Parents with Mental Health Issues

PLEASE if you are feeling suicidal and you haven’t got anyone else you want to talk to, call the Samaritans. Call them now on 08457 90 90 90.

 

I’m a parent and I have mental health problems and/or a personality disorder. Can a social worker take my children away?

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your mental health challenges make you a weak person or a bad parent. Living and surviving and managing with all that stress and noise in your head requires strength, more strength than many other people will ever even have to find from within themselves. You are strong. Very strong indeed”

Debbie, aged 35, living with her four children and with lifelong schizoaffective disorder

 

Historically, there has been stigma and prejudice associated with parenting whilst living with a mental health challenge or personality difficulty. In the past, individuals who had or had been diagnosed with problems with their mental health were at unjustified risk of having their children taken from them. However, from the very beginning of disability rights legislation in the 1990s, mental health conditions have been recognised as disabilities. Therefore, people with mental health conditions have gained the right to protection from discrimination and parents with mental health conditions have gained the entitlement to support from Adult Services in their parenting role. Therefore, the courts should never allow a Social Worker to remove a child from a parent simply because the parent has mental health difficulties. Instead, Children’s Services would need to provide the court with evidence to demonstrate one or more of the following scenarios;

  • The mental health difficulties of the parent are of such severity that the parent cannot safely look after their child, even with the supervision of family members and/or the support of professional agencies, and that the parent is likely to have these difficulties for the foreseeable future. For example, Katie is suffering from psychosis, holds the resulting belief that she needs to add bleach to her son Liam’s baby formula and does not appear to understand why giving Liam bleach is harmful to him. Children’s Services would need to prove to the court that there was nothing Katie’s husband Rob or any professional could reasonably do to prevent Katie from feeding Liam with bleach before the court would allow a Social Worker to take Liam into care.
  • The parent is not engaging with the mental health treatment or social support necessary to enable them to safely look after their children. For example, single mother Shenaz is very depressed and struggling to keep the house clean, get her daughters Amira and Aisha dressed and ready for school and doesn’t want to take anti-depressants or have counselling and refuses to accept help from her ex or her sisters. Children’s Services would need to prove to the court that they had done everything possible to encourage Shenaz to accept help before the court would allow a Social Worker to place Amira and Aisha with their father or aunt.
  • The mental health difficulties of the pregnant woman involve a lifestyle so chaotic, risky or unpredictable that it is reasonable to believe that the newborn baby would be exposed to an unacceptable level of risk. For example, Shannon is six months pregnant and constantly moving between squats comprised of people who grow and use cannabis, a substance which Shannon uses to self-medicate against the voices she hears. Children’s Services would need to prove to the court that Shannon would be highly likely to try and raise her as-yet-unborn child surrounded by drugs and drug users, and thus at extreme risk of cot death, abuse and neglect.

 

Mental health advocacy services are experienced at helping parents to articulate and to explain to professionals their difficulties, and are skilled at helping parents to locate and request the help they need. Therefore, if a parent with current or historic mental health difficulties is able to explain and understand their difficulties and to explain the support they need, they should not find themselves in danger of losing their children.

However, this advice can be problematic for people in the following situations

 I have a diagnosis of personality disorder. Can a social worker take my children away?

You may also be interested in this post about personality disorder. 

Personality disorder is a contentious and disputed diagnosis, and one which can be used in different ways or mean different things to different professionals. Most people with a diagnosis of personality disorder have had difficulties for a long time, and most find that mental health services have not been able to help them. Therefore, people with diagnoses of personality disorder can find it difficult to access or engage with the sort of help they need. Professionals – including doctors and social workers – can sometimes find people with a diagnosis of personality disorder confusing or intimidating, and difficult to help.

Many people with a diagnosis of personality disorder manage well as parents. However, some parents with diagnoses of personality disorder do need some help. Most people with a diagnosis of personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse or neglect, and some may therefore need guidance in understanding how to keep their own children safe and cared for. Many people with a diagnosis of personality disorder struggle to manage relationships and emotions, and some may therefore need support in responding to the behaviour of their children. Some people with a diagnosis of personality disorder cope with stress in self-destructive ways such as by self-harm, substance abuse, eating problems or sexual risk-taking, and these people may need help in ensuring that their children are not affected by their behaviour. It is this latter category – those parents who are harming themselves, and whose children are witnessing them harming themselves or whose unborn children are affected by them harming themselves – who are most likely to attract the concern of professionals.

However, before allowing a Social Worker to remove a child from a parent with a personality disorder, the court must ensure that everything possible has been done to help and support the parent. In the past, personality disorders were regarded as ‘untreatable’ and some people with diagnoses of personality disorder may still be told they are ‘untreatable’: however, this attitude is now recognised as discriminatory and does not remove from statutory services the legal obligation to try and help. There is help and support available for people with diagnoses of personality disorder: treatments such as mentalisation-based therapy (MBT), dialectic behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) and therapeutic communities have been demonstrated as reasonably effective. Therefore, unless a person with a diagnosis of personality disorder is refusing all help, their Social Worker must do everything possible to find them the support they need before considering whether to take their children away.

 

The medication I’ve been given means that I sleep so soundly I don’t wake up if the baby needs me in the night – and I’m a single parent. Can the Social Worker take my children away?

Excessive sleepiness is a well-known side-effect of much psychotrophic medication, particularly the older antipsychotics. When prescribing, psychiatrists should be willing to take lifestyle factors such as the possible need for waking quickly into account – for most people, there will be alternative forms of medication to try.

When a physically-disabled single parent needs support at night, Adult Services should provide and fund a carer or personal assistant. Parents who have a similar need due to medication should therefore have a similar entitlement. Therefore, the court would insist that Adult Services provide the help parent needs as an alternative to removing the children. In practice, however, single parents with both physical and mental health disabilities often have to work quite hard to access and secure funding for such levels of help. Advocacy services such as those run by Mind and Rethink can be very effective.

 

I know I need therapy to be a good enough parent, but my Social Worker says the waiting lists mean that I won’t even get an assessment for another six months and that even then I mightn’t get any help because I’m too unwell or live too far away. Can the Social Worker take my children away?

It can be very difficult for parents with mental health difficulties and personality disorder diagnoses to find and receive the support they need. Waiting lists often exceed the government’s 18 week target and parents can feel very frightened and isolated in the meantime, which may increase the level of risk of harm or neglect they pose to their children.  However, Children’s Services should never consider removing children simply because of the difficulties in accessing help for the parent. The courts should ensure that this will not happen. National mental health charities and local advocacy groups can also be useful in helping parents to find the help they need within a reasonable time-frame – such organisations can often be more aware of available resources than social workers or psychiatrists.

 

 I know I could manage with the children if I had daily visits from a support worker, weekly counselling and 24/7 access to the Crisis Team. My Social Worker agrees, but says that there’s not enough funding within the system available to give me that much help. Can they take my children simply because it’s cheaper than giving me the help I need?

This is a scenario which should never arise. However, given the current budget cuts within the public sector, all local authorities are under pressure to save money, if only in the short term. Ultimately, the courts make decisions based upon the best interests of the child rather than on the financial convenience of the professionals involved. It would therefore be very difficult for Children’s Services to persuade a court to allow Social Workers to remove children simply to avoid the expense of supporting a parent. Parents who are struggling to obtain the help they need often benefit from a good solicitor and the support of advocacy services.  See for example, the advocacy services run by Mind and Rethink which can be very effective. 

 

 I have problems other than with my mental health. Sometimes I fall over and wet myself due to seizures I have, but the Social Worker think it happens because I’m drunk even though the doctor I saw at A&E last year could tell it was a medical problem. Can the Social Worker take my children for being drunk, even though I don’t even drink?

People who have mental health problems often find that any unexplained physical symptoms will be attributed to their mental health or behaviour: this is known as ‘diagnostic overshadowing’, and is very common. Furthermore, Children’s Services and the NHS do not always share information as effectively as necessary, and records and letters can be inaccurate, worsening the problem. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) are generally very good at ensuring that doctors provide Social Workers with all the information they need. If Children’s Services were to make a court application on the basis of inaccurate information, the solicitor of the parent should successfully be able to highlight and challenge any errors.

 

 When I am most distressed, I can find it hard to talk to people or to explain what is wrong. I’ve tried to write things down, but I’m not very good at reading and writing and I don’t always understand what professionals say or write. This means that the Social Worker sometimes thinks that I’m not cooperating – can they take my children away?

Many people who have both mental health problems and difficulties with communication or literacy find that the anxiety, stress and confusion associated with their mental health can make it especially hard to explain to professionals what is wrong and to understand what they are being told to do. All professionals – and especially Social Workers – should be trained in working with and communicating with people with range of needs and difficulties. However, advocacy services can be helpful, especially when parents have additional learning difficulties.

 

The Social Worker told me that she ‘doesn’t believe in people with schizophrenia being allowed to be parents’. Can she take my children away?

As explained above, this opinion is discriminatory, and to act on it would be illegal. Social workers and other professionals may believe in many things and may hold a range of personal opinions. However, the law does not give professionals the authority to act on the basis of their individual views. Before a Social Worker is able to apply to the court for the removal of children, both the Social Worker and his/her manager will need to agree that the children should be removed, and the solicitor employed by the local authority will need to agree that there is a reasonable chance that the court will agree with them. No local authority solicitor would advise Children’s Services to initiate court action based simply upon such views expressed by one individual Social Worker.

 

 I’ve read some things online about Social Workers. I now realise that Children’s Services have hidden a camera in my daughter’s teddy, and I know that the way the Social Worker dyed her hair last week means that they’re going to take my daughter. Is this true?

Certainly, there are some frightening things written online. Many of these appear to have been written by people who suffer the unusual or scary thoughts often associated with diagnoses of paranoia, some personality disorders or psychosis. If a parent is frightened by their thoughts or beliefs, and if the parent is finding it hard to get these thoughts or beliefs out of their head, he or she may be experiencing a deterioration of their mental health. Parents with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or personality disorder sometimes hear persecuting voices that others cannot hear, and these voices can include those of authority figures such as Social Workers and psychiatrists.

Looking after children whilst experiencing such intense distress would be hard for any parent with or without mental health difficulties. The best thing a parent can do in this situation is therefore just to ask for help from a mental health professional or a trusted friend.

 

 I know that I need help in looking after my children and my partner does help – he’s a great dad and does everything for them. However, he beats me regularly and I’m scared to tell anyone because I know he’ll convince them that it’s just my mental health making me imagine the beatings…  even if I do leave, I know he’d get full custody of the children and ban me from seeing them because I know I couldn’t look after them on my own. If I ask for help, can a Social Worker take my children away?

This is probably one of the most difficult scenario for a parent with a mental health problem or personality disorder diagnosis. The Women’s Aid website provides some thoughtful and realistic advice here. Parents who find themselves in this very vulnerable position would do best to approach Children’s Services and mental health support via the support of an independent domestic violence advocate, who will help the Social Worker to understand what is happening and what will help. Some women’s refuges have intensive support available to mothers with specific mental health needs, and some refuges can allow women to stay for up to five years. However, the mother will need legal advice and representation to protect themselves from their abusive ex-partner, which is currently available free of charge to all domestic violence victims through legal aid.

You might also find it helpful to visit our section on domestic violence and abuse.

 

 I’m on my own with the children all week and I’m hearing voices telling me to kill myself and I’m having thoughts of doing frightening things. I want to phone 999 and ask for help – but will a Social Worker come and take the children away?

If the suicidal or severely distressed parent has no adult family members or friends around to help, it is possible that the children may be taken into temporary local authority care in order for the parent to receive the urgent help that s/he needs. Children’s Services should make a priority of initiating any longer-term support necessary to support the parent to care for children in the future. Therefore, the parent should never be afraid of asking for help in a crisis or emergency.

PLEASE if you are feeling suicidal and you haven’t got anyone else you want to talk to, call the Samaritans.

Call them now on 08457 90 90 90

205 thoughts on “Parents with Mental Health Issues

  1. Philip Measures

    This is an excellent page full of sound advice BUT in reality many parents will still be far from convinced that sharing their concerns with social workers is a safe thing to do.

    I very much endorse the use of Advocacy Services and seeking to utilise supportive services which Health Visitors will also be able to advise about. There may also be details of Parent and Child groups on the Notice Board of your local GP Surgery. Libraries will also often have details of what is available.

    I do intend to try to contribute something in more detail around social work and mental health especially as I have real fears that many, if not most, social workers have very little knowledge and experience of mental health matters. Their own anxieties can be as high as those of parents!

    By and large parents with mental illnesses present no greater threat to their children, and perhaps less, than in the general population as a whole as often they may even be over-protective.

    Mental illness is not a useful ‘global’ term to use because of the prejudices associated with it – we need to look at each situation separately and social workers need to be part of a larger supportive multi-disciplinary team which can provide a range of monitoring and support.

    Reply
    1. Kacey

      I still fear that my child could get taken away from me if i get a diagnosis. I hear voices and see people that arent actually there. I get confused with whats real and what isnt. I have extreme paranoia and really want to tell a professional but i do not want to lose my son. He is my world

      Reply
      1. Aishah

        Kacey I hear voices too and I have hallucinated in the past so I know exactly what you’re going through. It is really hard. Just remember that you’re the boss not the voices! You can defeat them. Keep fighting and keep strong girl.

        Reply
      2. Lorna

        I have two children and I recently (around seven months ago) was diagnosed with BPD I was suicidal, having thoughts of harming my kids I even text the nspcc and told them I wanted to kill my children! Which I absolutely do not now that I am thinking straight and feeling better, I was hearing voices, I was getting so angry that I was lashing out at my children, my partner almost lost his job because most days I could just about manage to drag myself out of bed but would spend the whole time he was at work crying, self harming, shouting and even screaming at nothing sometimes just because I did not understand what was going on in my head I was just a mess I couldn’t function I couldn’t even cope with noise if the kids were noisy I would completely freak out. I was admitted to A+E after taking an over dose twice in a week the second visit it was the police who took me in and sat with me the whole time they insisted that I saw a mental health worker even though the nurses were asking them to arrest me instead because they didn’t want to deal with me the police men pushed and pushed and sat with me for six hours in the middle of the night they even stayed and supported me when the mental health worker finally showed up I told them everything once I started I couldn’t stop everything came pouring out anyway long story short I had a lot of appointments with nurses, psychiatrists, doctors and social workers and it wasn’t easy I genuinely feared they would take my children but every body could see I was getting better and eventually social care closed my case because they had no concerns! There are so many bad stories about social care but honestly they do not want to take children away it is an absolute last resort the sooner you get help the sooner you can start feeling better and you can start being the mum you want to be. Every day you go through hell inside your own head in my eyes that makes you one of the strongest people in the world you can ask for help and you can work towards getting better! I still have bad periods but I feel like a completely different person to who I was seven/eight months ago I look back and it’s like I am looking at somebody else’s life not my own x

        Reply
        1. Gigsaw

          Thank you so much for your story it has encouraged me to get help…I love my children so much but feel I might be unfit. They are looked after in the traditional sense but I feel my mental health problems have taken over to the extent that I can’t engage with them properly therefore can’t provide the play/stimulation/communication that I know they need to grow into well-rounded adults. Feel like I’m falling to bits and failing my babies..I’m still scared of SS xx

          Reply
          1. Sam

            Samantha, who has diagnosed you? If you can give some more detail without revealing your personal details someone may be able to direct you to some help.

          2. Lauren Tate

            Hormones don’t help either when your pregnant I ended up with postnatal depression coz I was scared to love my child due to my pregnancy and my ex nit Bein there but when she came the love I had was unbreakable I was against everyone else not her. I still struggle 4 years later will issues have ups and down the sooner u seek help the better for u both. U will b a great mam even if u have boarder line personally disorder if u are aware now and doing something about it u have nothing to worry about. Good luck with your little one all the best xx

    2. Sara

      I,m sorry. I dont no who wrote this but this is an absolute lie. This is not the reality of social workers or the court system. They lie an abuse you when u have a mental health problem an they do use that as a reason to take your. child even when no abuse is present because of potential future harm. I was forced to give birth then not allowed to leave the hospital because my scoial worker said so. I didnt even no I had a sociL worker.until.I was in labout an all because on my record it shows im a risk due to.mental health. The system is sick and I dont think u should be encourgaing mothers to seek help. That was the biggest mistake I made asking for help an engaging with services. We are still treated like animals and our. Hildren stolen out in care

      Reply
  2. The woman who wrote this piece

    “I do intend to try to contribute something in more detail around social work and mental health especially as I have real fears that many, if not most, social workers have very little knowledge and experience of mental health matters. Their own anxieties can be as high as those of parents”

    I look forward to your contribution as I very much agree with you. It seems to me that a lot of what advocacy services do (deliberately or inadvertently) is around teaching service users not to scare professionals. If a parent is by virtue of their ‘mental health’ already frightened and confused, it can be very stressful for them to be handed the responsibility of reassuring and calming the social workers allegedly responsible for them.

    Reply
  3. Eeyore Incognito

    Philip it would be great if you would contribute something around this. I too share your concern around the depth of knowledge about mental ill health social workers are required to have.

