore.

        Reply
        1. Anon

          Is it the norm to snatch a well brought up 11 year old child from her loving family because she has an autistic younger sibling that can sometimes be very aggressive (towards adults)even though the mum has had two great years of engagement with the previous social work team and has been called a brilliant fantastic commendable mum by all professionals involved that is very pro active in fighting for the needs of her child and because the children with disabilities team were like sloths in providing support for the child mum who is a single parent issued a cry for help that in no way affected her children (had a drink when kids wwernt In the house)and because the manager on the case was a man that had put her back in a traumatic situation when she was a child on more then one occasion he accused her of being at child protection and started care proceedings with no section 47 carried out?One child left at home the other displaying attention seeking behaviour and using food to do this because she is desperate for her voice to be heard but has been deemed incompetent by Ss and cafcass although all her reports show she is excelling at school and is above average In the core subjects.is this normal to do this to a child in order to protect her from being bitten by her brother!

          Reply
    3. Colleen Barrie

      I can personally attest to the fact the C.A.S and family court system steals children. The spew forth lies, twist whatever is said and the vindictive liars care not for the children, just in protecting themselves.
      I am a former crown ward whose abuses while in foster care were never listened to. At 13 I pleaded to my worker to hear the sexual abuse I suffered. Instead I got into trouble and was told not to tell lies. Feeling hopeless I slashed my wrists as a child. Death I felt was better than having no protection from the C.A.S. I survived but was placed in a juvenile jail at 12 years of age, no counselling, comfort. I suffered so much abuse under the supposed care. Do not trust these people they take children under the guise of helping them, and care not what happens to them. It’s any wonder so many children have died in their clutches.
      Colleen Barrie. A former crown ward & survivor of the Ontario Canada C.A.S. liz1960@live.ca

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I am sorry to hear that you had such an appalling experience and I hope things have now improved in the Canadian system.

        Reply
      2. Anon

        I hundred per cent agree with you I too was accused of lieing even though it was proven when others came forward.Beaten up a lot of the time in police cells or on the streets because it was better then the children’s homes.Grown up to hold down a 13 year career and completely deviate from my own parenting with my two children and have more then enough evidence and yet taken through care proceedings because the la have not supported my autistic son and I Apparantly looked Ill to the social worker lie after lie and one child removed that is already suffering.

        Reply
  8. Matt Harding

    One thing I will say is that it does seem that the law treat some SWs with kid gloves in relations to contempt of court http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2013/12/20/social-workers-found-contempt-court-denying-mother-access-children/. They were found in very clear contempt and not sentenced I have my doubts it would gone so well for parents doing the same.

    Not saying their heart wasn’t in the right place however if you willfully break the law you should be punished.

    Reply
  9. suesspicious minds

    A reasonable point there Matt – from reading the report it is pretty clear that there was a decision taken that the contact ordered by the Court wasn’t in the children’s best interests – they absolutely ought to have taken the case back to Court to make that argument, rather than just stopping the contact. I suppose (and this is a Scottish case, so I can’t be sure) that the only sanctions for the contempt were a telling off or jail, and that jail seemed a bit strong.

    I suspect (again, can’t be sure because this is Scotland) that the Court looked at the situation as being analogous to a parent stopping contact even though an order is in place and thinking that jail is a last resort rather than a first response in that situation.

    I admire what Sarah is trying to do on this site, and wish her luck with it. I try on my own site to call out bad practice, bad decisions and bad social work, and I think that one can defend the system as a whole whilst acknowledging that for any particular family, one bad worker can wreak a great deal of emotional havoc and pain.

    Whilst I don’t think that the system is as corrupt and mercenary as some of the critics would have the world believe, neither do I ignore that for a great many people, their experience with social work is an overwhelmingly negative one, and that the IMPRESSION is left that the Courts aren’t fair and that they weren’t treated fairly. Sometimes they may be right.

    Reply
    1. ???????? to social services

      It is corrupt, social workers are more focused on ticking boxes and meeting targets and the quickest and easiest way to do that is using perfectly functional loving families, going through a small bad patch through no fault of their own. They then start to destroy not help the families to the point a parent needing a chat or advice turns into a nervous paranoid wreck as they stick their noses into every part of thier life with little or no discretion, so even if you manage to get them out of your lives, mud sticks and the fact you have been assessed will never be forgotten by doctor hv school. Why would they add it was unnecessary, uncalled for and a total waste of money. Best of it is there are lots of children in obvious need of input but unfortunately that would mean doing some actual social work.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        It is hardly the ‘quickest and easiest’ way to target ‘perfectly functional families’ . Because if that gets to court, they are going to have quite a fight on their hands. If you are talking about intervention before court proceedings I struggle to see why social workers would commit time and money they don’t have to interfering with the ‘perfectly functional’.

        Denial is a powerful thing.

        Reply
        1. Angelo Granda

          Hear-hear Sarah, Denial especially when institutional is the most powerful and destructive force in the LA armoury . Almost as potent as silence.
          Judging by the general attitude of parents on forums ( a small minority of victims in actual fact due to the secrecy of cases) I am convinced that most of them are only too happy to follow advice received from their advocates , cooperate fully with the core assessments and so on, actually open up to SW’s even to the extent of informing them of their own concerns and where children may be at ‘risk’ , sign S20’s on an interim basis, travel far and wide to contacts, indeed most are willing to recognise and own up to shortcomings and acknowledge the need for improvement where necessary. Child-protection professionals let them down badly and lawyers play a big part in the trick played upon them.
          Child-care is difficult sometimes and no parent is perfect.
          No family is perfectly functional but if there were such a thing, believe me if given wrong information in a referral then the LA will commit time and money to interfering with it. It doesn’t matter if they find the referral is untrue, it doesn’t matter. They will find something on file somewhere ( they will even concoct it) and won’t bother checking its so-called ‘evidence’ with the parents themselves. Many times they don’t involve a child’s parents in decisions for their own children!
          Whether it is the quickest and easiest way is ,of course, known only to them; but lawyers must learn ( achieve trickle-down) that many, many families are liquidated disproportionately and totally unnecessarily . McFarlane has said it years ago and so have other experts, I think.
          I ‘m with the anonymous commentator,???????????????.

          Reply
        2. Mr Innocent

          I think it is you in denial.
          I am a dad of two lovely children. I have Autism and depression. I have been investigated by SS on 3 occasions despite being totally innocent. I am a fantastic dad which is born out by the facts and the proof and countered by the lack of any concrete proof from SS.
          First time SS investigated was when my son was about a few months old. He had problems with putting weight on as fast as the Health visitor would have liked due to a medical reason. His Gastric valve did not tighten enough after drinking his milk(bottle fed) and thus he often bought lots of it back up. The health visitor would always criticise me and look down at me rather than help. Everything I did was wrong. I often thought at the time “I wonder how much experience she had the first time she became a parent?”
          MY son had been to Hospital a few time with the issue and Doctors there agreed there was a reason he wa snot putting weight on as fast as required according to some chart. My son was not dangerously underweight, just not as fat as some other kids. Despite this, the Health visitor did not check my son’s medical file and called SS in.
          yet I was polite and tried to work with them, I agreed they had a job to do and when I asked if I could record the conversation to protect myself I was told not to as it was for their protection! Nothing about MY rights. They took about 2 months to close the case, and just ended by saying that there was not enough evidence to proceed. Nothing about ME being innocent because I was. Then about a year later they came back because the Social worker responsible had left and not closed the case down. So now people I knew were talking, again, about how I must be guilty because SS are back. They had to interview me all over again, with no rights being given to me…again! They finally closed the case down and then that wa sit or so I thought. Then a couple of years later my son was at School and had to have two 1 to 1s to look after him due to having special needs. They did everything they could to get rid of him due to not caring and not being able to handle him. They wanted an easy life with great pay. MY son went out on a school trip for the day and suffered a seizure (forgot to mention he has epilepsy). I rushed to the Hospital and found him there sparked out. With epilepsy grand Mal, you have the ‘fit’ then you tend to pass out for a bit. It can be an hour or can be several. The two 1 to 1s were there, they started having a go at me(because I never liked them and told them how rubbish they were). The Doctor wanted me to wake my son up despite me telling him that grand mal fits mean it is hard to wake the patient up when they are passed out. He should have known that but instead decided to have a go at me, plus I was criticised for being anxious and angry. My Autism means that my expressions can be missread my people. I can seem angry when I am in fact not. This seemed to be missed by the Doctor and the two 1 to 1s. Talk about being stupid. Then I tapped my son to try to please the Doctor, another professional saw this and only this and decided that meant I was assaulting my son. I tapped him, not smacked him and it was no more than 3 times. I then had SS turn up again! They investigated again and then decided that there was no evidence to proceed. I finally had them turn up another time when my daughter was at the same school and she was ill. The school had bene caught out before with my son, making out his temperature was above 39 degrees C and when I went round with a digital thermometer his temp was just above 36 degrees C. My Nan was a Nurse so I know what I am doing. I was told by the arrogant receptionist, the so called professionals just as the others that if I did not rush round now SS would be called. I rushed round and what did she do? Have a go at me because I hung up the phone without asking her first. I mean did she want me to come right round or spend an hour asking her if I can hang up? Then because I was worried about my daughter as well as angry at being threatened they had a go at me and called SS without telling me till they turned up. They investigated, with me once again telling them I was going to cooperate and they have a job to do. That I understand and will work with them etc.
          They closed the case and never once said sorry, never once had a go at the arrogant so called professionals who all contributed to this farce.
          I am and always have been innocent and yet people will not accept that, because SS never make mistakes do they? The middle class elite professionals never get it wrong do they?
          So try being in my position and try being accused of being a horrible, abusive and negligent father and have SS come back time and time again with no evidence apart from very flimsy circumstantial hearsay and snap shots of a moment in time with no context to go with it. Then see how happy you feel and how great you think SS are.
          They DO get it wrong and CAN be out to get a person and ARE obsessed with form filling and box checking to get TARGETS.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            I am sorry you have been in this position. I have never denied that professionals lie and make mistakes. i have never denied that they are often slow to offer apologies when they are needed – and often will not apologise at all. I think all of this is wrong and needs action.

            If you think that I am constantly saying ‘how great SS are’ then – and I am not trying to be rude when I say this – you either haven’t bothered to read what I write, or you can’t understand it.

            I am not in denial and it just shuts down any kind of discussion for you to make those kind of accusations.

        3. Bella56

          Yes and not everything is so black and white you are trying to tell poeple every social worker only wants help families that are not perfectly functional i ask you what is a perfectly functional famiky everybody has different views i think it delusional to belive that every social worker out there is kind and going to actually help poeple poeple can hide there true identity s some go into that proffesion for the reason the get access to vunreble poeple how hard is it to become social worker anyway

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            It seems pretty tough to become a social worker – a friend of mine is training now and its a lot of work at college then she will have to do placements etc.
            No one is asking families to be ‘perfectly functional’ – they are expecting that children are kept safe from significant harm.
            no one believes ‘every social worker out there is kind’ – some are better than others. but i believe that most do try to do a good job.

  10. Sarah Phillimore

    Thanks suesspicious minds – I agree. Something has gone wrong when so many people have such a poor impression of the work done by professionals in child protection. What I am interested in is what explains that ‘something’ which doesn’t rely simply on allegations of systemic corruption – for which I have seen no evidence.

    Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I believe what I read when it is supported by evidence. Otherwise it is just something that I have read. Any fairy story can be written down. Reducing something to writing is not proof that it is true.

        Reply
  11. Brie - Mother of two boys

    There are lots of parents who feel that a social worker “is out to get them” I can relate & this is how we feel sometimes. How can everyone involved undo these feelings? Obviously a social worker is never going to be your favourite person or your best friend but if there were more trust it would make everything a whole lot easier. I’ve come to now feel that even when I have a valid reason that a social worker has done or said something wrong or made a mistake however little, there is fear that if you challenge it they will make your life more difficult. How can we change this? It’s not fair for parents to feel fearful of making a valid point. Social workers should not make people feel this way. Many times during child protection process, me, my family & even the foster cares have been told “if this isn’t done” or “if you don’t agree” the children will be placed in foster care outside of the family. Also these threats & inappropriate comments aren’t recorded so we can even complain?

    Reply
    1. phillimoresarah

      You make some good points. I hope we will get a contribution from a SW to talk about how they see the relationship developing with parents and carers. Would you like to expand this into a post for the Parents section? for e.g. setting out what you think they did well, what you think they did badly and what, if anything, you can think of to make things better? That might encourage some useful debate and get this moving forward.

      Reply
    2. MerlinC

      @Brie
      I would complain and do it aloud too.
      Because I am a abuse/rape survivor I am of course involved in that field more, but believe me that rape/abuse victims do ask the same question you just did: if we complain/report, will we be believed by police and institutions?
      You cannot stop complaining and fighting for what it is right. Look around (this site for example!), get information and the support you need, above all challenge them. They’re not God and nobody is untouchable or unexpendable.
      Let us know 🙂

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        You can’t really compare being a rape and abuse survivor to being a victim of legal injustice. Most people believe and have sympathy for rape and abuse survivors and believe that rape and domestic abuse/child abuse is a deplorable crime. Hardly anyone will tell you that it’s your fault, or that you did something to deserve it. It’s a past thing that happened that you are free from now. I suffered from pretty horrific child abuse, and to me, now, as an adult, looking back on it doesn’t compare to the thought of losing my children, especially when I know I am innocent. I have the freedom to move on. Whereas if you are an innocent family member, who has been accused of child abuse and children have been removed from your family, then there is going to be an inherent belief by people that you are guilty despite there being no burden of proof, just based on the assumption that the proffessionals involved acted proffessionally, when in fact it doesn’t always work that way. I’m sure most people have sympathy for your plight. If you are a parent that has had to deal with unprofessional social workers, then even if you get your children back, there is a risk of it happening again and of it being allowed to happen. Rape is heavily illegal and rapists are seen as monsters by most of society. Don’t try and conflate your experience with the experience of someone who suffers from real judgement and stigma daily and doesn’t get to see their children. You don’t have the freedom to move on like you do with something that happened strictly in the past and is now only in your head.

        Reply
      2. Anonymous

        If children’s services were to install cameras in every family home across Britain, unbeknownst to families, then how many parents and carers would be guilty of abuse or neglect as legally defined by the children act 1989? Is telling my kids to put a big sock in it when they are whining ’emotional abuse?’. Am I putting myself before my children, if I let them watch too much TV on a day where it’s considered convenient for me? Am I neglecting my children if I’m busy with something and I don’t watch them for a few minutes, and something goes wrong? How many parents would be found guilty of similar things? How many parents have raised their voice at their children, uttered a bad word, or even spanked their children? If you were to really watch them without a single ounce of their knowledge? How many children have overhead their parents or carers having sex? Is that not exposing children to adult themes? How many couples fight, squabble and argue with their children in the house? Is that not emotional abuse? In the technological age, how many families are guilty of heavy smartphone or tablet use? If I let my child watch the iPad close up, am i not damaging his eyes? Is that not neglect? Is it not neglect for me to go on my phone for a few hours whilst the kids watch TV? What if I am one of the many parents that does this a lot? That’s a lot of neglected children. How many children would meet the threshold for local authority intervention? Let’s suppose we do the same thing with foster carers and adopters, let children’s services spy on them without their knowledge, are they any better than a lot of biological parents or carers? Do they meet some magical gold standard set by the local authority? Although they are probably guilty of all the same imperfect behaviors. Maybe social workers should just remove every child, just in case, because the future risk of emotional harm that comes from most parents is very real. They should all go into state run homes, that are monitored and watched continuously, and where children are raised based on the latest expert research. Children will grow up perfectly, won’t they? No possibility of emotional harm, neglect or abuse? I’m sure that’s a great idea. Just let the state decide everything that is right and wrong.

        Reply
    3. jaas12444

      You talk about more trust between parents and social workers. Me and my partner trusted our first one. When introducing them to our main suport network, we asked about one of them as the have a questionable relative, if it was safe for them to be involved. We were all told that it was fine. Weeks later we are then told that we are putting our daughter at risk by associating with said support. When we reminded the social worker about a couple of weeks previously , it was denied. So, we went to the manager, as one of my relatives that had been there when it was said had a recording of it being admited that it was said over the phone. ‘conveniently’ the recording was ‘ lost’. Whats more is that our new social worker have accused us of not working with proffesionals. Funny, concidering that it is the SW that we are supposed to not be working with, that every time we try to contact sw, we never get a reply. Then when questioned, we get ‘ i never got any phone calls or msgs from you. Break- down in communication on there end i believe. Yet aparently it still out fault. I could go on’ but my finger is hurting ( useing phone). The point is, trust can be easily abused.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I agree and I am sorry to hear that. It does seem to be a frequent complaint from parents that social workers are hard to get hold of, don’t answer phones etc. Trust is a two way thing. All I can suggest is that you keep clear records of when you have tried to get in touch and what was said, but it is sad that you feel you have to.

        Reply
    4. anon

      I made the mistake of trusting a s/w thought they would help all she did was be nice to my face and then twist things and outright lie ! I never would habe believed my story if someone else had bbeen telling me it but it’s unbelievably unreal she told me if there wad anything in the reports that were not right or untrue to let her no so they cwould be changed !!! I’ve told her time an time again nothing’s ever changed , it seems opinions of people who have never seen or habe any idea about what went on in my house are true facts once written down even tho there’s no evidence or proof they say they have the child’s best interest at heart what a joke !! Is there any sites thst aren’t run by ss or aauthorities which parents can discuss how they have been treated without people who have no idea sticking there nose in as I can’t be the only parent who has is experiencing these things ?

      Reply
      1. looked_after_child

        Hello Anon and welcome
        I’m a parent not a professional. I’m not sure what to say to help. If you want to change something you have to talk to people with different perspectives – I just mean this as a general point – rather than as a comment on your situation. I do know what ‘unbelievably unreal’ feels like and how frightening and it is and ‘out of control’ it feels.

        I have always been very careful to write up the minutes from all meetings with the SW and send them out with action items for them etc. I always write things about me/what I want in my own words too and that is what went on file for better or worse.

        You need really good advice from professionals from here on in. I’d start here with the FRG https://www.frg.org.uk/need-help-or-advice

        Reply
      2. Sarah Phillimore

        There are hundreds of Facebook groups if you want somewhere to talk about how social workers lie all the time. But I won’t host that kind of discussion here because its not true, and its not helpful.

        Reply
        1. Angelo Granda

          ANON, As an ordinary parent like you, my advice to you is never use the word ‘lie’ when you talk about the strange attitude of ‘some’ social workers especially anonymously as it will only give rise to the usual denials ,assertions that SW’s are never deliberately deceptive and that they merely make sometimes mistaken ,cloud-cuckoo land claims because they act in the best interests of children.
          If you want to use those tones ,you will get short shrift on here. I never use the word ‘lie’. Yet I have no doubt that SW’s introduce much false evidence and untruth into cases because of their failure to conduct case enquiries correctly and sometimes due to bias and malice.
          My advice to you right now is to that you should find out the law from the Family Rights Group website (FRG) especially as regards to Working Together frameworks and legal guidelines of the Children’s Act. Go through them thoroughly and if there is ANY WAY in which you think your case is not ( or has not) been conducted correctly, I repeat ANY WAY then the only remedy you have is an appeal to a higher court. That is advice from 10 Downing Street. I don’t know if you are in proceedings yet or not but you must consult advocates like the FRG in good time. Be prepared!
          P.S. If the SW’s have not told you of your right to have an independent to advise you and attend meetings and conferences with you already and not informed you of those available locally, then they have already disregarded the frameworks of the Children Act ( in my view) and the course may already be set for injustice judging by what you have written. Hope this is of some help. Consult the FRG.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            So people are not allowed to use the word lie when you just explained the very definition of a lie?

  12. Brie - Mother of two boys

    Yes I think it would be useful to set out what you’ve suggested & it would be helpful if a SW could reply/advise, I’m not saying all SW behave this way & I’m hopeful that there are some good out there.
    @MerlinC yes I agree that you should complain & be heard, although being a rape/abuse victim sounds horrific & I would hope any victim of that kind would feel brave enough to report, I think as a parent trying to work with a social worker complaining about them affects how they work with you & causes friction. As I said I don’t think it’s right that they use scare tactics & cause fear, my main priority right now is to get on with them & work towards a better future so I guess it’s about balance. For social workers to be more humane & helpful instead of shutting out birth parents & birth parents to be more open & willing to work with a social worker for the best interests of a child. Sometimes it does not feel like they are!

    Reply
  13. Zafferano

    I’m a social worker and am very interested this debate, including the very important points raised by Brie. I’ve only recently started my first qualified post in Children’s Services though, so I don’t feel yet that I can provide a very informed point of view, but I hope as I gain more experience I will be able to become more involved in the discussion.
    Sarah – this is an excellent resource – thanks.

    Reply
  14. C

    I note Sarah, that you say you have seen no evidence of systemic corruption, although you have perceived some weaknesses. At what point do weaknesses become ‘systemic’?

    In our case – we were accused of sexually abusing our own children, on very spurious grounds, and on misinformation that was then inaccurately recorded. We were quickly cleared, but the dangerously misleading records remain hanging over our family’s heads. We have now been complaining to little effect for two and a half years. We were first told in August 2011 that it is vital that SC records are accurate. In October 2011, we were told ‘If there are inaccuracies then that is a serious matter’, and later that month , in our first Stage 1 report, ‘where there are proven factual inaccuracies, these can be easily amended’. In Jan. 2012: ‘…there were some words that were changed slightly. I would agree that it would be good practice to read back the details recorded where possible, to check for accuracy and I have raised this as a training issue for the advisors.’
    In April 2012: ‘There are a number of inaccuracies between the statement made by the caller and
    the contact record…. The item listed under untruth is serious…
    ‘Therefore while there were inaccuracies in the referral I do not accept that the complainants were the victims of an injustice….. … failures to ask for additional clarity could have produced a misleading account.
    It is incumbent on the agency to check information and correct it if necessary at the earliest opportunity.

    Then, at Stage 3 in July: ‘ …the advisor was able to control the call in such a way that hearsay and speculation were allowed to cloud the initial issue of the mark that was found when changing X’s nappy.
    …. suppositions and innuendo were made that distorted the true picture.
    This meant the inaccuracies of the call were then carried forward without the clarification.
    The panel believes that any inaccuracies that were recorded where possible have been amended.

    Then from the LGO: I am satisfied that the council’s adjudication responses accurately identified
    administrative error causing injustice to the parents associated with the Initial Response and Initial Assessment processes and has put in place appropriate remedies.

    At last, in March 2013, under pressure from the ICO, SC accepted 14 inaccuracies ( there are plenty more, actually) in 8 short paragraphs. In April 2013, The Director of SC wrote to us that it was

    ‘agreed that a “document of amendment” would be added to the …. record for your children which would make clear the inaccuracies, the wording of which would mirror that which was proposed through communication with the ICO. You will be sent a copy of what is added to the record.’

