Seeking help for adopted children should be safe

Living with the long term effect of abuse and neglect.

This is a post by an adoptive mother, who shall remain anonymous.

Adoption is a cornerstone of social policy in the UK for children living with abuse and neglect, and without legal reform, adoptive families are at high risk of having their children removed as a crisis measure when they seek help for a child’s extreme difficulties as a result of earlier abuse/neglect. This piece is written by an adoptive parent and many of the experiences described may be common to parents of children with disabilities including cognitive disabilities and mental health difficulties, who seek help in the form of respite or specialist support for challenging behaviour.

A new round of joint targeted inspections by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, and probationary inspectorates into the impact of childhood neglect, will have begun this month focussing on middle age children (age 7-15) who are at risk of exploitation and/ or showing challenging behaviours (Community Care, 17th April 2017). The impact of childhood neglect may last a lifetime and it is not clear whether the inspections will focus solely on children whose needs for love and care are not being met currently and children that may have entered the Care system for reasons of neglect and abuse, and they and their carers are living with the effects of previous neglect.

As an adoptive parent I know that neglect can occur in isolation but often involves abuse too. Concerns were raised by the Selwyn report (2014) about adoptive families accessing appropriate support for what can be extremely challenging behaviours, well beyond the bounds of normal parenting, stemming from abuse and neglect. The report identified that parents struggled to access services, especially crisis support, and that children’s disabilities are often not recognised or acknowledged in adoption, in terms of accessing post adoption support and services, even for relatively well known conditions such as autism.

My son experienced profound early life neglect and abuse. When problems emerged in the early years of adolescence and I reported problematic behaviour that was clearly related to my son’s abuse history, it seemed removal, which neither my child or I wanted, was the only option considered by the authority. Only after a period of several years, and a number of court proceedings, did my son return home with no public law orders in place, and when this happened our reunification was not planned or supported. We found ourselves back to square one, albeit with a capped Adoption Support Fund, that we had been unable to access whilst my son was living away from home. The Pathway team say that their support, which runs out 6 months after Supervision Order discharge, is not for young people like my son, who live with their family. As a result of our family’s experiences I believe that the child protection system, particularly as it relates to adoptive families, needs to change. It seems too divisive of parent and child and totally unsupportive of parents reporting and seeking help.

These are my thoughts.

Reporting of problems needs to be safe

There should be an expectation of support for parents dealing with challenging behaviour, especially in the child’s middle years when the repercussions of removal can be life altering. We cannot have a situation – which we have now – where there is fear to report the problems because the consequences of reporting may be worse than keeping silent.

Recognition that removal of the child brings its own new set of problems

Removal of children from their home and family, sometimes, at a great distance, may solve the problems (although this may be necessary), but more problems may be created when the focus remains almost exclusively on risk and if intervention continually comes between parent and child. Risks and benefits need to be carefully considered, with parents involved, and both short and long term outcomes need to be thought about.

Children can be traumatised by their removal from family, feel rejected and frightened by the enormity of what is happening to them, and they can express their frustration towards those it is safest to do so with – their parents. There will be a natural move towards independence in adolescence and parents can be pushed away by their child and at the same time find themselves marginalised by the responsible authority. Identity issues come to the fore in the middle years, and in adoptions, the approaches taken can push a child or young person to seek contact with birth families. This is in itself an emotionally intense situation to deal with and the reasons for the child being taken into care may have not been addressed. Risks can be far greater than they ever were before.

Recognition that reunification can be problematic after a child has been in care

One recommendation of the Selwyn report was that reunification should never be ruled out – but coming together as a family can be problematic after a child is living away from home, especially after a Care Order is made, for example, if secure accommodation was needed.

Law orders and court proceedings should not be an obstacle and barrier to family life for the child, particularly children living with neglect. Family life, and parental love can offer protective benefits and ameliorate risks associated with neglect.

Reunifications can be especially challenging if a child has suffered corporate trauma or negligence as a result of their being in care and it is highly unlikely this will be recognised by the agencies involved.