    Reply
  4. phillimoresarah

    thank you for taking the time to comment. I am sorry to hear you had such a bad time of it.

    I think this is definitely a discussion we need to have – obviously dealing with mental health issues is not just something you can ‘pick up’ . I would be interested to know/find out what degree of general training social workers do have in this area.

    I think your comment also highlights the fear that mental health issues can generate. As ever, I think the key is better communication and sharing of information and I hope comments like yours will only help this process.

    But I still think you did the right thing in getting help, as the consequences if you hadn’t could have been much worse.

    Reply
    1. Eeyore Incognito

      I agree. However I this possibly does show must admit to thinking there was an element of good fortune in that Coping clearly had good proactive support from other professionals around her and her child, who were able to defend her case.

      My understanding (and I may well be wrong) is that children’s social workers are “expert” in assessing the effect of various parental behaviours, which may or may not be related to mental health issues, on a child. However they will likely lack the depth of knowledge to assess the cause, and potential treatment outcomes, on which they will rely on adult mental health services to inform. The difficulty comes when there are communication issues or the two do not agree on risk. I believe this can sometimes be further complicated by how closely the services work together and how well they are managed if under the same umbrella.

      Reply
      1. Matt Harding

        Unfortunately there plenty of people in society who knowingly or unknowingly attach a stigma to mental health issues that they would not do so for people with physical disabilities. In the last 20 years or so things have been changing for the better at least state side where they have been running campaigns on mental health awareness.

        Of course if you do suffer from mental health issues it is best to seek help.

        Reply
  5. Uncertainmum

    It’s difficult because in an ideal world all this will be true. But in reality things escalate quickly. While I haven’t had SW involvement, at one point I had a family support worker who came to my house to talk to me about weaning (something my MH was causing me to worry about). The woman who came decided that I needed to be taught how to sing to and play with my child. When I explained I knew how to do that, could she please talk about the weaning, she started making notes and covering them with her hand. I asked her what she was writing and she said “just making some notes”. She then hounded me to take my baby to a baby group even though my HV had apparently explained to her that my mh condition prevented this at the time. She asked me four times in the space of five minutes and tried to guilt me. I explained that I was working with a therapist on my mh issues to let me take her. She tutted and said “yes, but how long will that take?” and made more notes.

    Now I know this isn’t a social worker but this was someone who was supposed to behave professionally, who should be following guidelines etc, someone who should have respected the fact I was ill but instead made me feel bullied in my own home. It is unlikely that I would ever feel able to contact social services after experiencing this because I would be frightened that the same thing could happen. Who can guarantee that people follow the guidelines, rules and all the “shoulds”? No one. And how would the average person (never mind one with mh issues) speak up and be taken seriously?

    Reply
    1. Matt Harding

      I have never understood the tactic of infantilizing people. All you do is upset the person by demeaning and treating them with disrespect. How are they supposed to take advice from someone perhaps unintentionally antagonizing them? Treat people with respect and they tend to reciprocate.

      Reply
  6. Matt Harding

    The House of Lords select committee on the Mental Capacity Act has finished its report as can be seen at
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldselect/ldmentalcap/139/139.pdf . I include it as the CoP does sometimes intersect with the family courts on occasion. I find it incredibly disgusting how so many patients in health trust and care homes are treated with the excuse being ignorance of the law. A very brief overview of it can be found at http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/03/13/scrap-deprivation-liberty-safeguards-end-unlawful-detentions-people-care-urge-peers/#.UygwlfldV8E . How are vulnerable people supposed to have faith in the MCA if the MCA is ignored or poorly implemented. Hopefully strong reforms will follow this report as the first step in fixing a problem is the realization that they do in fact have a serious problem.

    Reply
  7. Jim

    Court ordered contraception for those who lack capacity or have fluctuating capacity. Such a safeguard would save countless patients from the terrible emotional and physical trauma of going through the court process. All they would need to do is use a contraception implant through very minor non-invasive surgical procedure for the more uncooperative patients. The CoP could issue the order to protect the patients from harm. If the health trust feels the patient may react poorly to the idea, they should keep it confidential from the patient. Every few years the health trust could have a court hearing to determine whether to continue treatment. On the day of the hearing a court appointed solicitor could represent the interest of the patient in order to help determine the best course of action.

    Reply
    1. Tracey sedgwick

      My niece had her 1st child put into care as soon as she was born due to mental illness. She was given an implant then allowed to have it removed and is now pregnant again. The whole family have to go through this all again just over a year later. I wish she didn’t have that choice to have the implant removed they are treating her like a breeding machine as I doubt she’ll be allowed to keep this baby either and was never and will never get offered any help and support to see if she could cope.

      Reply
  8. Lucy connors

    Hi I’m 26 and have two children. I have had a personality disorder for sometime now and it is getting to the point I don’t want to do anything. I am am anxious 24 7 and I have a really good relationship which I am slowly poisoning.
    I know I have problems and with councilers and social visits I know I can talk the talk and they seem to think I am perfectly fine.
    I know my head isn’t right

    If my partner was to leave he would want full access to the children yet I don’t want him to leave and my kids won’t leave me. I do nt want this to happen however I can see it coming. What do i do.

    Reply
  9. Becca dooly

    I’m 31+4 weeks pregnant. My social worker has recently been and told both me and my partner (the baby’s dad) that as soon as our daughter is born she would be taken straight off us the reason is because I suffer with depression but I am going back on medication soon! They have no proof that I would harm my baby and also I live with my partner witch he is with me 24/7 can they really do this when they have no proof of anything? I’m so scared that I am going to lose her.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      If they are going to issue care proceedings as soon as your baby is born then it is very important that you get in touch with a lawyer now and get some advice. You will be entitled to legal aid once the application is made. The court does have the power to order that a baby is taken away at birth but obviously this is a very, very serious order and can only be made if the court has evidence to show that your baby would be at risk of immediate serious harm. There may be other things that can be done to deal with whatever worries they have. Please do see a lawyer as soon as possible so you can get some help understanding what they are so worried about and what can be done to reassure them.

      Reply
    2. George

      The ss are absolute arseholes, they stick their noses in and do their up most to make you fall apart and then they can say see this is why we recommend that the baby is placed in foster..
      I was informed when I had an out patient appt by a ss that once my baby was born they(ss) were going to apply to the courts for a care proceedings of my baby as I have a history of depression & ODs. Even my obstricion didn’t know anything about them suddenly becoming involved. Never have they showed their faces, when I’ve been referred by other professionals! I had to fight with Everything I had to keep my baby, and I was so close to breaking so many times, but with the support of such an amazing health visitor (who I met at the 1st child protection case conference -7&1/2wks, before I was due.) She supported me, and helps me keep fighting, reminding me I had to find the strength to keep going for the sake of my little baby that was growing inside of me. 4days after I had my baby, I had to go to court-not medically fit and ss were saying a load of stuff from my past & all negective, nothing positive from recent yes! That was the worst days & happiest days of my life, 10hrs in court, to have the judge say my little baby could remain with me, 24hr supervison from named family, and extra support from my fab HV & children’s center support worker. For the next 26wks, I went thru hell, seeing my little baby grow up not knowing if I was going to be his mum in the end or not. They did(ss) everything they could to make me give up, and go back to my old coping ways..but I didn’t. At the final court hearing, 26wks after the 1st, i had the news that I had numbed myself of acknowledging..my baby could remain with me. We are under a yes supervision, which means I have more support from sw, HV and anything else that my HV can suggest or thinks will help..HV are definitely on the mums/dads side to keep u & ur baby together.. Hope ur HV is as good as mine. Keep strong, it is a result that will change your life forever keeping ur baby.x

      Reply
      1. Joanne May

        Yes I find the SS use your past against you and they openly lie with a smile on their face. My children were meant to be in respite so I could have a break and 4 years on they are on a care plan until they are 18. My son hates it there and has been making life difficult but now they are talking about splitting my children up. As far as I can see you do everything they ask of you, jump through all the hoops only for them to change the game. I don’t trust them, I will never trust them and I will never forgive them for stealing my children.

        Reply
  10. C

    Beccy – Ask/research to find if their is any recommended depression medication that will still allow you to breastfeed. On most medication breast feeding is not recommended. But it is important for your babies health – and for bonding.

    Agree with Sarah. See a good lawyer soon – preferably one who does no work for the Local Authority – straight away, and don’t let Social Services or your solicitor push you into signing anything you don’t fully appreciate and agree to, e.g particularly an S. 20 agreement. Make them petition the court.

    Also, be very careful about agreeing to any psych. assessment recommended by Social Services. Check, or get your partner to check, their qualifications and independence. If they only work as an expert witness/assessor and have no current practice, I would advise you not to use them. You can suggest your own preference.

    Reply
    1. melissa tomkins

      I have skitzodefective disorder. And have bin in a private rehab 4 two years. I have a 6 year old daughter. My auntie had resdency order over my daughter. I am now fit and well and on medication. I am stable and well. I’m in a flat and coping fine going to college. Getting on with my life. My daughter loves seeing me. And I’m so happy when I see her. But I want her back. Is there any chance that I can! And how do you advise me to do that? Please I need some advise.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        If you can show that you can care for your daughter, then there should be serious consideration given to her returning to live with you. BUT it all depends on the circumstances of each case – how long has she been living with your aunt? What are the chances that your mental health might get worse in the future? What does your doctor think? if she is happy and settled with her aunt, it might not be in her best interests to move to live with you, particularly if that would mean a change of school.

        If your daughter is living with your aunt under a residence order, this is now called a Child Arrangements Order. This means it is a ‘private law’ order i.e. I assume social services aren’t involved? If they are not involved it is a matter for you and your aunt to reach an agreement about what happens, and if you can’t agree, you will need to apply to court. If social services are still involved they may want to have some input.

        it is not possible to advise you without seeing all the papers and knowing more about the facts. Have a look at the Legal Advice section on the links and resources tab, there might be some useful information for you there about where to get some more specific legal advice.

        Reply
        1. Kelli

          Hi Sara I have a quick question … iam a mommy of 4 beautiful children my world !!!! I would die without them !! My dad passed away about 3 years ago we were very close an I got hooked on pain pills then went to heroin .. I got clean went to meetings then got all depressed again an relapsed so I use heroin every now an again .. I do not use at my home or around my children .. I want help I want off the crap before it’s too late !!! I wanted to know if I talk to my dr or psychiatrist an tell them I have a drug addiction an I want something to help me get off of it would they help ? An would they tell cps an take my babies away ????? I’m so scared to get help an get clean becuz of the crap I hear about them taking your children away … I want the help I’m just scared please help !!!

          Reply
  11. jay

    My wife has got mental health,paranoia Anxiety,Borderline,Self Harm,Depression,Suicidal,anger. I have been doing every thing for her more than 10 years I mean careering. Her mental is not improving any little things coming to her then she get really angry and upset crying a lot then she will have break down must the time she been taking out of me she look me out a few time. when she asking me to do some thing like watching move,going out for a meal or any other things if I say no I am tied or not today we can do it another day then she will start shouting me saying you don’t love me you never spend time with me she will bash the door or breaking some things a lot more. I can see I am struggling most of the time don’t know what to do any more but I still love her and career about her.
    the main reason I wrote this comment because we have two children the younger child has been diagnosed with ADHD I have been through really hard time with my son in school and home also we have a lot of support for the family. recently we had big meeting about my son in the meeting every one thinks my sons behaviour is my wife’s fault because they said kids can see what’s going on with mum and they told my wife you are emotionally abusing the kids. two weeks later I had another meeting about my son my wife didn’t go because her mental health was really bad after the last meeting and she has been admitted to hospital in this meeting every one still they thinks it’s all my wife’s fault and also my wife’s CPN explained mum will never change with her mental health she will be up and down go to hospital back home and she said the kids most going to be like mum she mean it will affect the kids in the future after she told me how this will affect the kids it’s worrying me because I really don’t want to the kids go to through this hard life like my wife I just want the normal future life for the kids. I just don’t want see the kids be like mum ill.

    Please any one can tell me what to do ? Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am really sorry to hear that. It must be so hard for you all. You definitely need support as this is going to impact on your children. I don’t think it is helpful to say its anyone’s ‘fault’ – she can’t help being ill, it wasn’t her choice. I think she needs to focus on getting the help she needs and you need support. It is probably worth contacting some of the charities/organisations we have on the links and resources page – they will probably know more about what is available to you as a family.

      Hopefully the meeting you went to has set out some kind of plan about how to help you all? If it didn’t, you need to ask what support is available.

      Reply
  12. Jas

    My grandson lives with his PD mother and her partner. In a drunken state they are spreading malicious lies about my son (PD’s ex) while my grandson (age 7) is upstairs in bed, hopefully asleep. This PD woman started with small lies of domestic abuse 2 years ago nothing was substantiated. She believes the lies and continues to embellish them, she has now enlarged it into rape and buggery with my son watching, it is disgusting. Her partner is threatening to kill my son, he has also threatened to kill my grandson when he was disciplining him. I feel a Social worker should become involved but what can they do?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Their job is to investigate concerns about children’s welfare and to keep them safe. If what you say is true then this could be quite serious emotional abuse of your grandson and needs investigating. If they are frequently drunk whilst caring for him, then he is also at risk of physical harm. It would be important to know how your grandson is presenting at school and whether his teachers agree that he is being effected by what is happening at home.

      Reply
  13. Judi

    Jas How much are the mother and stepfather drinking? it is just what you are describing could be alcoholism. It is not just drinking but alcoholics can very often be verbally and physically abusive as well. If so the whole family can access help and your grandson will certainly need it. If it’s OK with Sarah there is post on my blog that may help you http://bit.ly/1CM0vAH

    Reply
  14. Tyler

    Hi. I’ve been looking around for some answers pertaining to my (our) situation and this is the closest I could find.

    My girlfriend had a c section for our baby boy 2 weeks ago, has dealt with mental issues during her entire pregnancy because she cold-turkeyed her meds she was on (which the regiment she was on did wonders and had babysat for her brother just fine) due to harming the baby. Shortly after was 302ed (forced admittance) into the hospital as they put her on different, and more harmful meds snd released her two weeks later. A few weeks prior to the c section her new doctors had found something that might help her get through until pregnancy was over. Then a few days prior to the c sectipn, she admitted herself in, for fear of losing or possibly harming the baby, as well as bettering herself to be a mom. Day 2 of her admitting herself she was doing tremendously better as the meds were getting into her system, then her family visiting her said some demeaning things to her and it set her back. C section went womderful, child was flown medievac for respiratory issues and just came home a few days ago.

    The day the put her back into the psychiatric unit, they switched her meds BACK to what we took her off of because it didn’t do anything for her, only made her worse. They’ve been putting her on so many different meds and taking her off in just a few day to a weeks time. Meds that don’t even work for her, and I along with social workers have expressed countless times she be put back on her pill regiment that really worked wonders for her, but to no avail. They do not listen or for that matter seem to care what anyone elses thoughts and opinions are.

    Now the reason I’m posting is because she’s still in there, hasn’t seen or held the baby yet, and that’s all she ever talks about, requests to do. Is see the baby. We have an okay from the pediatrician and physician that she can see him…but the psychiatric unit keeps telling us “she isn’t ready, you can’t bring him in to see her”. CYS was already contacted and spoke with me and said even dealing with psychological problems, there’s no way to know or be able to say/deem her an unfit mother.

    Can the psychiatrics and doctors legally prevent us, I to bring the child to see her? Because without her seeing him, she won’t get better.

    There is no court order and CYS has rendered us fit parents. I’m just so baffled and upset that they won’t let a first time mom see her newborn son, at all.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am guessing you are in the USA? I have never heard of someone being ‘302ed’ and I don’t know what CYS is. All I can say is – if she is very unwell then it may be that the treating doctors are able to enforce treatment on her that she doesn’t want; this is the situation in the UK under the Mental Health Act. Therefore there can be separate regimes between what a family court would order and what a hospital or doctors are legally entitled to do for a patient who is very seriously mentally ill, to the extent that they might harm themselves or others. All I can say is that if you are not happy with what is going on, and no one can explain to you what is happening you need to seek urgent legal advice from someone who knows the law where you live.

      Is there no doctor who will sit down and talk to you about what the diagnosis/prognosis is? It seems very unfair that you don’t understand what is happening, on top of everything else and worry about the baby.

      Reply
  15. Tyler

    I do live in the US. CYS is children and youth services, which are the ones who decide if the baby has to/should be taken away.

    She was doing very badly off, but has been progressing as of late. Yesterday was a vast improvement and she’s returning back to normal (as in smiling, laughing, talking, being positive and being affectionate). She’s a very happy woman all around and wouldn’t so much as harm an ant, let alone herself or anyone else, when she’s on the right meds.

    They just care very poorly for her, try to coearse her into signing documents when she was clearly not in the right state of mind, which I made sure she didn’t and the only thing they do for her is feed her pills, that haven’t been working. She’s getting better as much as possible on her own to try and get out onto the right meds so she can live a normal life and be a mom and not fail at it.

    Now they’re recommending and trying to force her into a 90 day mental treatment program that is residential that she would live at AS SHE’S GETTING BETTER.

    I don’t know what more I can do, because they’ve overruled my say, her families say, her outside out hospital doctors say and even social workers say. They are in control of her in everyway.