    This would be done on condition that we sign a document stating that we will not pursue the issue any further. ( I think such a condition is unlawful; so do the ICO.) We refused to sign…

    He also said that our children’s records would have to be maintained for 75 years, and that there was nothing he could do to change that.
    ‘ In order for this amendment material to be retained for the duration of the child protection record, 75 years, a new referral will need to be created with the category of “child protection”. It is not possible to add a document to a closed case because once the work on the referral and assessment is concluded and the case is closed it is not possible to add information subsequently.
    There is no alternative way to deal with this matter within the local authority.

    When we asked for the legal support for this position of 75 years, and a second “child protection” referral he wrote back and said it would be 21 years, and actually they could open the original file and amend/append it, but it would cost them money. They would only act, they re-iterated, if we signed saying we would not pursue things any further.

    Nothing has ever been altered, amended, corrected… In fact the misleading inaccuracies have been compounded ( apparently deliberately..) during the curse (sic) of the complaint. they have demonstrated a clear disregard for the spirit of the Complaints process that they purport to follow which stresses acting expeditiously to provide resolution, and developing a ‘listening’ culture.

    I don’t think that our case is an example of systemic corruption, but I do think it is symptomatic of systemic arrogance; of a chronic ( systemic) defensive ‘group think’ sickness, which results in a dangerous myopia. Ironically, SC seem congenitally unable to empathise. They seem to be barred from considering any point of view that differs from their own suspicious world-view, even to the point of not being able to listen to a phone conversation and record what was actually said, as opposed to what they are conditioned to hear. So : deaf as well as blind. Sensually calloused – perhaps from having been too close to too much pain, and too afraid of making some dreadful mistake… But nonetheless unfit to manage Social Care, because unfit to care.

    Reply
    1. Lonely x mum

      My daughter was removed from my care when she was eight. There was no proof of abuse only gossip and heresay, but I failed a drug test which showed low levels/recreational use of one drug. We were happy and unfortunately my daughter has been through more upset and stress than she ever went through with me. She now exhibits signs of physiological damage and strange behaviour and will probably be scarred for life. Social services have never tried to help in keeping us together but seemed intent on permanently keeping us apart. I may have occasionally used drugs but this doesn’t always mean that because of this a child is definitely going to be mistreated. Plenty of straight sober people are bad parents but not all. Drug users are automatically so. Social services wrote untold lies about me with no evidence other than gossip from people who hardly new us. When I proved some of the so called facts were rubbish they never amendment paperwork. They never believed a word I said and my child has suffered because of this. They have wrecked my family and seemed happy to do so, I find them vindictive and uncaring and my daughter seems brainwashed and coached into a different child that I hardly know. I’ve been told I’ll never get her back, she’s twelve now, and I feel there’s no point in life anymore. How are they allowed to carry on like this,they are a law unto themselves and seem to be allowed to do as they like with no comeback from anyone.they even go against what a judge decides at times. Who do they answer to? Can someone tell me that.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I am sorry you feel so hopeless. I hope you have some people in real life you can talk to and who can support you.

        Where was your lawyer in all of this? Why didn’t he/she challenge what was said about you if you didn’t agree with it? Why didn’t your lawyer challenge them if they didn’t do what a judge ordered?

        They answer to the court – if they act unlawfully then your lawyer should have bought them back to court.

        Reply
      2. ron

        Yes I have a similar case my wife and I just had twin girls and we used some pain meds while pregnant we where open with doctors about it all and got into the methadone program asap cause wer told not to stop drug cold turkey it took a while to get on it due to funds but we wer on it 2 months be for they were born and the girls wer check and wer clean and as well we wer check and passed 3 drug test for them but yet they are saying unless we at end treatment they are taking our girls soonest we can get in treat ment is like almost 3 months and our girls are 16 days old today and will be getting out of the nicu in like a week they are healthy and doing great we are sober and have every thing for them but not till we go to treatment can we have them any one have any suggestions on how to go about with this situation please we love there girls so much and it would devastate us to lose them we did all the things asked prior them being born and passed test why rip the whole family apart by takeing our kids then splitting us up as well to go to treatment that we arnt going to benefit from cause we are being forced

        Please any suggestions would be great

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore

          I can only suggest that you keep engaging with the social workers and carry on with the treatment programme you are in. It does sound like you are not really accepting how serious this is – I can’t see how you would end up on a methadone program just for using ‘some pain meds’.

          Using drugs whilst pregnant is something the SW will be really worried about. Your girls are very little and very vulnerable and I can understand why the SW wants to be very sure that you are able to look after them.

          But if you aren’t happy with the plans they are making for your family, you need to get legal advice or talk to your solicitor urgently if you have a lawyer already. If the SW wants to take your children into foster care and you don’t agree with this, they will have to go to court to get a care order and you will then get your own solicitor for free.

          Reply
      3. desperate mummy

        Lonelyxmum I completely understand what u are going thru I’m going thru very similar things except I have 3 children an they have suffered more in the last 7 months of them being in foster care then they would have in a lifetime with me !!:( it’s in the kids best interests what a load of crap hope u get this please reply cos u sound as desperate as I feel maybe we could help each other ? Even if it’d just someone to listen ? Xx

        Reply
        1. Heart broken mummy

          Hi desperate mummy. I feel the same way about what SAW are doing to our children. There is not might happiness in my life anymore since my babies where taken from me by SW. They talk about future emotion abuse when they think your child is not safe,but what about a future emotion abuse for parents after they have had their children taken from them. I miss my babies every day and go to sleep in tears every night. What about the parents future emotion abuse for having their children taken. I am sorry SW are not there to help families but to broke families up.

          Reply
          1. sherry

            I know how you feel my 4 children have been taken cos if domestic vilonce from my ex partner .im haing to atend court hereings .ive done everything they have asked off me .but im worried i will never get them back .ive a five day court hereing coming up and im really scared .but also worried what the out come is gonna be as i want my children home .and my children ask me me when there coming back home .but i dont no myself i just wsnna reasure them but im not allowed to .

      4. hannah

        Hi there, I have had similar issue, I feel your pain and I know how hard it is when your fighting a battle with no army behind you. Its wrong in so many ways. I have been trying to find ways to get the government to re look at the new rules and laws that have been made. Surely there suppose to keep children with family as much as possible for the sake of the child but this doesn’t seem to be the case. They do nothing apart from applying pressure on you and then look at you like you’ve done wrong when it hasn’t worked out like you’d hoped for. I’ve had a problem with heroin for years, but its never taken away my life being as normal as possible, the only thing its takes is my happiness in being treated like anyone else, money and keeping me imprisoned because you cant go anywhere unless you’ve had it. I also hated being reliant on a drug, it was horrible on a daily basis. I really hate it and but my point is people seem to perceive heroin addicts like the film Trainspotting. Ridiculous right. I smoked it and only used for the pain and psychological side of things. I’ve shown them how I live and, I keep a dog and a horse that are both well looked after, but because I was extremely worried about the outcome of things at the time I struggled to become abstinent. so my baby boy went from being with me in hospital for 6 weeks to foster carers when he could have gone to one of mine of my husbands family members, all being able and I know would have done a good job. But just to confuse him more they sent him to strangers. This killed me. Then recently they’ve now let my mother in law have him and father in law. Even though I’ve not seen him everyday, you can see he knows I’m his mum, we have a beutiful bond. There now shortening my contact two once a month even though my parenting assessment was perfect and positive. But I’m only just providing clean tests and doing my up most to change my addiction. How can this be for the best interest of my child. I live on a daily basis of stress and worry. How can they do this to people. I asked them at the beginning would they put me forwards to go into a mother and baby unit but because it costs a lot they wouldn’t. I know this is the reason. Yet again no help. Its a discusting system with judgemental people who haven’t lived so how would they possibly know whats best for a child? My social worker hasn’t even got kids and often makes un thoughtful remarks.Its almost like she thinks I dont care because I couldnt change my addiction when they asked, these things arent easy and take time. Does anyone know if theres a way of having a dispute and getting parents to sign a petition, especially the people that feel there being treated unfairly because of all these stupid new laws?? Something needs to change. I know loads of people who arent on drugs that are doing a shit job and dragging there kids up, but thats ok isnt it. Oh and because alcohol is legal thats ok too, but that can be as dangerous or worse. I think they need to try a different approach and saying that they treat people as individuals is a load of rubbish, Ive been treated like any other druggie so to speak! The thing is Im not and havent ever been your average addict. I dont live like one, dress smartly, have always prioritised other things before heroin and now Ive changed I feel there going to do sod all to help me. I cant wait a year I think I’ll be in an early grave. Any ideas anyone id be greatful. Thing anyone thats interested should start a page and get people to sign to give parents and children more of a chance instead of it being so strict. Its split are family apart, do they not understand that. My poor husband cant even go to his family home where his lived all his life, including having no support when he suffers with BPD, He only has me. And it would have most defintley finished me if they’d put him into adoption. They should be ashamed of themselves for what they have done. If they only put the money into helping me and my son in the right way then this would have been a very different situation now. They dont look at what else it affects. Id like to see them in this situation if it was there family member. My husbands 85 year old nan hasnt even been able to see her great grandson since he was born because of the stupid strict rules. It has a domino affect. The thing is I have an illness, any addiction is an illness, believe me I never asked for this, I was only 14 when I was introduced to it and I had no idea. Would they treat someone with an eating disorder the same or someone with cancer that has to take morphine?? People need to be a bit more open minded for once and to give people in these situations more support.

        Reply
  15. C

    What I mean is – I don;t think that they are out to get you…. they just can’t help themselves.

    Reply
  16. Sarah Phillimore

    Sadly, I think I have to agree with your last paragraph.

    My experience is that a lot of mistakes happen at an early stage because SW are under immense time pressures, with crazy case loads. And then a lot of energy goes into trying to deny/minimise the mistakes which I think is part of a general systems failure. I also agree that SW can come across as pretty ‘harsh’ a lot of the time which I can only assume is a consequence of having to deal day in, day out with some pretty difficult and dangerous people.

    I think the problem largely stems from an individual SW being given a dual and often incompatible role – being responsible for trying to keep families together by offering help and support BUT at the same time being responsible for investigating and assessing how the same families are harming their children.

    these are real and significant problems, with which we should grapple, which explains mine and others frustrations that we waste so much time down the rabbit hole of ‘adoption targets’ conspiracies.

    Reply
  17. C

    It is a tragic waste of resources defending inept behaviour that is indefensible if indeed there are ‘difficult and dangerous people’ out there. Mind you, I am sure that they consider us to be difficult and dangerous’. In our case they spent a month trying to come up with a strategy to prevent us from accessing the audio records that we had asked for, including considering whether they might argue that we were mentally unstable and so our health would be damaged if we listened to them.

    In other words, like the best totalitarian regimes, they were protecting us from ourselves.

    Reply
  18. Sarah Phillimore

    There are indeed some extremely difficult and dangerous people out there who have care of small children. This is the problem – you may sometimes get the sledgehammer to crack a nut approach where professionals assume the worst or don’t have the time available to assume anything else.

    I think the problem is that if people start off on the wrong foot, everything they see about a case is then seen through the lens of suspicion, everything you do is interpreted from a particular angle, Its a very common problem and a lot of it stems from misrecording or misinterpretation at a very early stage of an investigation.

    I agree that such paternalism about refusing access to audio records is completely misplaced and dangerous .

    I am sorry you have had such a rough time of it. I hope you can find some resolution and that some people at least have learned lessons from the way this was mishandled.

    Reply
  19. C

    Thanks for all your input.

    …it has completely taken over the last three years of our lives, and unfortunately in terms of learning lessons – I fear we have so far only trained SC to be better in being defensive. E.g.: they are much more circumspect about what they write in internal emails…

    As for the audio records, they didn’t refuse them in the end – just spent a month discussing it, and then delivered them 19 days late of the 40 day DSAR deadline.

    Is it true that there are no protocols/guidance for call handlers taking child protection calls, as SC tell us, and wrote us? This is hard to credit – especially when they are sending internal emails to each other saying things like ‘He’s asking for the Guidance! What should I do?’. In the end a senior manager wrote and told us it didn’t exist, and when we continued to press, the Complaints Manager said that anyway it didn’t fall within the Terms of Reference of the investigation.

    That is the other tip for anyone else who may end up in this particular pit: consider the wording of the TOR extremely carefully. SC will always say it is not a legal document, and you don’t need to take legal advice, or have a lawyer in their complaints procedures: You Do. and whatever you do, don’t trust the I.P., he/she’s a ringer.

    Reply
  20. C

    Our I.P. collated a file of what he called disparaging remarks that he felt we had made, about SC and the process, for submission to the L.G.O. He wrote early on in the piece to the Complaints Manager, saying he usually did this as it may prove useful. ( He accurately predicted the outcome of the investigation would not satisfy us. Wonder how he knew.)
    His favourite comment of mine is:

    ‘trying to comprehend what ..X… writes is like trying to learn astronomy by studying soup.’

    He managed to collate 147 similar… Which seems a gross waste of public resources.

    I begrudge them all making their living out of our distress, and destroying our livelihoods as we end up putting all our energies and resources into fending off their opaque phrases, and questionable interpretations. I think that perhaps we have become mentally unstable… after all. Looking forward to court, for example, seems to be a sign of madness.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter whether they are out to get you or not, they do, anyway, and you are forced to play by their demented rules. You pay with your attention. And they are paid with it, no matter how much they complain about having inadequate resources. They dine out on bitter tears. If they didn’t desire a crusader’s martyrdom, they could so easily do things differently – No, they are fixed, fixated; keening like drills seeking oil where there is none. Two and a half years ago, our complaint could have been resolved in an afternoon. Now, there will always be a landscape of scars, on them, on us, and most tragically, on three years of our childrens childhoods – whatever happens. To justify inadequte child protection training at the nursery, and at the call centre, they have created a war over nappy rash. ‘The first casualty is childhood,’ because we are now so burdened as parents, and spend all their time writing justifications at the computer. It is enough to drive one to religion, so that praying for vengeance can be justified.

    I have to go out in the garden now and burn some effigies.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I would love to know if there is any research on the impact of such conflict on organisations, as from my experience, it does seem that people bunch up into a defensive mode and exist purely to try and fend off allegations, without any calm consideration of whether or not they may be justified! I have seen this when involved in judicial review proceedings against a LA; a lot of time wasted defending the indefensible. I have a horrible feeling this is part of the human condition.

      Not much consolation to you I suspect, but I hope that your experiences may shine a light for anyone else who gets caught up in this.

      It ought to go without saying that anyone in this field who is dealing with issues of possible harm to children ought to have proper training and clear guidance to refer to post training. If either doesn’t exist, this indicates a failure in that organisation, but I am not sure that it is a failure that is automatically subject to legal censure.

      anyway, I hope you can get some advice from someone more knowledgeable than me.

      Reply
  21. Jonathan Ritchie

    When even an MP like John Hemming advises families to flee abroad because they can’t get a fair hearing from, there needs to be change. Even judges like Lord Aikens describe the behaviour of social workers as Stalinist. As Lord Justice Wall, the President of the Family Division said: “What social workers do not appear to understand is that the public perception of their role in care proceedings is not a happy one. They are perceived by many as the arrogant and enthusiastic removers of children from their parents into an unsatisfactory care system, and as trampling on the rights of parents and children in the process.” Censoring and refusing to engage with people like Cheryl Corless because you don’t like what she says is a good example.

    Evidence of systematic corruption is the culture of cover up and the institutional persecution of whistleblowers in social work and social care. Like Nevres Kamal who raises concerns who had allegations of abuse and misconduct fabricated against her by Sharon Shoesmith. Like Martin Morton who uncovered financial abuse by Wirral Council and in retaliation the council destroyed his career, future, family life, health and well-being. Eileen Chubb, Margaret Heywood and countless others.
    If the safety of children and vulnerable people is the priority in the social work and social care, why are these people persecuted? It happens because of systematic corruption.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      We have not ‘censored’ Cheryl Corless, merely pointed out that if she simply posts abusive comments, these will be removed. If she wants to engage in rational debate, we would be delighted.

      We agree, and this site makes it clear, that there is much that is worrying about the child protection system and we encourage debate about what we can do to make it better.

      What we reject is any allegation of systemic and deliberate corruption, fuelled, for example by ‘bonus payments’ to social workers who ‘snatch’ children. We reject it because even after years of such allegations being made, those who allege it provide no proof other than their own repeated assertions that is is all true.

      we need more than that. Children certainly need and deserve a sensible debate, based on fact not delusion.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Ritchie

        I wonder what evidence you would accept as facts. If you did find hard facts, how long do you think it would be before you found yourself faced with a fabricated allegation, or your family targeted? Ask the whistleblowers…

        The CQC deletes an inconvenient repost from Grant Thornton. The Police finally admit manipulating crime figures, but persecute James Patrick who exposed this. Police officers sell stories to the media for money and together with lawyers and accountants work with organised crime. Evidence of corruption is shredded. The family of Stephen Lawrence are spied upon. Why should we believe that Social Work is any different?

        Saying that critics are delusional is reminiscent of what Lord Denning said about the Birmingham Six, “Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial … If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous. … That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, “It cannot be right that these actions should go any further.”

        Reply
  22. Sarah Phillimore

    The evidence I would accept are the statistics promised by John Hemming MP which ‘show’ that social workers are individually paid bonuses for ‘snatching’ children.

    He has been repeatedly asked to provide this evidence but will only produce a spreadsheet which he has written and filled in himself.

    So you can understand why there is scepticism about that.

    I don’t deny that awful things happen and that good people can be lead into doing evil things, to try and cover up mistakes or because they really think they are doing the right thing.

    But we can’t combat that and work against it if people are insistent on arguing that it is all part of a deliberate conspiracy. For example, I am often told that ‘child stealing’ in the UK is sanctioned by the United Nations and that people are murdered to forward the aim of stealing as many children as possible. I am told that the state makes enormous profit out of each child stolen.

    No one has EVER been able to support these assertions with anything other than rambling YouTube videos and angry tweets.

    I need more. Any rational person needs more. Otherwise I am afraid the conspiracy theorists will continue not to be taken seriously – which would be an enormous shame if part of what they are complaining about IS serious and real and DOES need investigation.

    Reply
    1. Jonathan Ritchie

      Let me tell you about the experience which taught me to give credence to the plausibility of allegations of systematic corruption. I was training to become a social worker and in my first practice placement with Adults with Learning Disabilities (with which client group I had several years of experience. I was sent by my practice teacher to do an assessment of the needs of a disabled child, despite having never worked with children. I was just handed a file and told to start work, no induction, no work shadowing no nothing. I publicly refused on the grounds that this was not safe practice. Whistleblowing as I now understand it.

      Suspended and then called in front of an anonymous panel of senior social workers with intentionally no notice so I could not arrange for a UNISON representative to be there. I was accused of being “disrespectful “to my practice teacher, “angry” and a “potential risk to vulnerable people”. They started to demand to know my social, cultural and political values despite my invoking the right to privacy under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act. Even after all the missed opportunities to save Peter Connely, they dismissed my concerns sneering that the child “is just one file”. Talking about children like the administrators of Auschwitz used to talk about the Jews. I was called a liar and told I knew nothing about the law. I have no doubt the transcript of the hearing was manipulated, it was an institutional organised cover up. I felt the hatred that Eileen Chubb talks about in the Whistleblowers Interview Project http://vimeo.com/54191674.
      I resigned and when back to work in social care.

      I don’t believe that every social worker is corrupt, more that they they have the same issues with culture as the NHS and with corruption as the police. Except it’s worse since the possibilities for intangible abuse of power are as wide as the ocean in the manipulation of assessments and self regulation is a disaster.

      The fact is that the UK has previous form for the institutional abuse of children in the deportation of 130,000 children (Source: Child Migrants Trust) to be exploited and abused,

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8531664.stm

      This was done for money, firstly because deportation was cheaper for the authorities and children were a source of cheap labour. Secondly, I find it hard to believe that money did not change hands at times between exploiters and officials somewhere along the chain. Now Child Adoption is a multimillion pound business which attracts hedge fund investors. I ask myself, if the social work oligarchy does not consider children to be human beings, but merely files, commodities, outputs; is it so implausible to believe that the trade in children is continuing….?

      The chaotic, disturbed, angry and irrational parents who complain about conspiracy may be wrong in some ways, perhaps some of them to distract from their own responsibility. However, ignoring them because their accusations involve the corrupt culture of a profession risks being blinded by status as the country was by Jimmy Saville.

      I don’t think John Hemming has any official statistics he can show you because they are unlikely to exist or will have been manipulated or shredded. Since members of the public are so concerned that social work is engaged in Human Trafficking that they flee to other jurisdictions, in my opinion it is in the interests of all those concerned in child protection that this is continually investigated by the National Crime Agency.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I agree with much of what you say, but I will continue to think it is vital to try to distinguish between legitimate complaints of institutional ‘cultures’ that are unhealthy and which don’t promote or encourage investigation and reform, and allegations that the child protection system is deliberately designed to steal children for money.

        I agree that it is insane folly to suggest that care homes should be privatised; profit should have nothing to do with this whatsoever because I agree that encourages a mentality that children are just ‘units’.

        But to keep on saying – as Hemming and co do – that children are routinely taken from loving homes to meet a fictious government ‘target’ or to ensure social workers get a bonus, is a wicked nonsense.

        It detracts from the real issues we need to debate, some of which you highlight in your comment. And it encourages more desparate and traumatized parents like Lianne Smith to run away from the very people who could help. In her case, with fatal consequences for the children.

        John Hemming has frequently claimed that he HAS proof for his assertions. But he will never share this. Why not?

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Ritchie

          I invite you to apply to the social work profession the same standard of proof which is used to support allegations of “potential future emotional abuse” against parents. However I agree with you that the unhealthy child protection culture is not the result of a government plot and that most social workers don’t benefit financially from taking children into care or adoptions.

          However in my view, the interests of justice and children are not being served by the following factors:

          1. Secrecy. If Munby allows parents to video social workers then social workers should be able to use video evidence about parents too.

          2. A stalinist culture in social work, which means that they can never admit mistakes. The culture of closing ranks and cover up is deeply ingrained.

          3. The prevalence of psychopaths both among some delinquent parents and some professionals.

          3. The process of assessment is open to manipulation and interpretation the wider the definition of abuse. Making reliable decisions regarding cases where there is physical evidence must be difficult enough, but impossible in cases of psychological/emotional abuse. The latter is bad parenting but it doesn’t kill children.

          4. The number of referrals due to the widening concept of abuse seems to be overloading the system, and professionals being human are making mistakes. In Scotland now there are plans for a “named person” for every child, the system will implode.

          5. Endemic, institutional (but no systematic) corruption in local government coupled with a multimillion pound care industry for both children and the elderly.

          6. A history of human trafficking of children

          It’s not just the media, it’s not just a few conspiracy theorists, MPs or angry parents. Even foreign governments protest. Social Work and family law can’t function without public trust and the child protection system has lost this.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            1. Secrecy – I think Munby has already made it clear that parents can record and post on Youtube whatever they want, so long as they don’t identify a child as being subject to proceedings. He is also opening up discussions about making hearings public, so I think a lot of the justifiable concerns about lack of transparency are at least beginning to be dealt with.

