USEFUL CONTACTS TO HELP YOU!
If your cause is just, these professionals really will be on your side not that of social services!
If you find a solicitor, barrister, psychologist, psychiatrist, parent assessor or children’s help line that has taken your side against the ss and really helped you to win your case, please LET ME KNOW and I will add their names to the list on my site!
Welcome to Rights4me!
….if you are living in a children’s home, family centre, boarding school, residential special school, further education college, with foster carers, are adopted, getting any sort of help from social services or a care leaver… then this is the place to find out about your RIGHTS and a way for you to BE HEARD!
Free Phone: 0800 528 0731 or write to:
Office of the Children’s Rights Director
www.lawstuff.org.uk is a free advice centre for children; Freephone 0808 802 0008
Calls are free and confidential
Childline counsels more than 3,000 children in care
Report calls for advocates for looked after childrenOne in 26 looked after children contact ChildLine about failings and weaknesses in the care system, a ChildLine report has revealed. Over the last five years, the number of ‘looked after children’ contacting ChildLine has increased by over 30 per cent. In all, 3,196 looked after children – some as young as five – contacted ChildLine over 2009-10 with problems about being in care. Many were suffering physical and sexual abuse and neglect and felt lost and helpless in the care system.The report calls on local authorities to ensure looked after children always have an adult to speak up for them when they need help. At present, children only have a right to an ‘advocate’ if they want to make a formal complaint about their care.
Some children were deeply unsettled and traumatised after being moved several times a year, some as many as 15 times. Others complained of emotionally abusive or uncaring carers and being bullied by other children. Many looked after children had to be counselled about self-harming or running away. They talked about being ‘sick of life’ and wanting to ‘give up and die’
Get support on the message boards
The National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) is a UK charity providing children’s rights and socio-legal services. We offer information, advice, advocacy and legal representation to children and young people up to the age of 25, through a network of advocates throughout England and Wales. NYAS is also a community Legal Service.
NYAS is committed to working towards full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and in particular Article 12 which concerns the right of every young person to be consulted in all matters affecting them.
NYAS seeks to provide and develop its services through the active participation of young people, who are involved at all levels of the organisation.
Our mission statement: “To enable children and young people to have a voice by providing independent and confidential advice, information and advocacy services.”
NYAS provides a safety net for children and young people who have nowhere else to turn.
Children use freephone:-
0800 61 61 01 or text :-0777 333 4555
Adults contact legal dept,
TEL:-0151 649 8700
PSYCHOLOGIST: Dr LOWENSTEIN tel 02380692621 and website = www.drludwigfredlowenstein.com
Dr Peter Dale (parent assessor)
Phone from UK: (01424) 424504
Phone international: +44 1424 424504
Fax: 08700 941 477
David O Hanlon
JULIE HAINES email@example.com
Yvonne Stewart-Taylor:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to track down your adopted child or missing parent?
www.i-am-adopted.com can help you!
If you go to the main library in London or Manchester. Look in the files of birth, deaths, marriages and there are also adoption records, which only tell you the person’s adopted name, date of birth, and date of adoption on the record. So you copy all the records then you work through them and eliminate say your child was a boy, you eliminate all girls, all twins and so on, then when you have got it down to just a few you can send off for a copy of adoption certs which give you all the details. People think they can’t trace their adopted children. This would shock the social services if they knew how easy it was to trace adopted kids…
Don’t forget you can use facebook, twitter, genes united, friends united and countless other similar sites. Once found ask me for help in reuniting your family.
Dear Ian some really great news the girls are now at home living with us as a family… The adoptive parents have agreed with it and are willing to do what they can to get me back my parental rights and for the girls to collect all there belongings etc from the adoptive home we are all very happy and quite shocked at the moment… Kind Regards Tracey
First however you have to find your forcibly adopted child. If you need help in this some of the following organisations might be able to help you.
(Help parents trace their forcibly adopted children!) or
THERE ARE BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS WHO ACT FREE OF CHARGE IF YOU CANNOT GET LEGAL AID:-
Welcome to the National Pro Bono Centre website. Please navigate using the menu above.<< STOP PRESS: The Centre launches officially on 19th October >>
The National Pro Bono Centre houses the profession’s national clearing houses for legal pro bono work delivered in England and Wales: the Bar Pro Bono Unit, LawWorks (the Solicitors’ Pro Bono Group) and ILEX Pro Bono Forum. The Centre is designed to be a “hub” for pro bono charities in the sector and will support the wide range of pro bono projects and brokerage which the charities support, helping individuals and community groups all over England and Wales.
The coming together of the three branches of the profession in this way is an unprecedented move. It will improve joined-up thinking, co-ordination, collaborative working and a more efficient service to all stakeholders in pro bono – members of the public, and the lawyers and voluntary sector agencies serving the public. The new offices provide a central resource for people seeking pro bono legal advice and representation, making it easier for people in need to seek and receive help.
This website is a contribution in kind from The Access to Justice Foundation
© The National Pro Bono Centre 2010. Registered charity 1137708.
Accessibility, Privacy & Disclaimer
Please note well,you can appeal any lower court decision,whether it be a magistrates court or county court,or even crown court ! Anyone who tells you differently is a barefaced liar! If the judge as sometimes happens says “I refuse leave to appeal” then appeal against his/her refusal, and demand an oral hearing !Go to the court and ask for the correct form for your appeal.Do not take it home, just fill it in while you are there and ask the staff to explain the meaning of any question or anything else you do not understand. Do not delay or they may say you are out of time! Get a receipt when you leave your appeal form with the court staff!