Infrastructure change and new models of support are urgently needed

New models of support are required, to support the family as a whole, when middle age children exhibit challenging behaviour resulting from neglect, trauma, disability and cognitive impairment. Timely respite and periods of separation may be necessary and it should be much easier to come together again afterwards. Infrastructure and legislation must support partnership working with agencies and authorities. It is regrettable in my view that adoptive families cannot access the ASF (Adoption Support Fund) – administered by Mott MacDonald, if there is no intention to reunify on the part of the local authority – and that this fund, recently capped at £5k, is only accessible through the local authorities. Effectively this can mean that adoption support via the ASF is potentially not available to the adopted children and families that need it most.

An approach that sees parents blamed and removes children instead of supporting families is not just a systemic failing, which sees the Rights of the Child violated, it is likely to be extremely costly. Residential care costs £3k per week on average according to a recent review by Sir Martin Narey. Parents are key to the future welfare of their children, especially so where there is previous neglect, abuse and disability, and they should be seen as a resource. Committed parents are not adversaries of our children or the state. Legal reform is needed so that we are not treated as such, and the decisions, actions and performance level of agencies can be better scrutinised, with repercussions for organisations where there has been corporate negligence.

Finally, becoming an adoptive parent has been the best thing that I’ve done and I believe in the Care system. I want no child to enter it who does not need to be there and I want the Care system to have the capacity to meet the complex needs of the children who enter it. Without comprehensive change for children in need, at the edge of Care, including children who have been adopted, living with the long term effects of neglect, I believe that this dream of a Care system ‘fit for purpose’ will remain just that – a dream.

32 thoughts on “Seeking help for adopted children should be safe

  1. looked_after_child

    There is so much in your experience I recognise and thank you for raising these issues. How can we have arrived at a situation where seeking help for a child’s extreme difficulties, means that parents are not seen as part of the ‘solution’ for the child unless there are clear reasons why it is not in a young person’s best interest?
    I was also very interested in your experience of ‘reunification’. Taking the view that a family has ‘failed’ is very short term thinking given the commitment so many parents have to their children for the long term into adulthood and beyond. This is likely to go well beyond the commitment services have.

    1. looked_after_child

      This is a quote from an amazing mum of a young man with ‘challenging behaviour’ who raises this point too.

      Over the past four or five years there have been some very high-profile and horrific child abuse cases which have culminated in a child’s death. The reviews which follow them often find opportunities that were missed which, had they been picked up and acted upon, might have prevented the tragic sequences of events.

      In response, there has rightfully been an emphasis on safeguarding training, and the focus of those who work with children is to be watchful and alert to any nuance which may indicate a serious child protection situation. However, for parents of children with disabilities, who inevitably are more often in contact with child specialist practitioners, it can feel as though we are under such intense scrutiny that they are actively trying to catch us out as abusive parents.

      Undoubtedly, there are appalling parents who do terrible things to their children but, generally speaking, they are unlikely to be the ones actively asking for help. What might help enormously would be an open mind, a little bit of trust and kindness, and an acknowledgement that the vast majority of parents only want the very best for their child.

      1. HelenSparkles

        I think Serious Case Reviews are the benefit of hindsight. Rather than saying SW abc should have known xyz, the systemic issues should be explored. Saying there is a ‘bad’ SW is easier than opening up that discussion but it leads to a blame culture where practice can be defensive unless you really have a lot of confidence and resilience. That depends on the individual SW and their manager. N

      2. Angelo Granda

        Thanks for the link. I don’t expect you will get many professional comments about research like this though.
        The Local Authorities issue strict directives to employees and one of those is that they never admit to shortfalls or partiality when making their assessments.
        It doesn’t matter how much similar research there is , it will not be sought out by SW’s. For one , they haven’t time to investigate impartially, secondly ,they are badly trained and thirdly they often follow the LA’s illegitimate aims ( they have to) and will only present evidence to achieve them. They ignore any research or evidence hostile to its litigation.
        Surprise,surprise, Guardians (usually ex-SW’s themselves) also seem to have the same fault and ‘miss’ similar research too!