            2. I don’t like use of the word ‘stalinist’ , think it is hyperbolic and unhelpful. Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions after all. But I agree that in general there is an unhelpful culture of refusing to acknowledge mistakes and apologise in many professions, not just social work.

            3. I am not sure what you are saying here about psychopaths. That they are more prevalent in the professions? What is your evidence for this? psychopathy is relatively rare in the general population. But if what you mean is that there are many people who lack empathy and general people skills, then I agree – and they are found everywhere, not just in the child protection system.

            3. difficulties with assessment process – I agree that identifying and assessing emotional abuse may not be as immediately clear cut and straightforward as assessing a filthy house or a child who has been beaten to death, but I don’t accept that it is not sufficiently harmful to merit state action. the impact of emotionally abusive parenting can be extremely severe and life long. I would rather be part of a society that tried to rescue children from this.

            4. I agree that the number of referrals is overloading the system and this is a recipe for disastrous mistakes.

            5. I am not sure what point you are making here.

            6. With regard to trafficking of children, i am not sure what point you are making here. I don’t think there is a single society or culture that has not, at some point in its history, done awful inhumane things. I am not sure to what you are referring but we are not necessarily prisoners of our past – we have moved on and rightly so in our understanding of childhood and what children need.

            I agree that trust seems to be at a low ebb. What can be done to restore trust in the system?

          2. Anonymous

            This might not be relevant but deliquency is likely to be caused by sociopathy rather than psychopathy. Sociopathy and psychopathy are two very different personality disorders. Social workers who work unprofessionally are more likely to be the ones who are psychopaths than outright delinquents.

    2. Anonymous

      Don’t defend social workers who act in am unprofessional manner. There is nothing ‘good’ about a proffessional, who is in grave charge of people’s futures and has a an enormous modicum of power, lying in court, trying to push their own opinions as subjective, falsefying documents or trying to cover up disastrous mistakes purely for their own benefit/agenda. Anyone who can do these things day in and day out is not a ‘good’ person.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        When have I EVER defended ANYONE who acts in ‘unprofessional manner’?
        Please do show me.
        It would really help if you could restrict yourself to criticisms that actually have some basis in reality.

        Reply
  23. C

    Does ‘child protection trumps data protection’ as in IHJ/14/0272 imply that even if the data may be inaccurate, untrue, fabricated… it holds water because – that poisoned blanket phrase comes into play here the childs interests are paramount?
    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of fairness or justice in making misinformation valid.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I do not see how it can be right to state baldly that ‘child protection trumps Data protection’.

      Article 8 requires consideration of what is proportionate. So in some cases, where allegations are less serious or based on unreliable sources then I would expect data protection to win. It’s a balancing act surely?

      Would be interested to know more about this MXA case but all I can find so far is that it was listed on June 11th! But nothing about what was found.

      Reply
  24. C

    ‘Child protection trumps data protection’ was the headline of the update sent out to local authorities by Weightmans. Having read the cases you put up under balance of probabilities – I don’t see very much justice going on. The judgments in those cases seem obscene. Supporting misfeasance because to do otherwise might make CSC less enthusiastic, seems the moral equivalent of ducking witches, in which drowning proves innocence.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I think Lord Bingham agreed with you. Which shows there is hope for a change to come. Which I appreciate isn’t much comfort for you.

      Reply
      1. C

        Hooray for Lord Bingham!
        His opinions were always erudite. But though he was highly respected, even he wasn’t listened to all that much. c.f his views on the Iraq War.
        With respect to his opinion on the accountability of social workers, evolution is not something that anyone presently on this planet trying to raise their children can afford to wait around for.
        His views are unfortunately the opposite of comfort; they are the nostrum presented to maintain hope in an attempt to ameliorate what appears to be legally-supported scandal. In situations like this, I am with Christopher Hill ( who I know Lord Bingham had a lot of time for): there are some situations in which it is suitable to think: what would Lenin have done?

        Reply
  25. Pingback: The social worker is out to get me…. | Child Protection Resource | fighting for the rights of childrens human rights

  26. Carol

    England you your laws and your lies. I studied this country it’s laws the way people live here. The way services operate esp the NHS and English SS. I’m German and not proud of what Hitler did to other EU countries. Germany has drastically changed since. If doctor make patient died that doctor goes to jail as it is criminal matter for the police. If social worker fabricate paper work that social worker goes to jail. After years of living and learning about England I realised the government in England has adopted many ideas from Hitler, Child trafficking, NHS care pathways, freedom of speech only on topics the government want you to speak about. And many many more. Out of all crimes against own people British government has committed. Crime number one braking international human rights law is Child trafficking British government carries on against both its own citizens and foreign nationals. When the time comes I pray you the English wake up and will bring all those corrupted bend judges corrupted MPs and police to justice and for worst crimes before court in Nurenberg, and those evil inhuman nazi traitors should be hanged by neck until death served upon them.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      carol, I am going to leave your comment up in the hope that C will see it.

      And agree I have a point about how unhelpful it is to the debate to conduct it in this way. Your observations are I am afraid too absurd to merit any other kind of response or further attention.

      Reply
      1. Battered mousewife

        Maybe the German lady’s observations are not that absurd when you dig below surface level and you actually observe things? Is there not a prevailent authoritarian socialist ideology present in the minds of many government and public sector workers? Hitler also happened to be an authorian socialist. He believed that everything should be decided by the state, including how people should live their personal and family lives. Are you telling me that there are not social workers and NHS workers who may think that way and use their authority and power to enforce their political and personal agenda onto people who have far less status and political power than they do? It says something about the UK and other western countries when Julie Bindle is given a well respected mainstream platform, but someone like Daryush Valizadeh gets multiple death threats and is banned and censored. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with either of these peoples beliefs. However, it does prove that freedom of speech and freedom to live your life how you want to is only free when it fits the mainstream narrative, and the mainstream narrative in the UK and other western countries is authoritarian left. Does it not concern you when political extremists are allowed to fill government positions because they are considered mainstream?

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore

          Mainstream narrative is ‘authoritarian left’?? Are you serious? So that’s why we are Brexiting all over the shop I guess.
          I don’t accept that for a moment.

          Reply
          1. Battered mousewife

            The authoritarian left seem to have a big presence within the British government and the British media, however a lot of civilians don’t follow that narrative. Now the government is actually trying to stop brexit, against the wishes of the people.

          2. Sarah Phillimore

            Are you mad? This bloody useless shambles of a Government has just triggered Article 50. In what universe is this ‘trying to stop Brexit’ .

    2. national consumer helpline 0871 711 2889

      We at National Consumer Helpline 0871 711 2889 offer practical help for parents in Care Proceedings. Yes Social Workers do get paid to take children into Care. Lancashire County Council have worked out how many cases each Social Worker employed by them has to have to earn their salary. So each Finaocial Year LCC needs to see each Social Worker having a certain number of children in care on their boobooka caseload. If the number of children falls Social Workers get sacked if it increases then more Social Workers get employed. Each year a number of children in care leave care for a number of reasons

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        Have you got any proof for this assertion? How many get sacked each year? How do you know this?

        Reply
  27. C

    I agree. Even though I think that the continual stress of apparent injustice, and not being listened to, drives anyone crazy – it doesn’t make the crazed rants true. Of course there are marked differences between modern ‘democratic’ Britain and Nazi Germany. One doesn’t have to go further than comparing the nations’ road building programmes… joke… – and I agree that this kind of radically inaccurate discourse, so regularly trotted out by James Anthony Mee, probably undermines more moderate arguments, and certainly gives those who don’t want to embrace the idea of change – an excuse for not doing so.
    However, it is a poor excuse.
    The Flat Earth Society continue to promote their idea that the world is flat, but they don’t get much traction. Very few people decide not to book a flight because they worry about falling off the edge of the earth. Whereas the SS argument has had much more success – because there is enough pain and outrage out there to make it almost credible. As I’ve said before, the way to make the argument an endangered species is to stop feeding it with arrant injustice. To make the ‘SS’ accountable.

    Reply
    1. Battered mousewife

      Point is when you give a group of people the power to make decisions about people’s family and personal lives, mostly with a collective extreme political ideology on how things should be run, with an “I can save the world from all that is bad” complex translated “I can save the world from all that isn’t in the teachings of Karl Marx”, then you are headed for what I can only see as a national threat to personal liberty. I have met many social workers and i have dealt with them and had in-depth discussions with many of them. I have dealt with families who have been targets because of their personal and political beliefs, or because the make-up of their family doesn’t tie in with the concept of social Marxism.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I have been doing this job for 20 years. I have never, ever, ever, ever tripped over Karl Marx or any reference to him in anything I have ever done or said or in any interaction with any social worker. I think you are referring to another era. It isn’t this one.

        Reply
        1. Battered mousewife

          You may haven’t been “tipped” about him, but left wing social policies tend to stem from Marxism, and this is the ideology that many authoritarian leftists base their philosophies on. They don’t have to be aware of who he is to share a lot of his ideas.

          Reply
  28. Sarah Phillimore

    I think this debate is probably worthy of a separate post, so I may move these comments to the Response to Commentators tab.

    Reply
  29. C

    Doesn’t help that today James Antony Mee published a new post on the origins of the phrase ” in the best interests of the children” as being used in the Lebensborn project. (Presumably in German…)
    It is an irritation. As a result of his post people are calling for Churchill to be dug up. (Presumably not to invent the Concentration camp, or to drop gas on the kurds…)

    Reply
  30. Sarah Phillimore

    I really do admire his energy and single minded devotion to his cause – but every time he posts, a rational fairy dies.

    Reply
  31. Angelo Granda

    What you have to realise is that much of what the CS say and say they are doing in social care does not actually gel with the truth.
    Parents involved with the department perceive this but you do not,apparently.
    PARENTS PERCEPTIONS ARE MORE VALID THAN YOURS

    1. They have the overall view; they know the whole truth and have seen how the CS performs in actuality.They see the sw’s at their worst in the REAL WORLD not only when they present to other proffessionals(e.g
    In a court setting.
    2.Parents have parental responsibility and a duty to protect their children.They have to speak out strongly!
    You don’t.

    You talk of ‘rational fairies’

    You appear to accept that the CS has failings and that they often fail to follow procedure.
    Unfortunately, they are often in ‘ cloud-cuckoo land’ and they often take other professionals there with them.

    Historically , when institutional humanity or corruption occurs,itis found afterwards that lawyers and the civil authorities had all the facts; they had all the evidence they needed from victims ,families and the General Public; they had official papers which demonstrated what was going on.

    THEY JUST REFUSED TO BELIEVE WHAT WAS HAPPENING BEFORE THEIR EYES!

    A good example is Hillsborough.

    In my opinion, there is only one solution and that is a full Public Enquiry by Royal Commission.l

    Reply
    1. kay

      I have concerns having witnessed social workers in action with care cases with friends families. I am hugely concerned about how protocol can take over from emotional intelligence and fair treatment and the best welfare of the child. I have seen children suffer, unnecessarily, due to social workers attachment to their ideas, and I have seen soc w ddestroy childrens trust in the care system.
      I’m sure, at least I’m really hoping there are good experiences too.
      Though the care of the child should come first, and there should be integrity and honesty with the child, and consideration of what they feel their needs are. Otherwise, I feel it is another form of institutionalised abuse.
      And where does one go to with concerns, when its not your own case, though you can see th malpractice occuring?

      Reply
      1. angelo granda

        Kay,You are right about emotional intelligence,fair treatment and the best welfare of the child! What it amounts to is INHUMANITY.
        The big problem we have is that Social workers lack fairness (a.6); proportional intelligence(a.8) and any appreciation of the significant physiological and emotional harm they do to children(a.3).
        Have readers spotted how Social Workers never fail to make the point that it is not they who make the decision to remove a child from home? That is how they evade ( self-catharsis) their own culpability and inhumanity.
        It is they who decide whether their own actions are proportionate to the circumstances of a case and they who decide if they are going to follow fair procedures
        Also, who is it that ignores the cries and screams of the little children and turns a blind eye and death ear to the family’s pleas for mercy?

        The Court sees none of that.It merely follows the lead of the Social Workers trusting them to act with integrity (in most cases).

        If the Social Workers will not even accept responsibility and pass the buck on to the Court, what hope can there ever be that the system will ever change?

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore

          I don’t even know where to start with this comment.

          You tell me to be ‘constructive’. None of this is ‘constructive’. ‘Cries and screams of the little children’. really? to what audience are you playing with this guff?

          It is NOT SW who decide if their actions were ‘proportionate’ – it is the Court.
          the court does NOT simply ‘follow the lead’ of the SW.

          I don’t want to stifle debate but I am getting increasingly fed up of assertions like this – they are simply untrue, they don’t move the debate on and they probably scare anyone vulnerable who is reading.

          So I will delete any further comments along these lines.

          Hopefully I will have finished my blog post by tomorrow dealing with your question re Article 3. If you wish to engage further with that argument I am happy to – so long as the engagement is genuine and not some more grandstanding propaganda.

          Reply
          1. angelo granda

            My comment was constructive in that it was an attempt to explain to readers why the system can be inhumane.I also hope that any social worker who might see it will recognise that for genuine and progressive reform to take place, they,the Local Authorities and the Guardians will have to examine their behaviour with candour and admit that they are not faultless. That is the only way they can be constructive.
            It is they who decide , for example, whether a tiny bruise which may ( just may) have been caused deliberately gives rise to such a significant risk of future harm to a child that PERMANENT removal is necessary. They decide whether removal is proportionate to the case before they go to court.Often they make their decision without following legal guidelines related to fair proceedings which include the requirement that they do a full core-assessment and examine less intrusive measures and to consider the massive impact on a child’s development and emotional harm caused by separation.I am talking about harm in the real sense of the word (i.e. physical,psychological and moral). I am not talking about theoretical harm or significant risk of it.
            The mention of ‘the cries and screams of the little children’ was an appeal to the emotions of readers for which I do not apologise. That you ( as a professional) should refer to my words as ‘guff’ is exactly what I meant to demonstrate.

            By the way, you are one of the moderators on this forum and it is your perogative to delete any post as and when you wish.I will not argue with any decision you make. I will add, however, that my post was no more ‘grandstanding’ than your references on other occasions to faeces; squalor; ‘detritus’ (whatever that may be) and to Peter Conelly, Victoria Climbie etc. etc.

            We respect your right to comment in any way you like, don’t we?

          2. Battered mousewife

            So you are telling me that social workers never have any sort of powerful influence over judges decisions? The judge always or at least should decide independently what they believe to be the best course of action. Just because something should happen however it doesn’t mean that it does or that it’s always enforced.

          3. Sarah Phillimore

            Of course social workers have ‘powerful influence’. They give evidence to the court as experts. The Judges have to listen carefully. But I have experience of many cases where the Judges have rejected the evidence of social workers. They aren’t gods. Judges weigh up evidence from all sources carefully.

        2. Chris

          “social adjective (GOING OUT)
          B1 ​relating to ​activities in which you ​meet and ​spend ​time with other ​people and that ​happen during the ​time when you are not ​working:
          I had an ​active social ​life when I was at ​college.
          I’m a social ​drinker – I only ​drink when I’m with other ​people.
          Most ​schools ​organize social ​events for the ​students.
          UK I’ve just ​become a ​member of the company’s ​sports and social ​club.”

          The Key word here is TIME,
          I have been reading most of the posts on this blog and the general trend is that the UK population ( or at least these most affected by Social Services) are of the opinion that the system is not working.
          From personal experience, sitting in on meetings, and trying to get the ‘plaintiff’s’ point across, I have been either ignored or told that I was being aggressive and disruptive to the meeting. Had the Social Worker taken the time and given proper explanations and answers, my feelings of mistrust and suspicion for any points made in those meetings would never have led to my conceptions of the Social Services as a whole to be disreputable. It is this kind of treatment of people that breeds discontent. Perhaps it’s time for a reversal of the ‘targets’, and Social Workers are paid bonuses for helping parents to achieve the required level of care needed to raise and KEEP their children, This is more the Objective of Putting Children First, surely, where the rights of Children AND Parent are both satisfied under the EU and British Laws.

          I agree that there are sometimes instances where resolution of an unsatisfactory home conditions is not met and the laws are there to protect those children already.
          Children don’t arrive with Instruction manuals and never have done, Each child is an individual and so are the parents, and they have rights. Far better to resolve a n conflict of interest by talking than simply march in with 2 police officers and forceably remove children. Threatening parents with removing children should be a LAST resort, not the greeting.
          Let’s not forget, Social Workers and TRAINED, and have been trained in a lot of areas where People are the Centre of that training. Nursing, Midwifery, Sociology are usually prerequisits for employment. Is it not possible for Social Workers to ‘PEOPLE’ centered instead of ‘form fillers’ and ‘checkbox-tickers’.

          A Very disillusioned ex- grandparent (thanks to Social Servicces)

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            I agree. Its about relationships and communication. Establishing a good relationship so that people are willing to listen to one another and be receptive to what they say, takes time. A lot of people in the system have no time to foster good relationships as they are either battling with paperwork or having to deal with the rampant and dangerous nonsense peddled by the likes of Ian Josephs, Sabine McNeill etc, etc, ad nauseam.

          2. Chris

            Thank you for your supportive and sympathetic answer, however, that does not help the situation of many thousand of anguished parents and families out there who have suffered at the hands of over-worked and sometimes even overpaid Social Workers, what is needed is not a change of law, but a change of the system. The childrens act 1989 and later it’s review in the light of EU law are stable enough to deal with the cases brought before them.

            What IS needed as I’ve said, is more robust and transparent Caring Social Services System that is open to scrutiny by the people it’s supposed to protect, families and their children, and to be accountable to the People for it’s actions.
            It is the PEOPLE that pay for the services by taxation, therefore should be accountable to the public. How to affect that change is by politicians and your local MPs. More can be achieved by the social workers themselves if they chose to do so.

  32. Anon parent

    I’d like to add my comments into the mix regarding social services agenda. I am a parent who obtained my local authority files and in it, there are documents from the individual social workers congratulating each other on the pre planned and pre determined removal of my child to an ex whom has every abusive issue possible that would contravene a child’s well being. This was all recorded MONTHS before any action or Court proceedings were considered or taken WITHOUT the agreement of their own legal team who recorded in those same files that they could not evidence harm or imminent harm to justify legal recourse. The accusations leveled at me were not evidence based and later dropped as unsubstantiated within the Court process which was the SOLE basis on taking any action in the Courts. This you may think would change the outcome, given it violated all the legal premises the action was founded on and in addition considerable Human Rights of both myself and my child. However despite this considerable ‘evidence’ which made a mockery of both the child protection services and the law and which the Judge was privy to, the outcome was as it was pre planned. NOTHING evidenced from the social workers own internal files was taken into account or challenged their unlawful action. The wheels once set in motion are inevitably bound to end at their original destination, come what may. Judges do not deal in prima facie evidence, it’s very much what they believe or are led to believe. The child protection resources and courts in this Country are a a machine and despite the calculations shown here, it is a vast money making operation with each faction reliant on the other for income. Whereas the individual financial incentives do not demonstrate a benefit to taking children for reward alone, you have to see the situation as a whole and how all those incentives fit into the overall picture. Local authorities have budgets which invariably they wish to increase annually and performance related pay for workers whom have an invested interest in obtaining them. The Court’s interests are longevity in terms of Hearings which is why there was such resistance to the introduction of the 26 week time limit for care proceedings. One institution serves the other and mutually support each other’s financial interests. In my situation there was NO consideration of the child’s welfare or best interests, demonstrated clearly by the pre planning where all my child’s rights were infringed and subsequently my child suffered avoidable and significant harm and distress where it was determined as trauma. Every action was rubber stamped in ignorance of the facts. Supposition and Judicial prejudice determined the outcome which is not operating in the best interests or welfare of my child. 4 of the social workers have been relieved of their positions, including the Director and an investigation underway. STILL there is no acknowledgement, recognition or priority of my child’s welfare or best interests as the illusion that serves those professional needs and interests is apparently paramount, rather than my child’s. It would appear that the cost of an almost pathological refusal by a local authority to admit it has made a mistake is a price they are willing for my child to pay in terms of emotional and psychological harm, to ensure that individual and corporate needs are met as the principal and overriding priority.

    Reply
  33. jolene

    the child protection not only there to take children away but to see that they get best support and care they need and to also help to get the best educatiom

    Reply
  34. angelo granda

    Quote:One person’s constructive comment is another person’s tedious hyperbole, evidently:Unquote

    Thank you, I agree with that sentiment which you have put very well. The irony is that so many parents would accuse Social Workers and Guardians of the consistent repetition of hyperbole and unfounded assertions in their statements and ‘ assessments’.( Those professionals rarely budge no matter what contrary opinion they are presented with).
    Is it any wonder that parents resort to the same tactics?

    I suppose, in many ways, we see it is a battle of propaganda but , as you say, the battle should not be fought on this forum.

    Absolute honesty and integrity is called for by all contributors to our discussions. Particularly,Social Workers and/or Guardians should not be conspicuous only by their silence and absence. However, I don’t think practising Social Workers are ‘encouraged’ to use resources such as CPR. All comments welcome.

    Reply
  35. Winston Smith

    Unfortunately up till 2008sustantialpayments were being made to each council to increase the numbers of forced adoptions, These were public service Agreements and there were others to cover other areas .I still s have the printout of payments, including my own council’s of £1,0025,000 p.a. Elected members still deny it when I hold it under their nose. Some councils paid bonuses to individual SW’s for a successful forced adoption

    Since the scandal there has been targets of a% of children in Care.

    Unfortunately no-one wants to adopt children in long term Care, so babies and children entering Care are targeted as they are more desirable. especially blue eyed ,blond haired children. This is why eastern European children have been targeted. if it is not so tell it to their ambassadors.

    Reply
  36. Sam

    Winston
    You may find it helpful look at the European Article on this website and read the source report. It’s a bit of an eye opener

    Reply
  37. Sarah Phillimore

    Sam – I don’t think Winston reads anything on this website. He has – for example – complained that I think there is ‘nothing’ wrong with the current system.

    I can only assume he hasn’t bothered to read what I write. I don’t know what other explanation there could be for that belief.

    Reply
  38. michelle thomas

    what a load of shit these aresholes come out with…

    [continues in this vein so I am not posting this. My patience has officially run out. I will from now on be enforcing the comments policy rigorously. If you want to be part of the debate, please read the rules on the home page and stick to them]

    Reply
  39. lamia mafin

    Hi
    I’m a victim of domestic violence. I’m not getting any benefits for instance. My child social worker said to me that they will give me and my child a certain amount per week as a loan and when I ll get my benefit I have to give them the money back.
    As she explained to me that the council is on deficit.
    Is it normal?? And if I don’t give her the money back what she can do? Do I have the right to stop social worker to interfere in my life and baby life?
    Thankyou

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      As far as I know, this is quite normal. The LA will loan you money in an emergency when you are waiting for benefits to start. You are expected to pay it back.
      I don’t know what happens if you don’t pay it back, but I suspect they will try and get it and maybe claw it back from your benefits once they are paid. I assume benefits will be backdated, so if you don’t pay back the LA you will be getting more money than you are entitled to – this could also impact on your benefits.