    All I want and all she wants is for her to see our baby. But they won’t allow it. She even stated to me she hasn’t bonded or held the baby and she already feels she failed as a mom and because of that didn’t want to get better because all she’s ever wanted was to be a mom. And they don’t listen to her, her needs or requests.

    I may take legal actions, as I am already not allowing her I or the baby ever to go back to that hospital ever again once she’s released.

    Just don’t understand or get how they can be the ones to say she can’t see her own child.

    Reply
  16. Sarah Phillimore

    I am glad to hear there is some better progress.

    The major problem here is contained in your last sentence – is there really no one who is willing to sit with you and explain what is going on and why the doctors think that she can’t see her own baby? Does the hospital have any patient liaison service? There may be very good reasons behind this decision, but you need to be able to understand what is going on.

    Reply
  17. Tyler

    I did finally get to the bottom of it. No exact reasoning why they weren’t allowing her to see our son other than they wanted to see more progress in her. So i made some more phone calls, this time amongst the higher ups in the hospital system and they finally worked it out that i can take him in to see her on scheduled short visits.

    The higher ups weren’t aware of the situation going on and how the nurses were handling it or not handling it for a lack of a better word.

    I appreciate your time and concern. Take care. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Sarah Phillimore

    Good news. Just a shame it didn’t happen sooner. Rather illustrates my fear that the majority of problems in most areas of life are down to poor communication.

    Reply
  19. a farther

    Hi I’m currently in the middle of a relationship break down my partner is saying suicidal things and refusing help we live in small town and don’t have many friends here as she wont allow people to the house an none of us gp out ….anyway I’m afraid she is gonna kick me out an she will not let me take our 5yr old and I do not feel safe leaving our child with her as she hasn’t played much of a parent role at any time I need advice asap I really don’t want my child left in her care

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I think if you are worried that she might hurt your child, you should take immediate action. You can ask for help from your local children’s services, but they will probably just tell you to leave with your child and make an application to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. Has she had any involvement with mental health services? Is there anyone there you could call?

      You could also apply for an order that she has to leave the house and you stay there with your child but you are going to need proper legal advice about all your options. Can you go and see a local solicitor to see if you qualify for legal aid? Or could afford to pay for a short session of advice?

      Reply
  20. A father

    My ex of 4 months has 3 daughters by me and a stepson I’ve raised since he was 2. She’s has a history of severe depression and is depressed now, because I haven’t lived with the children but have seen them every week of their life if I went to the courts to gain custody will it not go in my favour due to the lack of living with them and if she sm does go to the gp and get antidepressants will social services automically take the children into care or can she keep the kids and be on that medication? The last thing I would want is the kids to be put into care but she does need the help and doesn’t want it from me, …….

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Children can only be taken into care if they have suffered significant harm or at risk of suffering significant harm – being depressed doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t be a good parent, but it might make it more difficult. You need to accept that you need help, and get that help.

      If you are worried about the children and think that she isn’t looking after them, then you do need to tell someone. Maybe they could live with you for a bit while she gets the help she needs?

      If you wanted to apply to court for custody – which is now called a Child Arrangements Order – this is pretty difficult as you won’t get any legal aid now and you may have to try mediation first.

      Are there any friends or family members who can talk to her? Find out how bad it is before you get a social worker involved?

      Reply
  21. Lorna

    Can anyone help me.
    My depression had progressively gotten worse over a 3 month period, I have three children age 5 and 2 year old twins. I was telling family members I was struggling to keep up as I am a single parent, but although they do care, I think people tend to get too bogged down with their own life and think things will pick up. Things all came to a head when during a particular bad epispode I was having, I panicked when running late for picking my oldest son up from school and stupidly somehow convinced myself it would be ok to leave the twins for 30 mins while I shot out to collect my oldest who has Autism and would be scared if I am not there on time.
    upon our return home the police was at my house waiting for me as a neighbour had seen me leave alone and knew the twins was home alone. The police had entered my house and as I had been struggling my house wasn’t in great condition. I was arrested and charged with 3 counts of child neglect to which I pleaded guilty. In court the prosecution said they could tell things had gotten bad short term and was pretty fair by saying there was evidence that my home wasn’t always in that state. I was given 2 years probation and I was extremely lucky to get that. They understood it was down to a mental health issue as leaving any of my children unattended under normal circumstances wouldn’t be something I would ever do.
    I am now on medication and although had some side effects, things seem to be ballanced out. I am so much calmer and less stressed, have less anxiety issues and with the help of onging counselling and attending a group called womens turnaround to help with my confidence and self esteem, I feel much more in control and organised.
    My eldest son went to live with his dad, luckily we get on well and his partner also and they have been very supportive. The twins was taken into foster care and after some period of time and a little fighting for it to happen, they are now living with my mum.
    I needed the help desperately. I wish it happened in another way but I am doing my best to make things good again. I have just completed a course called Triple P which I found massively helpful in opening my eyes to how I was with my kids. I have been putting new techniques into place that I have learned so I can manage misbehaviour better.
    Ok so the help I need is, I want my kids home now. I have always said I won’t push things till I am ready because I know for FACT if I do things too soon before I am ready, I will end up back where I was and could end up losing my kids forever! I will NOT let that happen again. It is now 6 months on from what happened. I have put in place many things for my children to help support me long term. I will continue to keep on top of my health and medication, I am welcoming any help in counselling as I get so much out of it (I done CBT Counselling about 7 years ago which helped massively also)
    I am still working with probation who are pleased I am more then grateful for anything that will help me in the long run. I have done everything Social Services have asked of me, including doing theraplay with my children with a lady I find quite patronising I must say! I don’t feel we needed the theraplay as a family but I’m more then willing to go along with it because I have heard lots of good things about it and I welcome every help possible. I just don’t understand what more I can do that I haven’t done, doing or happy to try to gain the confidence from Social Services in me that my kids can come home on at least a hours visit a week! I keep getting told “These things take time. We need to be doing baby steps” Thing is, I am not thick! I have never taken drugs, I don’t drink, I’m not some teenage kid, I’m in my late 30’s. I have a mental illness that I am now medicated for and being treated and helped with counselling. I haven’t even sat still at home during this time, I have given my house a complete clean and redecoration so any memories of bad days can stay in the past and everything be new and fresh for my kids. I am now keeping myself busy doing my garden up for them. I’ve made from scratch my daughter a dolls house and the boys a superhero cave. I have been throwing myself in keeping my hands and mind active so come bed time I actually sleep!
    Social Services are always saying how well things are going, saying how far I have come. My eldest keeps asking me when can he come home, he is asking his dad the same. His dad has been asking for our son to be able to have more sleep overs at my mums house with me and his siblings (we only have one so far and 3 other 3 hourly visits in the week) but we have been told no after previously being told future visits and sleep overs can be arranged between me and his dad as long as we keep Social Services informed of details. We don’t understand why they’ve now gone back on this without explaination. How can that be allowed? To tell a family this then suddenly take it away when it’s already been past on to the child what was going to happen. Having to tell our son it was no longer allowed was distressing for him. Also a set back for me in my depression. I often feel like it doesn’t matter what I do to turn things around, Social Services will always put a stop to them coming home back to me. Lucky I have help right now that help to give me focus and strength to keep going. It was actually suggested to me that my depression now is being fuelled by Social Services holding back while I am trying to move things forward.
    The kids are all over me when I see them, the bonds have never been broken or lost. Things could have been so much worse and I can’t thank my neighbour enough for stepping in when my cries for help wasn’t being listened to.
    can someone tell me what more can I do to get my kids home now support is in place, or tell me for what reason this isn’t being allowed yet?
    I did wonder if it was because I am still on probation but I have asked them and they said their only involvement is making sure I am working with them and giving feed back to Social Services how things are going and attending Family Action meetings if they can make it. They said they have no involvement in saying if I can or can’t have my kids back.
    Any advice gratefully received as I am at a loss what else I can do. Friends keep saying I was punished for having a mental illness and it shouldn’t be allowed but personally I feel so sick to my stomach that I left the twins alone let alone in the state my house was at the time, that I think I deserved what happened. I just want now someone to take notice that I’m not that person now and much more in control to be the mum my kids need.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      sorry to hear this. I can appreciate its frustrating for you but I can also understand why they might want to move more slowly than you would like.

      My suggestion would be to get the SW to give you a clear written plan of what needs to happen and a timetable for when the children can come back to you. If they can’t or won’t draw up that kind of timetable then I think all you can do is apply to discharge whatever orders are currently in force; I assume either care or child arrangements orders. This will at least focus everyone’s minds.

      Reply
  22. Sam

    Sorry If I have posted twice but it didn’t seem to want to go through. My original query was Lorna has not mentioned a court or a solicitor is this a case of an over long section 20?

    Reply
    1. Lorna

      Sorry for my late reply. Yes I signed a section 20 when my twins was taken into Foster care. I was told by the SW that the section 20 disolved once they went to live with my mum (maternal gandmother) because essentially (with supervision from my mum) able to be with my children on a daily basis. I sleep over my mums half the week so I can still be involved with bedtime/morning and school runs.
      Solicitors and court was only involved with my crime of neglect. When I was given probation the magistrates only said I had to comply with Social Services. I have done everything SS have asked and more off my own bat because I don’t want my mental health in that state again where I put my children at risk.
      I have the support now I never had before. The twins are in nursery now giving me the time I would need to keep on top of our home. Everything is different to how it was then. My eldest sons dad is extremely supportive now and infact pretty angry himself with SS for causing more upset with our son then they have helped.
      Yes they was right to act as they did back then. But from 1st April when the twins awas handed over to my mum, as a whole family, ex partner included, we feel we have been lied to, misled in some areas and most of all we’re not being listen to.
      I’m not asking for them to have no involvement, I’m asking for the chance to get my children home and into a more permanent routine for the long term future so they can feel settled while Social Services are still involved with their support. As it is my eldest is crying himself to sleep of a night telling his dad he wants to go home, the twins crying their hearts out after every visit from their older brother because they don’t want him to leave. They need to be together now and all be able to work as a family. I have been the one holding back on extra visits before because I felt it was too soon. I feel I am more then ready for them to come home now or at least have visits home so the can have the comfort of familiar suroundings toys, pet cat for example.
      I’m sorry I know I go on but I’m passionate about making things work and being a family again.

      Reply
  23. Sarah Phillimore

    Sorry, I wrongly assumed orders were in place. If there are no orders then you simply say you want to take your children home now and give a short period of notice.

    The danger with this strategy is that it may panic the LA to apply for a care order BUT at least then you would be subject to a proper and focused timetable.

    You really do need to get proper advice from a lawyer who can sit down with you and read the relevant papers.

    But as a general point, drift is never helpful – you need a proper plan of action as to way forward and if they won’t give you one, you have to impose your own or ask the court to agree one.

    Reply
  24. Sam

    This is what makes me so angry Social Workers using powers they haven’t actually got. I have seen it time and again now . It’s about time section 20 / letters of expectations were abolished. Some , not all social workers exploit people at the most vulnerable time of their lives without the parent accessing legal advice. GRRR. Lorna please take Sarah’s advice , go and see a solicitor, actually write down what has happened to give to them and if they don’t listen go to another one.

    Reply
  25. Angelo Granda

    Sarah, If you don’t mind, do you sometimes represent Local Authorities in care proceedings?

    I ask that question for one reason only (in respect of this particular thread).If you do,then you are better able to comment on an issue I believe important.

    I allege ( or to use the words often used by sw’s, I have concerns) that Local Authorities are interested in these mental health issues for one reason only.
    They aren’t interested in solving a sick Mum’s mental issues! They want to be able to ask a court to order a fresh ‘ independent’ psychological report into the equation.

    By the use of pointed questions in ‘letters of instruction’, they force psychologists to make not only vague diagnoses but also rough estimates of the time required for ‘therapy’.
    I have concerned this is a deliberate, legal device to convince a Court that therapy cannot be completed in time scales relevant for the child/ children.
    That they appear to make little if any effort to support Mum’s backs me up to an extent.

    Ideally, they should be supporting families.

    Reply
  26. Fiona Scott

    Please help me I am a single mother who suffered mental health issues due to developmental disorders I was diagnosed in April 2015 with asbergers after a life time of struggle and have suffered two of my chores taken by the courts by their fathers for no other reason than I couldn’t cope with the fight emotionally physically or mentally and have been traumatised and targeted ever since I have a 2 year old son who is Ailey in my care and has no contact with his father and after a sever breakdown in January 2015 social services became involved first a child in need plan was in place which I complied with to the best of my ability due to my health conditions then a child protection plan which again I complied with until a few days ago the social worker told me they have sought legal advice because I have mental health issues and are going forward with a care plan they have no evidence of harm or proof of risk to my son just my illness and they flare up only when social services attend and pursue me I am desperate if I don’t leave the UK now they will take my son I can’t win they see me as unfit and don’t have a shrewd of understanding or empathy for my disability and health or the fact I have doctors stating I suffer extreme phycological trauma due to involvement with solicitors courts anything Megan and especially social services.
    Please contact me time is running out I have no money nowhere to go and no support any my son is my universe I live for him I can’t bare the thought of losing him and his life being destroyed they are harming me significantly day by day and I need help now.

    [redacted to remove email address]

    If anyone can find it in their heart to help and my precious son me from this this nightmare I beg you please consider this I will do anything to protect him

    Sent from my iPhone

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Fiona, I have removed your email address as I don’t think it is good idea for you to publicise it on the internet.

      What is your lawyer doing to help you? Do you have a lawyer? If there are care proceedings, you are entitled to a solicitor on legal aid. Please go and see someone who can advise you. Trying to leave the country when you are not well is a recipe for disaster. You need help and support from the right sources; you need to engage with your mental health team and see your solicitor.

      Reply
    2. *

      honey, i have been through the whole thing and i know it is hell on earth.
      i am hoping that sarah as administrator can pass you my email address, and in turn if you email me your phone number i will call you.
      having someone who listens is important in and of itself.
      please take care. x

      Reply
    3. Joanne

      Hi, I have experienced the same thing recently, I went to court all the ‘evidence’ was fabricated. Basically because I took care of my mental health and took responsibility I lost my baby as I would require ‘an intense input from services’ . I am now wishing I went abroad if you have the funds to do so then do it. I am absolutely distraught I’m hardly allowed to her now everyday is a struggle I don’t know how she is , what she weighs ect it’s heartbreaking. My health visitor put in a glowing report saying there no concerns but they didn’t care.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore

        If ‘all’ the evidence against you was ‘fabricated’ then what on earth was your lawyer doing by not challenging this?

        Reply
  27. Tracey sedgwick

    My niece has already had a child removed from her and placed into care just a few hours after birth with an order from high court obtained by social workers due to her mental illness. She was never offered any help or support to see if she could manage with help. Cannot get legal aid so that was that, nothing she can do about it. Now pregnant again with second child I believe plans to have this baby put into care also will happen don’t know what to do. Feel like got nowhere to turn. No help or support. All seems one sided because of her condition. Please help don’t think she could cope with losing another baby and family are so stressed.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am sorry to hear that, I can appreciate the stress must be immense and sadly support is either patchy or just not there. If you have a look at the links and resources section on this site there may be some organisation that can help you, with either practical support or communicating with the LA. Sometimes children’s social workers are not that great at dealing with adult mental health issues.

      Reply
    2. *

      Why did she not get legal aid? It is non-means, non-merit tested for parents in her situation.
      If they are planning to remove at birth again, then this should be being co-ordinated with midwifery and your niece should be fully aware. Unless there are very exceptional circumstances where the high court agrees that it would endanger the infant simply for the mother to know they are planning to remove. In normal removals at birth, there should still be at least a “letter before proceedings” during her pregnancy, which is the point at which she is entitled to legal aid.

      NICE guidelines state that mothers with mental health problems who require hospitalisation within the first year of birth should be placed together in an NHS mother and baby unit to recover. Her treating psychiatrist should be able to refer her prior to the birth.

      If her mental health is currently stable (ie, not worsened through being unable to take medication during pregnancy) then i would say your best bet is to ask that she be placed here:- http://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/coombe-wood/ it is an NHS run perinatal unit, but they have the special advantage that they will undertake full court parenting/risk/psycological etc. assesments. You would be best placed to have a solicitor help you to get social services to agree to this pre-birth.