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Professor Karen Broadhurst is trying to set up a research ‘hub’ as many people are aware of the difficulties of promoting easy access to relevant research across professional boundaries. I don’t know what is happening with this, but I hope it is still progressing. Its a real problem.
          If you google Professor Broadhurst Research Hub or Observatory, you may find some more info.

          1. Angelo Granda

            But my point is this. LA’s deliberately avoid any research hostile to its own litigation. What is more , if a parent takes relevant research to the SW’s and relevant diagnoses or even written proof that the LA’s own evidence is WRONG, they are under strict directives from the L.A. NEVER to admit to faults or alter their evidence. There is a culture in child-protection departments that the aims ( legitimate or illegitimate ) of the LA litigation comes before the paramount interests of children ( as defined by law). Its own interests are paramount.
            Everyone recognises it; they never own up to faults .We have discussed this before, of course , in our circuitous discussions. Why won’t they own up to faults and correct wrong evidence? Because it is not in the financial interests of the L.A. Even you, Sarah, agreed that they possibly don’t own up because they lay themselves open to legal action and lawsuits for compensation. Thus they act in their own paramount interests not in those of the children involved.
            Here’s the rub! The SW’s , when shown proof, know they got it wrong but they have to turn a blind eye when it goes against the LA’s litigation. The SW’s are instructed so to do by their superiors ( the LA lawyers and managers) thus the SW’s cannot be blamed entirely. Clearly the lawyers rule .Why would they throw a case away by correcting mistakes?
            The problem with child-protection is that unless professionals change their culture and practice and learn the habit of admitting to errors and correcting evidence regardless of the LA’s financial interests then they will never improve.
            The culture which exists has been common knowledge for years. I have used the words naïve and obtuse before about lawyers. One does not want to criticise them too harshly. Why can’t they put two and two together? When the LA’s evidence is one-sided and they don’t follow correct procedures and won’t conduct a case correctly , they are doing it in their own paramount interests ( usually for financial reasons) If this were not so, they would admit to faults. They never do .
            Therefore ,they don’t want change and don’t want the outcomes for children to improve. They probably conduct the cases incorrectly deliberately.
            The problem is that solicitors who act for the LA’s and argue that the correct procedures aren’t crucial are hardly likely to argue ( when representing a parent) that they are. That will make it much harder for them next time they are working for the LA. They have split loyalties. Conflict of interest?

          2. HelenSparkles

            Research is available to everyone. The lawyer representing parents can present research they think supports their position and the court can decide. The thing about research is that it is research, it isn’t THE TRUTH, so right vs wrong doesn’t really come into it. The SW is making a case on behalf of the LA with evidence. All of that evidence is open to challenge in a court. Nobody would be sued or have to compensate someone because the court decided the parents’ evidence made a stronger case so absolutely no idea what your comments about that are Angelo. You are also too focussed on procedure. It is important of course, and should be followed but it is also possible for parents to be abusing a child, even when a process isn’t followed. Courts do comment on SW practice but ultimately are there to make a decision based on the evidence and regardless of any technicalities because their role is to protect a child.

          3. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Research manifestly is NOT available to everyone. Most people – including me – don’t know where to find it, much is behind pay walls or subscription only journals. Parents with literacy or learning disabilities can’t find it. Lawyers don’t have time to dig it out. We rely on social workers to present relevant research accurately and fairly – and I am afraid many don’t.

          4. HelenSparkles

            Ok, clumsy phrasing, I have the same access to research that anyone else does.

          5. HelenSparkles

            & I mean legal reps for both parties.

            Of course that means it should be used responsibility by those parties as well.