      But its not my area, you would need to get proper advice from someone who knows about benefits. There may be some useful information here.http://childprotectionresource.online/category/financial-help-and-advice/

      Reply
  40. heartbroken mummy

    i hate social services i have had a few decent workers and a few nasty spiteful workers who lie twist and ruin yours and your babys lifes. at the current moment the last few days what they have done to my family cannot be justified. me and my partner being in hospital my fella died 3 times and was seriously ill and me looking after him caught an infection and was hospitalised, as well so our children went and stayed with his mum there nana (who has had tens and tens of neglected and abused children stay with her and has been a second mum to an uncountable number of kids) social services were told by her and the hospital coming up to see us and do an assesment was not a good idea at the moment as the poison had spread to my partners head and that and the medication was making him not right and mentally not in a good way. even after being told that they ring up my ward 10 mins before and i get a message saying there coming up but didnt want to talk to my fella the kids dad. my partner had come across wards to see me and ended up meeting them. they had seen the kids at my mother in laws and were very happy with everything. they wanted my m i l (mother in law) to sign an agreement that she would look after them until we were better and we couldnt take the kids as we were not physically able to look after them. it was signed and agreed by everyone. that was the one and only time we seen them and my partner better now cant even remember that meeting. they seen my mother in law once or twice more we were out of hospital at home had no contact phone calls letters nothing from them and yesterday morning had a phone call saying they had turned up with the police to take our children with a court order emergency one. the kids were at our sister in law and the baby at another family members they went and took one of them and the other one were swarming the whole place with police and social workers turning up at peoples stopping people in the street taking pictures and sending them seeing if it was my husband!! i eventually ended up handing my baby girl over after spending a little bit of time with her the most heartbreaking thing i have ever done : ( when they came and got my daughter the police officer was rude and assualted my m i l and laughed. i had gone to the court and got the paperwork and the report they had put together had so many lies and twisted things unrelated. it was awful to read this woman had wrote utter bullshit excuse my language. one example now bear in mind my older girl is a proper daddys girl said “show daddy show daddy” all excited wanted to show her daddy something this nasty s/w wrote it was maybe because she was scared and fearful of her daddy and tryed to make it sound like she is abused!! he loves them kids with every part of him and without them he feels he has nothing he would never hurt his baby and to write that in a report and hand it to a judge (and thats one of many things she wrote) is disgraceful. she put our whole lives when we were babys, police reports n/f/as which after speaking to a number of profeessionals should not have been put in there. nfas means there was no evidence it has no bearing at all. she made sure everything was exagerrated, or lied and theres things made up completly in there. i had my mouth wide open reading the first page never mind the next 40 or so. apparently after my m i l speaking to the manager there were going to do this the whole time so the nicey niceness and agreement was all bullshit they didnt say anything in case we took our children. an order like that the children should be at risk of being abused etc how were my kids in danger at there nanas were they had met the kids had seen the house bed toys and were very happy with everything and go back on the agreement! what they have done is so wrong. also the s i l (sister in law) they were staying at after taking her from hers went to her little girls school and started asking questions and trying to dig up dirt! sorry if ive gone on bear in mind this is recent and im walking round like a zombie but just constantly crying both of us we dont know what to do. id be here all day if i was to write everything bad and wrong this woman has done and said. is there anyone who can or will help us? i am going to miss my little girls 1st birthday this week and havent seen my other little girl in a couple of days i havent been told anything or given anything and the s/w was ignoring our calls and saying shes hang up if my mother in law was to talk to her (because she couldnt answer her questions and knows she is in the wrong!) how s/ws like that sleep at night i dont know. we cant be at home and everything and everywere is haunting us reminding us of our babys. they have ripped a whole family apart everyone is broke and hurting. please please please can anyone help or advise us. without my children i am nothing i dont even know how they are and this is killing me i just want my babys back please help : (

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Please get a lawyer as soon as possible. Your children can only be removed without your consent by order of the court and you will be entitled to legal aid to get your own solicitor.

      Reply
  41. Anne

    I came across this page due to issues with Social Workers as an adult while being direct to them and I have no kids. I have no doubt that if / when I have kids they will try to take them off me. That is, if they even bother to look into things as it seems that they only do things maliciously. So if they get a report they will probably ignore me unless it’s been done maliciously or their own idea due to my apparently “instability”. They are some of the dumbest people I have ever encountered and scum sums them up perfectly. Some of them actually act really nice and say all the right things then the next thing you hear it is the same as the horrible ones, only done in a less harsh way but also worse as you got your hopes up and expected differently, and got fooled and put yourself in a dodgy situation by trusting them.

    I have heard for years how the Social Workers are all crazy and I have now experienced it first hand. What they are doing to me right now seems to suggest that they are not just liars but willing to lie in court, and that they are confident that they will get away with it. Their abusive behaviour is completely out in the open and with me, they don’t even care to hide it. It would be much worse in the family courts when no outsiders can ever notice all of the contradictions and report it etc.

    I also find it very strange that you talk about laws as if that is reassuring or somehow new information to us. Okay first of all people are not idiots and they know that life and badness and theft etc is governed by laws in this country. Needless to say that if someone is “out to get you” they are not the type who are going to be following laws. The phrase inherently suggests otherwise. In other words they will lie about things in order for it to qualify as an appropriate response to you under law, assuming they even know the law at all to follow it in the first place. And their profession, unlike us in the real world, causes other professionals to believe any of the bull they say so nobody ever believes your side of the story. At least nobody in the professions who you rely on for help (it does no good if your mother and your sister and your neighbour all believe you and see the bull, they can’t get your kids back when a SW and police officer are either lying or believe lies about you). They are all in it together. The professions are all full of scum and I have no idea how this is allowed to go on in this country. It’s the type of corruption I would expect from some place like Mexico etc. At least they admit it openy to the rest of the world, meanwhile people are fooled until they have direct contact with them in the UK.

    I also noticed how you worded it in a way that makes the person with their story look mentally ill. There are other phrases you can use other than “out to get you” you know. That is all I ever hear whenever I try to state something negative about a professional. “oh, you think they’re out to get you” NO. If you actually listen to what I’m saying, you can see the facts of what I’m saying very clearly and see what they did and how they’re guilty. Whether they are out ot get me or not is irrelevant. They are “getting” me regardless and they are doing so by lying, ignoring the law and breaking the law. And nobody cares. And everyoen makes excuses, usually mental health based on the part of the person up against the staff, who may very well be more mentally ill than I am being alleged to me, but due to the law, I and the police will never get to find out as part of any complaint etc.

    I would urge people to never, ever, ever, EVER speak to a social worker without the conversation being recorded. That however does not seem to matter as the police go along with them, and I assume the courts are okay with it too. I guess I will find out soon enough.
    Can you please also spare me the patronising “I’m sorry you feel that way” response, which is typical of people who ignore and stick up for professionals and blame the perfectly normal emotional reactions on the victim themselves and downgrade the importance of “feelings”. Totally ignoring the fact that it is these same “feelings” that cause the professionals to take out their wrath on you when a complaint is deemed to be made up and they dramatise things and threaten you for speaking up.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I will respond in whatever way I think appropriate. If you don’t like it, no one is forcing you to engage with or comment on this site.

      I am sorry you feel this way. Not just because it must be hard to go through every day feeling like that, but also because these feelings are going to increase the likelihood of a bad outcome for you if you have to engage with professionals.

      Because if professionals are lying about you, you need to be able to be calm and rational enough to gather your evidence together and show that they are lying. If you have a good lawyer, one that you can trust, your lawyer can help you.

      I don’t simply believe what I am told because the person telling me is a professional. I will of course take it seriously and listen – as I hope I would do with any assertion made by anyone – but I believe what I am told when there is evidence to support it.

      But you would rather have the reaction that professionals are ‘scum’ and the UK is worse than Mexico? That is your view. You can hold it, I can’t stop you. But it makes the chances of you having a happy ending for your (future) family, much less.

      Reply
      1. HeartofMatter

        Sarah Phillimore – I think ur 1st-liner in the reply was harsh. U seem to like to retaliate just bcos u are the ‘creator’ of this website??? [yes indeed. I do all the hard work, I want to promote sensible, rational debate. So I will respond in whatever way I see fit and if people don’t like it, they are more then welcome to set up their own websites. I am getting sick and tired of people who comment in ways that are abusive and unpleasant. I appreciate these issues stir up strong feelings, but if you can’t comment reasonably and without resorting to use of words ‘scum’ for e.g., then don’t expect your comment to be published here, by me]

        Reply
        1. HeartofMatter

          I never used the word scum once???
          I merely said u were out of context & provided quotes to back wot Anne was saying was different to the way u had interpreted it. Why did u need to wipe off my quoting from the texts, I do not understand.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            sorry, if I have unfairly removed you. I wasn’t accusing you in particular of using the word ‘scum’ – but its an example of a word that many use and mean I will delete a comment. If you think I deleted unfairly, please post it again.

      2. Chris

        You seem to support the legal system where they have expert witnesses to back up their statements and findings, however when the Judge considers that you are ‘lying’ in order to get your children back, based on a drug test, which in its self proves neither one thing or another. FTS are well known to the family courts as proof of canabis use, however there is now conflicting evidence to support the theory that even association with a canabis smoker can render the associate as having the metabolites of the drug in their system. see
        Unfortunately the judge was not presented with this evidence at a recent hearing, and subsequently held the mother as a’liar’. depricating her evidence in support of her wishes to have her children returned home.

        Reply
  42. Charles Pragnell

    The key elements of the Children Act 1989 for parents to consider, if a local authority are bringing an application for a Care Order on their child, are:
    Section 31.
    (2)A court may only make a care order or supervision order if it is satisfied—
    (a)that the child concerned is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm; and
    (b)that the harm, or likelihood of harm, is attributable to—
    (i)the care given to the child, or likely to be given to him if the order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give to him; or
    (10)Where the question of whether harm suffered by a child is significant turns on the child’s health or development, his health or development shall be compared with that which could reasonably be expected of a similar child.
    Firstly it must be said, that there are some social workers who themselves have personality disorders just as the general population have, mainly arising from their own childhood and lifetime experiences, and is similarly apparent in all professions. For example, studies have shown that 40% of lawyers have diagnosable mental illnesses. The defence mechanisms of projection, transference, and denial are frequently apparent in those social workers and their individual prejudices and biases arising from their conditions.
    When encountering social workers with such personality disorders, parents need to exercise great care. A common complaint of parents in regard to such social workers is that much of the evidence against them has been fabricated, embellished, and distorted.
    So secondly, parents must ensure that their legal representative is prepared to pursue such misrepresentations with rigour in Court proceedings. This is not difficult as such social workers are prone to present their opinions as fact, when such elements should be clearly distinguished in reports, testimony etc as judges do not always do so and permit opinions and circumstantial evidence to be given too much weighting.
    As can be seen in Subsect 2. Above, there are three elements which social workers have to prove which are separate but inter-dependent. That any harm suffered by a child is SIGNIFICANT – such a judgement is inherently subjective, although in the case of physical or sexual harm, an examination by a forensic paediatric specialist would be needed and to be able to demonstrate that such harm was discrepant with the explanation of how the child suffered the harm. In the case of alleged emotional harm it becomes even more highly subjective and requires the expertise of a forensic clinical psychologist to determine that a child is exhibiting emotional/ behavioural disorders which can be directly attributable to some form of abuse. This is readily challengeable as children can exhibit such disorders for a wide variety of reasons, particularly children with an autistic spectrum disorder. There is a legal precedent setting out the conditions of significant harm but such precedent also has subjective elements and gives no measurable and demonstrable features.
    The next element that is required to be proven, is that the harm is not being what it is REASONABLE to expect from a parent. Standards of parental care have very wide variations, there a test of reasonability is also highly subjective and dependent on the personal beliefs, values, and attitudes of the triers of fact. If it can be shown for example that the action of a parent is the same as a significant number of other parents, then it can be argued that it is within the bounds of reasonability. E.g. homeschooling of children/ declining childhood vaccinations etc.
    Finally, it has to be demonstrated clearly and convincingly to the Court that unless the Court makes an Order, then the child will continue to suffer harm.
    My advice to parents is to prepare your case very carefully and prepare to refute and rebut any evidence which they consider to be incorrect. Where professional opinions are proffered in reports to the Court, these should be subjected to Forensic Appraisal Review by an independent expert in the respective profession, for a second opinion. In the last three decades for example, there are a number of cases which have been based on psychological and medical theories of child abuse, but which have no basis in scientifically-conducted research and/or are the subject of very considerable dispute and contention within the relevant professional community. E.g. Fabricated and Induced Illness in Children/ Repressed Memory Syndrome, Dissociative Disorders, / Satanic Ritual Abuse/ Reflex Anal Dilatation etc. So be very careful of professionals who are presenting and promoting their own pet theories of child abuse.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      For example, studies have shown that 40% of lawyers have diagnosable mental illnesses. which studies? Please cite.

      The defence mechanisms of projection, transference, and denial are frequently apparent in those social workers and their individual prejudices and biases arising from their conditions. Please provide your evidence for this assertion

      Where professional opinions are proffered in reports to the Court, these should be subjected to Forensic Appraisal Review by an independent expert in the respective profession, for a second opinion. Please explain what you mean by ‘Forensic Appraisal Review’ and why you think the court will be prepared to order this, taking into account section 13 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

      I will let this comment stand, but any further comments which make such serious assertions and provide no evidence/citations/references, I will delete as I consider them scaremongering.

      Reply
  43. Charles Pragnell

    MOTHER-BLAMING BIAS OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES AND COURTS
    The vast majority of cases of child abuse brought to Family Courts involve mothers, probably because mothers are the recognised primary caregivers to children.
    Yet the majority of incidents of child abuse occur during incidents of domestic violence which is mainly perpetrated by fathers. – World Health Organisation.
    In Australia for example, there are 330,000 reported incidents of domestic violence each year which involve over 750,000 children (on the assumption of an average of 2 children per couple). (Over 2 million child in the UK by population extension). These are only reported incidents and charitable organisations involved in domestic violence services state that many more are unreported.
    “Exposure to family violence has been broadly defined as “a child being present (hearing or seeing) while a parent or sibling is subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse or psychological maltreatment, or is visually exposed to the damage caused to persons or property by a family member’s violent behaviour” (Higgins, 1998, p. 104). Narrower definitions refer only to children being exposed to domestic violence between intimate partners.
    Some researchers classify the witnessing of family violence as a special form of emotional maltreatment. However, a growing number of professionals regard the exposure to family violence as a unique and independent subtype of abuse (as it is presented in this paper) (e.g., Bromfield, 2005; Higgins, 2004; James, 1994). Regardless of the classification used, research has shown that children who are exposed to domestic violence tend to experience significant disruptions in their psychosocial wellbeing, often exhibiting a similar pattern of symptoms to other abused or neglected children (Kitzmann, Gaylord, Holt, & Kenny, 2003; Tomison, 2000)”.
    https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/what-child-abuse-and-neglect
    So why do so few Child Protection proceedings involve fathers, consequent to incidents of domestic violence and the inherent abuse of so many children?.
    Is it because social workers are poorly educated in matters relating to domestic violence?. Is it because social workers, refrain from intervening in such incidents in order to protect children?.
    This evasion of domestic violence and the widespread abuse of children during such incidents is often compounded when couples separate and Family Courts are required to make determinations regarding custody and contact. Such Courts have awarded contact and even custody of children to fathers with convictions for violence, where there are DVOs against them, and even when there are convictions for child sexual abuse. There are harsh punishments for children who refuse to have such contacts with fathers or to live with them.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-love-wisdom/201510/what-is-the-role-judge
    So when fathers can be clearly seen as by far the major perpetrators of child abuse, why are so few involved in Care Proceedings and are extended such Court sympathies in child custody proceedings?.
    Is there gender bias in the child protection services and the Courts in child-related proceedings.?.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      So why do so few Child Protection proceedings involve fathers, consequent to incidents of domestic violence and the inherent abuse of so many children?. ?? I don’t understand what you mean. Many of my cases – the majority in fact – involve fathers as active participants in care proceedings.

      It is certainly not my experience that SW don’t understand the negative impact of DV and ‘evade it’. If you spend anytime on the various Facebook support groups you will see that many parents complain of (what they perceive) as excessive focus on DV.

      In my experience there is no gender bias in the law but sadly there are very few men who want to be child protection social workers or lawyers.

      Yet the majority of incidents of child abuse occur during incidents of domestic violence which is mainly perpetrated by fathers. – World Health Organisation. ?? Majority of care cases involve neglect. Where does the WHO say this? In what context? Referring to which country?

      Reply
    2. Battered mousewife

      I have actually witnessed social workers completely demonize men and try to encourage women to be single mothers, even if it isn’t in that families best interests. A lot of social workers prescribe to an authoritarian left wing ideology with heavy notes of social Marxism. If a man isn’t on the floor every minute apologising for the patriarchy, then he’s considered problematic by many social workers. No way on earth should a man be able to single handedly provide for his family and give his wife an allowance. A wife should be given unlimited access to the money her husband makes and she should be able to buy whatever she likes. It’s not like her husband denies her of any of the things she needs or many of the things she wants but he has control over something and he’s a man so that makes it an abusive situation. This woman would be better off living off of the state, or as a strong independent woman that don’t need no man. Men are just an added side piece. They don’t matter in this society. I think this attitude is very prevelant in social workers, actually. If you were to look in their houses how many of them own something written by Gloria Steinem?

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I would guess very few. The social workers I meet – born after 1985 for example – I doubt have ever heard of Gloria Steinem. I’m only vaguely aware of her.

        Reply
  44. Charles Pragnell

    To further illustrate my point.
    Violent family disputes are exposing Australian children to ‘horrendous’ scenes – with one mother given first aid from her children to ‘keep her organs in her body’
    • An inquiry into family violence shows children in ‘horrendous’ situations
    • One mother was helped by her kids to keep her organs from falling out
    • Another woman threatened by her husband was called a ‘difficult ex-wife’
    • Means tests for Legal Aid are too low said another woman
    • 30 per cent of family court cases involved people without a lawyer
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3189378/Violent-family-disputes-exposing-Australian-children-horrendous-scenes-one-mother-given-aid-children-organs-body.html#ixzz3iEIwbPQP

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am not sure what your point is but I am sure it would be better made if you could support it with a source other than the Daily Mail.

      Reply
      1. Charles Pragnell

        My point was that fathers are by far the major perpetrators of domestic violence and yet care proceedings are rare based on incidents of domestic violence in which children suffer abuse. The Daily Mail was reporting on proceedings in a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse and was reporting on the testimony of a lawyer given on oath. But if you prefer to rely on unsubstantiated comments made on Facebook by parents who the Courts did not believe, then I’m sure that is an impeccable source for your legal work.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore

          My point was that fathers are by far the major perpetrators of domestic violence and yet care proceedings are rare based on incidents of domestic violence in which children suffer abuse. ?? that certainly isn’t my experience. Violence from one or both parents is present in many of my cases, probably at least a third to half. Children suffer from seeing or hearing that violence whether or not they are directly physically harmed. So I just don’t understand your comment.

          But if you prefer to rely on unsubstantiated comments made on Facebook by parents who the Courts did not believe, then I’m sure that is an impeccable source for your legal work. I never have and never will rely on such comments; it is the driving force of my work and this site that allegations require evidence.

          If your only contribution to the debate is going to be these kind of odd comments, then it is both unhelpful and a waste of time.

          Reply
  45. Charles Pragnell

    The references you requested regarding the incidence of mental illness among lawyers:-
    “The legal profession is overrepresented when it comes to mental illness, with a NSW study reporting up to 50 per cent of solicitors, students and barristers experience depression at some stage during their career.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lawreport/courting-mental-illness-the-legal-system-and-mental-health/6837090
    “Depression is a serious issue affecting the legal profession. While solicitors and barristers carry out vitally important work on a daily basis, sometimes the pressures and stresses associated with that work can have a negative effect on a person’s mental wellbeing.
    Depression affects more than 80,000 Australians each year. During their lifetime, one in five individuals will be affected by the illness. And for those who make up the legal profession in Australia, the statistics are even more harrowing. Findings from the 2007 Beaton Consulting and beyondblue national depression initiative revealed the incidence of depressive symptoms amongst lawyers and law students had reached alarming levels. When compared to other professions, lawyers experienced the highest incidence of depressive symptoms. Respondents from law firms were also the most likely to use alcohol or other drugs to reduce or manage their symptomatology.”
    http://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/lawcouncil/index.php/12-resources/240-mental-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-legal-profession
    ]Depression and the Law – The University of Sydney by S Medlow – ‎Cited by 3 – ‎Related articles
    The incidence of mental illness amongst lawyers and law students in … Practitioners; Substance Abuse and Mental Illness in the Legal Profession’ (2007) 37
    https://sydney.edu.au/law/slr/slr…/SLRv33no4MedlowKelkHickie.pdf

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Don’t you think it would have been more helpful to be clear that you were talking about depression rather than making such a bald statement that 40% of lawyers suffer from mental health problems? Which presumably is an umbrella term for all sorts of very serious conditions. I am not surprised that 40% of legal aid lawyers suffer from depression, I am surprised it is not higher.

      If you are arguing that being depressed makes you unable to be a good lawyer, then that is a depressing echo of the complaint that parents make, when they are deemed unfit to parent when they have a mental illness.

      Reply
      1. Charles Pragnell

        The article refers to mental illness of which depression is only one, My own view is that a significant number suffer from Anti-Social Personality Disorder e.g. absence of empathy, compassion, unable to manage other’s feelings, lack of remorse, highly manipulative etc. But I accept that others may not share this view. Where did I say or even imply that depression makes lawyers unable to function to their maximum ability?. Please don’t make assumptions or distort the meanings of my words. I’m sure that some can and are, just as many parents can function competently as parents despite suffering depression – unfortunately some social workers take the view that they cannot or that it is some kind of predictive indicator that they may abuse their child at some future time. But I don’t recall clairvoyance being one of the subjects I studied when I qualified.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore

          Please don’t proffer your ‘views’ that a ‘significant’ number of lawyers or social workers suffer from Anti-social Personality Disorder unless you are prepared to support these ‘views’ with some proper evidence. Otherwise this is simply a pejorative and scaremongering statement which I will not permit on this site.

          Reply
          1. Charles Pragnell

            Most cases in the Family Courts are strongly influenced and often solely determined by `Opinion Evidence’ i.e. expertise based on qualifications, experience, and recognised expertise, rather than “proper evidence”. I think the recognition of my expertise and acceptance of my credentials and testimony by Family and Criminal Courts in England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia gives authenticity and credibility to my `Opinion Evidence’.

          2. Sarah Phillimore

            However learned you may be, it is not acceptable to offer your opinion as fact without providing a sound evidential basis for that opinion.

          3. Chris

            Opinions are allowed from Social Workers, but not from other learned and experienced people? Wake up Sarah!

          4. Sarah Phillimore

            I am wide awake thanks. Opinions welcome from anyone – so long as they aren’t abusive or really, really silly. And I get to determine that.