      If all else fails (and knowing social services have a nasty habit of making “emergency”, ex-parte, out of hours EPO’s at 7pm on a friday eveing to remove a newborn) here is the out of hours number for the high court:- 020 79476260

      Give your niece a hug, she is going to need lots of them.

      take care. x

      Reply
  28. Stella morgan

    Je tiens à dire merci à Oboh Edoku aiment temple pour tout jusqu’ici. Pour tous ceux qui ne croient pas en sort, je suis un de ceux au premier.
    [in so far as my rusty French is holding up this seems to be a plug for some kind of charlatan who will pray for you to get what you want if you give him – surprise, surprise – lots of money, so I am deleting it. ]

    Reply
  29. amanda

    I see my doc tomorrow and it worries me. I have anxiety. Panic attacks. I basically am an extremely quiet (non talkative) person and continually twerl my fingers or pull my hair and constantly am saying the abc’s or counting in my head. If someone talks to me, i can begin to stutter a bit. I get hot/cold flashes, feel faint or feel sick to my stomach in public. I cant make.phone calls, answer my phone..or my door. I cant go to other peoples houses or eat in front of people. I tend to ‘zone out’ and find it hard to consentrate. It is just social anxiety and OCD.. and i found this page in a search on google on whether i should be worried that this might make my doctor feel i am unfit to be the single mother i am. (And i am a full time 24/7 mom. I dont go out. I dont drink or do any illegal drugs). I am 100% devoted to my daughter. I also worry a lot about nothijg in particular. Am.i just worried now for no reason or should i be worried?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Please try not to worry – easy for me to say I know. But your child can only be removed from your care if there are really serious issues about your parenting that might cause your child significant harm. As you have insight into your illness and are trying to get help, the focus must be on helping and supporting you. I do hope your GP is sympathetic. Just be as open and honest as you can, don’t be afraid of asking for help. Have a look at the resources for Mental/Physical health on this site, there may be some organisations/people there who can give you some help.

      Reply
  30. amanda

    I should also mention that i am 33years old and attempted to see my doctoe 12 years ago who, at that time, rolled his eyes at me when he asked if i had trouble eating in front of.people. he never did anything to help. No contact, meds or councellors. Nothing. I have the same doctoe whom is the one i will be visiting again tomorrow

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      If your GP is neither sympathetic or helpful I would try to get one that is. The last thing you need is someone rolling their eyes at you. Really unkind and unprofessional behaviour.

      Reply
  31. anne

    How do you get help for someone with mental illness if they won’t admit to having a problem? My spouse goes from ranting for hours on ends, with racing thoughts, all over the place,to being in bed the next day for 14 hours. This is the cycle, with only 2 days last month where he was somewhat normal. The problem is it is my word against his, and when someone stops by to visit, he acts like he is o.k. and puts on a really good show!

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Its really tricky. If he won’t take responsibility for getting the help he needs, it is very difficult to see how anyone else can get it for him. You can’t make him. The only person whose decisions you are responsible for are your own. I would suggest that you tell him just how difficult you are finding this and that he really must get help. If he refuses, then you have to consider what your options are. You either continue to accept the situation and/or keep on persuading him to seek help – or you leave him. I don’t see what other options there are. But I am not a mental health specialist or marriage guidance counsellor!

      Maybe some of the mental health charities/organisations could suggest something else, or at least put you in touch with others in your situation so you can talk it through?

      Reply
  32. angelo granda

    Anne, you are in a very difficult situation which is going to get worse.I am not a specialist or counsellor either but I do have practical experience of the behaviour you describe.
    It sounds a little like manic depression.Does he shift furniture about at all?
    Next time an episode starts, go to the GP and leave a message that your husband is DANGEROUSLY ill and demand an emergency visit by the Doctor.Leave the front door on the latch and put a note on the door asking the doctor to walk in QUIETLY without knocking.
    This will make it harder for your husband to disguise his true condition.
    It was years ago when I did this for a relation of mine.The doctor arranged the very next day for admission to the local mental hospital.
    Unfortunately,provisions for mental illness are not always available nowadays but if the GP sees him whilst at his worst, he might at least give him a course of drugs.
    Is he already on drugs?If so,does he take his medication.If he does,it may need changing.
    Do not leave him,stick by him through thick and thin and in three months,he could be cured as happened with my relative.

    Reply
  33. angelo granda

    The message you leave for the Doctor at his surgery should be a brief written note in an envelope.Give it to the receptionist and demand that she gives it to the Doctor as soon as.
    The receptionist will not be able to refuse your request and the GP will find it difficult to ignore a patient reported to be dangerously ill. He will probably have to call straight after surgery.

    Reply
  34. adele barnikel

    Hi am hoping u can help to tell me my 17 year old daughter and 3 of her friend two 18 years old and one 19 year who all have learning differ and my daughter never been way with her friend they all want to go and stay in black pool and go to the fair on there own for 3 days with out there mum or dad or a adult would she be allowed by lawer to go with her friend and stay

    Reply
    1. angelo granda

      I think all of them are old enough to do as they wish by law.Unless there is some sort of order or injunction saying you must supervise her at all times I think you could let her go and it could be a good thing for them to learn to be independent etc.
      From your point of view,also it will depend how much trust you have in her to protect herself from danger.Personally I would not let my daughter out of my site alone ;she is almost 17.It would depend if I thought the others were capable of watching over her.Is there a non-special needs friend or relative of their own age who could go with them.
      To be honest,I would think twice about letting even a normal daughter of mine go to Blackpool for three days unchaperoned especially to the fairground. I’ve worked there and it is a dangerous place for vulnerable girls.

      Reply
  35. Freya Watson

    Hello,

    I really hope you don’t mind me commenting on here. I am making a documentary for channel 4 that highlights the issues that you are discussing. We are making a film about parents that are trying to break the stigma that having a mental illness or a disability makes you a bad parents – parents that are trying to prove that with a bit of time, support and space that they can be amazing parents.

    I would really love to speak to some of you about your experiences. If you could contact me at freya@markthreemedia.com that would be great. Everything will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

    Many thanks,

    Freya

    Reply
  36. Nic

    Looking for advice …

    My daughter is on child protection plan has been now for 6 months and my last meeting with social work and health profession they said the reccomendTion for my child’s name to be removed from it, but she called me today and asked me about an incident that happens where I got a black eye and was drinking where i shouldn’t have been … Now I am scared incase the police at the cp meeting tomorrow say I was drinking in this place all day when wasn’t the attack happened outside the house and mydaughter be taking away from me I need some advice pls

    I also asked the social worker for the police report number or name and she says there wasn’t one to see the police tomorrow to see if they have it

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      My advice is always to be honest and upfront. What do you mean by ‘drinking where I shouldn’t have been’ ? It sounds as though they have some serious worries, if you have ended up being assaulted after drinking. BUT that doesn’t mean you automatically lose your child. You need to know what exactly is being said about you, so if it is wrong you can challenge it. But if it is right then you need to be upfront and acknowledge what has gone wrong.

      Reply
  37. Louisa

    Hi
    I’m 33 and been diagnosed with BPD. I have 2 children 9 an6. Ss has placed my kids with family members. I had aa bad episode in march and the kids have been away since. So far I have followed the plan set out by case conference. I had a hair strand test. An independent psych report done which was advice that I was to seek urgent help to overcome by problems, I have been seen by the NHS and will b offered an appointment but I’m on a waiting list….. In the meantime in am abstinence from alcohol and cannabis. And completely renovated the family home. I see my children in supervised contact. I so desperately want them home but now the ss has said they r starting court proceedings for an interim care order. I have a solicitor who isn’t much help and tells me I should be realistic and face up to the fact that my kids won’t be home anytime soon. I don’t have many people I can go for support and my to says there’s nothing they can do. You are my last hope.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am really sorry to hear that. I am also sorry but I can’t help you via this site; it would be irresponsible and wrong of me to try and advise on individual cases when I am not instructed and don’t know the facts. You need to urgently see your solicitor and understand why he/she is giving the advice that he/she is. What is the real problem here? Is it that you can’t access the therapy you need quickly? If that is the issue your solicitor could try pressing the LA to help with paying privately. I appreciate that this is unlikely to be something they agree to (and they can’t be forced to pay) but it might be worth pressing that point.

      Reply
  38. angelo granda

    Loisa,You appear to accept the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.One question: Has the social worker given you a list of free advocacy services available to you and informed you of your right to have one attend child-protection meetings and so on to support you and intervene on your behalf?
    You have an illness and you are vulnerable,so if you don’t have one of these free advocates,i suggest you get one. Try asking your GP surgery for the contact details of a group which works with victims of BPD! Quickly.

    When the case goes to court ,you must heed your solicitors advice. However,please také this advice also which comes to you from an ordinary parent with the best intentions.
    When you have got an advocate,ask him or her to assist you at appointments with your solicitor or to telephone the solicitor to discuss your wishes beforehand.
    In my humble opinion as an ordinary parent,your solicitor is right to say that you should be realistic.I have no doubt she ( as a member of the Children’s Legal Panel) has already discussed the evidence,past precedent etc.with her L.A.colleagues and concluded the children won’t be coming home soon and that the LA will get their care-order.
    I think she might have been more helpful indeed she may well have been but you perhaps do not understand the legal complexities fully.

    You should understand that your evidence-in-chief will be in the statement you make to court and you have to discuss it fully with your free advocate and barrister when you get one.It is your responsibility to prove your claims in court.

    Before making any order which will remove the children from your care,the court will have to consider all alternatives to removal and give reasons for their rejection.Has the social worker examined the alternatives WITH YOU and allowed you to express your wishes?

    As an outsider,i think you should ask the court to make the BPD specialist a party to proceedings to give an opinion.Also i would suggest you ask your advocate to force a family conference.These processes are within the ‘Working Together’ frameworks but not always utilised by the Authorities.

    One alternative to removal which immediately comes to me is that your family can agree to let you live with the children together with them until you are better! They can support you.

    Louise,please remember i am not a solicitor just an ordinary parent responding to your plea for help.I don’t know if i should really be giving advice on this forum.If not, i hope the moderators will delete it.

    SEEK HELP FROM A BPD ORGANISATION AND REQUEST A FREE ADVOCATE.

    Reply
  39. ian josephs

    Professor Jane Ireland in a Survey commissioned by the government described the expert witnesses who give evidence in the family courts as hired guns testifying for social services and relying on reports from social workers.She found that around 20% were unqualified and about 70% who made their living exclusively testifying in the courts and with no other patients !
    To make matters worse family court judges tell parents they may NOT ask for a second opinion without permission of the court.A flagrant breach of the Article 6 right to call witnesses, lawbreaking from our own judges who cherrypick the witnesses they allow choosing mostly those who will testify against parents and for social services . !
    Why should parents have to ask permission before obtaining a second opinion?There is no law forbidding second opinions especially from someone independent who will rely on what they see and hear from the patient without the baneful influence of reports from biased social workers anxious to win their cases.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Then you will no doubt be very pleased that the Children and Families Act 2014 has made it very, very difficult to now secure the services of any expert as the test for their instruction has been upgraded to ‘necessary’ and judges have made it very clear that they will be reluctant to order such reports.

      Parents have to get the court’s permission to bring in evidence because these are courts of law, not anarchic free for all Jeremey Kyle style fisticuffs. A judge must control what evidence is allowed into court and what evidence is to be tested. If you think that certain evidence is relevant, make that application. If the application is refused, appeal. But whatever you do, don’t rely on the ‘advice’ of such as Ian Josephs – unless of course you prefer solving your problems in the Jeremey Kyle bear baiting arena.

      Reply
      1. angelo granda

        Unfortunately family court proceedings become anarchic free-for-alls when court orders and procedures are ignored by the authorities (including lawyers).
        As the subject of (independent)expert reports has been raised and an allegation has been made following Professor Jane Ireland’s survey that these reports rely mostly on reports social workers who we all agree do not make them with impartiality,I would like to give my opinion here.
        Often sw’s file their reports later than the court deadline.Because of that parents are unable to file their response on time,obviously.
        For that reason it is essential to justice that barristers carefully check the list these experts provide as a footnote to their reports.
        They may find that sw reports are seen by the experts but not the statements of respondents.
        When parents point out to lawyers that the CS have filed late,they are told “Don’t worry about it,it will make no difference;they often file late.”
        For the same reason,it can happen that a parent’s final statement is filed so late that the CS,experts and Guardian don’t see them until long after coming to their own conclusions.
        When ANY ORDER or any protective safeguard is not followed scrupulously,there is always a consequence.
        Overall justice is effected but i don’t think lawyers understand exactly how and why?
        They should tighten up on procedures or send cases to a higher court which will!

        Reply
  40. Summer Prater

    ADA has been abused by child protective services. They took my daughter over 2 years ago and I am still trying to get her back. I have not ever been charged with neglect. I do have mental disabilities, but that has never stopped me from taking care of my 2 children until I moved to Owensboro, KY. I am begging someone, anyone to help me. Or an attorney to take my case. I have no money and my heart has been torn in two. I have not even seen my daughter for a year. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME. GOD HELP ME. I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am very sorry Summer but judging from what you have written you are in the United States? I only deal with the law in England and Wales so I can’t help. I hope you can find someone who knows US law.

      Reply
  41. Summer Prater

    Thank you for your time of reading and responding to my help request. Please spread the word and hopefully someone out there will be able to help me and my daughter’s crisis.

    Reply
  42. Sam

    Summer I have read about similar problems we have here in the USA . I am sure there must be other mothers who might offer online support if nothing else. I personally do understand what you are going through . It may seem back to front but the best thing you can do right now is look after yourself, if you can get help with any mental health problems do so because you will need to be as strong as you can be both short and long term for your daughter.
    I do hope and pray that your situation improves

    Reply
  43. Angelo Granda

    Sam. It may help folk like Summer if you call attention to the hypocrisy of the CP professionals in relation to MH issues.

    In a criminal Court, if a defendant has MH problems, he or she will be treated empathetically , any offence comitted mitigated and he or she will be helped .
    Ironically, in a family court the LA will be doing its level best to show a respondent has MH difficulties in order to prove its case for removal ,will not offer or try to arrange for the patient to be helped and that is the opposite of empathy.

    Is that honourable? No! So the child is condemned to permanent seperation from his or her parent as a result .

    Reply
    1. Angelo Granda

      Sam,when i said call it to the attention of professionals ,i mean at next week’s conference not on here.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        We should also remember that families are not parted permanently because of because of real or false concerns about MH.
        The alleged MH conditions may or may not be minor but what does it matter if families are not parted because of them?
        They are parted ostensibly because it is too risky that treatment is not available within ‘time-scales’ relevant to the children involved.
        If there happens to be a practicing clinical psychologist at the conference, i suggest that his or her opinion be sought as to the stated ‘time-scales and their worth. In my experience, practicing clinicians have stated it is impossible to anticipate or gauge time scales for treatment in advance. Counselling therapy might take a month, six months ,12 months or can continue for several years .Some folk continue with it for life.
        Thus ‘time-scales’ relevant to children involved is a false premise for removal of children.

        Reply
        1. helensparkles

          Timescales for a MH condition will vary according to the condition and treatment, if the condition is treatable & if person is likely to comply with treatment regime. Counselling or therapy is only one option, and it may be ongoing alongside family life (lots of people who don’t have their children removed have those treatments). Timescales for the children depends on their age and it is always (or should always be) what is right for this child now.

          Reply
  44. K ineed help

    My kids mum has weekly mental welfare checks and lies to them pretending shes fine. In the last year shes dated a drug dealer and involves my 3 year old son after a couple dates of internet dating sites. I wait a year as to be stable in involving anyone in my kids life and in the last couple months she begged me back and I did go back. She cheated in the first week and lied for 3 months. She has depression and has been vonvicted of fraud in the past I know she works illegally n is fraudulent in many areas and is a passive lier to family and friends. She has stopped taking her meds and I think in the last year shes made some terrible choices that affect my son and his longterm happiness with the people she involves my son in she smokes weed and ev year puts his stable home at risk by working and claiming benefits. She snaps at my son and iv been witness to this and my some is on amber at his nursary for his emotions or something and because I know all of this and she knows she has put a note in the nursary to be contacted every time I pick my son up. I had him 135 weekends before she had me back and I found out her issues and the risks she takes and im worried for my son. Know shes a compulsive lier and can prove it but am scared if I get services involved sheal stop me seeing my son. So im in a dilema let the mother of my child make me out to be a bad dad and not stop her involving risky people in my sons life with her mental state in question or report her just I think shes not thinking about the long term affects of her actions on my sons long term well being. Help what is there I can do ?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      If you are worried that your child isn’t safe in her care, I think you have to do something. You can either ask children’s services for help or go to court if she won’t talk to you and reassure you. Yes, there is a risk that she will react badly and try to stop you seeing your child, but that isn’t her decision to make in the long term and the courts will support you having a relationship with your child – as long as you aren’t a harmful presence in his life.
      You can get information about going to court at http://www.familycourtinfo.org.uk
      Only you can know how serious this is, but if you are genuinely worried about your son, I don’t think you can just leave it.
      Sounds like the nursery is worried too, so they might be able to help and support you. Can you talk to someone at the nursery?

      Reply
  45. Angelo Granda

    Dear K ineed help.

    I am an ordinary parent and my advice is that you take decisive action to protect your child right now . Do not delay taking action.Time-scales are short. Your son is not safe and is at great risk.
    The first thing you should bear in mind is that Children’s Services do not have the power to protect the child also that your son would possibly be taken into a position of great danger in care.
    More decisive action would be to report the drug-taking and addiction of your Mum and her partner to the Police.Also compile evidence and make allegations of criminal neglect to the Police. You should insist that they investigate your claims and charge Mum. That will be the best way to protect him. Most of all the criminal will consider the FACTS. The criminal court has the power to make orders which will ensure Mum reforms and changes. If she does not comply,the Court will gaol her and hand your son into your care. Either way ,your son will be protected almost immediately.
    The only thing which can go wrong if you follow my advice is that the Police may refuse to do their job,investigate fully and charge the pair . They may make a referral to the CS which MAY be the start of big problems and a life in care for your son. I must qualify this remark by adding that sometimes the CS do help and can support families. Just be wary .