          6. looked_after_child

            I would also say Sarah from my own experience that I could never understand why no-one seemed prepared to explain processes to us or seemed to understand that the owed a duty to us around this ( novel concept?) – Process is ‘neutral’ – like a flow chart – (in this situation we follow this process and if this happens then ……….) this applied from s20 all the way to LAC meetings and Pathways planning. This is not a criticism of individual social workers just an observation about a system where concerns about ‘confidentiality’ have become over-arching. It was our right to have these proceseses explained. It caused tremendous anxiety that they were not and I can see why this approach would lead to a complete breakdown in trust between families and SWs. Also if we did’ent understand what was going on how was our autistic son supposed to? Knowledge eg around the role of panels in approving packages) really IS power …..

          7. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            That’s a really good point and exactly why Jerry and Sam and I were trying to get a leaflet together. I did actually get someone to design one for me and I emailed it to a social worker for comment… and it’s all gone quiet and I forgot to chase it.

            But it sounds like, from your comment, its definitely time to resurrect this project and give it a test run and see if can help.

            Sam – do you agree? Could we test it in your area? Happy to pay to print a few hundred and see if we can distribute, get feedback.

          8. HelenSparkles

            I agree, have just done a post conference visit to explain the process and doing the same again with the other parent this week, he’ll get flow chart due to needing something visual … So Sarah, if you would like to email me that leaflet, I will be happy to look at it. I was too poorly to get anything done myself but think it is nothing other than helpful to work with families who understand what is happening.

          9. Angelo Granda

            Sarah. Thanks for your comments.
            As you say, you rely on SW’s ( and the Guardian, I presume) to be the ‘experts’ and you are entitled to expect those parties to read and interpret relevant research fairly and impartially also to present care-plans accordingly after making realistic appraisals of medical information.
            The Judges are entitled to expect that those two parties are fair and impartial experts too at least that they are capable of understanding medical advice, assessments and records.
            Parents are told that Judges read and understand all evidence including medical records etc. It is clear from appeals etc. and from our own experience that in actual fact, they don’t read all medical archives and assessments and why should they if they aren’t qualified to understand what they are reading.
            They rely on the word of other CP professionals and their supposed fair interpretations.
            So there is no point in parents presenting medical evidence or any other evidence in order to argue a different case. No one reads it. The lawyers rely on the SW’s to be fair. How can the Family Court even be called a court?
            In one case SW’s said children had severe learning difficulties. Children’s consultant said they didn’t and that they were very smart so parent asked for medical records to be produced . SW’s would not change their minds and included their own false assessments as threshold criteria for neglect..
            Obviously the Judge did not read the genuine, fair medical evidence which contradicted them because she found threshold were crossed on that basis.
            Do you think there is a case for some cases to be held at a tribunal under the NHS rather than a civil Family Court? What’s the point of demanding evidence if the Judge isn’t going to read and understand it anyway ,where everyone relies on the CS which just so happens to be employed for the applicant (L.A.)

  2. Anon

    I believe the problems run very deep. The system is too adversarial and divisive of parent and child – and it is as if by asking for help you come under suspicion. Parental capacity can be questioned much more easily than a parent can challenge the errors and opinions of professionals. Mothers can sometimes have similar difficulties when they know something is not right and they seek understanding before an autism diagnosis is made – which can still take many years on average in the UK – and it still doesn’t mean services are forthcoming to support the family -at least not with an attachment sensitive approach. An approach that puts the relationship with parent and child at the centre of it and supports the attachment bond, which could protect the child throughout life.

    The behaviour of the child can easily be seen out of context of their history of abuse and neglect in adoptions and one can find oneself judged as a parent, instead of supported – Prof Eileen Munro calls this ‘fundamental attribution error’. It happens to all parents. Groupthink is also a problem. A group of professionals get together and are quick to make judgements – not testing these and if they are wrong or errors are made. For various unhealthy reasons the professionals defend themselves and each other. If a professional has made an error they will not readily admit it and will look for anything that seems to support their case. It’s the blame culture. Blame gets passed gets passed down – not up.