  46. Charles Pragnell

    Forensic Appraisal Review
    Bearing in mind the general legal principle that an individual defending a legal action, should be afforded the right to present whatever evidence they consider relevant and pertinent to their case, then the use of a single expert (including social workers) is a process for the convenience of the Court and is counter to such principle.
    The uses and value of expert witnesses has been seriously questioned in several UK cases e.g.
    In 2003 and 2004 there were landmark cases in the U.K. Criminal Appeal Courts [Sally Clark/ Angela Cannings/Trupti Patel] regarding the evidence presented by expert witnesses which the Courts found to be that the medical evidence was “manifestly wrong and grossly misleading” and such evidence “should not have been put before a jury”.
    In the Angela Cannings Appeal Hearing against conviction 2004), Lord Justice Judge recognised that the testimony of expert witnesses was questionable and challengeable in his statement that,
    “in cases like the present, if the outcome of the trial depends exclusively or almost exclusively on a serious disagreement between distinguished and reputable experts, it will often be unwise, and therefore unsafe, to proceed”.
    In relating the ruling of Justice Judge to civil cases in Care Proceedings, Justice Butler-Sloss has added further rulings that;
    i ) The cause of an injury or an episode that cannot be explained scientifically remains equivocal;
    ii) Recurrence is not in itself probative;
    iii) Particular caution is necessary in any case where the medical experts disagree, one opinion declining to exclude a reasonable possibility of natural causes;
    iv) The Court must always be on guard against the over-dogmatic expert, the expert whose reputation or amour propre is at stake, or the expert who has developed a scientific prejudice;
    v) The judge in care proceedings must never forget that today’s medical certainty may be discarded by the next generation of experts or that scientific research will throw light into corners that are at present dark.”
    In a subsequent Judgement in the Family Division on 8 March 2005, [East Sussex County Council v K and others. BLD 1403051115; [2005] EWHC 144 (FAM)], Mr. Justice Charles set out the role of expert medical witnesses when giving testimony in Courts and most importantly, the areas on which they should give such evidence . i.e.
    Per curiam: In civil cases concerning children it might :
    `demonstrate that the expert is not the decision maker as to whether the relevant death, injuries or harm is the result of non-accidental human agency and whether the threshold is satisfied, and does not have all the relevant information, ‘
    The role of an expert has been set out as :
    “The evidence of an ‘expert’ is a statement of opinion as to a fact. The Court is interested in evidence ‘of’ facts rather that evidence of ‘interpretation’ of facts and thus evidence of ‘opinions’ is usually inadmissible. The ‘opinion rule’ contained in s76(1) of the Evidence Act provides that:
    ‘[e]vidence of an opinion is not admissible to prove the existence of a fact about the existence of which the opinion was expressed’
    However, an exception to the inadmissibility of opinion evidence arises if the evidence is of an expert character. Section 79(1) of the Evidence Act provides that:
    ‘[i]f a person has specialised knowledge based on the person’s training, study or experience, the opinion rule does not apply to evidence of an opinion of that person that is wholly or substantially based on that knowledge’.
    Admissibility was considered by the NSW Court of Appeal in 2001 in another Moray & Agnew case, Makita v Sprowles. Heydon JA (as he then was) wrote the leading judgment. The Court of Appeal held that in order to satisfy s79 it was necessary for the opinion to:
    • Be of an expert character
    • Be given by a person who by training, study and / or experience has expertise as to the specific subject matter of the opinion given
    • Provides the opinion in a written form providing sufficient description of the workings and references on which the opinion is based to enable it to be considered by the opponent.”
    There is therefore very considerable grounds for challenging the credentials, professional standing, and credibility of expert witnesses and their `opinions’ regarding the `facts’ they present to a Court, and in particular, as Justice Butler-Sloss opines, the over-dogmatic expert and/or who has a scientific prejudice. Examples of such a dogmatic approach and scientific prejudices can be seen in expert testimony given in Fabricated and Induced Illness of Children, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Shaken Baby Syndrome etc, where there are serious deficiencies and defects in the studies to support such theories, particularly the absence of scientifically conducted research and there is very considerable serious disagreement and dispute in regard to those and other medical and psychological theories by other reputable and distinguished professionals.
    Social workers in particular are inclined to give testimony and opinions on matters which are clearly outside of their area of expertise, such as labelling a parent with a mental illness, or claiming that it is a case of Fabricated and Induced Illness, which are clearly withi9n the realms of professional knowledge of medical professionals. Similarly, psychologists make assertions and give opinions regarding child abuse, when they are untrained in the method ology of child protection investigation and do not have the statutory powers to undertake such investigations. Frequently in fact, such psychologists can contaminate and corrupt the evidence necessary in child protection investigations.
    I would suggest therefore there are ample opportunities in the examples given above, for parents to challenge the testimony of experts and social workers and to seek leave of the Court for a Forensic Appraisal Review by a reputable and distinguished expert.
    Forensic Appraisal Reviews have been used largely in Court Proceedings regarding property and accountancy but are being increasingly used in other proceedings and particularly where the opinions of psychologists, medical staff, and social workers are offered in testimony.
    “Increasingly, mental health professionals (MHPs) are entering the practice of forensic psychology (Gould, 1998). Among the many reasons for this movement, we believe three are primary. The first is that many MHPs perceive the specialty area of forensic practice as an exciting alternative to basic clinical practice. The second reason is that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993) and in subsequent cases have stimulated a proliferation of experts, including experts in mental health, offering services to American courts. The third reason is that the constraints of managed care have not yet affected forensic practice, allowing forensic practitioners to maintain a pricing structure controlled primarily by marketplace factors.
    We define “forensic arena” as the legal context for which the MHPprepares her/his work. This paper will focus on a suggested protocol for offering a review or critique of child custody (and visitation) evaluations. It is the critique itself as a specific type of forensic report that we will address. Little has been written on how to approach a forensic work product review of a child custody evaluation (Calloway, 1997; Metropolitan Denver Interdisciplinary Committee [MDIC], 1997; Stahl, 1996).”
    “The task of providing a critique of another MHP’s work within the general forensic area is a frequently occurring forensic activity (Gould, 2001). Forensic mental health professionals (FMHPs) are often retained to provide consultation to attorneys within civil and criminal contexts. A criminal defense attorney whose client is accused of child sexual abuse might retain a FMHP under an ex parte appointment order (see Ake v. Oklahoma, 1985) to provide pre-trial consultation and to review materials obtained through the discovery process. Part of this review might be an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a colleague’s particular work in the case (e.g., use and interpretation of psychological test data). In a civil complaint, a plaintiff’s attorney in a case involving an emotional distress tort action might retain a FMHP to critique the report generated by an independent medical or psychological evaluator retained by the defense.”
    Critiquing a Colleague’s Forensic Advisory Report:
    A Suggested Protocol for Application to Child Custody Evaluations
    Jonathan W. Gould
    H. D. Kirkpatrick
    William G. Austin
    David A. Martindale
    Journal of Child Custody, Vol. 1(3) 2004
    http://www.haworthpress.com/web/JCC

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      That’s all very interesting but we are in 2015 now and the law is clear.
      I would suggest therefore there are ample opportunities in the examples given above, for parents to challenge the testimony of experts and social workers and to seek leave of the Court for a Forensic Appraisal Review by a reputable and distinguished expert. I am afraid you are wrong about this.
      Forensic Appraisal Reviews have been used largely in Court Proceedings regarding property and accountancy but are being increasingly used in other proceedings and particularly where the opinions of psychologists, medical staff, and social workers are offered in testimony. What jurisdiction are you talking about? This is simply NOT the case in England and Wales in care proceedings. Court hearings relating to property and accountancy when everyone is paying for their own lawyers may follow different rules, I don’t know.
      But care proceedings are funded by the State and they emphatically will not pay for this.

      Reply
      1. Charles Pragnell

        This is increasingly used in Australian Family Courts in the case of reports of psychologists and psychiatrists. Yes FARs are used in England and Wales in property and accountancy cases and could equally well be used in Family Court cases in those countries. Not to do so, would contravene the principle of defendants being able to present evidence in their defence. Why would any expert witness or social worker object to an independent expert review, when they constantly argue that they are completely correct in their opinions, but defendant parents may not agree.?. In disputed matters would not the trier of facts not wish to have a second opinion to be certain they were receiving the correct opinions and recommendations on the facts presented.?. It probably hasn’t been used in Courts in England and Wales because lawyers have not thought about its value to the Court. After what happened in the Sally Clarke/ Trupti Patel / Angela Cannings cases, I would have though a independent expert review would be essential in child protection proceedings. It was only when other experts were able to examine the testimony that the Courts could be informed of the errors of the original experts. In Australia, if the defendant is granted leave for a FAR, then the defendant pays for such to be done. The availability of legal aid should not be a bar to seeking a just resolution of these matters.

        Reply
        1. Charles Pragnell

          P.S. “That’s all very interesting but we are in 2015 now and the law is clear.” – as a lawyer, are you suggesting that legal precedent has no value whatsoever?. Then why is Briginshaw & Briginshaw 1938 still in use?. Why do judges quote legal precedents that they have used as guidance when making their decisions?. Does this mean that the legal precedence setting out the threshold for significant harm has no value in English and Welsh Courts.?. If what you are suggesting is correct, then there are a lot of Care Proceedings which are now appealable.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            I am not suggesting that precedent has no value.

            But I am clearly saying that Statute trumps case law. There is a new statute now – the Children and Families Act 2014 of which you seem entirely unaware and you continue to quote cases from 2004.

        2. Sarah Phillimore

          You don’t seem to understand the current law in England and Wales. The Australian Family courts may well be doing all sorts of interesting things but the courts in England and Wales have to follow the statutes of this country.

          Reply
  47. eliza

    it has been mentioned that money that council receive per each child is not equal the expenditure they make…why are they paid AT ALL?? the answer is…this is simply a business ..and a lot of people profit financially from this …. so please do not try to find any justification for it…

    also the statement “Even if your social worker decides that you are not currently able to look after this baby, they need to have evidence to support this conclusion. Your social worker cannot just refer to the fact that you have had a previous child taken into care, and they need to get an independent judge to agree that there is a sound reason for removing this baby”… this is not what i have heard. they can subotage family just by one simple statement…”potential risk””..

    Reply
      1. Charles Pragnell

        The practice of removing children at birth was unreservedly condemned by the European Courts in P,C, & S – 2001. It still occurs but is extremely bad social work practice as it ignores decades of psychological research into the importance of bonding and attachment between the mother and child. Any social work who engages in such practice should be reported to the registration body for professional malpractice.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore

          And what of cases where the child’s life is in immediate danger? Where the mother is simply incapable of bonding with her child, for example because she is suffering from psychosis? Where on earth is the ‘professional malpractice’ there?

          Reply
          1. Pearl

            I was a Probation Officer for many years and attended quite a few case conferences and was aware of two clients having babies removed at birth. Two in many years, so I don’t think this is a common practice. I haven’t consulted the statistics but will have a look later.
            I had no say in the removal of the babies (I wasn’t notified about meetings etc – poor show) but I would have agreed with the decision to remove them. Both mothers were mentally ill (schizophrenia), learning disabled and one was an alcoholic. Both had long histories of violence and neglect of their other children, already in Care. One of the babies was born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. I’ve known mums with mental health problems,learning disabilities and drink/drug problems who were good enough parents, but these two weren’t and were so risky that the babies had to be removed. Neither of them had any family support or anyone willing to take the babies on. It’s therefore ridiculous to say this is bad social work practice. What else do people expect Social Services to do?

          2. Sarah Phillimore

            I agree that removal of babies at birth is not common and has occurred in cases where I was involved only where there is a long standing history of really serious concerns and almost always other children have been removed in previous proceedings. I don’t think the courts take this lightly at all and I agree I don’t see what else social workers are supposed to do. You can’t simply leave a new born baby to get hurt before you do something, not when there is clear historical evidence of really serious risk of harm, be it though drug use, violence or learning disabilities coupled with lack of any family support.

    1. ian josephs

      3 cardinal freedoms vital to a democracy are gradually being discarded in the UK;

      1:- “Innocent until proved guilty” has been replaced in the family courts by “guilty if their guilt is more probable (51%) than their innocence”; and as judges always consider the allegations of social workers to be probably more reliable than the denials of parents the result is that parents once accused are usually found to have neglected or abused their own children.

      2:-” Freedom of Speech” has been completely discarded in the family courts and been replaced by gagging orders on parents who have had their children removed and also on those same children who are forbidden to tell their parents at contact of the shocking sexual and physical abuse they receive in fostercare or in “children’s homes”;Parents who see their children at contact are forbidden to show emotion,to discuss their case or to say they miss their children and want them back home.Murderers ,rapists,and even serial killers in jail are allowed to phone out to their families and to discuss their cases and anything else they like with visitors .Children in care aged around 5-12 are routinely denied these same rights so they are treated worse than the most violent criminals even though they have done nothing wrong at all !
      I myself acted as a Mckenzie friend in one case helping a parent forbidden to contact her only child.As a consequence I have been given a lifetime ban from speaking to anyone about that case ever again otherwise I will be immediately jailed !

      3:-“Freedom of movement and communication” has also been partially discarded so that we have seen parents (who have previously never been convicted of any crime) jailed for sending a birthday card or waving to their children as they passed by in the Streets.Breaching a court order that mothers ljke “vicky haigh” (whose name I can mention because her case was raised in parliament) must never comunicate by letter,email,fax,or telepone and certainly never meet face to face with their own children because a court has ordered them not to do so.Why? Because judges found it more likely than not that mothers coached their daughters to make allégations of sexual abuse against their own fathers;Even if true,the cutting of even indirect contact punishes the child even more than the mother..
      Baby P’s mother was of course allowed to see her surviving kids in jail and has now been released and given a new private identity at huge public expense thanks to her excellent relations with social workers…You see she was politicallycorrect………………

      Reply
  48. Charles Pragnell

    Ian:
    1. There are clear contradictions in the application of the “Innocent until proven guilty” principle between Care Proceedings and Child Custody Proceedings in the Family Courts. Whilst your assertion that “guilty if their guilt is more probable (51%) than their innocence” probably holds true on most occasions in Care Proceedings, in Child Custody and Contact Proceedings “Innocent no matter what the strength of evidence against them” is most often true. This is confirmed by a senior English Family Court judge stating that paedophiles have the right to a meaningful relationship with their children, and cases where children have been ordered to visit parents serving jail terms and/or have convictions for child sexual abuse, violence, and rape. Etc etc. No matter what “Proper Evidence” is presented in Child Custody Proceedings regarding domestic violence and the inherent abuse of children, direct child abuse with testimony of independent witnesses to whom the child has disclosed the abuse, and even paediatric and psychological assessment reports corroborating the child’s allegations, parental rights are deemed to be paramount and inalienable and so, such evidence is disregarded or dismissed. [No. You misunderstand the law. It is the child’s rights which are paramount and a child has a right to at least understand their identity and where they came from. They will only ever have one mother and one father. Making either parent a monster is saying to the child ‘you are part of a monster’. Thus, if it is safe to do so it is important to keep contact alive, even if it is just via indirect means]

    Evidence presented in Care Proceedings which would lead to Care Orders, would not convince a Family Court in Custody Proceedings to refuse residency or even contact of that parent with the child.[This is nonsense. Provide evidence for this assertion or withdraw it]

    It is a grossly bizarre anachronism that a child would be removed from the care of a convicted paedophile in Care Proceedings, yet the same convicted paedophile would be awarded contact and even custody of their child in Custody Proceedings.[Again nonsense and your use of term ‘custody’ underscores just how out of date your legal knowledge must be. That term has not been in currency for over 20 years now]

    2. It is a very worrying practice now in all Family Court Proceedings that Edmund Burke’s famous assertion that “Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done” has been replaced by “Justice is irrelevant and unnecessary, and travesties of justice must be held in absolute secrecy from public view”. [This is simply nonsense. How do you speak for or about ‘all’ family court proceedings in England in Wales? What are your qualifications/experience so to do?]

    3. The creation of allegations of `coaching’ was a part of Richard Gardner’s conjectures (in the complete absence of scientifically conducted research) regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome which has been the subject of very considerable dispute, disagreement, and contention within the relevant professional community (see Daubert et al regarding expert testimony). It has been completely discredited and rejected in Courts in some parts of the world and is sometimes dismissively referred to as the `Paedophile’s Defence’. Yet this element of the substance of Gardner’s conjectures lives on. [No it doesn’t. Provide proof for this assertion or withdraw it]

    The major irony is that the allegations of child sexual abuse in Child Custody Proceedings are often dismissed, despite corroborative evidence of physical harms to children caused by sexual abuse, emotional and behavioural disorders in children as a result of such abuse, and the testimony of independent witnesses to whom the child has disclosed the abuse, yet Triers of Fact often accept the counter allegation of coaching and parental alienation in the complete absence of direct evidence and corroborative evidence.[Please provide evidence for this assertion! what do you mean by ‘often’. How do you know this. Where do you get your information?]

    A simple denial of the abuse by the alleged perpetrator and/or the conjecture of a psychologist of coaching/alienation is accepted as sufficient to prove that the abuse didn’t happen as far as Family Courts are concerned.[Rubbish. Evidence for this assertion please]

    Reply
  49. Charles Pragnell

    My credentials are of over 30 years as a child protection services practitioner and manager in the UK, including 9 years as an External Examiner to social work qualifying courses at several universities in the UK, plus occasional lectures at several universities in the UK and Australia, plus 12 years as an Expert witness providing testimony in criminal and civil cases in England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia, overlapping with 25 years as an advocate for children and young people, and I am currently the Executive Chairman of the National Child Protection Alliance of Australia, a position I have been elected to for each of the last five years. This is all verifiable OnLine. [Which makes it all the more surprising you seem to be ignorant of recent statute law in England and Wales].

    Perhaps you can tell us your credentials for the outright idiocy you propagate.[Certainly. For 15 years I have practiced in family law in England and Wales and have represented parents, children, local authorities and guardians in many care proceedings involving many different issues. I have offered advice and assistance pro bono to many parents through this site and in other ways. I am intrigued as to where I have propagated any ‘outright idiocy’ – perhaps you could illuminate? but as you find my contributions so idiotic I am sure you won’t need to bother yourself any further with this site and I am happy to simply delete any further comments you make – unless you can show that you are prepared to debate with significantly more courtesy. If you wish to check my credentials, you will find my CV set out on the St Johns Chambers website.].
    Over the last 25 years I have been variously involved in several hundreds of cases in child protection proceedings and custody/contact proceedings and my comments are drawn from those experiences and from the judgements which can be found on the websites of each country. E.g. AustLii, UKLii. Etc.
    The rights of children are NOT paramount in legal proceedings. The paramountcy refers to whatever is perceived as the “Best interests of the Child”, which is invariably a highly subjective judgement of an adult and strongly influenced by their personal beliefs, values, and attitudes.
    The primary rights of children are to be protected from abuse and exploitation (Article 12 – UN CRoC] and to be able to actively participate in decision-making processes which affect their lives [Article 19 – UNCRoC], particularly where their future care and welfare are being determined.
    Please explain how ordering a child into the custody of a parent with convictions for paedophilia and/or child sexual abuse, conforms with protecting that child from harm and exploitation?. [I do not accept that is ever done. Please send me links to cases where this has been ordered.]My view is that such a decision unerringly violates such a right of the child.
    In regard to children participating in decision-making processes, the4 child is the most important party to the proceedings, whether Care Proceedings or Custody Proceedings, so can you tell me the last occasion when a child or young person was actively involved in such proceedings, with independent legal representation to act on their instructions or for them to give direct testimony of the abuses they have suffered, and the enormous impact on their emotional development?[There are many examples of such cases. There has been a significant shift in UK jurisprudence since RE W. I have a hearing coming up where the judge will determine the extent to which a young person will give direct evidence].

    But most importantly, that their views on their future care and welfare are given directly to the Court, rather than through an adult mouthpiece who rarely, if ever, represents their true wishes and feelings?. [I don’t accept this is true. You are confusing ‘wishes and feelings’ with ‘issues that determine the outcome’]Children and young people are in effect treated no better than they were under 19th Century laws, when their status was that of `Goods and Chattels’ [this is simply nonsense]
    Yes I prefer to continue to use the term “custody”, and will continue to do so, as I consider the term to most accurately describe the situation, and not the latter day euphemisms by which adult decision-makers can salve their consciences. [So be it. But it is not a legal term and has not been for over 20 years, so you do risk confusing issues quite a lot].

    Reply
        1. angelo granda

          Sarah, Please will you give readers the benefit of your opinion on UN CrOC?

          I am guessing the Family Court can overrule it’s rules just as it does the Children’s Act procedures and the ECHR if it feels it is in the ‘best interests of children’. Am I right?

          Charles Pragnell has cited articles 12 and 19 UN CrOC above. Would they be the compelling reasons you look for in regard to involving children?

          QUOTE: you would need very, very compelling reasons to argue that he should thus be exposed to these kind of adult issues and disputes. I would worry that your wish to involve him more directly will itself be used against you as demonstrating your lack of insight into what you need to do to keep your child both physically and emotionally safe :UNQUOTE

          Surely, far from showing a lack of insight ,any parent will be correct to bring a twelve-year old into the process. That such a wish should be turned into one more black mark against a respondent is wrong, in my opinion. Family Court lawyers turn everything a parent does or says against them on THE PRETENCE they are against a child’s ‘best interests. Rubbish, the CS regularly involves children in the processes and brings their feelings and wishes in evidence against parents even though interviews ( and alleged brainwashing techniques used) are not conducted in open court.
          Children can be protected by emotional upset by the use of videos etc.
          I would say that the child’s Guardian has a duty to identify when a child’s UN Croc rights are being infringed under the terms of Articles 6 and 8 of the European Convention.
          What is the position? I am only a parent not a lawyer. I suppose it can be argued that Family Courts do not have the time or pecuniary ability to grant all the wishes of respondents or to admit all the evidence they wish to invoke; and that the 26-week time scales do not allow for each and every right and safeguard against abuse to be granted.

          If so, that is one more reason why the Family Courts should not hear serious cases ,in my opinion. Or have its powers limited.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            It is only a small minority of cases where a child will positively benefit from being actively involved in such adult issues. Particularly when that child is only 12. Our job as parents is to protect children from adult disputes and issues which they cannot understand and which are likely to frighten and upset them. Actively seeking to bring your child into legal processes as a direct actor in such processes – as opposed to listening to what he wants – is highly likely to be perceived by many as abusive and illustrative of a parent with limited understanding of what their child needs.

          2. Sarah Phillimore

            Article 12 of the UN Convention on the rights of the child reads:

            States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

            2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

            Our law is compatible with this requirement. We are not in breach of our obligations under the Convention because every child in care proceedings gets a guardian to put his/her views before the court.

            Where you suggesting any other Article of the Convention? I can’t see that we are in breach of Article 9 either:

            Article 9

            1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence.

            2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.

            3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.

      1. Sarah Phillimore

        Sorry, it does seem to get confusing when people reply to comments. I don’t understand why some of the comments are then ordered in the way they are. I am afraid I am at the limits of my technical competence in just posting stuff so if it can be fixed, I don’t know how.