The process is the same if you want an adoption order revoked or care order discharged ; you must ask the staff for the correct form fill it in, then hand it in and get a receipt !
Welcome to the Personal Support Unit Website
The PSU is an independent charity, based in the main building at the Royal Courts of Justice in Strand, London. The PSU provides non-legal advice, help, information and support to litigants in person and to any member of the public attending at the Royal Courts of Justice who may need help or assistance. We also operate at the Principal Registry of the Family Division at First Avenue House, High Holborn and at Wandsworth County Court.
The PSU was established in January 2001 and achieved charitable status in January 2002. It is a company limited by guarantee with a board of 9 Trustees.
The Courts are a daunting and intimidating place for those involved in legal proceedings. For those who do not have legal representation the difficulties are made worse. We try to overcome these difficulties by providing practical advice and support.
What we can do for you –
- We can go around the court building with you.
- We can go into court with you and stay with you during the hearing. (When the court is sitting in chambers or in private, we will need the permission of the judge and other parties).
- We offer emotional support and practical information about what happens in court or at the RCJ offices.
- We have a room where you can wait, talk through your case or just have a cup of tea.
- We can normally help you straightaway – just ring 020 7947 7703 .
LITIGANTS IN PERSON:- www.courtroomadvice.co.uk
If you are representing yourself in court, you may be worried about what to expect. ‘Litigants in person’ as they are called, often appear on their own behalf out of necessity. Although you may not think it at the moment, it can in some circumstances be quite advantageous to represent yourself. You know your case better than anyone else, and the judge and the lawyer for the other party have to help you to understand the legal issues in your case.
When dealing with a litigant in person it is a judge’s duty to ensure that they are not disadvantaged. In practical terms this means that the judge will often explain the law to you, and any procedural aspects that you need to understand for the purposes of the hearing. If the other party is represented by a lawyer, they also have to ensure that they point out not only the elements of the law that assist their case, but must also tell you the law where it assists your case (i.e. that is detrimental to their own case.)
Lawyers representing the other side have to balance their obligations to their own client while not taking unfair advantage of an unrepresented party. This may mean that the lawyer has to limit their duty to act in the best interests of their own client. Although the lawyer has to help you to a certain extent, they must also be careful that any assistance you provide does not create a contractual relationship between you and the other side’s lawyer. This may happen, for example, if they provide advice that you subsequently act upon.
The exact nature of the duty that a lawyer owes to an unrepresented party depends on whether the lawyer is a barrister or a solicitor. A solicitor’s overriding duty is to his or her client. A barrister’s duty, however, is somewhat different. A barrister owes equal duties to the court and to his or her client. This means, for example, that a barrister cannot knowingly tell a lie to the court on behalf of his or her client. This extends to you as an unrepresented party. A barrister cannot therefore make a statement to you that they know to be false. If they unwittingly tell you something that is not true, they have to tell you as soon as they become aware of it.
If you are representing yourself in court and the other party is represented, it is important that you do not consider the other side’s lawyer to be your ‘enemy.’ Lawyers in this country are well trained at dealing with litigants in person, and are under a duty to be able to assist you with understanding procedure and legal concepts where applicable. The judge or magistrate hearing your case will also have experience of dealing with litigants in person, and will be able to help you with anything that you are unsure of. If there are elements of your case that they consider you have not covered fully, or if there is more information that they require, they will as you for it.
In some circumstances, you may arrive at court and the nature or complexity of your case may be such that you really would benefit from seeking legal advice before pursuing your case. This may happen if, for example, your case raises significant technical legal questions, or if you may be eligible for legal aid but didn’t realise it, or if pursuing your case may mean that you are eligible to pay substantial costs of the other side if you lose (for example, a claim for judicial review)
Access to Freely Available British and Irish Public Legal Information
DONATE to BAILII – Major SponsorsWelcome to BAILII, where you can find British and Irish case law & legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material. BAILII thanks the Practical Law Company for their recent donation which has enabled us to replace our old hardware. Our continuing gratitude goes to The Society for Computers & Law for their substantial sponsorship. For more information, see About BAILII.
- Here are some really appalling statistics for you. If a Social Worker decides your child should be taken into care,do you think you stand a chance?
- Look at these figures from the England and Wales Judicial statistics. Look at 2004′s figures for example when 8,493 applications for a care order were made to the court and only 11, yes I said 11 Care Orders were refused. Great, that means you have a 0.01% chance of winning in court! Why?
- Because the legal aid solicitors are “professional losers” so the only parents who win are those happy few who sack their lawyers and represent themselves! They at least have a nearly 50-50 chance!
- Much better to send children to Foster/Adoptive Hell where they are statistically seven times more likely to be abused and shockingly three times more likely to die during childhood than if they were at home with their natural parents. Of course there are many foster and adoptive families who are doing an excellent job at bringing up their children, but sadly this is a rare phenomenon.
- For most children, the care system is the last place on earth which could be considered a safe haven (see Hollie Greig case for example.)