    The whole system seemed to work against us as an adoptive family until we found the right professionals with adoption knowledge – who saw a good attachment was made. Saw the approach was causing distress to the child and parent. Stood up to the authority with confidence of years of knowledge and experience. It’s still hard though – the funding for adoptions comes from a different pot. One with little in it. Language is important too. Adoption is not a ‘placement’. It’s horrible to hear it described like this – especially by professionals, organisations and in court.

    Grateful for this opportunity to raise the issues.

    1. HelenSparkles

      I am sorry that this is your experience, or that of any other family seeking help. It should not have been and I would like to reassure you that there are experienced and knowledgeable professionals within LAs as well as outside them. It is always a shame when I hear about those who are not, but as with any profession, there are some members of it I would not choose to sit on my sofa.

      The funding for adopters is the Adoption Support Fund which is administered by the LA, generally by the adoption support team. It comes directly from central government so there is no advantage or disadvantage to the LA in how those funds are allocated. There was a cap imposed by the government last year, because demand had been underestimated, and I haven’t seen anything that the cap is in place. Whilst it is of course right and proper that those funds are available to adopters, nothing like that is available to families, which is a huge injustice.

      I can understand why you don’t like the word placement but I am a bit torn there, it isn’t a problem to change it as such, but I think adoption generally needs to be viewed more like fostering. In an ideal world I would like long term fostering to be more permeant and stable because then children have a family they are safe to grow up with whilst not severing their ties to their birth family so entirely. There are sometimes grandparents for example who might not be able to care for a child full time, but who would be a positive person to have in that child’s world, which would avoid one loss for them. I am sure you can think of others.

      At the moment, adoption predominantly functions as a fertility service in so far as very few adopters make an altruistic choice to adopt and they are predominantly same sex couples. 95% (sorry can’t remember source) of adopters adopt because they have not been able to form their family by other means. There are also very few relinquished children, which is good, because the shame of the 50’s has gone. If a court decides that adoption is the best outcome for a child, I think adoption needs to reflect better the knowledge and skills foster carers have, and ongoing support. I mean to insult nobody by that comment, complicated children are being placed with people whose parenting capacity is hypothetically assessed (if they don’t already have children) and the assessment is largely based on self reporting with some corroboration. I also like the fact that adoption is ‘normal family life’ without social workers and IROs being around to disrupt a child’s sense of stability. I think there must be a way between the two paths.

  3. looked_after_child

    I eventually found the LAs procedures for LAC on-line – All 60 plus pages of it – beautifully written with no visuals or ‘easy read version’.

    I could’ent really figure out who the target audience was. There was info. within it that our son’s SW’s were not aware of. Children would never read it and most parents would’ent either I’d guess.

    Many people ‘drown in’ words particularly when extremely stressed – I know that focus can be very hard taking in information in those circumstances – having an easy read/quick reference leaflet that people can refer to when they are less stressed is a great idea. It can also ‘defuse’ a situation potentially when people can see a certain process would apply to all families in these circumstances.

    I also recently reread all the correspondence relating to professionals interventions over an 18 month period. My perspective has shifted because I know so much more about professionals roles, boundaries etc. I just kept asking questions and giving advice (!) That is what parents do but it must have been quite challenging for the professionals involved.

    Most to their credit, with the exception of our GP and our son’s school were good about it. What is also noticeable that we received no paperwork after meetings or professionals reports etc. At the time it took a while to see this as a pattern ( our son was over 16) that I needed to address ( take notes, confirm LAs action items after all meetings in writing).
    I do think all families involved with professionals in these circumstances should have an option to record meetings and should bring someone to meetings just for a second opinion. We were never included in the really confidential meetings anyway – again we did’ent realise just how excluded parents are from decision making – retaining parental responsibility dos’ent mean a whole heap if a young person chooses not to share…

  4. looked_after_child

    ..We were given no LAC review reports and indeed no copies of our son’s plans. We submitted very considered (from our perspective) written submissions but had no confirmation these were included or whatever..I have no idea how parents with literacy difficulties are meant to navigate the system. We just have to move away from written submissions to other media – visuals, U-tube, flow charts, audio recordings etc

  5. looked_after_child

    It is a deeply dis-empowering for many people I imagine who must feel so ‘stitched up’ irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the outcomes.