    Reply
  46. Angelo Granda

    By the way, if proceedings are eventually taken in a Family Court, it will go in your favour if you have reported matters to the Police. It is the responsible thing to do. If you do not do so, it may be alleged that you are unable to protect your son and put his welfare first.

    Reply
  47. K thanks

    Ok thanks for your help il be going citizens advice before hand aswel to get asmuch info as possible and its the last year that shes been irresponsible in her choices to involve people not knowing them fully or in a stable relationship as I think its not good for my son and as for the drug dealer part it got reported she was un aware of him and he disappeared shortly after. she has taken weed in past but not regular jus stating her choices of witch there are many including men she involves my son in are not were smart in the long run for the stability of my son. I have and am stocking up info and proof and will contact other services so thankyou for your input no need for anymore your very helpful thankyou im not perfect but expect certain rules and just decentcy I the choices we make as they affect my son and her depression and anxiety and hate for me makes it like talking to a brick wall so my views are not being taken into account in any way and I will get it through so thankyou for you help that all I need.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I hope things work out for your son. In an ideal world he would have two parents who love him and keep him safe and he would get to see both of them. But if he can’t get that, he needs to be living with the parent who is best able to keep him safe.

      Reply
  48. monica

    Hi I’m a single mother of 3 boys that are my life, this summer they get to spend it with their dad and stepmother, and for the few past months it’s been really rough for me since I lost my job and my car broke down I have no one to turned into, my parents are not close and well this few weeks have been really rough for me, not having my kids started to really get to me, specifically knowing they are doing so much better with their dad, since I’m not working I feel like I can’t provide for them, I can’t get a job, I can help but to thing they are better of without me, that they my be much happy if I wouldn’t be around, I don’t want to lose my kids but I know I need help, my house has never been this dirty, but on nights I can’t sleep I’ve been sleeping for up to 6 hours if I’m lucky going to sleep around 5 am and waking up at 11 am and then I feel drain the whole day past weekend I knew I would have my kids and I was sure I would of clean the house so they would of seen it like they have always seen it but I only clean up the living room and kitchen. ..then I realized my room and the boys rooms where really a mess and have been like that for the past few months and when they got home I saw their faces of disappointment I was mad at myself I only wanted to cry but I didn’t want them to see me like that I was so happy to have them back but seems like they didn’t even wanted to be with me anymore ..i m just so lonely I feel worthless, I feel that I can’t do much for them, that even if I do it would be enough, I can’t give them a family like the one they are having right now with their dad and his wife, they enrolled them in sport activities, they put them in paint classes, they are having time with their dad and spending Sundays in church with their stepmother. .while I don’t do nothing like that because I can’t afford it, I can’t get a job, because I don’t have a car , I feel like I have given up on them but in reality I’m not good for them anymore I feel like if I die they wouldn’t have to live all this pain cuz I feel I’m taking all that good stuff they have with their dad

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      You are their mum. the only mum they will ever have. Being a parent isn’t just about spending money and organising activities – its about being interested in your children, showing you love them and think about them. You might not get any recognition or gratitude while they are children because children can be quite selfish. But I am sure when they are grown, particularly if they have their own children, they will think of their mum and how much she loved them. I think it would be very sad for them if you died. Whatever their dad and step mum can give them, they can’t give them their mum.
      You sound really sad and in a bad way. I hope you can get yourself to your GP now and ask for help. Or call the Samaritans and just talk to someone. Sometimes it helps just to vent and let it all out.
      I am sorry you feel so sad and I hope you can get through it.

      Reply
  49. Janet Wilson

    Hello,

    My children are about to go on Child Protection Plans for the second time in a year. The category is ‘Emotional Abuse’. The report from the social worker was damning and stated I had not set boundaries, I could not control my children and that I was responsible for their lack of life skills and independent living skills. I have had mental illness in he past, but for many years I have been stable and I was seen as the one stable member of our family. My husband has Asperger syndrome and so does my 17 year old son and my youngest has undiagnosed PDA. My eldest was arrested because he had expressed intentions to kill and he is now on Section in a CAMHS unit. My youngest is violent and controlling and my husband no longer lives in the family home. So, when the Conference came I lost control and began crying. I have been screaming in my sleep, screaming and crying at home and I feel very unstable. However I dare not seek help because I am frightened the social workers (about whom I have complained) will take my youngest (15) year old from me and this will damage him and I will have no children in my care. Yet, I cannot get the words of the report out of my head. Currenly I am working like mad (I am a distance tutor) o try to distract myself

    Sorry Janet, I can’t seem to post a reply to your comment so I am adding this to your comment. Sarah P. I am really sorry to hear this – you sound as if you have been through an awful lot and I think you do need some help and support.

    I know you are worried about asking for help, but I think distracting yourself through work can only ever be a short term solution. Can the LA put you in touch with any local support groups or mental health charities? What help can they offer you with your youngest if he is controlling and violent? Their first duty should be to try and help you stay together; the situation would have to be very serious to make them keen to remove a 15 year old.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      If your children are made subject to a child protection plan there should be a plan, that is the point, and that plan should offer whatever support you need to make the changes that would mean your children are safe, emotionally and physically. There might be things you have to do but there will be things the other professionals need to do as well. The first core group will be coming up soon after conference and you should have been given the date at conference. It is work looking for advocacy services in your area and asking if you can invite someone to attend with you. It would be rare for this to be refused. If you take all the issues in your post and the report at once, it is overwhelming, There are some things you won’t be able to change but putting in boundaries, building up life skills and independent livings skills, parenting a child with additional needs – they are challenging but they are all doable and there will be services/support groups. The SW will also be looking at your support network so that it isn’t all just your responsibility, because that builds safety, so have a think about who can help you with what – if anything.

      Reply
  50. Angelo Granda

    You must seek help. Don’t worry about the Social Workers at this stage ,worry about yourself and the children. I am just a parent like you and the way you describe it ,you have lost control of the children ,be honest. The Social workers are there to help you and you must see your doctor and ask him for help.
    Really , you have no reason whatsoever to blame yourself. I would get yourself a family solicitor as soon as you can. I don’t see how you can possibly be accused of emotional abuse.I have no doubt you have done your very best and you should be proud not ashamed of yourself. How you coped for so long especially when your husband and eldest son are Aspergers syndrome is a miracle?
    I suspect that the CS have failed to give you all the help and support you needed in the past. Don’t concern yourself too much about them taking the children away permanently.They are too old for that. Too old for adoption and they sound able enough to look after themselves in care. A bit more discipline will do them good,by the sounds of it and you will benefit from it in the long-run.
    You have done as much as you can. Get yourself better,acknowledge the children are out of control and let the CS take over for a while before they end up in prison. Most of all get help for yourself and get yourself back to normal then put your house in order and await developments.
    Remember, Solicitor,Doctors and ask the Social Worker to put you in touch with an independent advocate. Quickly as you possibly can.The solicitor will look out for your interests and keep you informed as to what is going on.
    Most of all don’t doubt yourself.Most women would have cracked years ago. The ages your boys are at now is the most difficult time for all many families but when they are special needs you cannot blame yourself. Get yourself right quickly because they will be home before you know it.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      It is very sad when children come off a child protection plan because all of the help leads to change, professionals withdraw, and families are unable to do it without that scaffolding. It is always the aim to leave enough support in place for families to continue to maintain the changes over time.

      Reply
          1. Sam

            I disagree that a child protection plan provides help. In my experience, yes just my experience any plans set out are just ignored. Like for instance we were supposed to have a family group conference, it wasn’t arranged so you go back to the next meeting the chair whinges that it wasn’t arranged , it’s minuted again and it still doesn’t happen.
            Please excuse if I see more disagreeable than normal, school holidays are never very pleasant when you are separated from your children.

          2. Angelo Granda

            Sam,Don’t let yourself be silenced . Other parents don’t find the truth disagreeable and you are just confirming our experiences.
            If you do get time to write a post, that will be great because all the posts seem to get publicity on Twitter. It might draw new readers Especially if you drop a few names into it like Devine, Mumby, Annie, Melon and perhaps Phillimore.That will draw readers.

          3. helensparkles

            Sam’s own story would be enough, is her lived experience, she doesn’t need to name drop.

        1. Angelo Granda

          Sam, I have visited your blog. Will it be you only who contributes or will others be able to comment on your essays? I was interested in the one about wrong labelling. I don’t know whether you will be using words like ‘evil’ on the blog or not. In my opinion, some of these labellers are positively so; they do it deliberately , of course.
          Just before a court hearing , a Social Worker presented a report of contacts to a court ( without asking for the parent’s response to allegations as is their habit. It was completely malicious rubbish e.g. that she had taken her child into a pub, bought the child a pint of bitter and beers all round including one for the contact worker and proceeded to blab and tell all the other locals in the Pub all about the court case. The parent does not drink and had never been in the bar at any time and spoken to anyone let alone buy any beer. There were other ridiculous ,false reports too and all were sent to court three days before the case so nothing could be done. Well we can expect this sort of thing from SW’s, I suppose.
          That isn’t the funny bit, though. I am sure it will cause a few wry grins from you. The parent’s barrister asked about it and naturally it was denied and the parent wanted to complain to the Judge and have the SW done for contempt of court for deliberately giving false evidence.
          The experienced barrister said ” No, I can’t possibly do that. You cannot say it is a ‘lie’. I suggest you think about the events in a slightly different way and think back . What would make the SW write that. Did you go in the bar perhaps and mouth off to the locals and call the CS because you were unhappy at the way they took your child,perhaps,I know parents do get angry? ” No, I’ve never been in the bar and bought any beer for anyone. I very, very rarely drink and I would not buy a pint for my child anyway. It’s untrue and it’s malicious!”
          Barrister , with an evil look ” What do you do all day? My advice is that you go to see your GP and ask him for an appointment with CAMHS and you shall get counselling. Work with the authorities. Life becomes a bit too much for lots of people sometimes and you should not feel stigmatised by it.”
          The barrister then tossed the parents objection and request to the Judge on one side. She never made any complaint about contempt of court . The Judge used the false reports against the parent in judgment and they will stay on file for evermore.
          This is how the system works,Sam. The SW’s know what they are doing. Their lawyers do. Your lawyer does. The Judge sees it regularly, I imagine. You know it.

          But facts are not checked rigidly and parents aren’t allowed to call witnesses such as the contact worker or their child to attest, the hearing is in secret so no-one can speak up for you because they don’t even know the case exists let alone the evidence. Finally your bozo lawyers turn a blind’un. They’ve probably already agreed evidence with your opponents.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore

            If a barrister behaved in that way Angelo, that was serious professional misconduct and you should have reported it to their Head of Chambers. This would also be a ground for appeal on the basis that your case was not put competently before the court, or at all.

    2. Angelo Granda

      May i add that you should ensure that you keep up with regular contact sessions with your 17 year-old who is already in care. If at any time ,he complains about abuse or exploitation in care or if he appears to be open to predators ( such as drug peddlars),do something about it. Look out for bruising,increased behavioural difficulties,self-harming etc. I know you are very stressed out but it is still your parental duty to protect your son and he is vulnerable. Inform the Police immediately of anything illegal.The CS may change his GP illicitly without your permission and they may not invite you to have input into his treatment. They may try to deny he is Asbergers syndrome and gain their own CAMHS assessments without your involvement and informed consent. Beware.
      Do not worry too much, my warning may be hyperthetical, the CS may be perfectly upstanding and supportive,just watch out. In some areas, they do sometimes make mistakes. Keeping close contact with your son is essential to prevent it.
      Getting help for yourself from your GP will help you help the children.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        The above comment is not intended to denigrate the CS generally and not meant to strike unnecessary fears into the minds of any parents.
        It was meant to remind parents of the importance of keeping in regular contact with their children in care because they are still responsible for their safety. All sorts of things can happen in care,not always good,unfortunately.

        Reply
      2. Sam

        Angelo anyone can comment on my blog and I welcome other people’s posts just as Sarah does here. Anything will be moderated just as Sarah does and hopefully I will not be trolled by witch doctors!
        Alternatively anyone of course can start their own blog.
        I do agree about trying to keep contact up and certainly can relate to your comments about self harming and bruising, unfortunately I have found that the police in my limited experience very much work in tandem to cover up rather than uncover bad practice within care.

        Reply
  51. Sam

    The problem is CS are not bothered about your children’s safety, one of mine had her fathers hand around her throat (just as he used to do to me, which had been reported to the police) and he threatened to kill her. She fled to a neighbours who called the police. Now this is the unbelievable part, it happened whilst care proceedings were ongoing, and she was still placed with him under an ICO, not placed into foster care. This was the FOURTH time a member of the public,( three complete strangers) had reported him allegedly abusing his children to the police. In a joint decision after two weeks he was released from bail yet again. This is how Ellie Butler was murdered nobody listens .

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      You’re right Sam that doesn’t make any sense. Police reports about violence towards a child should have been part of the evidence in proceedings and those incidents should have been part of an S47 investigation.

      This is however not how Ellie Butler was murdered. The Sutton SW and police all knew how dangerous Butler was. There are other questions about that case.

      Reply
      1. Sam

        Yes Helen police and SW know how dangerous my ex is as well, but rather than act they just lie and lose/alter records as they made a huge cock up in the beginning and would rather cover their backs. My children will still be at risk, of all types of abuse. I suspect my case and my tenacity is proving a thorn in the side of agencies that have been doing so called CP the same way for years.

        Reply
        1. Angelo Granda

          QUOTE : but rather than act they just lie and lose/alter records as they made a huge cock up in the beginning and would rather cover their backs : UNQUOTE

          I now refer to this as the ‘ Hillsborough disease or syndrome’.
          Unfortunately it takes a mighty big thorn to penetrate thick skins .
          What it needs is lawyers of the same calibre of those who represented parents in the Hillsborough inquiry. I am so glad that the transparency project lawyers are making progress and working towards more robust ways of dealing with the problems the Public face.

          Reply
          1. Angelo Granda

            I am also proud to say that the CPR leader ,Sarah,is at the forefront of the transparency project discussions on our behalf.
            She appears to accept there is an argument to be had about competing priorities viz. which is more important, Public trust in the system or the potential ‘risk’ to children posed by publication of names and open courts?

    2. Anonymous

      My children got sent to live with their father (see below) there have been repeated reportings to social services about his violence towards them. One from a student nurse, but mainly the kids. Social services did nothing and said it was okay as it had it been done for a couple of months. This is the same dad who we have had to call the police about several times and abducted his kids from school, the SW chose not include any of this in her report for the courts. Since even more deaths have been in the news, my brother has spoken to them expressing a concern for his nieces, he sees them every week, they have chosen ot to even investigate. Worryingly, this man also has a toddler living with him

      Reply
  52. Emma

    I am a single mother who’s children have had 7 different sw’s in 3 years. Their dads have nothing to do with them (youngest’s one didn’t want to know when I found out expecting girl at 20wk scan, older ones dad just can’t seem to be bothered, is an alcoholic, used to emotionally and mentally abuse me in front of kids). Kids were on child protection, but removed at request of sw last year as she felt the only issues remaining were due to home not being big enough as we haven’t the correct number of bedrooms for our family, or suitable storage space for anything. Since Oct ’15 there have been 3 sw’s, the 1st done a proper hand over with the previous one, seemed ok, but then cancelled Feb ’16 cin meeting, and I heard nothing, left messages for her at office texted and called mobile, no replies. Then at easter got a phone call from the ‘new’ sw, which I knew nothing about. She came out, met kids, and arranged another home visit to sort out signing us off. Day of visit she never turned up so phoned office to be told she was probably running late, and message would be passed on that I had phoned. Had to phone the school and happened to mention this to be told by the school she wasn’t our sw anymore, someone else was! I put in a complaint to LA complaints department about how it feels like we are being messed about the same day. The new sw seems to of had issues with me from this moment on, and is now doing a cp conference with the intention of getting order allowing her to take at least some of my kids away. I will admit one of my boys scolded himself with a pot noodle (he wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing and spilt it on his tummy while still quite hot) and I treated it myself, cold water, clean tea towel wet with cold water, etc, insted of taking to a&e, this was mainly because how sw has been knew she would twist what happened, which she seems to have. Scold cleared up in 2 weeks, with me applying burn gel reccommened from chemist for a few days. Sw heard about what had happened somehow and ordered me to take him to a&e even though healed apart for a little scab. Hospital put a ‘honey dressing’ on it, which made it worse, and doctor’s have confirmed what I did was the right thing to do as there isn’t even a mark on him. I don’t know what I can do to stop sw from getting her way with my kids. Youngest still has health visitor as she only 19 mths, and hv said she obviously going to tell me off about scold, but agreed it has healed up perfectly, and she can’t understand sw problem as she was told house was a tip, but it better than it was last yr when cp was dropped to cin. Can someone please give me some advice as to how to sort this as I don’t want to lose any of my children, but not sure what else I can do as sw moaning about size of house and picking on other things that are beyond my control. I look every week on LA’s housing list, but nowhere suitable for me to bid on, and housing association I am with are the worst around here for getting repairs dobe, but again sw not helping with either of it, just blaming me and trying to use against me. Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Emma

      Forgot to mention I am currently on antidepressants which sw doesn’t seem to like, and waiting to see a councillor again, but most of my depression is being caused by how sw is treating me and my kids

      Reply
      1. helensparkles

        Anti depressants are a way of seeking help so not sure why a SW would have a problem with that, I think it is v constructive.