CARE APPLICATIONS 2004
APPLICATIONS MADE 8,493
ORDERS REFUSED 11
NO ORDERS 306
ORDERS MADE 7, 796
(only 11 times did a judge actually refuse a care order)
ORDERS REFUSED 10
NO ORDERS 92
ORDERS MADE 8,849
(only 10 times did a judge actually refuse a care order)
ORDERS REFUSED 12
NO ORDERS 289
ORDERS MADE 7,222
(only 12 times did a judge actually refuse a care order)
APPLICATIONS MADE 8,273
ORDERS REFUSED 23
NO ORDERS 290
ORDERS MADE 7,624
(only 23 times did a judge actually refuse a care order)
ORDERS REFUSED 20
NO ORDERS 245
ORDERS MADE 7,077
(only 20 times did a judge actually refuse a care order)SOURCE: England and Wales Judicial StatisticsFrom the law library of congress Republic of Ireland proving the point I think!Northampton County Council v. ABF and MBF,18 the return of a child to England was refused, because doing so would have created an adoption without consent of one of the parents. In this decision, the Court relied heavily on article 41 of the Irish Constitution. It understood article 41 to grant the father the right to enforce his rights as the natural father in a foreign jurisdiction. The Court believed that this result was in concert with the protection of the rights of the father and the infant pursuant to article 41.
Baby Ann Judgments of the Irish Supreme Court made on 13 November 2006
We provide links below to the Judgments made by the five Supreme Court Justices in the hearing labelled by the media as the “Baby Ann Adoption” case.
These judgments represent a landmark in family law.
The principle of the case itself is simply that a baby cannot be adopted from a Married Family against the wishes of the parents. What is remarkable and commendable of the majority of the Justices (see Hardiman J., Geoghegan J., Fennelly J) is that they have seized this opportunity to reverse the slippage in the Rule of Law – the established law of the Family – that custom and practice, as exercised in the family law courts, especially the lower courts, has steadily eroded in the past 40 years.
March 21, 2010…5:17 pm
Don’t just take my word for the rest of my allegations.Please read the following articles from the Daily Mail,and the Sunday Telegraph as they very accurately depict the mounting and highly justified public disquiet over the secret family courts and the “adoption industry”.
Courts won’t reveal rulings in adoption cases
By Ben Leapman, Home Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:44am BST 08/08/2007
Pauline Goodwin’s baby was taken from her but she was denied a copy of the judgment. The court service has now apologised
Family courts are refusing to tell mothers why their babies are being taken away and put up for forced adoption.
Two mothers have told The Sunday Telegraph that their pain at losing their children was made worse by not knowing the grounds on which judges took the decisions.
Both women had their requests for copies of the judgments turned down repeatedly. As a result, they were prevented from launching legal battles to win their babies back, because appeals cannot be lodged without -written judgments.
Critics claimed that the cases are an extreme example of the secrecy that runs throughout the family court system. Earlier this summer, the Government abandoned plans to open up hearings to the media.
John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP and chairman of Justice for Families, said: “It seems quite strange that somebody can have their child removed and adopted, and the system will not give reasons.
“This arises from the secrecy of proceedings and the fact that people are allowed to misbehave professionally in the family courts without any fear of sanctions against them.”The cases are the latest in a series highlighted by this newspaper which have raised concerns about the workings of the family courts and social services.It included a professional couple who had their daughter taken away because the mother has a history of mental illness and the father was “confrontational” towards social workers, while another couple were told they cannot have their two daughters back despite being cleared of allegations of abuse.
Last year, 2,120 babies were taken for adoption before their first birthday, almost three times as many as a decade ago. Adoptions leapt after councils were offered cash incentives to increase the number.
One of the latest cases involved Pauline Goodwin, 39, from Merseyside, who suffered a breakdown after her marriage ended. As she struggled to cope, her baby girl, born in 2005, was taken away by social services at birth.At a court hearing in June last year, held at a time when she was temporarily homeless, Judge Wallwork ruled at Liverpool Family Court that the baby should remain in foster care.
The mother says she was told that despite the outcome of the case, the judgment would not be critical of her. However, in the 14 months since the hearing, her repeated requests to obtain a copy of the judgment have proved fruitless. She has been told by social workers that her daughter has now been adopted.She said: “They had my baby adopted, then they said they make no findings against me, but they won’t give me the court order. I need the judgment because I want to lodge an appeal. It’s supposed to be within 28 days but it has been more than 12 months.“If they give me the transcripts I can prove the whole thing was wrong, and my baby wouldn’t be where she is now, she would be with me.”Sharon Harkness, 37, also from Merseyside, won the first round of her courtroom battle when social workers tried to take her baby son away. In August 2005, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Holman turned down a bid by a local authority to take the boy, then only three months old, into foster care.
However, at Liverpool Family Court in November, Judge Roddy reversed the earlier decision and granted the council a care order. The baby was removed from his family and is now living with prospective adoptive parents.In the intervening 21 months, repeated requests by Mrs Harkness for a written judgment have been refused or ignored. She said: “It’s within my rights to at least see the kind of care order they’ve put my son on. It’s like they’ve taken my baby and forgotten to give me the receipt.”At one point she tried to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, only to be told that the court could not consider her case because she had no written judgment on which to base it.At the end of last week, after The Sunday Telegraph took up the cases with the Judicial Communications Office in London, officials issued an apology within hours and finally pledged that both women would receive the vital documents within days.
In Miss Goodwin’s case, a spokesman said: “Her Majesty’s Court Service would like to apologise that in this case, the transcripts were not provided as requested. There appears to have been a breakdown in communications. The transcription company will prepare the transcripts next week and once they are approved by the judge, the court will send them out.”Regarding Mrs Harkness, the spokesman said: “There was an ambiguity in the original order which had not been corrected and caused a delay in the process. The transcript has now been produced and is with the judge, prior to being sent to the family next week.”
Pauline (story and photo above) has learned a lot during her 3 year struggle with the “SS” .She now helps and advises other parents in distress and also organises demonstrations.