    1. Angelo Granda

      Looked after child, Were you invited to all LAC reviews or did you miss some.
      Were relevant experts invited and TURN UP to reviews or were specialist medical decisions taken by SW’s and IRO’s without expert input.
      Were you informed of matters to be discussed at reviews in advance and were your opinions circulated?
      Were full LAC review minutes taken and circulated?
      In other words, was procedural correctness adhered to?

      I doubt it! In my experience, the outcome of meetings is often decided in advance between professionals . If a parent objects, he or she will be silenced and a threat will be made to stop the meeting. SW’s invite who they want when they want .Often an IRO will demand the presence of certain experts but it will not happen. No minutes are certainly not circulated to parents! I think minutes are made by the IRO who leaves it up to the CS to make copies and send them out.The duty is flouted!

      Hence LAC procedures are sloppy and children neglected.

      1. Angelo Granda

        As LAC Reviews commence various pre- compiled reports will be handed out in the preparation of which parents have not been consulted only SW’s.
        Look at the LAC Review forms given to you.There will be a question on it which says- ‘ Have parents and others with parental responsibility been seen by the CS, had matters to be discussed exlained and asked to make a contribution prior to this review? Invariably the YES box will be ticked. But it never happens!
        Corners are cut, of course they are but children suffer because of it. The poor SW’s just don’t have the time.The industry is plagued by spanish practices, alas.

  6. looked_after_child

    Our son was asked if he wanted to share information with his parents. He said ‘No’ so that was it Angelo we were locked out of everything -no meetings, no plans etc. It is also worth pointing out that he turned up at no meetings himself..I cannot speak for others

    1. Angelo Granda

      I think any lawyer will confirm that if that happened whilst you still hold or held parental responsibility then the LA acted unlawfully regardless of whether your son agreed or not.
      Then again some solicitors might feign that they misunderstand you or that what you say is not true.
      More cases of institutional sex abuse were discussed on the radio at weekend. As usual no-one in authority took action when it was reported to them, they just covered it up .
      Obviously, it is not my intention to frighten parents but institutional abuse reported is ‘cultural’ within many child-protection departments especially in care-homes ( not just in Wales and Jersey).
      In Crown Court ‘sex abuse’ was described by the Judge as part of CS culture in North Manchester over 50 years at least. Mostly, it was found that the abuse usually occurred ‘within hours’ of the children being taken into care. Hence the massive deteriorations and trauma which is shown by children which is then blamed on parents.
      Neither is it my intention to spread false rumours or make false accusations in order to defame the system but I feel it my duty to bring it up on this resource given what I read in the papers and hear on air.( Not the Mail, I don’t buy that rag). These are not rumours anymore and the professionals defame themselves. It is clear that where we have abusive professionals, they will have no compunctions about acting illicitly as to removal without a court order, cp conferences ( if any are held) and LAC Reviews. If they flout procedures and distort decisions then their aims are most probably illegitimate. They want to procure children for exploitation anyway they can.
      I feel that once they have the children in their clutches , they are abused pretty damn soon after as described by the Crown Court Judge in Manchester and I think that is the reason why they get new Doctors for them ,move them far away from their roots and make the frequency of contact minimal.
      Unfortunately, the question of deliberate unlawfulness on the part of LA’s seems to be taboo, they would rather pretend it does not happen . It has to be faced sometimes.
      I await more from the current Public Enquiry which is ongoing but funny no one seems to mention it. Then when they publish some findings ,next day a report will be issued by the cp system giving statistics about parental child abuse . I suppose that is to ‘bury’ the shock revelations about themselves.
      Do you mind if I ask, were you present when your son supposedly said he does not want you to take part in his care? Have you discussed it with him? You do know how easy it is to brainwash children ,don’t you?
      Finally, by targeting autistic children and their is evidence of that, it means their victims are unable to communicate what is happening to parents in many cases.