        It is stressful to have CS involved and it sounds like a high turnover of workers. It also sounds like you need to be v clear what the issues are and you aren’t. I hope you will be reassured that I doubt that the SW has taken a personal view of you at all because of the complaint. However, don’t avoid seeking medical attention for anything again, even if it is trivial to you. It is good evidence that you seek appropriate support for your children and it helps you.

        If the LA are really seeking to remove their children you should be in pre-proceedings unless they are going straight to intent to issue, but in both cases you have access to funded legal representation.

        If you haven’t reached that stage, you may feel an advocacy service would help with the communication issues and clarity.

        Reply
    2. Anonymous

      I feel your pain, whilst there are good SW, they are getting fewer and fewer. The one involved in the story below, gave me a load of abuse for not taking my daughter to the dr about a grass allergy I said she has, she said not doing this was neglect. I pointed out thatI did not see the point of wasting the Drs time with something that was obviously a grass allergy. ANyway, I took her just to have it on therecords, the Dr was surprised I had bothered going as I knew what the problem was, the treatment is over the counter and we had been managing it for years. I explained the situationand she put it on after getting the ok from a senior Dr. Sw and ex still insisted I was crazy, for this and other things. The kids are at hisnow, found out off my eldest that he took her for an allergy test recently as he was so convinced I was lying. She is allergic to grass, as I said and he now allows her to have her antihistamines with her. Somehow though, I am still the one with issues….

      I tried asking for a new SW as I felt she was biased (she was, she even changed evidence for court, I proved this but it was sen as an accident. She also did not acknowledge or supply police reports as stated below) but they refused me and when I complained refused to investigate. However, that isn’t to say everywhre is the same. Try speaking to her manager and express concern that this SW is having a disruptive effect on you kids lives, especially as previous SW have signed you off etc. Hopefully, you will get some help. Good luck

      Reply
  53. Anonymous

    My ex partner accused me of manipulation and having a mental health problem. He claimed that our youngest child didn’t like him because I made her that way (she still doesn’t like him after two years living with him, it is because he isn’t a nice person). He told thecourts, and convinced them, that I did not see things as they were and made things up. This was because I had moved the children school as it was dangerous for them to go. It was, the police had been heavily involved as there were several parents receiving death threats etc from two other parents. In the end one parent was forced from the school, most of the other families left after the incidents as their children were not safe. My ex also came to the house being very agressive and threatening, he also removed our children from school in the middle of the day, without warning and did not inform me. The social worker involved did not get these police reports, nor did she get one in regards to the previous incidents at the school. She told the judge I was making them up. Obviously I denied this and requested time to file the reports myself. I was denied, had the kids removed and was told I was paranoid etc. SOcial services do not even work well with people accussed of mental health problems. I do not have any issues, I did speak to a counsellor after they were removed to help me deal with the grief, but, that is circumstancial. I would not trust the social work system as it is today, which is a shame as one that worked with people is needed.

    Reply
  54. kassie

    a lot of the posters are going to hate me for this but each and every post seems to be centralized on the mothers needs and how she can get support and help to raise children where is the concern for the children who are having to live with a parent who ofttimes not capable of contolling their emotions, of interacting with the children offering them a stable home, emotional support and knowing that every day they get up they won’t have to worry about if mummy is going to feel okay today or if shes going to stay in bed or refuse to cook or clean, stop crying or being hyper….I was one of these children and it took me YEARS to get over the uncertainty and the emotional neglect from my mother blow the Mothers right what about the children

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      This is the tension. Sometimes children do need to be removed – and quickly. Other times, removing children causes them great pain. Sometimes we don’t know which situation is which, until it is too late. I think we have to try to keep the balance by providing the right kind of help and support for parents to enable them to parent with mental health difficulties BUT we also have to act to get children out of a situation which, as you rightly point out, can cause damage that takes years to heal, if it ever does.

      Reply
  55. Angelo Granda

    Kassie,
    Thank you for being brave and sharing your views.No posters will hate you for it at all and i do wish more child victims of abuse would tell us more about their experiences.
    It must have been terrible for children in the situation you describe. Broken families ,single-parent families when Mum has no support.Illegal drugs.Alcohol.Gambling. It all l eads to much mental health issues .and treatments should be available. The lack of facilities and treatments are a bane on so many children these days and always have been.
    The kind of Mum you speak of should be dealt with strongly,punished for child-neglect and reformed. There is always someone,family ,foster-carers,local authorities etc who will care for the children whilst the parent is reformed.The law is there to help children in the awful position you describe.
    You asked what about children.They should be right at the top of everyones list of priorities.
    There are laws in place to deal with the problems,guidelines put children at the top of the list and the processes must always be followed.
    Result: Happier children and healed mothers.

    The system is there,the rules are there,the will is there.
    The Law has to be followed more scrupulously.No-one should shirk duties and responsibilities for the children’s sake.
    What we all need is the TRUTH and it is child victims now in a better position like you, Kassie,who can give it to us straight.I hope you will make further comments in the future.

    Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        Mental health issues do NOT warrant punishment just treatment.
        However i think it right that the kind of parent of whom Kassie was talking i.e. neglectful,too lazy to get up and clean or cook or who are guilty of criminal offences( drugs etc) should be seen by the Police Protection Department Officers and charged with a criminal offence.
        Reform with punishment as the prelude is the only effective solution.
        Perhaps these parents mental health issues are due to cannabis orcocaine.They should be reformed and treated.Even if it means foster care for the child for two years, they can change and when they do,their child should be returned home.That is the humane way. (
        The law says permanent liquidation of a family is wrong unless the circumstances are so dire nothing else will do and mental health issues won’t usually satisfy that criteria.It would be inhuman.Rather than help the child or Mum,it would ensure continual MH difficulties for both.

        Reply
  56. Sam

    I have every sympathy for with Kazzie but would just like to make the point people do not choose to have mental health issues no more than they chose to have a broken leg. As a child is is very difficult if your parent lets you down, what I have come to realise as I have got older that most parents do their best within the limitations we all have. It sounds as if Kazzie’s Mum was suffering from depression, if nothing else and that does not just happen without a cause. It maybe she was badly treated herself. It is not meant as a criticism, just something to think about if you wish.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      Absolutely true that MH issues are nobody’s fault and are likely to have an antecedent somewhere, which is why I said SW shouldn’t have an issue with anti depressants, and people not being punished. If someone seeks help, imho it is evidence if insight into a problem, sourcing the right kind of support, and ability to protect. Obviously that might not always be enough, depending on how that MH issue affects those children’s lives, but it still is that evidence.

      Reply
  57. angel

    I have a beautiful 2 and a half old son and chidrens aid got in vovled and now a childrens lawyer got inovled and we got her final re post and she says I need to b supervised just out of the blue and they are using all my disablitys agenst me and I have never been even so much as told of other sepoorts who can help me to be a better mother and my son is kindda in foster care the courts haven’t given me a chance to find and get the help I need because the lady who has my son has to sine consent and wont so it limites me

    Reply
  58. GEMMA KING

    I’m a single mum to 3kids. My eldest 2r with my mum while the youngest is with his dad. I have anxiety and depression. I attend woman’s aid and mental health classes and c my kids one hr a week supervised contact. Iv been told I’m not getting kids back because I’m emotionally unstable. I’m only emotional as I’m missing my kids and want them home. Iv asked social services for a chance and the happy person the once knew will b back. They r refusing as they r worried il b emotionally unstable around my kids. I’m only depressed because I don’t have my kids. My ex who has my youngest drinks round my son all the time and if the show was on the other foot my kids would b took away from me in a heartbeat. He’s getting away with it. Social services don’t have a care order im place. If i applied for a residential order and got granted one will my kids return to me or will social services keep them were they r

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Sorry to hear this – you are caught in a bit of a vicious circle. I think the problem is that the local authority are going to be very reluctant to support you getting your children back if they are worried that you are still not well. And I appreciate that yo say you are anxious and depressed because you miss your children.

      But if there is no care order, they don’t at the moment have any right to interfere in arrangements that you make with other family members. However, if you can’t agree what happens with other family members, you will have to go to court. If you applied for an order that children come back to you (this is now called a child arrangements order, not a residence order any more) the local authority would almost certainly be asked by the court to write a report and from what you say, they wouldn’t support the children living with you.

      I don’t know how old your children are, how long they have been living away from you or what your doctors says about your diagnosis and prognosis, so its just impossible to say what I think would happen if you took it to court. But I am pretty confident in saying that the local authority would then get involved.

      Reply
  59. GEMMA KING

    The docs mental health team and woman’s aid all agree that if depression that’s it and under the circumstances its clear y. I feel that social services r bullies and they aren’t taking my feelings into consideration even my solicitor agrees with me. I’m very concerned about my children and the care they r recieving is limitless. The judge knows my circumstances regarding my ex and was abit lenient in giving my ex residency of our son but I didn’t want him in care and assured the judge it was the right thing to do at that time. Now things r going wrong and I’m scared of something bad happening to my son when my ex has a drink. A mth ago my son was basically threw out of the house in his bare feet while his father was drunk because he didn’t wana look after him

    Reply
  60. helensparkles

    If you are worried that your child isn’t safe you need to tell Children’s Services. I can understand why you might not want to, but you are the person who knows your ex best, what professionals have evidence of is often just scratching the surface. It seems to me that you have good reason to think that, whatever age he is, your son could be at risk of harm. I can almost guarantee that CS will receive the information from whoever you did or a worried neighbour/teacher etc. They are also likely to find out you knew at some point, and if you haven’t told them, that gives them evidence of you not acting to protect your child. I don’t know how you got the information you have, and it would be best if you tell CS that in case it has been given to you maliciously. CS always look for family/friends before foster care so if you think of someone your child could stay with that would always be helpful should there turn out to be a problem. If you feel bullied you could use an advocacy service or ask a friend you trust to help. You can look for advocacy services in your area or phone the Family Rights Group for advice. Or you could take a friend you can trust to put your Saying dad is not a good parent may not result in your child returning to your care (I don’t know details so can’t comment on that) but you need to put your child first.

    Reply
  61. Angelo Granda

    A parent’s view.

    I would be wary about reporting anything to the Children’s services.It is the experience of many parents that they just make matters worse.However,I agree totally with Helen Sparkles that you are responsible for keeping the child safe.
    Report alcohol abuse and alleged neglect on your ex’s part to and they will react in one of two ways as witnessed by other parents on the forum.
    Either they will downplay allegations against their golden boy .cover-up your child’s sufferings and use them to emphasise your previous (ongoing?) MH problems.
    Or they will také the allegations as gospel,do an immediate ,hasty risk assessment ( without consulting your husband and turn up on his doorstep to také the child from him.They may suddenly show up at school or nursery ,drag your child out of class and subject him or her to an inquisitIon about life at home.They will make suggestions and then just sit back and let the child talk freely taking everything adverse to father down.
    They aren’t supposed to také any child from homw without a Court Order but that won’t necessarily stop them.They are quite capable of convincing other professionals that a man who consumes alcohol at home in front of a child and who on one occasion is alleged to have allowed the child to walk outside without shoes on is such a serious,malicious abuser that he cannot care for a child.Or not that he has been seriously abusive but that he may become so in the future. They may not talk to him;they may just také the allegations at face-value and say to him.”Get a solicitor and we’ll see you in court”.

    So remember what Sarah says,keep matters away from the family court if possible and do that by keeping away from the CS.
    You are unlikely to get any genuine,helpful support from them.They have already got your card marked. I also advise you not to go making allegations to school because they keep in close touch with the CS and may only pass on what you tell them to the CS.
    The CS won’t protect your child,they can’t except by going over the top and taking him or her away from the family completely.
    Try and sort disagreements out and build bridges ,correct his behaviour etc. Through your own family support network.Try mediation,family guidance,a family conference etc.
    As Helen has suggested the CS are watching you at all times and taking note.Should any harm come to the child whilst in your ex’s care and they think you knew about it and might have prevented it then they will hold it against you.You have a duty to protect the child!
    I recommend that should you have evidence of criminal neglect or child abuse you should také your complaint to the Police but not unless you have clear evidence.They are responsible for keeping the child safe (along with you).
    The CS are responsible for supporting the family only.
    Hope this helps.Good luck.
    Hold a family conference with a mediator present.Both families present not just yours.The Family Rights group can advise.Ring their advice line.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      Reporting to CS gives them evidence you are willing to protect your child regardless of the outcome. You can of course contact the police instead. Regardless of who the information is given to there would be a strategy discussion between the police and CS and that would involve a decision about who will investigate. The decision is either that it would be a joint investigation, or that CS will be the lead-investigating agency. If you are worried about your child being harmed you need to report it, if you think the information could be malicious, you just need to say so. It doesn’t take long for that to be ascertained by the professionals involved.

      Social workers do not have the power to remove a child when they turn up on the doorstep. If a child is assessed as being at immediate risk, the police do have that power and would attend with a social worker. To remove a child a social worker would have to make an application for an ICO. It is very rare for an ICO hearing to be held ex parte and your ex therefore would be advised to contact a solicitor in those circumstances.

      The investigation will involve making enquiries with education, health and any other services involved with your child. They will also talk to the child, your ex and anyone who lives with your child. All of those enquiries are usually undertaken with consent, unless it is thought that would increase the risk to the child. Children are often not removed from their home at all, a social worker would determine if there is another adult in the house who can ensure safety during the investigation, at most would ask if a safe family member can help out for a couple of days whilst they investigate.

      Most cases social workers are involved with do not go to court full stop. A very high volume of such investigations come into CS duty teams every day and are resolved without public law proceedings ever commencing. Should this case enter into care proceedings, CS would be considering other family members, and would need to be able to evidence the changes Gemma has made. As I said, it is impossible to comment on the outcome of those assessments, we don’t know enough unless we are involved in the case.

      Angelo – I did not suggest that CS are watching all the time and taking note at all. They don’t have time. I did say that information usually comes into CS from another source and it is not uncommon for it to become apparent that Gemma was also aware of this information. Not least it would become completely obvious if she was to make a court application for her child to return to her care using this information as evidence. Having unreported concerns about a child’s safety would undermine any evidence of her ability to protect.

      I don’t know how this information has been received, but the allegations may not be true, or there may be no evidence to support them. You couldn’t call it a cover up if that were the case.

      Reply
  62. Angelo Granda

    Thanks for the information etc.,Helen. My reference to cover-ups was purely to inform Gemma that many SW’s cover-up and/or refuse to accept that allegations made against their golden boy by a Mum with past problems with MH are actually happening. Much abuse passes underneath their radar as we all know. They don’t undertake impartial investigations.
    Gemma, if you do get evidence of criminal neglect or abuse , report it to the Police immediately. It is their over-arching duty to protect your child . If this happens, as Helen says they will involve the CS if they deem it necessary. However, I advise you to insist on a comprehensive criminal investigation in line with the duty of the Public Protection Department . Don’t let the Police palm you off by saying they will report it to the CS for support services and child-protection procedures. The CS cannot be trusted to protect your child. In many ,many instances the department just makes matters worse. They may not carry out their duties as the should. They don’t always follow correct procedures and as a result of that they mislead other professionals. This often ends up with innocent children suffering even more.
    Once again, i advise you to take your case to the Family Rights Group and try mediation.
    As Sarah has warned, if you get court involved, the CS will be called in and that would be bad for the child .They have already set their stall out about you! Keep them out of it if you can!
    Any criminal abuse, involve the Police directly but only if the child is in imminent real danger. Don’t make the mistake of reporting non-criminal or non-violent behaviour . The Police won’t do anything except report your concerns to the CS. That will give them more ammo to sling at you.
    Contact the FRG for advice about mediation. They are there to help you .This site is not able to advise fully about individual cases but the FRG is. Hope you get matters sorted out to your satisfaction .

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      Angelo:
      The police will contact CS because this is a safeguarding issue involving a child so they have to.

      The police will determine if a criminal act has taken place, their entire job is to detect and investigate crime. If they decide that there are not grounds for arrest/investigation etc. no amount of a parent insisting on a criminal investigation would make any difference. That would be unlawful and you are usually quite quick to point out when things are done incorrectly.

      If a referral about this child leads to a safeguarding enquiry, the police would always be involved, and involve CS. The decision about who investigates is based on the above.

      Getting the court involved is not a bad thing per se. It may be that mum thinks her child would be safer with her than with their dad, but CS would need to be involved both because of family history and these allegations. You are entitled to your view about any investigation/assessments/CS generally and Gemma has her view about CS, I am commenting on processes.

      What is important here is that Gemma is saying her son isn’t safe with her ex, if that was me, I would not be worrying about anything except that harm. I would be worrying about that whatever the age of the child. I hope her child tells a trusted teacher because, at the moment, he doesn’t appear to be able to trust the adults around him to report their concerns appropriately.