My baby will be taken from me the moment it’s born
By HELEN WEATHERS
Daily Mail 6th September 2007
The link below connects to a video of a very informative itv programme:-
Fran Lyon is due to give birth to her first child – a daughter she has already named Molly – on January 3. But the prospect, far from being one of joyous anticipation, fills her with a dread that keeps her awake at night.It’s not because Fran doesn’t want the child. She does. Desperately. And not because she is frightened of the pain of labour. She is prepared for that.It is what happens afterwards that fuels Fran’s anxiety. And there can be no preparation for that pain.For within 30 minutes of birth, barring any medical complications, Molly will be handed by doctors to social workers. They have instructions to take away Fran’s newborn baby and place her in foster care.The 22-year-old will then be transferred from the maternity wing to a gynaecological ward, because Northumberland Council has decided that Fran – who has never harmed anyone in her life – is potentially a risk to other mothers and their babies.
Fran has no idea if she will be able to touch her baby, even for a minute, before leaving hospital alone, or if she will ever get her daughter back. Her biggest fear is that she won’t, and that Molly will be put up for adoption.
‘It is incredibly upsetting not knowing if I will be allowed even to hold my baby,’ says Fran, a charity worker. ‘Until social services became involved in my life, I was having a normal pregnancy and was full of excitement.
‘They have taken away what should be the most precious time in my life – and I will never get that back. I’m already in love with my baby. I can feel her moving, I talk to her. I’ve bought her baby books and clothes. You just can’t undo that attachment.’
Fran is an intelligent and articulate woman. She has nine A- starred GCSEs, five grade A A-levels and is in the third year of a neuroscience degree at Edinburgh University – which she is completing at home in Hexham, Northumberland.
However, what concerns Hexham Children’s Services, which is part of Northumberland Council, is Fran’s medical history.
Having had a difficult relationship with her parents, who are teachers in good state schools, from the age of 15, she started selfharming. Fran spent three years – on and off – in psychiatric hospitals.
Her problems appear to have begun when she was raped by an acquaintance at the age of 14. Diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, she was discharged from a therapeutic facility in 2002, where she had spent 13 months, and spent nine months as an outpatient.
Today, she needs no medication and, according to her former psychiatrist, Dr Stella Newrith, ‘has made a significant recovery to the point where her difficulties are indistinguishable from those of much of the general population’.
In a letter to Northumberland Council, Dr Newrith, who treated Fran for a year when she was 16 and has known her for many years, stated: ‘There has never been any clinical evidence to suggest that Fran would put herself or others at risk, and there is certainly no evidence to suggest she would put a child at risk of emotional, physical or sexual harm.’
Furthermore, she said: ‘I would view the removal of Fran’s baby as an extraordinarily heavy-handed gesture. It is also my professional opinion that doing so would be an infringement of Fran’s human rights, as it would be much the same as removing a child from someone from the general population.’
Yet on August 16, a child protection case conference recommended that Fran’s baby should be taken away at birth – a decision based in part on the contents of a letter from consultant paediatrician Dr Martin Ward Platt, who has never met Fran and could not be present at the meeting.
In his letter, Dr Ward Platt states that ‘even in the absence of psychological assessment, if the professionals were concerned on the evidence available that [this woman] probably does fabricate or induce illness, there would be no option but to put the baby into foster care at birth pending a post-natal forensic psychological assessment’.
However, he warned that it was necessary first to establish as far as possible whether or not Fran does suffer from this illness – something Fran claims they have failed to do.
Fran has never been diagnosed with this condition, yet she has nevertheless been deemed by Northumberland Council as someone likely to suffer from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, a controversial and unproven condition in which a parent – usually the mother – makes up or induces an illness in her child to draw attention to herself.
And so, unless a judicial review next week rules in Fran’s favour, her baby Molly will almost certainly be taken away at birth.
‘I can understand why they might have concerns about my past, but the speed with which they have come to this conclusion, despite the evidence of my own psychiatrist, is terrifying,’ she says.
‘I was at the case conference and it lasted just ten minutes.
‘This letter from Dr Ward Platt was given to me just five minutes before the meeting started, and when it was produced, the chairman said there was no point – in the light of what this letter stated – even considering the other evidence which I wanted to present, which was letters of support from psychiatrists.
‘I think they simply panicked, and when people panic they make, in my opinion, bad judgments. I left that meeting numb with shock. I’d had absolutely no time to digest the letter or argue my case, and I was so horrified at what they’d said that I just couldn’t even begin to respond to it.
‘I have never harmed anyone in my life. I have no criminal convictions. I believe I can be a good mother to Molly – but they are not even prepared to give me a chance to prove that.
‘I have offered to stay in a mother and baby unit after Molly’s birth for as long as they want, and to be monitored. I would be prepared to stay there for 18 years if it meant I could be with my baby. But that, it seems, is not even an option.’
Fran’s case is far from unusual. Two thousands babies under one year old were taken from their parents last year by social services – three times the number ten years ago. Critics believe councils are doing this to help meet government adoption ‘targets’.
Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, chairman of the Justice for Families campaign group, certainly thinks so.
‘How can it be in the child’s best interests to take a baby away from its mother at birth? The reason why they do it is because it’s much harder to take away a baby the longer it spends with its mother, and a healthy newborn baby is so much easier to find adoptive parents for.
‘It is estimated that 97 per cent of babies taken away from their mothers at birth, on the basis that the mothers are “capable of emotional abuse”, are never returned to them – and that is simply scandalous.