  7. looked_after_child

    SW’s regularly apologised but repeated they had taken legal advice within the LA – very cut and dried – no sharing possible, no redacted plans, nothing.

    I did get legal advice I was told that we could only object to x, y, z if we knew about x, y,z so if no plan then no grounds for objection plus legal challenges would have been expensive and achieve nothing or could make things worse, particularly if it affected our son. In out situation we had to stay really focussed on what was happening for him. We could’ent afford to ‘get distracted’ or choose the wrong battles.

    Our son should never have had to enter Care. What you have to understand is that we were in a ‘lose-lose’ situation once he did. Social Care did try I think – they found it incredibly difficult because they could’ent work with us ( the law..) and people close to him were at a complete loss to figure out what ‘makes him tick’.

    When he turned 18 they tried to put him in a shared flat as a response to reduced funding- that would have been a complete disaster – we did object when it was reported to us verbally and the IRO took our complaint and worked with it to get a better package for him but it was incredibly ‘touch and go’. If we had’ent worked so hard at personal relationships ( and ignored SO much insulting stuff ) with various people I’m not what would have happened…the difference may only have been marginal but that marginal difference changed a lot..

    ..which is why I try to focus on children’s rights to support that is right for them – because many children in Care will be not have adults ‘fighting for’ them – professionals will be doing a, b or c because they are paid to and they only see a bit of the picture and they can only do their job if they are well trained and well resourced.

    There needs to be a LOT less kids in Care and those kids need to be getting really good support – then the Care system would be fit for purpose..and so many children, like our son should never end up in Care..we were just abandoned like so many other children in need within families in need.

    On bad days it is very hard not to be bitter and angry ( particularly if I read anything about child neglect when the state is systemically neglecting children with high needs and poor mental health BY CHOICE – the hypocrisy is stomach churning ) but we just have to look to the future and try and make it a little better..

  8. Angelo Granda

    Yes, you are quite right , it is no use being bitter and angry. Anger gets one nowhere.
    However, children are taken into care unlawfully partly because the correct medical experts in regard to autistic behaviour are not consulted and when in care they are neglected by the LA’s unlawfully as proven by the flouting of LAC Review procedures and by the continuous failure to use the correct experts OR involve parents in medical consultations to give input about past history.

    Problem is that your son , yourself and thousands of others including my children are now hung out to dry . As you say, one must accept it and keep an eye on them because that is all one can do without any possibility of appeal. Also try and warn future victims and try to help constructively on this resource etc.
    One thing is certain, one cannot really blame SW’s in the final analysis, as they always say themselves, the lawyers take the decisions not they and the lawyers work for the LA’s .

    So, what of lawyers? I honestly believe that solicitors are mainly interested solely in making a profit for their firm . Children’s Legal Panel lawyers work for both parents and LA’s on a regular basis consequently they have a conflict of interest which affects the information they give to barristers IF they get one which isn’t every time. They like to keep on good terms with LA’s and CAFFCAS for business reasons. Families are of secondary importance to them . I am not a conspiracy theorist, this isn’t a conspiracy, it is just the way it is. They are in the business of procuring children for the LA’s.

    Most barristers ,like Sarah, though not all, do their very best at all times for their client as is their clear duty. Some have conflicted interests because they feel they have a higher duty to the children than their clients also a certain amount of duty to the court ( its schedules etc.).

    Many victims are convinced that Judges are the ones to blame mainly.
    a) We know they are permitted a very great amount of discretion and this appears to fall on the side of LA’s in the vast majority of Public Law cases ( about 94%).
    b) We know that they take very great care to administer cases very carefully to make them unappealable by families. (Not necessarily fair and humane but unappealable).
    c) We know ( as victims) that in many, many cases they exceed their reasonable discretion. In many cases when permanent liquidation of families is ordered it is just plain illogical and disproportionate but the Judge’s discretion rules even when safeguards are not adhered to.