      Reply
  63. GEMMA KING

    My child is 3yrs old. I have involved police and again the situation is still the same. It’s as if neither care about my child’s safety. I’m seeking legal action to get the residential order in my name and I’m hoping I get it. The social services don’t have a care order against me at the minute. I’m jus asking if the judge says residential order is in my name instead of my ex then will my child b returned to me r will social services put him in care regardless not having a care order. Thanks for your info too. Part of it makes sense. I didn’t report my ex to police straight away as I’m afraid of my safety and the consequences. He threatens alot and I’m scared of reporting. The police only know some things but again they r saying its all hear say as iv no evidence. Iv no friends r family r no-one to turn to for advice. My mental health isn’t bad. I’m not on medication. I do go to councelling etc. I’m jus depressed cuz I miss my kids

    Reply
  64. helensparkles

    The judge is not going to just change a name on an order. If you make an application for a Child Arrangements Order (Residents Orders don’t exist any more) a report will be requested from Children’s Services as Sarah said; they may not be involved now but they would be.

    There is a reason your name isn’t on the current order and you would need to evidence change. There will also need to be an assessment of the way your son’s needs are being met and his current stability; children aren’t moved backwards and forwards for no good reason.

    There is no evidence about your ex because nobody is reporting anything to anyone would the person who saw him kicked out barefoot report that?

    If the assessment of neither you or your ex is positive, it is possible the LA would become more involved but that doesn’t necessarily mean your child would be placed in care.

    Reply
  65. Sam

    Gemma I am so sorry to hear that it has happened. Please be assured it is not your fault, though in future it may be helpful to work out how you were vunerable to be in such a bad relationship and it is not unusual. Any judge should look at the short and long term welfare of the child, that basically means can the parents supply what the child needs ,both physically, such as food, warmth,safety and emotionally, such as do they put the child’s need to have stability and a routine above their own need to go out, drink or have a violent row in front of the child. So try to put down on paper, if you haven’t already what strengths you have as a parent and discuss this with your solicitor. The judge should not place a child with a parent who has bullied/controlled the other parent
    You will be isolated, as that is part of domestic violence, but now you have left you can rebuild relationships. It is worth asking Women’s Aid, if they know of a local Freedom Programmehttp://www.freedomprogramme.co.uk/ or something similar. Lastly the Police may have said there is no evidence to prosecute your ex partner regarding the domestic violence, but there is now an offence of coercive control, which is emotional violence, which is always present as part of domestic violence. Look up a coercive control check list and once again see what you relate to.

    Reply
    1. helensparkles

      This is an interesting read by a Barrister on Coercive Control as is the Guardian Article it links to https://thesecretbarrister.com/2016/09/01/the-criminal-law-has-no-business-interfering-in-bad-relationships/

      “Only 62 people have been charged under the legislation, as opposed to 20,000 for offences involving domestic violence over the same period.The reason for this, I politely suggest, is twofold. First, this is a largely pointless law, re-criminalising already-criminalised conduct. And second, where it does provide for something new, it trespasses on territory over which the police cannot reasonably be expected to ride.”

      Reply
  66. GEMMA KING

    Thanks everyone. I hope the outcome is good news. My children need their mum and I’m gona fight to get them back and to prove I’m not emotionally unstable

    Reply
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  68. Sam

    I commented on twitter, including CPR in my tweet yesterday regarding a feature on Radio 4 Womans Hour regarding a consultant talking about how PMS can be misdiagnosed as BIPolar, amongst other things. Sarah took objection to this, which is up to her of course and argued back. Its pointless trying to argue with me, as I am not really that argumentative , a grey person . She kindly apologised as well.
    The point I was trying to make ( and it is more difficult to make anything other than a rather bald statement on twitter) was that mental health issues can often be misdiagnosed and this was an example of that. I have got an awful lot more to say on this matter, but I really think rather than go on I would be better to start my own blog.
    May I wish everyone a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy New Year.

    Reply
  69. Josie

    Ive had problems and with the years they seem to progress.. I took anger management as a child. In `13 i was diagnosed bipolar 2 i stopped going b because i got scared for my child. Its basically four years and the thoughts the fits of rage and horrid thoughts or my negative self image have all gotten worse. I’ve dealt with custody court battles and various cps because of it.. I’ve passed everything but I’ve never told anyone all of my problems in my head .. I’ve scared myself with the things I’ve become interested in.. Its all gore murder rape nothing but violence…mass murder…its become sexualised ( sorry tmi) it scares me but if i could burn the world i would. Ironically though my loved ones i couldn’t even phathom.. I love all of them dearly my son more than anyone on the earth.. He knows nothing of this and it will stay that way always..i want to seek help.. My criminal record is clean ive always managed to control worst thoughts or feelings. . But i get fits of rage i do my very best to control them and over all i have I’m far less violent in reality than i am inside its all emotional i show top others and my boy changes everything he’s kept me sane this long but I’ve noticed a decline over time i want to live without these thoughts wants or philosophies but i will never risk my son.

    Reply
  70. Beverley Sandler

    My name is Beverley Sandler and I am a highly qualified Counsellor in Manchester. I read your post with great interest and can relate to a lot of what you have said.

    Just a quick thank you for creating the content and if you ever need any insight into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Wellness Coaching I would be more than happy to help.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      thanks Beverley, much appreciated. If you want to write a guest post, that would be welcome. Or come and talk to us at this eventhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/cpconf2017-consolidation-tickets-32527831620 – but I appreciate Bristol is a bit of a trek from Manchester!

      Reply
  71. Anonymous

    After my child was born in 2006, I allowed this former friend to be “Godmother” of my child, because she was a nurse. I allowed her to babysat my child; while I attended an orientation on a Friday for 5 hours only, I returned home 15 minutes after the orientation was over, I gave her a call and told her I’m home now and she could bring my child home to me his mother now, she told me she would bring my child home on tomorrow (Saturday), after she didn’t return my child on that day (Saturday), I called the police, the officer didn’t do anything, but said it was a legal way she gotten my child, so I kept going over to her home trying to get my child, but she wouldn’t answer the door, so I kept calling her on the phone, she said she would bring my child to Church on the next day (Sunday), but she didn’t come to Church that Sunday with my child at all, on that Monday morning, she took my child to CPS and lied, said I gave her my child, from what the social worker said and he believed her and written it up as my disability, they have always coerce, my child in what to do and say to me, because I know and remembered; how my child has always treated me and this is not him. Now 2 years later, my child is now 5yrs. old, he tells me that his dad and three other family members of his dad are playing with his pee-pee, etc. I reported that, to CPS and the Police Dept., but they flipped the script on me saying it’s my disability, they didn’t do anything at all

    Reply
  72. Sam

    I am just a parent like you and I can sympathise with you not being believed. It sounds as you are not from the UK and this resource can only really help if you are as the laws are different. I hope you can get help from somewhere more suitable

    Reply
  73. Ashleigh Stevenson

    Nearly two years ago my gran was diagnosed with cancer and my mental health started getting worse, then i became “trapped” in the house because i was really unwell loads and couldn’t risk my gran catching anything with cancer treatment, around last summer my social worker thought my house was too cluttered, too many toys downstairs and basically not sitting like a showroom, impossible with a two year old, and she started visiting weekly which made me feel suffocated by them, i started avoiding doing housework because i was so out of sorts with these random spot checks that my anxiety went right through the roof, i ended up asking for a family care worker for help, which i have been getting, i was uncomfortable around the first one, so got another and from november to febraury it was going great, until i decided to finally get to ym doctor about meds, and they made me feel terrible like i couldn’t even care about anything at all,i was like a robot feeding washing clothing my daughter, then i had a jump in my head and decided to stop them cause the house was getting a mess, my family worker phoned my social worker (who hadn’t been out since september) and she came out and gave me a lecture, told her to come back in a few hours and house would be perfect i just started feeling better that day, skip forward to march, i was stripping the hall wallpaper ready to be decorated before the person cancelled the offer of helping, famile worker was due the next day and i was exhausted so decided to finish cleaning in the morning, worker was not happy with this decision, and phone social worker who again gave me a lecture, same with painting the living room, i was told to just focus on the house.
    Another bit is they decided to come first thing in the morning, and i get really anxious about people being in my home that i wind up with stop issues before they appear so struggled to get my daughter to nursery, i tried explaining and it was ignored
    my house doesn’t sit perfect, theres clean washing to be ironed, ironed stuff to put away, stuff drying and stuff to be washed, theres toys, books (daughter reads i write to calm down) knitting and dvds in the living room, and kitchen i’m always too tired to do dishes and brush everywhere and wipe everywhere so i decide to do it in the morning when i have more energy

    Today social worker appeared (unexpectedly which made me anxious) because i asked for reduce time with my family workers as i started feeling like i could do this on my own, she has told me because i refused access to HV on monday (i was out shopping, and didn’t know she was coming) I don’t take my daughter to nursery everyday (she’s been every day for nearly 3 weeks now) because theres clothes piles, and dishes, and quite obviously my mental health isn’t doing good if so much makes me anxious, that she feels my child is at risk, that i’m not coping and wants a more intense program in place as well as child protection… what the hell? I felt i was doing better the past few weeks, i had changed my diet ate foods good for anxiety started doing walks with a friend and a family member, I begged the social worker not to ask the nursery for more time because i couldn’t face them if i knew they knew about my mental health, so she did it, and told them i was struggling to cope because i said i liked shopping in the mornings without my kid as it’s easier, which doesn’t suit them because they like coming in mornings, mornings is also the only time a friend can take me as i can’t go alone… I feel like they’re going to suffocate me and not let me do this myself and i’m going to just give up with my life and end it all and get my daughter something better than constant workers in
    She only comes out when someone thinks i’m doing bad, so she only has bad reports for hher team manager, she hasn’t came out in nearly a year where i’ve had a good day, house is shining, i’m dressed half decently, and we’re getting out having fun, no no it’s just the days where i’m struggling to even care about anything and that’s all she has to go forward with. I can’t go on like this anymore

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am sorry Ashleigh, it does sound like you are overwhelmed. It is sad when you should feel supported but it feels like they are just adding to your stress.

      You say “and i’m going to just give up with my life and end it all” – please will you talk to someone about this? The Samaritans are really good. Please call them. Call Free 116 123.

      Reply
    2. HelenSparkles

      Absolutely follow Sarah’s advice.

      I also wondered if this might be helpful.

      Social workers don’t expect to see a show home, they do expect your house to be a safe, comfortable and hygienic environment for your children. Cluttered means different things to different people so it is important that you understand what is expected of you. A social worker would expect to see toys and various things around that reflect a two year old lives with you, but some of the things that were in your house could have been things that the social worker thought were hazards, or houses can be hazardous for children if they are very cluttered. Decorating would not be a priority if the home conditions were otherwise unsafe, uncomfortable or unhygienic for children. Hence the need to focus on the house, and several unfinished decorating jobs can create more hazards for a toddler.

      You don’t sound clear about what the social worker expects to see and it is important that you are. Sometimes I’ll leave a list with people, other times just talk it through, whatever works best for them. I would suggest you arrange a visit with the social worker at a time when you think your anxieties would lower and have someone with you that you trust and feel comfortable with if you want to. The social worker will need to know that you are happy about sharing your information with that person, so it is worth discussing it with them first. You just need to make sure you are comfortable with that person being involved in those discussions.

      Weekly visiting will reflect the level of monitoring a social worker thinks is needed to make sure your children are safe. It is intrusive but I am sure you and the social worker want the same thing, for your children to be ok in your care. Unannounced visits are often part of a child protection plan, they are not there to catch you out, but social workers need to know that things are ok whether you know they are visiting or not.

      I don’t know how long your children have been subject to a child protection plan but visiting patterns reflect the level of concern, if they have increased, it is likely that concerns are greater. I completely understand your level of anxiety but I think you need to have a conversation with the social worker so you are clear about this, and exactly what they are worried about. Visits are less frequent when everyone is less worried, because social workers are very aware of how intrusive they are, but if you feel you reach a point where things are going well and you have a “shiny” house, it is worth telling the social worker so they can see it.

      It is very important that children see health professionals and attend whatever kind of educational setting they should be in regularly. This shows that you are looking after your children in the way they need to be, ensuring their needs are a priority, and whatever your problems are they don’t get in the way of meeting their needs. It also means there are other professionals who have sight of your children, even if the social worker did only see the bad stuff, they will be speaking to those other people who can give them positive information in your core group meetings if it is there.

      I don’t know what the more intense support is but it is being offered as help. Obviously it isn’t helpful if it isn’t what you need but again I think you need to be clear about what is expected of you and what exactly that involves.

      Reply
  74. Mia Klaus

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    Reply
  75. Deb

    So I am wondering my friend has mental illness (symptoms are similar to schizophrenia she takes antidepressants. they relieve some symptoms but she can deal with the others). She is pregnant, The father has anxiety issues. I was wondering if she gave the baby up for adoption so it was being raised by someone what are the chances of the bay having issues?

    Reply
    1. HelenSparkles

      A baby who has parents with those issues is more vulnerable than others (whose parents don’t) to developing them, BUT this is completely unpredictable. If baby is nurtured, loved and cared for, that would decrease vulnerability, and that would be true whether bought up by mother, father or adopters.

      Why would this child need adopters?
      Schizophrenia needs managing but sounds like it is, if medication treats some symptoms and she can manage others.
      One in three people in the UK have anxiety/depression, it has an impact, but doesn’t stop people being good parents.

      Reply
    2. looked_after_child

      I’m curious why this question has been asked on a child protection website- not of clinicians. Who has concerns about parenting capacity if anyone or are concerns about having ‘a defective baby’?

      Reply
  76. Vignon

    Hi ,my name is vignon I’m only 13 and I don’t know what to do , my parents have been treating me so bad I can’t handle it no more,when I was younger they use to beat me a lot compare to my little brother,I’ve steel have the scars they’ve done to me when I was younger,everytime I’ll get yelled at ,I’ll go in my room and start staring and my scars n start crying every girl wants to have a dream body but I can’t enjoy my body at all while filled with scars that are permanently suck on my for life.now I’m 13,they don’t abuse me any more cause I’ve told school about it and the school has called this people to talk to them , but now they shout at me ,calling me a witch,I’m ugly and I should die I CANT HELP IT I NEED LOVE ,I can’t stop crying every time I write a word,since they wanted me to die I decided to find way to kill myself ive took my mothers pill and handnatizer and drank it with the pills I’ve done that for about 2 weeks without my parents knowing, next week I wasn’t feeling well ,my mom called me to look at her dress and as I came out of the room I blacked out I woke up in da hospital and starting crying I’ve lied to the doctors I’ve ate something expired so that my parents won’t go to jail. Since that day my parents still call me ugly I’m not worthy to live that I’m a witch a hoe ,that there gonna kill me ,I need love ,love is what I want,love is all I’m asking for ,love seems to make people happy but I don’t even know what’s love so how can I know, I want help before my parents actually kills me I don’t feel safe .if we ever met I promise you I’ll show you all the scars I have and tell you more of what I’m leaving through,if u don’t get this message,I don’t know what to do anymore there’s no point of living if know one loves you or wants you to live .its better off dying cause everyone will be happy without you.im not perfect and I’ll never will be but if I ever get the opportunity to get loved by someone my life would change.i am ugly and agree ,I guess am a witch aswell cause my parents birth me they know me well if they tell me to kill my self I shall do it just for there happiness.

    Reply
    1. Angelo Granda

      Vignon, Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you are an ugly witch. They are jealous of you. Ignore them. I suggest you tell your Grandparents and extended family what your parents are doing to you. I am afraid when children report even serious abuse even institutional abuse to teachers or social workers, they often don’t listen and/or cover it up which is what seems to have happened.
      If they beat you to the extent that you are physically scarred ( or mentally) if you report it to the Police next time and let them take photo’s and forensic evidence, they have a Public Protection Department with a duty to solve the problem for you.
      I think when you are 16, if your parents won’t change, you will be within your rights to leave anyway.
      Let gramps and gramma know everything that’s going on!

      Reply
  77. Sarah Phillimore

    Dear Vignon – I don’t know where you live and if its outside the UK, I don’t know what happens in those countries. But I am really sorry to hear you are going through this. You have to tell someone. You have to tell an adult that you trust – a teacher maybe? And you have to get out of this situation. I hope you can find someone to help you. You shouldn’t have to try and deal with this alone at 13. I am sorry I can’t be more help. You need someone in real life.

    Reply
  78. susan

    i want to say a very big thanks and appreciation to Dr.uwota the chief priest of all spell casters worldwide for bringing back my husband who left and the kids for almost three months within the space of two days after following all instruction given to me. i am very much grateful for restoring peace in my marital home, and i pray God almighty give you the strength and wisdom to continue helping more people having similar relationship and marital problem like mine. for help you can contact him now through his email and mobile number below Email.druwotasolutionhome@outlook.com whatsapp Number: +2347039144181

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Clearly all this arguing over family courts is pointless, how about Sarah, Angelo, Helen , Looked After Child pool our resources and contact Dr Whatisname, he or variations of him seem to be able to cure all relationship and family problems. Sarah could ask if he can deal with Twitter Trolls at a discount rate. Maybe even the Brexit divorce. Angelo will be ecstatic as all Children’s Panel solicitor’s will be out of a job, unfortunately that probably means so are Sarah and Helen.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        Only just seen this post Sam. Glad someone has a sense of humour . Unfortunately lots of legal panel lawyers are going out of business currently owing to legal funding cuts. Some of them deserve it! No professional ethics!