‘Of course, there are cases where it is right to do so, but the whole public family law system is corrupt because of the secrecy which surrounds it. Decisions are based on opinion and conjecture, rather than fact and evidence.
‘What does Fran’s case tell us? That no woman who has been raped or had mental health problems can be allowed to have a baby, even years later?
‘What could be more traumatic than for a mother to have her baby taken away at birth? It’s monstrous. That, in itself, can cause mental health problems, which is then used by social services against the mother as a reason not to return the baby. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
‘There has been a massive increase in younger babies being taken into care, before there is even any evidence of harm – and you have to ask why that is.’
Despite her own troubled past, Fran Lyon is convinced she can be a good parent, and is desperate to prove that. From the start, she has been open and honest with social workers about her medical history, but she feels this has been used against her.
Although she describes her childhood as ‘difficult’, she refuses to elaborate, other than to say that she is close to her mother and younger brother, but has no contact with her father.
The catalyst for her severe mental health problems was, she says, the rape she suffered when she was 14.
She told police that she was attacked while working as a Saturday volunteer in a charity shop in Northampton, when the shop’s founder – a middle-aged man – drove her to an empty warehouse supposedly to pick up supplies for the shop.
When Fran reported the rape, he was interviewed by police. Three more women claiming they, too, had been attacked came forward and agreed to testify against him. However, in 2001 the man killed himself before the Crown Prosecution Service could decide whether to proceed.
‘After the rape, I became clinically depressed,’ says Fran. ‘I lost a huge amount of weight and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after trying to kill myself with an overdose of tablets. It wasn’t a cry for help; I wanted to die because of what he had done to me.’
She spent the next three years, on and off, in residential psychiatric hospitals in Oxford, Nottingham and London after being diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, in her case characterised by self-harming, instability and suicidal tendencies.
For the final 13 months, Fran went to a therapeutic residential clinic, where she attended individual psychotherapy sessions and group analysis before being discharged as an outpatient.
By the time she was 18, she appeared to have put her problems behind her.
She started to flourish, taking five A-levels at Orpington College in Kent and applying to study neuroscience at Edinburgh University.
At the same time, she worked for two mental health charities, Borderline and Personality Plus. It was through that job, two years ago, that she met the man who is the father of Molly.
‘Of course, I was worried when I fell pregnant. I wondered how we would cope as a couple, because we weren’t living together,’ says Fran.
‘But once that wore off, I was excited. I would go shopping with my mum to baby departments, buying books and looking at prams.’
But a few weeks ago, all normality ended. Social services suddenly became involved when Fran phoned the police after what she describes as a ‘disturbing incident’ with her partner. Fran’s relationship with him ended immediately.
‘The case was referred to social services and I was interviewed by two social workers, who said from the beginning that they would have to look at the whole family, not just one person in isolation,’ says Fran.
‘At that first meeting, they asked about my concerns regarding the baby’s father, but then it became clear through their questions that their investigation was centred on me. I have never made a secret of my mental health problems. I felt I had nothing to hide.’
Fran was co- operative, she says, because she naively thought children’s services would offer her help and support. She was stunned when she received a letter informing her that a child protection case conference would be held on August 16.
‘That’s when I became frightened and thought for the first time: “Are they going to take my baby away from me?”
‘I couldn’t believe how everything had happened so quickly. When you are up against a big system such as social services, it is very easy to feel overrun and overwhelmed.’
Realising the seriousness of the situation, Fran instructed a solicitor and contacted her former psychiatrist, Dr Stella Newrith, who offered her full support.
A second psychiatrist, who Fran knew through her charity work, offered a character reference stating: ‘I have no doubt that her diligence and capacity, particularly in dealing with complex emotional situations, will stand her in good stead for the rigours of parenthood.’
Yet these testimonials, Fran says, were never even read out at the conference after Dr Ward Platt’s letter was produced.
Northumberland Council insists that two highly experienced doctors – another consultant paediatrician and a medical consultant – attended the case conference.
Neither they, nor anyone else present – including Fran solicitor – made any objection. Feeling stunned and intimidated by what she had heard, she felt unable to speak out.
Everything she wanted to say will now be heard – with the help of a new solicitor who specialises in such cases – at appeal.
According to MP John Hemming, Fran should win her case; but there is no guarantee that she will. Both he and Fran are particularly concerned that last week social workers contacted the psychiatrist who provided a character reference for Fran. They believe this was done with the intention of ‘pressurising’ the witness into withdrawing his support, and undermining Fran’s appeal.
It was seemingly suggested by a social worker to the doctor in question that Fran had given incorrect details about her health to hospital staff: in short, doubt was cast on the reality of an ectopic pregnancy Fran suffered on Christmas Eve two years ago.
‘Is it ethical for social workers to go behind my back and speak to my witnesses, discussing my private confidential medical history and suggesting to them that I might have made things up?’ says Fran.
‘I did have an ectopic pregnancy, and I have the scars to prove that I had abdominal surgery.’ Mr Hemming goes further, describing such behaviour as akin to witness nobbling. He also claims it is not uncommon for social workers to pressurise witnesses – a punishable practice in the criminal courts.
‘There is a culture in which the end is seen to justify the means, and sometimes the means employed would not be tolerated in any other court of law,’ he says. ‘Yet if anyone tries to speak out, they are guilty of contempt of court. The whole family court system, because of the secrecy which surrounds it, is vulnerable to bad practice. Social workers are under pressure not to lose cases.’ Northumberland Council, while legally prevented from speaking about individual cases, insists there is nothing sinister in their actions.