        Reply
        1. angelo granda

          Thanks for enlightening readers, Sarah.However,Guardians are not party to proceedings until litigation commences so i have some doubt there. Charles Pragnell referred to Article 19 not 9.
          Thanks again.
          Do you know if the Guardian involved interviews teenagers in the presence of witnesses,perhaps the parents or would that not be considered proper? Also are there circumstances where a judge will see a child personally?

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            Sorry, I thought we were talking about proceedings. What else are we talking about?

            Article 19 is about protecting children from violence – Governments must do all they can to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment by their parents or anyone else who looks after them.

            That seems to be precisely the goal of care proceedings, so again, I can’t see how the UK is in default of its obligations under Article 19.

            A guardian is likely to want to see a teenager on their own. Yes, judges can see children, but they need to be careful about what they say as they are not permitted to gather evidence, but must simply listen to the child’s views and explain the process. I discuss it here:

            http://childprotectionresource.online/directly-involving-children-in-the-court-process/

          2. angelo granda

            It might be of interest to readers what children think about involvement in adult issues which concern them.This is taken from the Children’s Commissioner’s research into transparency.

            QUOTE: In the context of early discussions young people said they are not always informed about what is happening in their case – before or during proceedings. They said out dated paternalistic approaches by professionals are not in children’s interests: they need honesty and accurate information about processes and decisions about their care and at a time when they can make informed choices: UNQUOTE
             

  50. ian josephs

    Sir James Munby has stated the law quite clearly .He says that adoption without parental consent of a baby against the will of the mother is probably the worst thing that could happen to her since the abolition of capital punishment. and that”Adoption is a last resort when nothing else will do”. With respect to this very learned judge that simply cannot be true as in France and most other European countries they find other”last resorts” and have no need for forced adoption.There seems no reason why the UK cannot do the same .

    Reply
  51. HeartofMatter

    I am having a battle currently with SW in dodgy Lincolnshire, where the so called professionals don’t like scrutiny because they’re used to working in their own way (traditional rural community).

    I engaged a sex offender to work on a property away from my home (a separate property). I didn’t know wot he had done except he told me various ‘breeches’ as he was a repeat-offender. Because of his past, I had the Police (VISOR) officer visit me on 3 occasions and ask me Qs as well as check my home with consent. No evidence found nor was I under suspicion from Police. On these 3 visits from Police, I always checked “is it ok for XX to work for me on a Building/ handyman basis?” The Officer always said “YES” (they always arrive in 2s). So this carried on for approx. 4-years. Suddenly, out of blue in March 2015 a Police ‘Child Protection’ Officer visited & asked if me & XX were having a relationship. I said “NO” that he just worked on-off for me. Officer asked for a recent photo of my only child (12-yrs old) and next thing a ‘Section 47’ served on my child at school in March (XX was remanded on 14/2/15). Is this legally correct to serve Section 47 on my child if XX is in prison? No disclosures made and Section 47 closed.
    I then visited XX on my own in pris a total of 6 times over 9-mnths to discuss building works & plans.
    However, Aug ’15 I get call from SW saying case re-opened as I voluntarily told her of my pris visits. She was unintelligent and over-dramatic and accused me of a relationship (he is an O.A.P)!! I said “No, it has always been purely work.” On her 1st phone call to me she said “In all my 12-13 years of SW, I have only come across 2 or 3 people like you.” And this was her biased right from start. She held CIN ‘Strategy meeting on 16/9/15’ but my case never met the threshold. Not contented she held 2nd ‘Strategy meeting’ on 16/10/15 but again never met threshold (due to XX being in pris). She said to me “I WILL get ur child on child protection.” She reluctantly agreed to close my CIN case on 9/11/15 & arranged to meet at my home for a last check of my child on 11/11/15 but she never showed-up & I knew she was scheming something. She rung the next day 12/11/15 & no apology given but she threats by saying “keep this case open or we will re-open it and go back to square 1 once XX is released.” His re-sentencing due 27/11/15.
    I require advice – can SW keep moving goal-posts and extending CIN case to stay open until a person is finally released as they believe they will then meet the threshold?
    SW is accusing me of ‘disguised compliance.’
    For goodness sake – my child and XX never even met in the first place.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      My initial reaction is – out of all the people in the country who could carry out work on a property why would you employ a child sex offender? Ok, maybe you wanted to try and rehabilitate him. But why visit him in prison? To discuss more handyman tasks? Seriously?
      You say your child is 12 years old. That’s a relatively young child who is potentially vulnerable.

      Sorry, but if I was a social worker, I would be worried too. I do not understand why you want to keep a working relationship going with a child sex offender when you have a 12 year old child. It just seems very odd from what you describe. The fact that your child never met this sex offender isn’t really the point. The issue of concern is that you wish to keep in contact with this person and have him in your life, in whatever capacity.

      Reply
  52. angelo granda

    Heartofmatter, Také my advice and sack this man immediately and have nothing more whatsoever to do with him.Forget about any principles or what you might consider your human rights to be.
    If this social worker is out to get you , not only does she have a very good case for a protective order but ,because you have expressed disagreements with her concerns,she can say you are unable to acknowledge concerns and change within timescales relevant to your son.
    ‘DIsguised compliance’ is another approach she can také even if you do agree now to exclude him from your life.
    When the interference in your life began, the social worker had a duty to inform you of the availability of advocacy services in the area and advise you of your right to have the support of one of the advocates (or a friend,relation) at meetings,conferences etc.
    If the social worker did her duty? Did you get one? If she did not,get an advocate pronto!
    The advocate will explain the concerns in detail to you and impress upon you the seriousness of the scenario and support you in getting your feelings over. Also advise you how to beat the allegations of disguised compliance.
    If the social worker persists,she may také Legal action under the Children Act in which case you will have to attend the Family Court and ,in that event, you will be able to get lawyers to represent you.
    Be careful what you say at all times to your solicitor because if you call the social worker or make light of the concerns in any way,he or she has a higher duty to the court and to your child than they have to you,their client.They may report what you say to the other members of the Children’s Legal Panel and/or directly to the Court.In other words,although you are their client they have other conflicting interests.
    Do all you can now to work with your social worker and solicitors to dispel their concerns.
    I say that you are a mug if you continue to employ this sex-offender.Or you might be his next victim and that is the danger they have seen.
    First of all get the advocate to advise you if you haven’t already.

    Reply
  53. HeartofMatter

    Thanks for ur advice.
    I did not choose to employ a Sex Offender, he was introduced to me as an excellent Builder.
    It was only Nov ’14 that I started to work him out, as I saw something silly on the internet.
    I genuinely thought by Police making their checks unannounced that I was ok to hire him. I was told on one visit that on a SOPO it related only to girls NOT boys (not that they will ever met).
    I have contacted his Solicitor and had a 1hr chat asking him to advise his client “never to contact me again.” His solicitor understood and said he would inform him in pris.
    I am also in the process of changing to a new address next week (a different county) to severe contact.

    However, this is where the SW refers to me as ‘disguised compliance.’ I am not hiding anything or why would I have cooperated with the Police on 3 occasions? Also, why did the Police tell me “Yes he can work for me” as this one plays on my mind. Let down by police or he has Human Rights to work for me, as no girls around building site??

    But my one outstanding Q is:
    Can the SW keep moving my CIN closure date to suit his release date so SW can escalate up to Child protection Conference? It does seem unfair to me, that he will at some point going to be released (next 6-mnths to 1-year). But SW is stubborn and wont accept anything I do or say to show that I have severed contact with XX. I feel I am in a lose, lose situ.
    Yes Sarah, there was a bit of feeling ‘rehabilitation’ on compassionate grounds as he was a good worker and he had skills that I thought would help make him turn his life around.
    But I still feel trapped by LA not actually closing my CIN case after deadlines ??

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I appreciate that you feel trapped by this. BUT you chose to visit him in prison. That is simply not something many of us can get our heads around, social workers included. There is simply no way on earth that was a sensible decision and it does start alarm bells ringing about your ability to be protective of your child. I am sorry to be so blunt, but it won’t help you to sugar coat this pill.

      If it was a ‘working’ relationship only it should have been severed when he went to prison as presumably you didn’t just halt building work for his release date. As you didn’t sever the relationship, and in fact went to visit him suggests very strongly to me that you see him as more than someone who is simply working for you.

      Therefore, you are going to be viewed with suspicion I am afraid. I agree it is not fair on anyone to keep dragging your case out and moving the goal posts but if I was the SW I would want to keep an eye on the situation that developed after his release. This does not mean that the matter will escalate to care proceedings. I think it is important that you try to keep a working relationship going with the SW whilst pressing them for clarity about the timescales of their involvement. I appreciate it must be very stressful having this hanging over you.

      Reply
  54. HeartofMatter

    Thanks again for ur advise. I shall contact SW Manager & ask them about time-scales.

    XX had worked for me on-off for approx 4-years & I had see him go to pris each year for short spells. He was literally in and out. Each time Police did their checks & ok with this. Now the SW angry with Police VISOR & asking him to tell her when XX is released. So as soon as he released whether on 27/11/15 or in 6-mnths or 1-yr then she will be back in contact with me I bet. So by moving into a new county at least I will get a new SW as she WILL pass on info to the new LA.
    I have just got myself a local Solicitor, as SW never mentioned my legal rights before. Hopefully, I will have a bit of defence now.
    My Son is thriving at school, literally wants to achieve and aim high. This is another problem I have, SW said she will contact Father is I break the ‘written agreement’ I signed (which I wont of course). His Father lives in London and there are no Catholic Boys Grammar schools in the area. This could potentially severely disrupt his education if he is taken to London (from our rural sticks) and thrown into the local Comp. Would the LA consider my Sons educational placement?
    My Son knows the truth (he never met XX) and says he wants to speak out more (as he is shy) & he also wants his own Lawyer – can this be permitted at CIN or Child protection?
    Surely a 12-year old voice can be listened to.

    Reply
    1. angelo granda

      HeartofMatter, Please bear in mind that if you contact the CS manager to ask about timescales, watch carefully what you say . Everything you say may be taken down and used in evidence against you in the Family Court. I am only advising you as a parent and I would feel guilty if I didn’t tell you this. Yes you should cooperate but guardedly.
      If you can, get an advocate to pose questions for you.

      Reply
  55. angelo granda

    Heartofmatter,Do not contact the sex offender by telephone AT ALL!
    Nor reply to his texts,phone-calls or letters.
    The SW’s have the power to sequestrate your ‘phone records and often do so to support claims of disguised compliance..

    Reply
  56. HeartofMatter

    Thank u Angelo.
    Yes, I’ve already been misinterpreted by SW. She asked for my last two pris phone calls and was told I said:-
    “I’ve got Social on my Back.”
    What I actually said:
    “I can’t speak anymore, Social is on my Back. Do not call me anymore.”
    She then wrote her version in the report & lied by saying I initiated these two calls in front of the CIN meeting (Head Teacher, Nurses).
    I sharply told her: “You cannot call into a prison, you can only call out.”
    ……….This shut her up for a few minutes.

    Reply
  57. angelo granda

    Heartofmatter,One wonders what it is that initiated these events. There seems to be some ongoing prexisting factor involved.You mentioned at the beginning the rural country CS not liking scrutiny,well-renowned so-called professionals.
    Did you have some previous involvement with them or come to their attention for some reason which might cause them to discriminate against you (target you)?
    The reason I ask this is because you say you had addressed the concerns with the Police suitably and they had discussed it with you and decided all was okay.
    Then suddenly child-protection became involved. Did the Police suddenly refer the case to the CS before you visited him in prison or because you did? Was there a referral from the Police to the CS even?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I don’t know what started this off. But what Heartofmatter has herself disclosed is very worrying. Not only does she visit this person in prison, she has telephone conversations with him as well. She is clearly in some kind of relationship with him that goes far beyond just business. I am not suggesting a sexual relationship – it doesn’t need to be, to be dangerous. The fact is that to an outsider it looks as if you are inviting this person into your life and that carries risks for your child, given his previous criminal convictions which have lead him to becoming a registered sex offender.

      Yes, the wishes and feelings of your 12 year old are important but they are highly unlikely ever to determine an issue. And I would be very, very wary of trying to bring him into this kind of process. He may have capacity to instruct his own lawyer, but I think it doubtful. And you would need very, very compelling reasons to argue that he should thus be exposed to these kind of adult issues and disputes. I would worry that your wish to involve him more directly will itself be used against you as demonstrating your lack of insight into what you need to do to keep your child both physically and emotionally safe.

      The real risk for you is that if he has another parent in another city who is willing and able to care for him, you may find that the courts will authorise a transfer of his primary residence. I appreciate this would mean a change of school, but the courts would weigh in the balance the harm caused by a transfer of school against the potential harm of living with a parent who does not seem to understand that some people are very risky and should not be trusted.

      Reply
      1. angelo granda

        I agree,Sarah,it is just illogical that anyone should visit a bona-fide builder in prison let alone a builder who is a criminal sex-offender!
        Clearly that is a cause for concern.

        The emphasis now should be on establishing all the facts. The concerns are based on what ifs and maybes.Full,fair and impartial investigations are called for.
        As the sw has apparently declared “I WILL get your child on child-protection” , she should také facts to court immediately.Problems will arise if she investigates the facts now because she has clearly decided on a course of action already. Why can’t they do a full and proper core-assessment first? Or perhaps she has but just won’t accept that action is not warranted?Thus there is a danger she will concoct evidence.
        On the other hand,is there something she knows which heartofthematter hasn’t told us?.
        This resource is not really here to advise on individual cases so might i suggest HofM goes to the FAMILY RIGHTS GROUP for specific help.They have a helpline and will tell her of her rights better than we can.
        Meanwhile carry on engaging with your solicitor.

        Reply
        1. HeartofMatter

          I will try to keep short.

          I will open up my heart a little! When I was a child my Grandmother was institutionalized and I became a compassionate person. My own Mother became mentally ill too. A few years ago, My Mother came to live in my home but she verbally abused me, so I contacted the Social Services for help. They said remove my Mother or we’ll take the child. This confirmed my inner-most belief that society and institutions are a cruel place.
          Rewind forward, a good friend introduces me to XX as I fell on hard times (personality disorder and physically disabled) and the Builder offered low prices. We were working in harmony on-off from 2000-2014. The 30-yr age gap meant there was no chemistry, but both of us felt like social misfits. XX was having a hard time and so was I. That mutual understanding led to a trustworthy working-relationship. Also, I’m a devout Christian and XX was the only man not to make me feel vulnerable. I have had unwanted advances from men and prefer no relationships or commitment. So I felt safe, that XX would do the work I asked of him and I explained this to the Police that, I hold Christian beliefs so “I tried to draw the best out of him.” Police accepted this. All this time Son never met XX and SW agrees as no concrete evidence.
          What initiated these – was XX told his Probation Officer he felt he was in love with me after he went into pris but the feelings are not precipitated. Probation told Police Child Protection and they served section 47 AFTER XX was remanded (so late). SW, police all accepted I was not lying. However, XX telephones me from pris and so I took reading glasses, code-breaker mag’s, etc over 6 visits. You could say too lonely hearts helping each other.
          6-mnths later, Public Protection Unit re-opened case probably due to pris visits. New hell-bent SW took a extremely heavy-handed approach with me and made me feel like I was the criminal myself. She later acknowledged a “purely work” relationship.

          Yes, full core-assessment completed (bit too much) e.g asking for Fathers phone number, School Head informed, Sch Nurses informed. She stopped at taking medical records as not a Child Protection. During this assessment my Son had a very serious Leg accident at school. He was rushed to A&E hospital and because I had an exchange with a Nurse, he reported me to Social Services. SW rang me to say “I was under further suspicion” and I felt broken. It took her a week to investigate and accept it was an accident, as Head Teacher verified this. I raced around to Hospital Consultant and he sided with me and wrote in report that accident was at school fitting in with a football injury. I also told me G.P SW was accusing me of harming my Son and trying for Child Protection. My G.P said “That’s not good.” I am a good Mother put I stand by my beliefs and principles. This I believe has what has landed me in trouble with SW plus the last case involvement where they were cruel to my family by throwing my Mother out.

          Finally, more copies of documents posted to me this week giving me a different surname! All the SW did was RUSH out meetings and she never once asked me “why did you visit XX.” I would have answered “I would have visited Nelson Mandela” if he’d asked me to. Therefore, I am seen as challenging.

          Isn’t it better that sex offender work in the community and earn some money, as in pris it is a dead end. Now I’ve seen inside pris, they are soulless places with no proper rehabilitation for the sexual offenders. I would have liked to work with SOME sexual offenders in the future, work placements on building sites (AWAY from children).

          Thanks again for your time in listening – it is a dark and lonely place where I stand.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            Thank you for sharing. I am sorry that something you have tried to do from a good place has brought you so much grief. But I can understand more and more why the social worker is worried about your contact with XX, given that he has declared he has feelings for you. I do agree with you that we ought to try to rehabilitate people wherever possible, but from the little I know it is very difficult to ‘rehabilitate’ someone who has committed sexual offences against children. You will be expected to put your child first.

            Do you attend a church? Is there anyone in the congregation you can talk to? difficulties and problems always magnify, I find, when you don’t have anyone in real life to talk to.

  58. HeartofMatter

    Society judges! I talk to my Son, I said to him ” If anything happens and we are separated, then you know the truth.” Child is also starting mis-trust Authority. I tell him “The world is a cruel place.” Nobody knows it more than me. All my life I have seen institutions act cruelly to people. In this case, the Police (whom I’d expect to take a harder-line) were ok.
    It was the SW who was by far the worse. She had brown mangy teeth and looked like an ex. crack-Ed, seriously. In comparison, I don’t touch alcohol or drugs.

    SW tried to force me to tell my Son EVERYTHING. I stopped her at this.
    I have studied Psychology and believe that sexual as well as gender issues shouldn’t be introduced to a child until they turn into teenager years.
    Of course, I have agreed to severe all contact with XX. But I can never forget how cruel Social Services can be! They are the disguised compliance.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      If you have studied psychology then I am surprised that you think it ok to tell your child that ‘the world is a cruel place’ and nothing more. Yes, the world can be a cruel place. But it can also be beautiful and surprising. ‘society’ is still made up of people and we are all fighting our hard battles. But if you lump everyone and everything together as ‘society’ and call it cruel then I worry about the lessons you are teaching your child and what he will internalise.

      I do think you would benefit greatly from being able to talk to someone in real life. Your world view is very bleak. From what you say about your mother it may be that you have been exposed to this kind of view for a very long time. I appreciate that you have not felt supported or helped by the ‘authority’ and it may well be that they could have done things better or differently – I don’t know, I only have your side of the story.

      But what I do know is that it is very sad to think a 12 year old is being taught by his mother that the world is cruel, and nothing else.

      Reply
  59. angelo granda

    Once again, I agree with you Sarah about the benefit of talking to someone.
    This is why I asked HeartofMatter whether or not the CS followed the frameworks. At the outset, they should have informed her of the availability of advocacy services ( e.g. the FRG) and advised her of her right to have one explain issues to her and make representations for her at meetings.
    She has not said yet if they did or didn’t do this. Contact the FRG now Hof M and they will help ( perhaps put you in touch with an ex-victims association).Then the world might not seem so cruel. Also your advocate could have explained your reasons for visiting the man in prison at the cp conference.

    Unfortunately if sw’s do not follow these procedures, there is a certain inevitability that a parent’s trust in the system as a whole will break down.
    They are usually to blame but lawyers use the breakdown in evidence against respondents.

    Reply
  60. HeartofMatter

    Angelo – no I was not offered any information for advocacy from SW. why would they, she was rushing to get me onto child protection. not once did she ask in the several meetings “What’s ur side?” So it’s only now that i’ll get a chance to talk to an appointed solicitor this or next week.
    No I’m not a Psychologist – I just studied it. I do believe in freedom of expression. I don’t only say “the world is a cruel place” LOL. I say to him, “the world is a cruel place, but we can make a difference” when we pass the beggars – he puts coins in the bowl, when we go to Africa we take toothpaste, pens to the orphanage. When he was growing up I spent more family time than career time, we cook together, make music together, play together ( yes laughing our heads off). There is absolutely no concerns. In the meetings the Head teacher said my Son “is often performing better on average than a child the same age.” I have taught my Son all abt black civil rights and we have visited Aung San Suu kyi in Burma.
    There is nothing to stop my Son from achieving high, going to Eton (if he wants) and becoming that Army Medic he desires to be.
    But I will still stand by my comment that “our world can be a very cruel place.” This is my freedom of speech and I’m entitled to say it.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      You are entitled to freedom of speech. But with your ‘right’ to speak as you see fit, comes responsibilities of equal importance.

      Just as you do not have the ‘right’ to racially abuse someone or provoke violence, or threaten to kill (well you can, but you may find you have to face criminal penalties if you do), I do not think any parent has the ‘right’ to expose their child to a bleak, negative and unhappy world view. That may be the parents’ experience and view of the world but that doesn’t mean they have a right to impose it on a child.

      Reply
      1. angelo granda

        So there you are,HofM.!
        Be very careful what you say to child-protection professionals particularly about private conversations with your son.It can be construed as controlling behaviour,imposing your will upon him,emotional abuse,even significant harm.
        All for telling your son the truth! I am so pleased he is happy,well-balanced and doing so well at school.That fact will help you but don’t rely on the sw to include it in her report. It is up to her ,though, to allow you to circulate all your agreements and disagreements with her reports amongst the other professionals involved in good time (48hrs) before conferences and decision-making meetings.
        May i ask if she followed that guideline ?

        Reply
  61. HeartofMatter

    Angelo – thank u for trying to give me some guidance. No I don’t believe SW followed guidelines. Yes, she set the agenda from the 1st phone call saying “In my 12 yrs of SW, I’ve only met 2-3 ppl like you.” I felt this was dangerous statement, as she relied on 1 Police referral. I have read the Police report, it has too many mistakes. It gives me a different surname, it says my Son said things he didn’t, lots of spelling mistakes. The most ridiculous part was “My Son is isolated and doesn’t want to talk abt his Father.” I cannot accept lies. SW knew I had a football pitch at my house and everytime she visited half the neighbourhood were playing on the pitch, loads of boys come and play footie. I am probably the most generous parent in the Street, as I have time for children. How can she say he is isolated? The Father well he’s a career/ work-a-holic so it fits around him. One of those career first, family second type ppl.

    I am going to take ur advice and find out the guidelines Angelo – from the FRG u suggested, as it’s not too late. First, she used to walk out saying I’m being done for ‘neglect’ next she stormed out saying ‘significant harm’ last meeting she took her lanyard off from round her Neck and throw it at the sch Receptionist. My SW is volatile and I forgot to mention, the first time my CIN case didn’t meet the threshold, she called me into the office and asked if I’d consider doing her type of job working with children. I stood by my principle and said “I would never in a million years do your job, as what if you make the wrong decision and take a child away from his Mother unjustly.” She said I was being “obnoxious” but she is the obnoxious one, she has essentially turned into her job. She had not one good thing to write abt me in the report. I was shocked not one single good thing. I know SW have to write negatively, but this is verging cruel towards me.
    I feel the problem with this SW, was the time-scale as she rushed and was TOO quick to reach decisions. Lincs County council say them aim to complete investigation within 40-days but in my case she reached her decision in 10-days, and of course it didn’t meet the threshold (I could have told her that). I personally think she is a rogue SW. Oh she turned up late for meetings, scribbling notes in her car before knocking on my door, so unprofessional. Yes, I’ve been reported as controlling but I’m one of the most liberal parents out there. I do live within the law, SW admitted I “hadn’t broke any laws.” SW has a cosy set-up, so when XX is released the Police-VISOR tell her str8 away so she then chases my ass again, in her own words “We’ll be back to square one.”
    Didn’t Nelson Mandela get thrown in pris for helping black petty thieves?
    Aung San is the most respected women in history (as far as I’m concerned) and she lost the opp to see her Sons grow up as she stood up for her political beliefs.