    Is there some sort of illegal conspiracy ? No, of course not! This is inhumanity but I don’t think we can ever say a Judge is involved in a top-level conspiracy. As I say, I don’t believe any conspiracy theories although they would have to be top-level if it did happen, I suppose. Nothing to do with ordinary SW’s and lawyers.

    However, we should always keep an eye on historical events and be aware of possibilities for corruption, inhumane children trafficking and so on. Was there a conspiracy when children were transported down -under inhumanely for workcamps and abuse? I don’t think so but can we be sure before more of the truth comes from this Public Enquiry now in progress.

    It is clear that children are a very valuable commodity and there is no doubt they are trafficked throughout the world by officials in other countries much less humane than our own. The trafficking is organised at the top level and I am not only guessing that lawyers are involved in it. On the news this morning ,they were discussing a meeting between Donald Trump Junior and a top lawyer attached to the Kremlin . This LAWYER soon brought the subject around to child-adoption between the two countries. I suppose she meant transporting children from Russia to the U.S. I suppose this is how inhumane decisions and deals are done in secret. And the lawyers will ensure it happens legally by granting themselves discretionary powers. I doubt if Russian victims can appeal!

  9. Angelo Granda

    Just a footnote: Trump junior was apparently lured into attending a meeting with the lawyer on a promise of some dirt on his father’s election rival, Hilary Clinton. When the lawyer started talking about adoption between their two countries, he ended the meeting . Had he persevered and listened a little longer ,the dirt he wanted might have concerned some sort of adoption conspiracy.

  10. Angelo Granda

    Possibly you are correct , Sarah. However , how would that implicate Clinton?
    We can only speculate and invent narratives and conspiracy theories now which is why it is a shame he never let the meeting continue. Illegal people trafficking is common, alas in the 21st century. Children ,especially, are treated worse than animals in some countries . We used to do it ourselves !Thousands were exploited by our officials , conned into the belief they were ORPHANS or unwanted and transported across the world where they suffered much mental torture and degradation including sex-abuse ( see findings of current Public Enquiry if you can access them).
    Who can say the practice does not go on in a present day country which appears to be run by oligarchs of the darker kind? Not only Russia but other East European countries and Middle Eastern too.
    Of course, I am not slurring you personally ,just the civil Family Court systems as a whole which allows such inhumanity .

  11. Adoptionp

    “Legal reform is needed so that we are not treated as such, and the decisions, actions and performance level of agencies can be better scrutinised, with repercussions for organisations where there has been corporate negligence”

    Totally agree, however even aftercomplainging to the Independent Reviewing Officer about error in LA procedures and even telling untruths in court, including running over the 6 month recommended timeframe for court procedures , nothing has changed in our LA.

    To fix a problem, the issues have to be exposed, if LA continue to operate in an untransparent unaccountable way with closed door decisions where there is no interaction with parents, then problem will never be fixed. It is time to put your hands up LA.

    Since our court case last year, I provided feedback to government inquiry of treatment of adoptive parents under sec20, where LA in my opinion act totally illegally and also complained to local government ombudsmen.


  12. Adoptivemum

    This is still happening now!
    I have 3 asd, adopted kids. 1 has violent melt downs. We’ve begged for help for years. It came last year in the form of a s17 assessment and a child protection plan for all 3 of them!

    So many untruths in the report.

    We’ve had nothing explained to us. We are talked to in the most unprofessional and derogatory manner. Shut down every time we try and engage and then accused of not engaging!? We’ve repeatedly asked ‘what are the specific concerns’ only to be continually ignored or given sweeping statements such as ‘gaps in your parenting’ with no explanations or suggestions about what on earth we’re supposed to do!

    The process is re-traumatising my teenage children, this process forms part of their life story, they’ve been here once and they lost everything.

    Everyone who knows us, professional wise, has been excluded, it’s now an entirely LA core group and us.

    Nothing has changed.

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