A spokeswoman said it was the court whichwould make the ultimate decision, after hearing legal representation from both sides. ‘Safeguarding children is our top priority,’ said a spokeswoman. ‘We speak to all sides without bias or pressure. ‘We would welcome a review of the family court arrangements, and support transparency, as long as this is in the best interests of the children.
‘Safeguarding arrangements have been praised as good following a rigorous inspection by a number of Government departments. It was specifically noted that “good action was taken to enable parents to keep their children safe in the home and the communityî. Our duty to safeguard children is our only motivation, and we strive to keep children with their families wherever possible, or extended families if that is not possible.
‘We do not have numerical targets for adoption; nor have we received any financial rewards in relation to adoption figures.’
As for Fran, the final four months of her pregnancy are filled with stress and uncertainty, and the nagging terror that her worst nightmare will become a reality and her baby daughter will be snatched away from her. ‘Some days I feel positive,’ she says quietly.
‘But others I feel totally overwhelmed. All I am asking for is a chance to prove that I will be a good mother.’
Sadly, that wish may not be granted her.
IMPORTANT! The miserable wretch who was chairman of the so called “Case Conference” that lasted 15 minutes should be dismissed in disgrace. His name is BOB HILL and he should never be allowed near any case conference ever again !
AND THEN? Fran flees the country, see the link below!
Remember that social workers ARE NOT POLICE and cannot give you orders or forbid you to tell your children that you love them,miss them and are fighting to get them back! It is absolutely essential that you blurt out “I love you and want you back but wicked childstealers have kidnapped you and these horrible thieves are stopping you from coming home!” Say this or words to that effect before anyone can stop you as SS nearly always tell children “mummy does not love you or want you any more” and the children MUST know the truth. Only a court can legally give you orders so do not be bluffed into signing documents or obeying orders from the SS! Social Workers have a statutory duty to try and keep families together not split them up ,so they should be asked in court just what attempts they made to keep YOUR family together before taking the baby or the children !“>QUOTE THE “HUMAN RIGHTS ACT”section 8:-
Article 8: Right to Respect for Private and Family Life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Article 8 guarantees respect for four things: a person’s private life, family life, home and correspondence.
This guarantee applies also to the rights of grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins to remain in contact with each other contrary to the forced adoption of a child by adopters whose names and locations are kept secret!
Article 10, European Convention on Human Rights
* The prevention of disorder or crime.
* The protection of health or morals.
* The protection of the reputation or rights of others.
* The prevention of the disclosure of information received in confidence.
* For maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
Article 12 (child’s right to participate in decision making)
1. Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law
NEVER,NEVER lose contact with your young children,just read the paragraphs below !! Send them your phone number buried in the middle of a cd rom (disc),written on a doll,written in invisible ink on a seemingly innocent postcard,or simply whispered in their ears at a suitable moment.
Alternatively if your name is Jane for example,register an easy email address (eg) email@example.com Any child old enough to send an email will then be able to contact you no matter where you are or where they are! If the child has no easy access to a computer ,then a visit for “study purposes’ to any public library will also allow free use of one of their computers to send emails free of charge !
If on the other hand your baby or toddler is being snatched insist on breastfeeding a baby as this gives you extra contact.
Citation: BLD 160403280;  EWHC 850 (Admin).
Hearing Date: 15 April 2003
Court: Administrative Court.
Judge: Munby J.
“Per curiam. If the state, in the guise of a local authority, seeks to remove a baby from his parents at a time when its case against the parents has not yet even been established, then the very least the state can do is to make generous arrangements for contact, those arrangements being driven by the needs of the family and not stunted by lack of resources. Typically, if this is what the parents want, one will be looking to contact most days of the week and for lengthy periods. Local authorities also had to be sensitive to the wishes of a mother who wants to breast-feed, and should make suitable arrangements to enable her to do so, and not merely to bottle-feed expressed breast milk. Nothing less would meet the imperative demands of the European Convention on Human Rights.”…
This case establishes the right of the mother to breastfeed,and is often ignored both by SS and judges!
Fight for parents,grandparents,aunts,uncles,and cousins all to have contact under the Human Rights Act. (see section “get your children back“)
Children of all ages even those as young as 6 or 7 years old for example ,can go to any public phone box and call parents reverse charges if they are quietly told how to do this,explained as follows:-
Dial 100 from any private phone or public call box and you will be offered 4 options (choices) Choose option 4 which asks if you want to speak to an operator.You then ask the operator for a call reversing the charges. The operator will then ask you for your name and the number you are calling.(this must be to a fixed line not a mobile)Your mother or father will then say ok they accept the call and no money is needed from you, the child who is calling! If your children are still with you or at least in contact get them to practice telephoning you reverse charge so that if the worst does happen and they are removed then contact is NEVER lost !! Remember also that if no court order forbids you expressly and specifically from contacting the children there is nothing to stop you seeing them when they come out of school (even nursery school!).
Remember that all children “in care” have “personal education plans”that the SS are supposed to share with you. If you know where the school is you know where your child is !Ask the local education authorities(NOT the SS !) for a copy of these plans and ask also to be put on their mailing list so you can continue to follow your children’s progress even after they have been snatched!
What are the timescales for dealing with requests?
Requests for information from pupils, or parents, for information that contains, wholly or partly, an educational record must receive a response within 15 school days.
Unless a parent simply asks to see the official educational record under the Regulations, schools and authorities are entitled to receive any fee first (see below).