    My fault is for helping 1 sex offender to do something constructive in society and he is on remand and is still unconvinced.
    I agree, I will be careful what I speak to the Solicitor as everything I say is misconstrued.

    I am waiting till my Son turns 18, then I may make a legal challenge. Under Human Rights SW is restricting my right to chose who works for me. Work is work and nothing to do with family. It’s like saying XX Probation Officer is putting her child at risk as she is working with him. What’s the difference between her work or my work as both is working with a sex offender?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Well, a pretty major difference is that if a Probation Office had a client who said he was in love with her, she wouldn’t be his Probation Officer any more. Because that crosses a major line and blurs a significant boundary. You have crossed that line and blurred that boundary – but you can’t see it. You project all your anger onto the SW. From what you have said, I can quite understand why there are concerns about you. You lack insight and understanding about the potential impact of the choices you are making.

      Reply
  62. angelo granda

    HeartofMatter, The important thing is that you engage with and follow the advice of your solicitor and Sarah who has said do your best to cooperate at all times with the CS. I agree with that; although this SW appears to dislike you and it seems she is out to get you and she has not followed procedures scrupulously, if you point her mistakes out to her and start being stroppy in any way,things can only get worse because you will be falling into a trap and going down a dead-end.
    Yes,you have been caused a lot of unnecessary mental anguish but so far the checks built into the system have worked to an extent because you have cooperated so far.
    Even though you are on a cin plan, it is down to reasonable concerns and the situation appears to be sorting itself out slowly.
    Hopefully,it may not come to litigation but if you do anything which hints at non-cooperation or if you start expressing your emotions and speaking to them about psychology,religion,Aung San,Nelson Mandela,your human rights or anything like that,things may change.
    Please don’t let me put the fear of God into you but you really have to be very careful what you say in your position.Listen to the professionals.I’ve tried to give you some tips but i’m not a professional.
    Just be wary.Please note ,make an effort now to get written reports from school,GP,Health authorities and so on.If the case does go to court, the SW will only report negative items from the files and you will be denied access to them.If you get them now,it will be best.
    Good luck and relax. Ring the FRG helpline,get an advocate and matters will improve,i’m sure!

    Reply
  63. angelo granda

    The one thing that really matters is that your son is potentially at risk if you continue to have any connection whatsoever or display what the average person might think is any undue empathy with this sex offender.He is clearly sick, he is in and out of prison and has messed up your life by weeding his way into your life and it can be said he is grooming you for abuse. He has divulged his feelings for you which is disgraceful in itself as he is old enough to be your grandfather.
    That is why they are concerned and why you must concentrate on convincing the professionals that he is out of your life for good and that you have a full insight into the potential risk posed to your son.
    They are not interested in your thoughts on the rehabilitation of sex offenders,your philosophies or your human rights.They are only concerned with potential risk to your son.
    I suggest you instruct your solicitor to také out a non-molestation order against him which will stop him having contact with you. That should go some way to countering any claims of disguised compliance and get him away from you for good. You are at risk from him and your son is too and you have to not only recognise it but také decisive action.

    Reply
  64. angelo granda

    If my advice is of any value to you,may i add that you get the court order as a matter of urgency BEFORE this man is released from prison next week and have it served on him at Lincoln Prison or wherever he is.
    If necessary seek CS and Police assistance in making the application.
    Remember that the subject of concern is the risk to your son nothing more.The average person,even sw’s may agree with your general philosophies but they are not the issue.
    You may have to remain on a plan for a while until their fears are finally dispelled but that is a good thing not a bad one because it means they are doing their job correctly by keeping an eye on the potential risk by supporting your family and keeping you and your son together which is the legitimate aim of the Children’s Act. Do not feel any shame or resentment about that.
    Don’t give the current SW any cause to také matters out of your hands.Act today!

    Reply
  65. HeartofMatter

    Angelo here’s me thinking u were a pro! U have been a great resource to me – u should be proud of the time ur giving to help such a complex issue.
    I’ve been to see my G.P – they all know me. I’ve had one round my house and he will fully support me, as he believes every word I say. I would never talk as freely as I do on this forum, in front of authorities. That’s why I like these forums cos they give ppl an opportunity to give real life scenarios and get advice.
    I am really liking your advice on me approaching the Police Child Protection to ask for a court order on XX. This is the most useful piece of information ANYONE has given to me. YOU should seriously bcome a Lawyer – congrat’s. If Police agree, do u know if the Police will sort the order out or if I ask my solicitor to apply for one? It makes sense, as I have to severe contact with him & this is proof of serving all contact.
    The only concern I have is, the Police will then inform my SW then she will be straight around to open a new case wont she? I can’t help but feel inside, it may be better to do nothing.
    Btw, I’m NOT a CIN anymore – I don’t and have never met the threshold. My case was held open for the minimum of 6-weeks, after which I was closed down.
    Thank you Angelo.

    Reply
    1. angelo granda

      HeartofMatter,I’m glad you value our advice.
      All Sarah and I have done is be open and honest with you,explain to you fully and clearly what the ‘concerns’ are ,tell you what is expected of you and what changes you must make and i have suggested that the time-scales for you to act are short.
      Really the Social Worker should have done just what we have done but for some reason they don’t understand their duties, regularly fail to follow the ‘Working Together’ frameworks and make unrealistic and misinformed appraisals as a result.
      In your case though, is your son on the Children at Risk Register or not? The system seems to have got its appraisals right despite your rogue social worker so don’t worry too much.
      See your solicitor about the court order and leave it to him or her to get supporting evidence from the Police and/or the CS.
      Good luck.

      Reply
  66. HeartofMatter

    Hi Angelo, no my child was never on ‘at risk register’ & I was never explained what this was either – so I’m none the wiser.
    I’m moving next week, so I have shorter drive for sch-runs & work. SW had put in her Report that I’m moving to ‘escape’ Social but I had been contemplating moving for 1-year now. It seems what ever I suggest, SW will counter-disagree. I don’t care, I’m moving anyway cos I need to.
    Angelo, I shall hand over the Court Order request to my Solicitor and let her take care of it, so the Police can’t twist things. I can’t ‘thank you’ enough – ppl want real HELP when they enter these forums. I feel on this occasion you have offered me genuine help. You give up your time freely to help ppl like me with the spirit of “a job worth doing, is worth doing well.” Ppl want REAL advice and not the hear say.
    My Son came back with A-grades in an English test today – result! I feel like I CAN relax for the time-being!!
    I wish to adopt a girl from Thailand in the future and I’m scared Social will interfere. Do you think they will even care if I have another child biological/ non-biological, as I never been on Child Protection?

    Reply
  67. angelo granda

    HeartofMatter,Really there isn’t much else i can think of to say except to carry on following Sarah’s advice and engage positively with your solicitor and the CS.
    Your differences only seem to be with the one social worker.As i said before,make use of the FRG and they will advise you.

    Reply
    1. angelo granda

      HeartofMatter, Thanks. If you go onto the FRG website you will find they have a parents forum and you will be able to chat with other parents in the same position as yourself and ask questions about adopting children from abroad.
      Generally ,folk don’t come onto this site to discuss their personal cases in detail; it is dedicated to research,,changing a flawed system and legal debate. If lawyers or self-litigants want up-to-date views on the law,they come here.Also we discuss social work practice in general.Victims and lawyers will give their views and offer constructive criticism whilst SW’s and ex-SW’s will reply to the critique ,answer questions openly and honestly and put forward their own theories(you wouldn’t believe some of them).
      However all this is by the by.You will get all the advice you want on the Family Rights Group website then when your personal problem is sorted you can come back here and comment on the more general subjects.
      I hope everything works out.

      Reply
      1. HeartofMatter

        Hi an up-date…

        Told CIN case will be closed this week as man released in June ’16.
        I appointed a Solicitor who said ‘court orders’ cannot be gissued unless the man has broken something despite warnings. So she did write a legal letter, telling him to stay away from my house & not to communicate with me, etc.
        SW did wait to the eleventh hour to confirm case closing e.g. Visor officer tells her date of his release. However, this to me is only a temporary case closure. Because in June when he’s released into approved premises, SW will be back to “start my core assessment” all over again.
        I don’t know if this is legal? e.g. open close, close case, open case, close case, open case.
        I do not want to see her anymore, but she will not close case until she has seen my Son with her own eyes. FED UP.COM
        She’s determined to get me onto Child Protection, be it now or in June 2016 under disguised compliance. What really hurts in her report, she lied by saying I’d known the man since a child. However, in truth when I was a child I lived in a different part of the UK so I only knew him at aged 32-years, nothing to do with my childhood. But she trying to exaggerate and make out I myself am an abused child. In fact, I was a great Athlete with a decent education.

        Reply
  68. clare

    i have a question ihave a 12year old son who was referred to social work when i was in hospital. The person who referred him said there was a potential risk to him as I was in hospital following an opiate relapse. However the person, my worker, knows as do all professionals that I never use opiates when in charge of my son, it was when he was not with me i did this, although im not making excuses just giving the facts. Anyhowi was in hospital on the 3rd October for 1 week. Within this time i submitted 3 clean drug samples and since discharge I have continued to provide a clean sampple every week. I saw my doctor on Wednesday and he refused to test me again as he said I have been clean since coming out of hospital and I said well how can I prove to social workers that Im clean and he said well by turning up to appointments and presenting well and not under the influence. My problem is that I have only been able to see my son for a few hours three times a week and the social worker is refusing to allow me overnight contact with my son but I have been clean since October and she will not even tell me when I can see him overnight. She says I will not hold her to ransom and that she will not be made feel that she has to let me see him overnight. Her exact words are, you are not having overnight contact for at least another two weeks. Now my son is begging to stay with me, I am clean and so much so my doctor says there is no need to drug test me and that he will not be doing so unless I present in a way exhibiting symptoms which I totally understand. My question is therefore, can this social worker stop me having overnight contact with my son, according to her she can and if I go against her then she will bring it to the childrens hearing system however my sons advocate says she needs evidence of risk to do this and that she feels there is no risk. Any opinions would be appreciated. I accept responsibility for my mistakes however this person is not allowing me to attempt to return to stability with my child.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      the concerns here clearly are not trivial. You have used opiates to the extent that you were hospitalised. It is great that you have been able to stay clean since October, but that isn’t very long. I can understand why they might still be worried. If the SW is saying you have to wait two weeks for overnight visits, I would suggest that you grit your teeth and wait the two weeks.

      But if you feel very strongly that you don’t pose a risk anymore, then if they don’t have a care order, you can collect your child at any time. You need to think very carefully about whether that really would be the best thing for you and your son as if you did this, it might prompt the LA to issue care proceedings if they think there is still a risk of significant harm.

      I don’t know anything about your case, other than this brief paragraph you have given, so I don’t know how long you have had a problem with opiates, how many other times you have been hospitalised etc. If your problem is longstanding then I can understand why being clean since October is not necessarily going to reassure everyone that you won’t relapse again quite soon.

      But please do take proper legal advice before making any serious decisions.

      Reply
    2. angelo granda

      Clare,I don’t know much about your case but i will comment that if the SW has suggested she will consider overnight contact in two or three weeks,that is promising and you might do well to wait a bit.
      Very often,they won’t consider it full stop. It may be they will make a care-plan for rehabilitation.Even with a care-order,they don’t all remove children permanently.
      I suggest you contact the Family Rights Group,especially if you are in London,because will advise you.
      Alternatively,e-mail more details to Sarah and she will advise if she can.

      Reply
  69. HeartofMatter

    Hi Clare,
    Just seen ur post as it was beneath mine! No I’m not a Solicitor, but I am real with a child exactly the same age as ur own, so I can only sympathize. Pls do ur research and find a successful Family Law Solicitor whom has experience in the opiate arena. There is one based outside London (I will try and find her name) that took on the state and WON! She managed to demonstrate that the LA acted illegally by taking a child into care even tho the Mother was doing great in Rehab with glowing reports. The Judge made her case a turning point and was furious with the LA and said “She never ever wants to see this happen again.” A good Solicitor will help you and support you, I found one off my own back by walking into various offices and making a judgement-call but some Solicitors didn’t even return my calls! This is becos they were not prepared to defend me and so did not wish to take on my case. If this is so, u’d be better off without that particular Solicitor. I can’t stress the importance of getting urself a GOOD SOLICITOR they are worth their weight in gold, but believe me there is one out there! If u feel on initial instinct that ur Solicitor is judgemental and makes u feel worse then u already do, then change and find a new one straight away. U are not paying to feel like crap. U are paying to win ur case!
    Clare, I was (still am) being treat in a heavy-handed way by SW, becos I am a fundamentally a gentle and compassionate person but this sadly was used against me in a cruel manner.
    If there is something ur SW is saying abt u that hurts, then speak up and tell her. As when they write the Report which is later used in Court, there will be some of your protests noted. It is important that some of your thoughts and feelings are recorded as you only get one chance to speak up! My Report was terrible and my own Solicitor said I am “a victim of circumstances.”
    IF my case ever goes to Child Protection, then the only person against me is the SW. Everybody else G.P, sch Nurses, Head Teacher know me for the person I really am.
    I want to help u….. I will try and find the experienced Solicitors name and office location. Hugs xx

    Reply
    1. angelo granda

      Heartofmatter,Thanks for your update and your views on solicitors.
      Unfortunately, although i am not a professional as you well know, i doubt the wisdom of your solicitors advice .The builder is in prison because he has already done something seriously wrong and has contravened his bail conditions and it cannot be said he has not already begun to groom your family.
      I suggest you instruct a solicitor firmly to apply for the anti-molestation order as i said before.THAT WILL BE THE BEST WAY TO PROCEED.Perhaps Sarah can advise.
      A solicitors’letter has no legal validity and when your case is reopened next year,the sw might not even také it into account.The CS often bide their time.Be warned and don’t be talked out of it whatever the difficulties or expense.
      I have seen other much less serious cases where an order has been granted.Indeed the CS often insist on one and aid a parent in the application.You should protect your family and get one urgently.
      These offenders are sick and when he gets out of Lincoln or whereever he is, there is a real danger,he will approach you despite any solicitors letter..That is why the SW is not going to let it go !
      You have to do more.When you have an anti-molestation order,the Police have a duty to protect you and arrest him immediately.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        I am afraid she won’t get a non molestation order unless he has pestered, harassed, used or threatened violence against her or her child. She is unlikely to get a harassment order either as that requires a course of conduct of harassment and SHE has chose to visit this man in prison whilst he professes his love for her.

        that is the real problem in this case. It is not that a paedeophile is harassing her and and her child, but that she has chosen to let this man into her life and she just doesn’t see why others are really worried about this. For example, she commented earlier that she was no different to a Probation Officer! that shows, in my opinion, a dangerous absence of insight into the choices she has made.

        Reply
        1. angelo granda

          Thanks for your opinion Sarah.I can see your point of view and she knows now her decisions were wrong and knows she has to change.
          Notwithstanding the possibility that had legal guidelines been followed,she would have changed much sooner and not gone near him in prison, how do you think she can prove concusively she accepts concerns without being accused of disguised compliance.
          Many thanks for your time,Sarah especially on a Sunday.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            Well that’s the big problem with ‘disguised compliance’ isn’t it? Which is why I think it is a hateful piece of jargon. She is damned either way – if she doesn’t co-operate, she is a problem. If she does it’s ‘disguised compliance’ !

            But I do have enormous sympathy for the SW. It must be very difficult dealing with parents who are hostile and lack insight.

            What she needs to do is cut this person out of her life entirely – no visits, no phone calls etc. And be consistent. If the SW continues to be heavy handed and won’t accept that this is real then something has to come to a head at some point; either the case must be closed or care proceedings must start. It simply can’t drift on for years and years. If she can establish a good solid six months of no contact AND (more importantly) she can communicate with the SW that she understands why this is necessary… I would hope and expect they would no longer be concerned. But I don’t know for sure. There may be an awful lot we just don’t know about this case, hence the dangers of speculating and advising on the internet.

            PS I am not a saint, putting my life on hold to answer comments! I have a bad cold, feeling sorry for myself and not leaving the sofa, so this is useful distraction.

    2. clare

      thank you very much for your kind words. The lady above you Sarah, whilst I welcome her advice, is correct, she doesnt know the case, and I wasnt hospitilised as a result of relapse, I worded that incorrectly, I was hospitilised as a means to stabilise on my medication and it was a planned admission, requested by myself, however prior to this I did have a period of opiate use. I am aware that social workers are rightly so very concerned when opiates are mentioned yet without knowing me it is perhaps unfair to make a judgement about me and how I care for my child. Anyhow thank you for your comment, it has helped me.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        Sorry Clare, I thought you meant you had been admitted to hospital in an unplanned way which of course is serious – but if you had a planned admission that’s very different.

        No one here can judge you as an individual as we don’t know you and have never met you – all I can attempt to do is make some general points and signpost to hopefully useful information.

        I hope you continue with your recovery, glad you have found the site useful.

        Reply
  70. HeartofMatter

    1). I’ve never been hostile to SW. In fact, SW asked back in Sept when she was first ‘supposed’ to close my case if I’d consider working with children myself. I replied “never in a million years, as what if a SW makes the wrong decision?” It’s a personality clash between us. I believe in rehabilitation and she prefers punishment.
    2). Anti-molestation Order. I’ll have to research abt it, but I’m sure I could make good grounds for it. The problem is, I go to Police Child Protection officer & tell her my concerns. Fact – she already wants my child on Child Protection. SW made no mistake telling me both her & Police want my child on Protection, but they were only stopped becos I didn’t meet threshold. So can u see my dilemma, if I go to Police then they will have even more grounds to open Child Protection case wont they? I don’t want this to go to child protection and when my Solicitor asked me why I didn’t want it, I said “because it’ll go onto my child’s record and he wishes to go to med school” Therefore, I feel Child Protection will blemish his school records. Can Angelo/ Sarah shed any light on my fear pls?
    3) TO CLARE – Katherine Dunseath. has won cases with clients who were in drug-rehab & she’s based in central London – why don’t u contact her? Website says:

    “Katherine has a thriving family law and personal injury practice. She regularly appears in the County Courts, the High Court and Court of Appeal on a range of matters at domestic and international level. A number of her cases have received national press coverage.”

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      You won’t get a non mol unless you can prove on the balance of probabilities that he has used or threatened violence against your or child or otherwise molested, pestered or harassed you. As you chose to visit him, it doesn’t sound likely you could prove that HE has harassed YOU. But by all means, satisfy yourself with your own research. There are some links here that might be helpful.
      http://childprotectionresource.online/if-i-report-domestic-violence-social-services-will-take-my-children/

      Reply
  71. stephen

    This comment has been deleted. Stephen is welcome to come back and comment again if he can do so without saying ‘fuck’ a lot.

    Reply
  72. MOVINGON

    as a foster carer for over 15 years providing what I thought and the numerous professionals I worked with endorsed so many times a lot of quality care for children I knew of all the pitfalls that at any time an allegation can be made. I contributed massively to what has happened to me and I have made this repeatedly clear, I failed to report an incident that I should have . I hear you say well it is your own fault and I accept that but the only mitigating fact is the child in question after numerous placements had in his words found his home, he begged and cried for me not to say anything and a relative who was there at the outset applied the same pressure, I let my standards down , the agency and other children in placement with us. I have now accepted the inevitable consequences of this major lapse but what I cannot accept is the way the agency who are one of the biggest around breached my confidentiality to other carers whilst impressing upon me the need to keep my own council. everything then proceeded even more downhill when so many untruths and economies with the real truth emerged. I was aware of bodies closing ranks in this world but never thought I would be on the receiving end of a sustained character assassination. my wife and myself have gone from heroes to zeroes in the space of a few short months. I OFFER THIS SNIPPET OF ADVICE TO ALL CARERS AND PROSPECTIVE CARERS TO REPORT EVERYTHING AND EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU ARE ACTING ON BEHALF OF WHAT A CHILD MAY WANT, REMEMBER YOUR THE ADULT AND DO NOT FALL FOUL OF THE POWERS THAT BE WHO WILL BRING MANY UNPALLATABLE THINGS TO A TABLE A NAIVE PERSON OR A NICE COUPLE WILL NOT EXPECT AS THEY DISTANCE THEMSELVES AND ALSO ISOLATE YOU.

    Reply
  73. Abdul Doumbouya

    What can you actually do to seek out a replacement of your social worker because you feel insecured, intimidated, targeted and overpowered by her? Please tell me anything I can do to have my social worker replaced if I can have any chance of avoiding a character assassination from her and the ultimate return of my children home.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      You can make a request of the social worker’s manager to see if he/she can be replaced. It is important that parents and social workers can work together so they might be prepared to consider a change. BUT I imagine it is going to be unlikely as very often there are not enough social workers to go round, so it is often very difficult to get someone else. Also, they may not accept that it is the social worker who is the problem – they may say that you would find problems with anyone doing the job. I don’t know enough about your circumstances to say if this is a personality clash, if the social worker is being unprofessional or you are in fact the problem. Or it could be a mix of some/all of those factors. Its a difficult position to be in. If you can’t get a change of social worker you may have to grit your teeth and try and power through. Do you have anyone else who can support you or you can talk to if you are feeling overwhelmed?

      Reply
  74. Angelo Granda

    Dear Abdul, Get a voice recorder and record all meetings, phone-calls and contact with the CS. It is legal and when the SW knows you are doing it, she is likely to temper her behaviour and more likely to stick to the truth, not misquote you etc. For more information and advice about transparency look at the transparency thread.

    Reply
  75. EJ

    So what are your comments on these then?

    http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/11/18/councils-setting-numerical-targets-adoption/?cmpid=NLC|SCSC|SCNEW-2016-1123

    http://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/english-councils-confirm-they-set-targets-for-the-number-of-children-to-be-adopted/

    Don’t LAs get funding based on previous budgets spent? This would account for the financial motivation behind such targets being used by LAs and the likely wholesale misuse of the allowability of such targets.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      As a trustee of the Transparency Project and contributor to that post, my comment is that the picture is not clear. I do not think that there is evidence to show that care proceedings are being started in order for councils to meet targets BUT it gives an uncomfortable perception for parents. And I think there is a real risk in this – as in any other field – that ‘targets’ and ‘key performance indicators’ can have a corrupting influence.

      The only consideration when looking at adoption should be whether it is the right thing for THIS child, not because councils have some kind of numerical target to hit.

      I don’t know what funding LAs get based on previous budgets so can’t comment on that.

