This sorry story dates back to the six years 1960-1966 when I was a Kent County Councillor and a mother came to me for help because social workers had taken away her son, Trevor, aged 12 (and of near-genius IQ) because he got bored at school and played truant! She was denied all contact and when I asked where he was and if, as the mother’s elected representative, I could at least see him myself, I was told to mind my own business!
I found him at a special private school (owned by the deputy leader of the Labour Party at the time) that was charging exorbitant fees more than 3 times those charged at ETON or HARROW! Young Trevor informed me that the boys were paid the sum of one shilling (5p) when required to sleep with any of their ‘over affectionate’ teachers at this very ‘special’ children’s home!
Eventually after acrimonious debates in the Council chamber and a court action he was returned to his mother and I was asked to help many other parents whose children had been removed for absurd reasons.
I applied in court for the discharge of care orders. I called the parents and sometimes the children themselves as witnesses in court against my own Council and I never lost a case so I was not best popular with my colleagues and the social workers!
However, after 6 years of neglecting my language school (then in Ramsgate) I decided not to stand at the next election, as I really had to earn my living and look after my family so I reluctantly gave up the battle for a time.
In 2004 there was suddenly a lot of publicity when it was admitted that thousands of children had been wrongly taken from mothers who had been diagnosed with Munchausen’s Syndrome, meaning that mothers who took their children to hospital too often were deliberately hurting them to draw attention to themselves.
This was one of the absurd notions of the now discredited Professor Meadows which had no scientific basis that could possibly justify attributing the syndrome to so many unfortunate women. Worse still was his completely unproved theory that two cot deaths in the same family were 70 million to one! Hundreds of women were condemned for murder. Their surviving children and babies born subsequently were taken away and given for adoption by strangers. Only later was it realised that genetic factors made it far more likely for cot deaths to repeat in the same family than elsewhere and odds reduced to about 60 to 1.
These cases were in the Criminal Courts so they got fully reported and this provoked me to write to the Daily Mail detailing some of my experiences on Kent County Council all those years ago. They published my letter and I was surprised subsequently to receive several requests from mothers and parents trying to recover – and in some cases just to contact – children snatched from them by Social Services. I am now comfortably off, my 7 children are adult and I am in my seventies, with the time and still with the energy to once again take up the battle with Social Services!
Couple who fled UK after social workers took their child are declared fit parents by Spanish officials and reunited with baby No2 By Sue Reid, Daily Mail – 18th December 2010
A baby boy who was snatched from his parents on the authority of social workers has been returned after tests showed the couple are perfectly capable of caring for him.
Ten-month-old Daniel was back home with his parents last night after spending most of his young life in an orphanage.
The smiling boy was cuddled by his father and mother, Jim and Carissa, whose names we have changed for legal reasons.
They had deemed the couple ‘unfit’ parents who might emotionally harm their daughter in the future.
This decision was roundly criticised in the Commons by local MP Tim Yeo as ‘tantamount to child kidnap’.
Daniel was still being breast-fed by Carissa in hospital when Spanish social workers, acting on a tip-off from Suffolk, took him and placed him in an orphanage in Valencia.
Now, in a snub to their UK counterparts, Spanish social workers say Jim and Carissa are no danger to Daniel.
Jim, a 42-year-old legal adviser, and Carissa, 32, plan to sue Suffolk social services for breaking up their family.
They are also taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights claiming their family life has been destroyed, as they prepare to fight a High Court legal battle to get Poppy back next month.
Last night Jim said at their home in Spain: ‘The Spanish social services say we meet all their criteria for being good parents and we’re delighted.
The authorities here did extensive psychological tests on both of us and found we are normal, and capable of caring for our children. We passed the six tests with flying colours.
‘We hope this will lead to our family being reunited with Poppy at last, and the four of us being left to get on with our lives together.’
His parents had moved to Spain when Carissa became pregnant with Daniel and received warnings from Suffolk Council that he might be taken away when he was born.
Their daughter had been torn from Carissa’s arms at 12 weeks old in October 2008 when social workers and police arrived at the couple’s home in East Anglia.
They were acting on unproven allegations about Carissa from her ex-husband after a difficult divorce.
They refused to believe evidence to the contrary provided by the couple. But the brutality of the snatch led to the intervention by Mr Yeo. He said: ‘Suffolk Council actively seeks opportunities to remove babies from their mothers.’
Meanwhile, Poppy is living with foster parents who hope to adopt her.
Suffolk social workers are not allowed to rubber stamp the adoption while Jim and Carissa fight the plan in the High Court.
The crucial test results on Jim and Carissa have been examined by the Daily Mail. We have changed their names and Daniel’s because, under British laws, the identity of the family cannot be publicised while Poppy is up for adoption.
The return of Daniel is a breakthrough for scores of families who have fled overseas to escape the clutches of British social workers.
In a separate move, Jim and Carissa, along with 35 families, have launched unprecedented legal action against UK family courts which have taken 50 of their children for forced adoption. All were deemed at risk of ‘future emotional harm’ from their parents, a condition unproven in science and often used as the premise to remove children from families by social workers.
Jim said: ‘To find our son had gone as she lay in the hospital was cruelty beyond belief.
‘She could not bear to face the heartbreak again of having yet another child snatched from her. So she decided to be sterilised there and then.’
They saw Daniel on nine occasions after he was taken to the Spanish orphanage 10 months ago. ‘He recognised us every visit and since he arrived home he has never stopped smiling at us,’ added Jim.