Most requests for information are likely to ask for at least some information in the educational record. However, should a subject access request be made just for personal information outside the educational record, a response must be made promptly and at most within 40 calendar days.
YOU MUST BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK IN COURT AND TO SAY ALL YOU WANT TO SAY,CALL ALL THE WITNESSES YOU WANT TO CALL,AND MAKE ALL THE POINTS AND ARGUMENTS YOU WANT TO MAKE! Sack any solicitor or barrister that refuses you these very elementary legal rights OR worse still who advises you to surrender and go along with everything the SS demand.You do not need a lawyer to earn easy money by arranging your surrender!
Baby P was 17 months old when he was tortured by his mother’s boyfriend in spite of 60 visits by social workers and 3 visits to hospital. It all culminated with a visit from a specialist paediatrician who failed to notice that he had a broken back, 2 finger tips sliced off, several finger nails pulled out, 12 broken ribs and bruises all over his face and body concealed by chocolate. He would still be alive today if someone just once had given him a cursory physical examination but this was not done, probably because as usual Social Services etc. were intimidated by this brutal child abuser living in smelly and sordid surroundings with his sluttish partner and his Rottweiler dogs so they left the horrible family alone to look for easier prey; mostly amongst respectable and responsible households.
Most people seem more intent on wreaking vengeance on the murderers of Baby P than preventing the same situation occurring again; may I therefore make a suggestion?
Social Services plead shortage of staff and financial resources as excuses for overlooking torture of children (even after 60 visits to Baby P). In other European countries they take children from parents only if they have been severely physically or sexually abused but in Britain we waste most of out valuable resources fighting cruel cases in secret and costly courts to remove children and even new born babies at “risk of emotional harm” and for similar lesser reasons. The parents of Baby P would never have gone to court to fight for his return if he had been taken earlier as parents that violently physically abuse their children avoid courts like the plague!
Physical torture KILLS KILLS KILLS!!!
Emotional abuse does NOT
Poor school attendance does NOT
A cluttered house does NOT
Witnessing domestic violence does NOT
Hostility to the “professionals” does NOT
A parent with learning problems does NOT
Where therefore should the “SS” priorities lie?
I’m only asking!!
I would have thought myself it was MORE IMPORTANT to concentrate on preventing babies being tortured rather than the more common rush to remove babies AT BIRTH from mothers whom some highly paid psychobabble merchants have decided may at some future date emotionally harm their babies!Crystal ball gazing?
If all the resources of child protection were used to examine thoroughly (looking for visible bruises and burns) say once a month, all those children suspected of having been seriously physically or sexually abused thousands of children’s lives would be saved. At present our resources are wasted fighting in courts to remove happy healthy children from their parents for risk of emotional abuse and similar non life-endangering symptoms. Only parents that truly love their children fight through the gruelling ritual of the secret family courts and against all common sense they nearly always lose. If they dare to protest publicly more than 200 parents a year are jailed (answer to a parliamentary question) for breaking the “omertà” wall of secrecy!! If only mothers facing a life sentence by losing children to forced adoption had the right to a hearing by jury most of the present injustices would disappear. In short, what is needed is simply concentration on eradicating physical child abuse and then introducing hearings by juries who would rarely take children in other cases such as “emotional abuse”, cluttered dwellings, poor school attendance etc.
‘Evil destruction’ of a happy family.
A system involving social workers, police and courts took a child away from loving parents for no apparent reason, writes Christopher Booker.
Daily Telegraph, 18 Jul 2009
Two weeks ago I reported as shocking a story as this column has ever covered. It described how a loving family was torn apart when the parents were arrested by police on what turned out to be wholly spurious charges, so that their three children could be taken into care by social workers. As reported on another page, it now seems this awful episode has come to a happy ending.
However a new case has lately been surfacing, if anything even more shocking. This also involved the arrest of two parents and the abduction of their child by social workers, in a story so bizarre that, at last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Gordon Brown was asked about it by the family’s MP, Charles Hendry, who has long been concerned with the case because the mother is a vice-chairman of his local Conservative Association. The family’s horrified GP says that, in 43 years of medical practice, he has never “encountered a case of such appalling injustice”.
I first planned to describe this case in April, but was pre-empted by the draconian reporting restrictions on family cases, which, for reasons which will become tragically clear, have now been partly lifted.
The story began in April 2007 when “Mr Smith”, as I must call him, had a visit from the RSPCA over the dog-breeding business he ran from the family home. He had docked the tails of five new-born puppies – a procedure that had become illegal two days beforehand. Unaware of this, he promised in future to obey the new law.
Three days later, however, at nine o’clock in the morning, two RSPCA officials returned, accompanied in cars and riot vans by 18 policemen, who had apparently been tipped off, quite wrongly, that Mr Smith had guns in the house.
Armed with pepper spray, they ransacked the house, looking for the nonexistent guns. The dogs, released from their kennels, also rampaged through the house. When Mr Smith and his wife, who was three months pregnant, volubly protested at what was happening, they were forcibly arrested in front of their screaming five-year-old daughter “Jenny” and taken away. Two hours later, with the house in a shambles – the dogs having strewn the rabbit entrails meant for their dinner across the floor – social workers arrived to remove the crying child.
Held for hours in a police cell, Mrs Smith had a miscarriage. When she was finally set free, she returned home that evening to find her daughter gone. It was the beginning of a barely comprehensible nightmare.
Her husband was charged with various offences connected with the dogs, including the tail-docking, but was eventually given a conditional discharge by a judge who accepted that he was “an animal lover” who had not been cruel to his dogs.