      Reply
  76. Lindsay

    My nephew has had no stability most of his life. He is now 15. He has been moved around since he was little, and after being taken away from his mother 4 years ago he was put into an abusive home for 4 years.
    Because of this he has some behavioral and mental issues. This is because of his childhood as well as severe ADHD from the time of being a small child he seems to have somewhat grown out of now, but has always had issues.
    He is NOW with my mother, his grandmother, who is wonderful and loves him and is doing everything she can to take care of him. He is a brilliant kid who has just had a bad lot in life. What he needs now is to stay with my mom, his brother, and his cousins who are all living with my mom.

    HOWEVER, having been place with my mom only a few months ago, the social workers are still in his life. Every time he “acts up” or like today, had some issues at school involving “bizarre behavior” (like refusing to answer to his first name, but middle name only), they threaten to take him away from my mom. With the incident today, the social worker says she is taking him and putting him with strangers. She literally said that she is taking him away from my mom, despite my mom doing nothing wrong. His behavior is because of what is going on in his head and because he has had no stability until now – it isn’t because he is with my mom.
    HIS FAMILY is at home, my mother has NO criminal record, NO drug use, and doesn’t even drink alcohol. If he is taken away at this critical part in his life he will be lost forever. It is the WORST thing they can do, and my mom has NEVER done anything wrong!! PLEASE is there ANYTHING I or we can do?
    This is the same social worker that placed him in the abusive home for 4 years and won’t believe that any abuse took place, he isn’t safe with her. That Social Worker believes the foster parents never abused him, believed everything they ever said to her (despite them constantly taunting my mother at visits about their abuse, despite him not showing up to some visits with excuses to hear him later say they wouldn’t let him go as a punishment, they choked and hit him as well as emotional abuse and neglect.) At almost 15, he got himself out of the home, he filled out paperwork from online and mailed it, got into a group home, where my mom was finally able to rescue him.
    Now that social worker says “he wasn’t acting up at XXX and CCC house” which was the abusers’ home, and uses them as criteria to compare to my mom, who has had him for only a couple of months. He needs to adjust, but he loves my mom who loves him dearly and has always been there for him.

    Not only all this, but the social worker said “you have to get him into therapy” and gave my mom a number that she has called and left FIVE voicemails, to no reply. We are trying, but this social worker has never been on his side, she was fooled by abusers and will not admit she was fooled, and is against my mom for trying to tell her all this time about the abuse.

    Please. I want my nephew to have a chance at life and that is with my mom.
    What can we do?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Do you know what order is in place? Is it a full care order or does your mum have a Special guardian order?
      It sounds like the LA still have parental responsibility if they are so heavily involved.
      If you aren’t happy with their involvement and they have a care order you would need to think about applying to discharge it.
      There is some information about that here
      http://childprotectionresource.online/category/appeals-and-discharge-of-care-order/
      But you are probably going to need some proper legal advice. Can you mum afford to pay for some time with a solicitor? If not, your local CAB might be able to help.
      there is some information here
      http://childprotectionresource.online/legal-advice/

      Reply
  77. Mark

    [REDACTED] County Council social services,united Kingdom took are beloved nephew away even though there are was no reason to take him away they already had him on the forced adoption list months before without even notifieying us they asked him where he wanted to stay and he said i want to stay at nannas which they breached the childs human rights,we was continually abused and harassed and defamed for the past 6 months by [REDACTED] county council social services and the final case was already sewn up a week before the final hearing numerous breaches of human rights not only for us but my nephew aswell,they treated us like criminals by spying on us,making false statements and putting obstacles in the way and humiliating us at every opportunity it felt like torture everyday while they were around,they was also racist against are Jewish origin,and refused to acknowledge it on his birth record and they never listened to what he wanted so they never took notice of the best interests of the child whatsoever when he said he wanted to stay at his nannas,and they never gave us any chance,or help us in anyway until the court case was on they continually lied to us in order to make there case stronger we had all got clean records and therefore law binding,he also had suspected autism they would not let us get him diagnosed.and ruined Christmas for us by saying they was taking him away,they used unscrupulous witnesses that one had a court order against her,the other was known to the police for making malicious phone calls and behaviour and the other one had a grudge because she was a ex and is vulnerable and also the statements was falsified with lies and deception and they was not completed so how come there surpose to be child protection but there not because there the abusers he was happy until they kidnapped him with lies plus he is now unhappy keeps asking for us he’s under weight the social worker made up false evidence reports and witness that had a vendetta against him we are unhappy with ur family courts it states right to a fair trial that was not a fair trial whatsoever the result was done a week before behind closed doors plus there evidence against that people was utter shambles they had no prove to back that rubbish up whatsoever so how can u say a person is a perpetrator and that they have nothing to back it up they didnt like it because we was telling the truth and they breached the law on all counts breached childs rights,right to a private life with he did not get they breached his wishes they harrassed the family cafcass tried bullying the disable brother Telling him to move out when hes happy where he is theyve got no rights whatsoever and the social worker with another social bullied the disable brother as well trying to get the disable brother to bully the nephew until they was over heard by a brother its states on [REDACTED] county’s and cafcass website they follow protocol calls of human rights nothey don’t follow the codes of practice they breach them all the time they don’t no the human rights acts whatsoever.cafcass telled lies as well because it was written in there statements the child was asked what
    He want and he said say at nannas so that is breach of childs rights and they also believed the social workers lies falsified when we no who was a perpetrator it was the childs mum they said it was never reported they hid the paper work they lied we now have the paper work they hid it now proves they committed perjury the social service even got the nursery he was going to on there sidel by the lies they holded the 3 nrly 4 yr old for 5 hours when it is illegal to do so that is a form of kidnapp there complaints department is utter shambles they allow the culprit to investigate themselves which is a criminal offence they also withheld evidence reports saying no crime was reported which is a criminal offence we now have the paper work they withheld from the court from another case of there crime we also had criminal acts done by someone there end making lies up to the police which is a act of terror they hid records so how can they say the health care and all the are brilliant they is absolute corruptions they let the people who does the abusing keep there children the innocent people get set up with false reports based on hear as say evidence and can you tell me how he got two black eyes under the care of [redacted] county council social services which was not even taken to hospital because they have got something to hide which is child abuse

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      If a court order has been made on the basis of lies that you can prove, then you need to appeal against this order urgently.

      Reply
  78. Angelo Granda

    Dear Mark, Bearing in mind Sarah’s advice, I wondered have you already considered applying for leave to appeal. Permission is not automatic. You cannot appeal just because you know the decision was wrong and that justice was perverted etc.
    First of all you will have to see your solicitors and it may transpire, when you do, that they will advise you that there is no scope for appeal. This will be on the basis that the Judge heard all the evidence etc. etc. and made a considered decision based upon all the evidence he or she saw on the balance of probabilities. The Judge will have used his or her discretion and decided which evidence he or she preferred and that discretion will have assumed that the case was conducted correctly , all evidence was true and that the CS investigations were completely independent and impartial. Also that any expert witnesses ( including the Guardian) made realistic appraisals after seeing all the evidence including correct and full family background including medical documents from GP’S.
    If this is not so, then it was the task of your solicitors to bring it to the attention of the Court then. Thus it is unlikely they will advise you to apply for permission to appeal now! No matter what evidence you come up with now, it may be much too late. If you allege now that ‘lies’ were told by the social workers, why did the solicitors not tell the Court then? Were they told? Or did they advise the respondent to cooperate with the CS and leave it up to the Judge to spot the inconsistencies?
    Did the respondent ( your sister, I presume) have a barrister at the hearing and was Gran party to the hearing? Was she called to give evidence? Were many witnesses called in your sister’s favour? Did the barrister make an effort to argue against the mistruths or did he or she believe them over her?
    I think you will find it difficult to appeal the case; go to another solicitor and they will probably just laugh (or take £ 2000 off you upfront just to look over the court bundle.
    Even if you get permission to appeal, you can bet you bottom dollar that the Local Authority will NEVER own up to transgressions , consider the new evidence honestly, recognise that an injustice has occurred and change the care-plan to send the child back to Gran ( or Mum), it will keep quiet, not respond honestly and keep to it’s previous line notwithstanding anything in the Complaints investigation if there is one! It will also come up with additional damning hearsay evidence and it will probably pretend your nephew is happy, settled and progressing where he is.
    The appeal court may even agree your fresh evidence is correct and that it disproves much of the LA’s during the proceedings but may then decide that, as it has not had the opportunity to consider the verbal evidence heard by the circuit judge ( including nuance, body-language etc.) that it has to maintain the circuit judge’s decision which was made on the balance of probabilities in full.

    Can Sarah or another reader advise us of your best line of attack? How to get permission to appeal and then how to approach the appeal? Sarah, Would it be fair to claim that if it can be proven that procedures haven’t been followed scrupulously and that legal safeguards in place to satisfy Article 8 (proportionality) were not observed that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ the LA have not been fair and that its evidence was dishonest and misleading?

    Reply
  79. Sam

    ” The Judge will have used his or her discretion” I do wonder if we would be far better off in a system where judges did not have the right to have any discretion rather had to follow a checklist similar to an MOT test. I suppose the reason the judicial system works the way it does, is that anyone reasonably bright could apply a checklist and judges would be redundant. This imaginary checklist could include such matters as have the Local Authority and Cafcass complied with all court orders, has all witness evidence been put forward, have family members been treated legally at every step of the child protection process, including pre proceedings.
    I am sure the Government would be delighted with the potential savings and families would be too if it led to a fairer and more transparent system.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      There is a checklist already of the kind you suggest, which ensures all the right documents are submitted etc. & courts do flag up breaches of orders or any irregularities. It is usual for all documents exchanged by legal parties at the point when proceedings are issued, this includes CP Conference reports by the SW, so pre pre-proceedings.

      Reply
  80. Sam

    Then Helen we must be living in different universes yet again. Or its back to the postcode lottery, unfortunately I live in an area where the local court makes far more than average number of care orders because of the poverty level in the main city in the area. I appreciate that this must place a burden on the court and perhaps this may lead to slackness not seen in other areas of the country. There were numerous irregularities in my case , including the blooming obvious such as failure of the SW to undertake a parenting assessment, failure to have the children ABE interviewed to the less important but still pertinent, not giving written notice of suspension of contact but doing it by phone after office hours on a Friday evening leaving me extremely distraught, which was then of course used against me as being mentally unstable. None of this was considered important enough either in the local court or on appeal. The system is not fail safe, whilst Judges ( some of whom have never been family practitioners nor would they have the character or the inclination to do so) have so much leeway to interpret the law and there are no checks and balances other than appeal which is beyond most parents and very,very rarely succeeds for the reasons Angelo has already stated. The circumstances of the recent GD and BD case , which so many have commented as being the worse case of the year, do not seem unfamiliar, unfortunately to many of us. The only difference being the Judge actually picked up the appalling setting up of the parents AND did something about it. Though I very much doubt if any sanctions will be made against the professionals .

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      I can’t reply to everything you say at the moment but obviously I am not talking about where things go wrong. I just thought it was helpful to say that we don’t always need new, we need what exists to work.

      Where things do go wrong there are usually systemic issues and I think it is much more helpful that they are addressed in SCRs (they are generally not) than SW sanctioned in most cases. This is simply because there are checks and balances within agencies, as well as oversight, so why that isn’t working well is more relevant to all cases. There will be SW who just don’t do the best job, as there are people in every profession, but generally they don’t go to work not to to things or to do things badly. There are systemic obstacles and they need to be explored more thoroughly.

      I think the issue of poverty and austerity is problematic, families reach crisis sooner, there are barriers to parenting children well in such circumstances and it is the role of social workers to mitigate those issues.

      I think it is unkind to phone you the day before a weekend and leave you on your own with difficult news. It is very unfortunate that the call couldn’t be made sooner but it needed more thought when it was, or a visit, so you could be looked after.

      Reply
  81. Angelo Granda

    I hope Sarah will not regard my opinion as ‘dangerous’ but ,in my opinion, the judicial system is BIASED towards the Local Authorities.
    The threshold are too easy to satisfy ,for one. If the child was not neglected, then the LA will simply do a witchhunt or make something up and,of course,hearsay can be used.
    So why are the lawyers biased? Because the turn a blind eye to LA abuse and neglect of the same children.They are apparently think the SW’s can never do wrong! I am sure they are all on the same side.
    Lawyers on this resource reckon Ian’s advice is ‘dangerous’ when he counsels non-cooperation with the CS and the legal process.Follow his policy,they say, and you may as well as say goodbye to your children forever.That proves bias because in actual fact the LA itself follows that policy itself! It doesn’t listen to or cooperate with anyone;it turns a deaf’un to the truth and never withdraws falsehoods.It refuses to comment and ,even mislead the court verbally under oath.The solicitors never question their evidence rigidly and agressively as you would expect in a court of law and ,if they tried,might be cut short due to time schedules.
    What Mark’s family want is a barrister to write out an application for them based on the fact that false evidence was given and procedures flouted.They can’t do it themselves! They don’t want a barrister who will say ” Mmmm….. The Judge has looked at all the evidence and made his decision,some of the LA evidence is known to be false but,so what, on precedent,the threshhold are probably met anyway.The LA never obeyed the Court orders but where were the respondent lawyers when it mattered?
    It is still my opinion that the best way to ensure justice is automatic appeals.LA’s rely on appeals being so difficult to get.If permission were granted automatically in serious cases,the authorities would have to kowtow strictly to the rules.
    I hope a lawyer will come on with a template for Mark and his family.They don’t need to know all the details of the case. Let’s just assume that some evidence can be proven false and that some safeguards were not observed.Over to any interested lawyer.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      They don’t need to know all the details of the case. Let’s just assume that some evidence can be proven false and that some safeguards were not observed.

      No. No. No. No lawyer can touch a case on that basis. You cannot ‘assume’. You have to know the facts. You can’t possibly provide a ‘template’ for an appeal. This is an absolute recipe for disaster. He needs to see a real lawyer as soon as possible and bring all relevant paperwork. No one can possibly advise in this way over the internet.

      Reply
  82. Sam

    “Mmmm….. The Judge has looked at all the evidence and made his decision,some of the LA evidence is known to be false but,so what, on precedent,the threshhold are probably met anyway”

    Yes once again I agree with Angelo. In my experience, only, Judges do let the LA get away with falsifying evidence, which would not be allowed in a criminal trial, nor would the press let it pass without comment, I suspect if these hearings were routinely held in public and reported.

    I think I understand Sarah’s frustration with John Hemming and Ian Josephs, they do “work” with the marginalised and the vulnerable without any checks being applied. I have a similar situation where I cannot get anyone to listen, an alleged rapist is working with similarly vulnerable people and placing them in danger. It is I suppose the price we pay for having a free society with self will.

    Reply
  83. Angelo Granda

    I wish you all the best and good health in the New Year,too,Helen..
    What we all should recognise is that cases are brought to Court by LA’s not SW’s. The Courts make the decisions some right some wrong.Some SW’s act correctly some scandolously.Some parents are blameless some evil.
    We can’t blame SW’s for miscarriages of justice ultimately.They have a difficult enough job .Even when they are dishonest, they can’t be blamed.The Court makes the decisions!
    The easperation of the High Court commonly expressed by Lord Mumby and others when wrongly conducted cases are appealed is not at the SW’s it is against the lawyers and circuit Judge in the lower Court.
    As Sam says,it is the lawyers (particularly those of the children and parents) who should consult an MOT type legal checklist and insist that all boxes are ticked.The Law is quite clear that children should not be removed except where there has been correct anf full pre-proceedings disclosure and scrupulously fair procedure.It isn’t just window dressing when Article 8 says safeguards should both be in place and observed or any decision to remove is not proportionate. These are quite definite statements of law which are intended to prevent any possibility of abuse.
    It is the duty of the Lawyers to enforce these standards strictly!
    They don’t bother and this is why the High Court Judges are exasperated also why the system of justice is mistrusted by parents and children.
    Sarah, Both the LA’s and the Guardian’s study precedent and legal templates and endeavour to meet them.Parent’s often find themselves accused of defensiveness and non-cooperation at the earliest stages .Sometimes before they have even been seen and interviwed by either.This is not an accident.They do it in the first instance to get ICO’s and then continue the fallacy in order to remove permanently.
    Likewise respondent lawyers should ensure that procedural checklists are met and should have a template ready prepared to enable appeals when they aren’t ,in my humble opinion. I think that is reasonable.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      The SW is the representative of the LA in court.
      Parents are rarely evil.
      If there is malpractice you can blame SW for a miscarriage of justice, you can certainly blame them for dishonesty.
      SW have been criticized in court.
      People are more complicated than MOTs and cases in Family Court more complex.
      There are cases where due process has not been followed but threshold is still met, this isn’t window dressing, it is child protection.
      I have no idea what you mean by legal templates and endeavoring to meet them?
      How can parents be accused of defensiveness or non cooperation if they have not been seen, how would anyone know?
      Do you understand how an ICO application is made, it is not an EPO?
      What is a template for an appeal and how does this work?

      Reply
  84. Angelo Granda

    Helen, The SW’s don’t seem to understand what they are doing wrong and when in my estimation. For example, when they cite computer databases and Police intelligence reports as its evidence-base and make unconfirmed statements of truth in court based upon what they read therein.
    An example of following a template to achieve a court -order. Some years ago, I read of a Mum who was actually a member of the adoption panel being subject of a CP investigation herself. She described clearly how the SW assessments imaged those she had herself seen and endorsed in the past in respect of other Mums. She had always assumed they were genuine until it happened to her and exactly the same concerns were expressed. That was a template they followed, one of those forms you can get from training manuals and by going online. Or maybe she was inventing her own narrative? No, she was right and she was able to get the case thrown out.
    Helen, it doesn’t matter whether threshold is met or not! Even if a parent has half-killed a child ,it is the essence of justice that due process IS followed in order to establish the facts for the Court.Cases must be conducted correctly to enable fair appraisals and whether threshold are met, or not, each child has human rights. Due procedure is even more important in serious cases than in minor ones .
    You should never let up on strict correctness and fall into the trap of skipping checks etc.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      By unconfirmed I assume you mean confirmed by others just not the family. That is still evidence to put before a court.

      I would imagine that the template you are talking about follows the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need, which is a holistic overview of family life, and is the correct process. It is the basic framework for all assessments although it has evolved since publication into a single assessment, rather than an initial and a core assessment. It isn’t something from a training manual/online at all, it is something from government guidance.

      I didn’t say correct procedure shouldn’t be followed, I said that it is possible to determine if threshold has been met anyway, and actually, it does matter if a child is half killed.

      Reply
  85. Anonymous

    The children act 1989 was, at least I assume, meant for benevolent purposes. However, there is lots of room in it for social workers and courts to make unfair or biased decisions. It’s not like any other area of the law where a burden of proof exists. I have witnessed first hand social workers with biases that were clearly used as part of proceedings. Don’t tell me that this in itself doesn’t encourage people into the proffession that are there to further their own personal or political agenda. I have not only witnessed this in social work but in other public sector proffessions as well. A far left wing ideology along with a “I must save the world from all that is bad” complex seems to be present in a lot of public sector workers, and anyone who doesn’t support those sorts of beliefs is often bullied and promoted as problematic or unstable. I have personally known of families to be targeted for possessing a firearm, for being against gay marriage and for believing in traditional gender roles. I have seen families persecuted for supporting particular political or social groups. There seems to be a deep rooted hatred in social work for people with right wing beliefs. I have seen it and I won’t deny it. I’m not going to go into my own personal beliefs because they don’t belong in this discussion, but let me ask, does the children act 1989 not give room for the possibility of social eugenics? Since there seems to be so many people in the proffession who subscribe to an authoritarian left wing ideology, which means that there is a collective within the proffession that has pre concieved notions about exactly how people should think and behave and how children should be raised? is a particular agenda not going to be pushed by many social workers and family court judges? Is this in itself not extremely dangerous in terms of personal liberty, human rights and justice?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Yes. social engineering and bias are both very dangerous and the courts continually warn against them. The best defence is vigorous testing of the evidence and calling out people who make biased assumptions.

      I don’t however agree with a simplistic division into ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing. I am neither. I think the vulnerable should be protected but that we all need to take responsibility for ourselves. I find I am equally disliked for my views by both ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing people, which comforts me that I must be doing something right.

      Reply
  86. Angelo Granda

    Hear-Hear! But I don’t think we should bring politics into it. Inhumanity is not the preserve of left or right wing ideology. The workers you mean are just inhumane do-gooders obsessed with the false ideology and dogma that every child has a right to be ‘safe’. Impossible and an illegitimate aim. On that basis , they could find convincing reasons to take all children into care especially when they add a bit of speculation, fortune-telling on past antecedents and falsehood into the balance of probabilities.

    Reply
  87. Scott c

    My daughter accused me of raping her almost every day for 2.5 years she made this statement after being caught with alcohol at school
    Now she has several issues in a school fighting skipping school exc.
    They took her statement as true
    Children services did 0 investigation on me
    After she did a recorded interview they removed her and my 17 year old son from my custody
    Now we have a hearing coming up
    I court gave me visitation to see my son but a no contact order with my daughter and I do understand why.
    But it has been 30 day no visit with my son
    And the case worker has done nothing but lie
    The place my son in a home where both parent are convicted fellons of violent crimes they use drugs
    3 weeks after being there my son wants to die so I rush him to the E R he is tested positive for weed and cocaine I take him home he sleeps for 16 hours
    Cops come with children services arrest me and children services wants charges pressed they tell the police there is a no contact order
    For once police do there job and found out that was a lie no such order exist
    While I was under arrest they search my home without a warrant and break a access ladder to the attic while the cuffs are on me they are on so tight my hands are turning blue and brushed also the cop turned the heat on its 75 outside and sunny
    I sit in the police car for 30 mins like this
    Now I feel my civil right have been violated and a smear campaign by children services
    Any body that has any advise would be greatly appreciated my name is Scott and I am Innocent by the way

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Sorry to hear this Scott.
      all i think I can usefully say is that if you think the police went far beyond what was necessary in their dealings with you – make a formal complaint.
      I dont understand how there can be any kind of order about your son if he is 17. this is usually far too old for the court to make orders. He’s nearly an adult and then he will decide for himself who he sees and when – unless of course he is vulnerable in other ways and lacks ability to make his own decisions.
      You are in a difficult position because if your daughter is saying she doesn’t want to see you, they will think there must be SOME reason for this, even if it is not exactly the reason she says

      All I can suggest is that you try and get some proper legal advice in real life – there may be some information here that will help.
      http://childprotectionresource.online/legal-advice/

      Reply
  88. stephen

    Social services often do take children away under false pretenses. That’s the whole purpose of the secret family courts. Not to protect children, but to hide and cover up the corruption.

    Reply
  89. Francis bernard

    Hi I have entered into a new relationship and been with my partner for around a month but social services have recently told me that I am not to have a partner and have to remain as a single parent…. Why is this? I am finally happy stable and better than I have been in a long time. My child is cared for and loved and all other needs are met. Me and my partner do not live together but he has children of his own and is a loving father so why am I being told I can not be with this person that I am happy with.

    Reply
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