        Reply
  79. Tara vanichi

    I am a mother of 5 but 4 live with me and 1 lives with his dad. My husband has mental health problems and sometime self harms or is suicidle and he sometime will loose it and break thinks or shout loud. Mainly when the children are in bed. I am a good mum and I keep my children from being affected. My husband is a good father and helps me cool clean and loves his children but and even when he has an episode he doesn’t do it around the children.
    The neighbours have called the police and so I have on one occasions as I have not been able to control his behaviour.
    He is now seeing a probation officer once a week and also crisis team regularly.
    I was supposed to be seeing my son this week but his father called me and said social services have advised him not to let me have him and to take me to court to get his daughter too as my husband is a threat. I need some advise because this is upsetting me and I feel soon with all this I will be depressed. My ex is a violent person and now won’t let me see my son and said he is taking my daughter too. I also have 3 children by my husband and I’m scared social will take them now. What do I do.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      If your husband is working with probation and sees his crisis team then I assume that children’s services are already aware and if they aren’t taking any action, I also assume they are confident that things are under control? So I hope you have nothing to worry about in that direction. I would like to see confirmation about the reasons why your ex is saying that your son can’t visit you. Does he have a letter from social services? Who did he speak to? Can you have contact with your son somewhere else while this is sorted out?

      It does sound very stressful but maybe the best thing is for him to bring this to court so it can get sorted out. Even if he is not happy with the children being around your husband, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be seeing you.

      Reply
      1. HelenSparkles

        & if a social worker is advising your ex, you could call children’s services to find out why, they can share information about risks but those risks would (if they are about your husband) also be relevant to you, particularly if you have children living with you. The local authority would (in the form of a social worker) be knocking on your door if they were worried about the children living with you. Please take that as reassurance that they are not initiating care proceedings which could lead to the removal of your children. Whilst it is true that mental health issues do affect your husband’s capacity generally to be a parent and engage in family life, you sound like the protective factor and such circumstances are not uncommon. If a social worker does knock on your door, you should also be reassured that they would be assessing that and not whether they want to remove your children. I think Sarah is right (well she is a lawyer) that the court arena, though stressful, might be the place for this to be resolved. If you have any evidence (police reports etc.) that you were subject to domestic violence (I don’t know if you were but you say your ex was violent) you would be entitled to free legal representation in private law proceedings. i would suggest you are proactive about this and take the matter to court. They may well ask for a report from a social worker, which would involve a full assessment of everyone, and that is something that you might find helpful as well as securing the arrangements for any children you have in common.

        Reply
  80. Patty

    Is signing adoption papers when a child is in foster care, while under a out patient psychiatric treatment legal? How can a contract adoption paper be legal when the participant is under prescribed meds?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      It must depend on capacity. Being on prescription medication or under psychiatric care doesn’t necessarily mean you lack capacity to sign legal documents. Capacity is a test about whether or not you understand the nature and quality of your decision making.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        Patty, I suggest you contact the Family Rights Group ( FRG) on its website for an answer to your question when you will be able to give more detail. At first sight, as an ordinary parent, I would say it is fairly obvious that if the fact that some -one is under psychiatric care is being used by the LA against a parent in that they are unable to care for a child then it must also be true that they are unable to sign adoption papers legally. No genuine doctor or lawyer would encourage the mentally ill to sign away their children hastily.
        Local Authorities ,however, will find it cheaper to get a Mum to agree to adoption because they will not have to apply for a care-order, I guess. In days gone by, thousands of children were procured for adoption in that way when so- called ‘fallen women’ had their children removed at birth . They were ‘persuaded’ to sign their babies away whilst at their most vulnerable just after birth.
        Your question as to the legality of the papers can only really be answered after hearing all the detail so, as an ordinary parent, my advice is that you contact the FRG immediately.

        Reply
        1. Angelo Granda

          Patty, Do you remember whether the Social Worker informed Mum of her right to an independent advocate (like the FRG) and give her the address and invite the advocate to all meetings? If so, the advocate will have advised her, explained procedures fully and possibly intervened in the signing if it was illegal.
          If the Social Worker did not do so, it is possible she exploited Mum’s vulnerability. Whether it was intentionally or not , she will have not kept within the Working Together Frameworks. Mention it to the FRG.

          Reply
  81. fatma arkan

    hello i want to give my girl for adoption, i just do not want her to suffer so i need a very loving and suitable home for her. any couple or single looking to adopt a newborn 3 months old message me now:

    [REDACTED EMAIL ADDRESS – I assume this poster is not in the UK. You cannot adopt a child in this way in the UK although I know in the USA ‘private’ adoptions seems to be more common but I assume (hope) there is some legal framework around them to protect the children.

    If this poster IS in the UK, please contact your local Children’s Services at your local authority urgently, if you are worried you aren’t coping. ]

    Reply
  82. Anna Caudill

    i have ptsd and mood disorder socail service is saying that because of my mental health i cant meet my infant needs my baby is in the nicu cause i had her too early and she telling me i may not be able to bring her home cause of that i have been getting treatment for my mood disorder and ptsd i have been meeting her need at the hospital i dont understand why there doing this

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Anna you must contact a family solicitor immediately. You may be asked to sign something called a section 20 , do not do so without talking to a solicitor. If your baby may be taken away from you, you are entitled to free legal advice so don’t worry that you can’t afford it.

      Reply
    2. HelenSparkles

      I am a social worker Anna and there is sometimes a problem with mental health issues affecting the ability of a parent to meet the needs of a baby. Your baby being in NICIU does mean they are likely to have addition needs and it’s important that you all get the help you need. Caring for a baby in the hospital setting is very different from being on your own without support. Have a think about how could help in terms of family & friends.

      In terms of your treatment, it is very positive that you access it, sometimes it takes a while for medication to kick in, but seeking medical advice is definitely a strength. I think the social workers are worried (don’t know you all personally yet so can’t comment full) Social workers have no powers to remove children .

      Reply
      1. Sam

        Helen Social workers may not have powers to remove children without a court order, but time and again they do. The number of worried parents that have contacted this website confirm this, as does my own experience. I believe I would have my children now if it were not for the unlawful actions of both the police and the social worker. Funny enough I have yet to see a criminal case for unlawful kidnap or a HCPC ruling against a social worker.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore

          Sam, if the SW is removing with the police that is because the police have deemed it appropriate to remove for 72 hours under section 46 of the CA. So it won’t be ‘unlawful’ if the police give it that sanction. Any longer than 72 hours without court order or section 20 agreement is unlawful. I can appreciate many parents maybe don’t know their rights or don’t feel able to speak up. But its highly unlikely any criminal charge of ‘kidnapping’ could stick if police are using their powers under CA 1989.

          Reply
          1. Sam

            But if the police do not give that sanction, simply remove the child it is unlawful and a breach of human rights. That is what happened in my case and that is why I have a huge resentment about it and it has not been remedied in court. I may have mentioned that a few hundred times.

          2. Sarah Phillimore

            But I thought your ex gave consent? Its not best practice, I completely agree, but so long as one parent with PR gives consent, I can see why SW would think it ‘lawful’. It isn’t, I don’t think but I can understand why some SW may act on that basis.

          3. Angelo Granda

            Frankly, Sam,it is highly unlikely any case for kidnapping, child abduction , perjury, malpractice ,malfeasances in Public Office or any charge would be made to stick against the authorities because they have themselves covered. Denial, silence and a general ‘no smoke without ‘attitude on the part of even a parent’s own solicitor will go against the victims and even magistrates are infected by the same attitude and a propensity to play it safe. Anyway, once a child has been taken unlawfully, the possession 9/10ths of the law precedent takes effect and a family proceedings court will decide it best to leave him or her where they are ( in care) pending further enquiries.
            So I am with you and the other parents.
            Sarah, in my opinion, it is unlawful for Police to sanction the use of s46 powers of emergency removal unless a child is in imminent danger of harm. It must be an emergency as s 46 says quite clearly and, as you quite rightly pointed out, it is only valid for a maximum of 72hours. So that gives the Police Officers 3 days in which to clear the emergency from the scenario, ensure the immediate safety of the children involved and return them to the care of their parents.
            For example, if there had been a fire, a road accident ,if a parent were drunk and incapable , if the house was deemed uninhabitable or in other emergency circumstances the Police must go back to the scene and review circumstances. If the fire was out, they would have a clear duty to return the child home.
            This is where Spanish practices and malpractice comes in! Here is what often happens-
            The CS receive a referral, concoct one themselves or arrange for one. They then rush to their computer database and ,without checking the information with the parents or anyone else, they take what they find therein as fact. Sometimes it is completely false. Most often it is incomplete, uninvestigated intelligence. This will have been inputted into computers by badly-trained, overworked SW’s without any checks on its truth. E.G. It isn’t unknown for the background of one family to be entered in the file of another.
            The CS then initiate a behind-closed doors strategy meeting with the Police ( and no-one else) take the referral and database as read without checks and initiate a s47 investigation. At that point, two SW’s along with several Police Officers will ‘drop in’ without warning . Believe me, when they do that and also have other officers and back up police cars and vans waiting in the street out side the home ( or neo-natal unit) they have only one intent and the Police don’t hang around checking the information with parents, doctors, relatives etc., The parents will not be asked to give an account of circumstances or even told by Police the nature of the background information they have been given.
            That is unlawful and it is unlawful for the CS to hand false information to Police without checks. It is unlawful for any official body to make a false referral to the CS without visiting the scene and checking its information.
            But it happens!
            Of course, when they set out acting unlawfully, they are not disposed doing their real duty at all. They have decided to remove and that is that as far as they are concerned, they aren’t going to start giving a parent the chance to put things right or perhaps even help them to do so. No support will be offered and no alternatives ( such as a temporary family placement ) will be investigated.
            Sam, I researched it on the FRG forums and I feel confident when I say that many of these unlawful removals happen on a Friday evening. The law says that children removed under so-called Police protection must be returned within 72 hours . The Police ,unfortunately have no intention of doing so. They don’t visit the parent again to check whether the so-called imminent danger or emergency situation still exists. They make no further effort to visit the family home and make further enquiries. They don’t bother visiting the child to check how the Social Workers or foster-carers have treated them or to take note of events since removal. They just take the children and dump them on the CS. That is unlawful .They have no interest in the child’s human rights and they have a callous disregard for the 72 hour time limit for return.
            If , after full enquiries, it is decided an emergency protection order is needed ,the CS have to apply for it within 2 days. By law, that is the norm.
            I don’t think I need tell you ,Sam, they don’t act lawfully. Despite the fact that magistrates are available at weekend , they leave it then on Monday they will ‘persuade’ the vulnerable family there is a need for an S20. Afterwards they can always make the excuse of short staffing levels, weekend skeleton staff at Court etc. If an emergency order is applied for on Monday or Tuesday they have broken the 48 hour norm laid down in common law and you can bet your life that they, also,have made no attempt to either check on the so-called emergency situation or visit the parent again to check the false background.
            Anna, take the advice of Sam and Helen ,get yourself a solicitor. Be prepared ,however, for the solicitor to fall prey to the same no-smoke without fire mistake as an emergency magistrate. a voluntary care agreement may not be necessary and will cause great harm to the child but he may advise you to sign the S20. The solicitors like parents to co-operate fully with the social workers then you can’t be accused of defensiveness and an inability to accept concerns ,accept and work with support and so on.
            Don’t forget to try and get the consultant and health visitor on your side. HAVE THEY ANY CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR MENTAL ABILITIES. If not ask them to put it in writing. Before any order is issued. After one is issued, they aren’t allowed to discuss it with you or provide you with evidence except through the Court.
            Sarah,if you read this , I don’t expect you to accept these malpractices I describe without evidence. All I can suggest is next time you get such a case, check everything from the earliest stage carefully.

          4. Sam

            He gave consent to the section 20 but days before that the children were taken from my home ( where they lived) and placed with him, without EPO, PPO, section 20 or CO. I was simply told this was what they decided. Incidentally only days after I and my son had been assaulted by him. I was naive, like so many parents. Rather than argue against authority initially we trust too much and get burnt.

          5. Sarah Phillimore

            I am not for one moment trying to justify or defend what happened to you. However I do think it is a different situation where children are removed from the care of one parent to another, as opposed to removed from a parent and placed in the care of the state. While both parents have PR I don’t see this as unlawful. But obviously there should have been proper investigation of what had happened between you, and from what you say, it does not sound as if there was.

          6. Angelo Granda

            I am only an ordinary parent, of course,and I may be wrong, but I disagree that while both parents have PR it is not unlaswfulI don’t see this as unlawful. Even if there has been proper investigation I would contend it is unlawful and totally disproportionate for the CS to ‘interfere in the lives of a family ‘and remove a child from Sam or any other Mum without a Court . It would seem the CS aided and abetted the infliction of serios emotional harm to a child. Sarah, what would be the position legally if Dad had taken the child from Mum and his habitual residenceAnd his usual FORCIBLY without an order from a Court?

  83. Angelo Granda

    Might I suggest that you ask to see the consultant paediatrician who is in charge of your case and also that you contact your GP’s surgery to request a hospital visit by your health visitor.When you see them tell them you seek protection for the baby from the Social Worker possibly removing her from your care.Enlist their help and request an assessment of your abilities.
    Is Dad in the picture? Are you married? Does the SW have any problem with him?
    Whilst you are still in hospital, I suggest you call a family conference and ask all members for help .Also look up on Google the Family Rights Group (FRG) who have a helpline and Qand A forum.
    Good Luck!

    Reply
  84. Sam

    I am answering Angelo’s recent comment. You have a very good point. I really don’t see how someone can come into your home, who hasn’t got parental responsibility and take your child without it being a breach of your family life and emotionally abusive to the child. It is also not creating a level playing field right from the outset. I have proof that the threshold for a care order was not met at the time as well.
    Up until the 1970’s children were removed from single mothers in the same way. It was wrong then and it is just as wrong now.

    Reply
  85. Angelo Granda

    Sam, As you know I can only give you advice as one ordinary parent to another but I would suggest that, in your case when correct procedure was not followed and when it appears that the case was not conducted correctly and it does not sound like there was a proper investigation plus the SW seems to have interfered with your child’s life unlawfully, I suggest that the only genuine remedy for you and the child was an appeal to a higher court.
    Please can you say whether your lawyers recommended an appeal and apply for legal funding? . I can hardly believe that they would have failed to see the injustices you describe. As Sarah often says ” where were your lawyers” ?
    Did you engage with them or did you fail to cooperate and not acknowledge and accept concerns?
    Surely they believed your story or did the CS tell everyone you were mental?

    Personally ,I have advocated that in such serious cases, permission for leave to appeal should be granted automatically . No-one appears to agree with me to date . Would such a rule have helped you get justice for your child? Also ,I think the 21-day time limit is way, way to short given that many things don’t come to light until long after that when parents have made subject-access requests, looked over court bundles and transcripts etc. and received responses to official complaints. ( they can take many months). Plus, i have found that one’s own solicitors appear to be most unhelpful in that they deliberately shut down the shop and stop communicating.
    I will be grateful if you can answer these questions and I hope you back me up but that is up to you. It was a letter from Mr. Cameron’s office to an MP which advises in no uncertain terms that the only remedy is an appeal to a higher court when cases are conducted incorrectly IN ANY WAY and the letter asks the MP to make that clear to any parent that complains. It was insistent that the Working Together Frameworks must be followed scrupulously in every case to ensure that it is conducted correctly.
    No-one should turn a blind eye to malpractices and the flouting of procedure and fail the child in such circumstances. I feel your lawyers should have recommended an appeal straight away.
    In fact ,even at this late stage, I think they should appeal on your child’s behalf before he comes to real harm. You know I have accused lawyers of turning a blind-eye, being too timid and that some solicitors are not strictly acting in the interests of children at all rather their own. Looking through the dictionary last night, I hit on the perfect word to describe why the system is so regularly accused of ‘corruption’ ( rightly or wrongly). The professionals are ALL prone to pseudomutuality.
    All comments welcome .

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Angelo
      My first solicitors can be best described as chocolate teapot solicitors i.e they didn’t know the law themselves despite being members of the Children’s Legal Panel. Neither did the Guardian, apparently. Also neither did the High Court Judge, or if he did, he decided to ignore it, thus breaking his oath. Some judges simply should not be family law judges, they ought to specialise in what they practised in as lawyers. Far too much is left to chance.
      To be frank Angelo, it is far too late for an appeal now, I know there has been a miscarriage of justice as does everyone else including the judge. That satisfies me and in future I hope my children sue the LA for negligence.
      I think there needs to be an independent oversight body, criminal courts have one and they are not held in private.

      Reply
  86. Angelo Granda

    Pseudomutuality means they respond to complaints and conflicts by ignoring them completely. That should never happen in any Court .

    Reply
  87. cloe

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    Reply
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