Far more serious, however, was that the social workers seemed determined to hang onto the child, now in foster care, on the sole grounds that they had found the house dirty and in a mess (the “animal entrails” played a large part in their evidence). This was despite the testimony of a woman Pc (who had visited the house a month earlier on a different matter) that she found it “clean and tidy”. Two hundred horrified neighbours, who knew the couple as doting parents of a happy, well-cared-for child, were about to stage a protest demonstration when they were stopped by the police, on the social workers’ instructions that this might identify the child.
For more than two years the couple have been fighting through more than 100 hearings in the courts to win their daughter back. From a mass of evidence, including psychiatric reports and tape recordings made at meetings with her parents (only allowed in the presence of social workers), it is clear she has been desperate to return home. It is equally clear that considerable pressure has been brought on the child to turn her against her parents,
One particularly bizarre psychiatric report was compiled after only an hour-long interview with the little girl. When she said she had once choked on a lollipop, this was interpreted as signifying that she could possibly have “been forced to have oral sex with her father”.
After Mrs Smith alone had been subjected to four different psychiatric investigations, which came up with mixed findings, she refused to submit to a fifth, and this apparently weighed heavily with the judge who last December ordered that “Jenny” should be put out to adoption.
In the Appeal Court 11 days ago, Mr Justice Bodey ruled that, because the mother had refused that fifth test, indicating that the parents put their own “emotional wellbeing” in front of that of their child, the adoption order must stand. When this judgment was reported, an independent social worker, who had earlier been an expert witness in the case, wrote to Mr and Mrs Smith to say he was “horrified” to learn that Jenny was “not back in their care”, having assumed for over a year that “she must have been returned home”.
Their equally horrified GP, saying that he had never “encountered such a case of appalling injustice”, wrote “the destruction of this once happy family is in my opinion evil”. So shocked was their MP, Mr Hendry, that he last Wednesday took the highly unusual course of raising the case with the Prime Minister at question time. Numerous others who know the family well have expressed similar dismay. One neighbour, herself a former social worker, whose own daughter often played with “Jenny”, said: “I worked with children in social services for 25 years and I have never seen anything like this. It is disgusting.”
What is clear in this case, as in so many others, is that a system involving social workers, police and courts in what is an obviously very close alliance should yet again have left a happy, loving family destroyed for no very obvious reason, Almost equally alarming is the way that system manages to shield itself from the world, through reporting restrictions which it claims are designed to protect the children but which too often end up by protecting only the system itself.
Telegraph View: Child abuse won’t be overcome until we define what it is Ed Balls will fail unless he gives guidance on what social workers should be doing. 10 Jan 2009
The horrific accounts of errors and incompetence by social services officials that we publish today will generate outrage and despair: outrage that officials could leave children with parents they know to be violent, criminal and addicted to drugs; and despair that despite the hundreds of inquiries, the hundreds of inspections, despite the repeated promises from the Government that things are getting better, nothing changes. The same mistakes are consistently repeated, with fatal consequences for children.
The persistent failure of social workers to protect children who are in very serious danger is made even more outrageous by the profession’s propensity to remove children from parents who are manifestly no danger at all to them. Of the 35,000 children who are taken into care every year on the recommendation of social workers, a large proportion are removed on grounds of “emotional abuse” – a category so broad and ill- defined that it can include both praising your children too much and not praising them enough, or feeding them too many vegetables or too little fresh fruit. It appears that social workers, aware of their inability to intervene in cases where children really are at risk, compensate for that failure by intervening in families where they are obviously safe.
There is no doubt that those two bad practices are connected. The resources of social work departments are, as directors of those departments frequently point out, strictly limited. Time spent investigating parents who do not threaten or endanger the children in their care is time not spent investigating, visiting or intervening in the cases where there is a threat. If genuinely at- risk children are to be protected, resources have to be targeted at cases where parents pose a clear and present danger.
It is, in a literal sense, true that social workers do not know what they are doing. That is not their fault. Government “advice” on what they should do is, quite correctly, centred on ensuring that children are protected from “significant harm”. But, in all the many hundreds of pages that both Labour and Conservative governments have issued on when social workers should intervene, the notion of “significant harm” has never been defined in a meaningful and precise way. The result is that it is left to officials to interpret the term as they see fit. And that means “significant harm” has as many interpretations as there are social workers: one can conclude that a child whose parents are violent drug-addicts is not at risk of “significant harm”, while another can claim that a parent who “plays too often and too long” with her is so dangerous that the child should be taken into care.
The first step the Government needs to take in order to stop this malpractice is properly to define the notion of “significant harm”. That will not prevent fatal misjudgments being made. But it will make those misjudgments less likely. It will save the lives of many children, and also prevent forcible removal from parents who love them and protect them, and who would provide them with a far better start in life than the dismal future that awaits those who are taken into state care. It will also make it possible for the inquiries and inspections that take place after a child dies to say something useful, instead of merely reporting (as they do at present) that “no one was to blame”. So long as inspectors do not work with a clear and fixed notion of “significant harm”, they are in exactly the same position as social workers: they cannot identify the kinds of practice that they ought to prevent.
Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, has insisted that he will take steps to end social services’ persistent failure to protect seriously at-risk children. He will fail unless he gives clear guidance on what social workers should be doing – and he can only do that by defining the notion of “significant harm.” We await his proposals.
The following statistics REFERRING TO NEWBORN BABIES REMOVED FROM THEIR MOTHERS AT BIRTH were researched by John Hemming M.P.
|Year||Into care||Returned to parents||Adoption|