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This fear that social services will come and take your children...

(554 Posts)
willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 15:41:24

...it worries me!

There seem to be so many women out there who are afraid to seek help for depression and other problems out of fear that they will lose their children.

I have just asked MNHQ if they would consider doing something with this. Because surely if so many of us fear to lose our children something is going wrong somewhere! Surely we should all be albe to seek help with confidence?

What are your thoughts on this? I struggle with PTSD and even told my doctor that I tended to keep emotional distance from my ds when he's ill without even considering the possibility of that having repercussions.

Comewhinewithme Fri 29-Jan-10 15:45:12

Yes I won't go to the GP and tell him that since having my dd I have flashbacks to the awful birth and somedays I feel as though I can't go on because I am scared that ss would somehow become involved .

Comewhinewithme Fri 29-Jan-10 15:46:09

You are right BTW it does need addressing so people are not afraid to access the help they need.

FlamingoBingo Fri 29-Jan-10 15:48:25

Yup. I'm afraid to be honest about how I feel sometimes for fear of what will happen to my children.

JollyPirate Fri 29-Jan-10 16:04:23

Yes this needs addressing. I have recently worked with a young Mum who took ages tp seek help for her terrible PND because her Mum told her that if she was antidepressants her shit of a boyfriend (who physically, emotionally and psychologically abused her) would be able to get custody of their two children hmm. Or that social services would be round.

It took me an awful lot of visiting and listening and discussion before she felt able to seek the help she needed. An awful lot of reassurance that she was brilliant mum doing a fantastic job before she could believe me.

Now she is better - on antidepressants but weaning off.

Definitely needs discussion.

LittleMarshmallow Fri 29-Jan-10 16:13:54

Yup I agree too I have had some horrific encounters especially my latest thread. It now means that no matter what happens I will refuse to tell anyone anything, because I am scared that I will be judged as I have in the past especially as one doctor called me selfish and stupid for asking for help.

It is very sad that we can't access support and feel the need to distrust everything / everyone near enough in the health care profession.

weegiemum Fri 29-Jan-10 16:17:02

Yes, I ended up with a SS investigation after dd2 was born (dc3) as I had had to be referred to psychiatry for specialist help (bad reaction to tablets) and HV (I think, it might also have been psych staff or my toxic mother) referred to ss.

Ended up in 3 ghastly meetings where we had no rights, no access to minutes, had to give in to everything they said and then listen to some horrible social worker 15 years younger than me with no kids say "well I'm not sure this is all true anyway". Bitch.

It is without doubt the most stressful experience of my life. And believe me, I am no slouch at stressful moments!!

The one good thing that came out of it is that dh, who is a GP, said it has totally changed his attitude to SS and he now goes to every meeting his patients have with ss as an advocate to stand up for them!

Someone who had left the department before our case did tell us that the investigating SW we had had a real thing about "getting" middle class "happily married" couples just to make a point, so a 10y married professional couple with 3 happy kids was like manna from heaven to her.

I understand why people are scared - the worst thing that could happen to me today would be ss knocking on my door!

crappiestmumever Fri 29-Jan-10 19:06:34

I'm in the same position, my health is really bad at the moment and thats partly because I'm scared to say how bad i feel for fear that they will take my children from me. It doesnt matter how many time my lawyer tells me that they have no grounds to remove my children I'm still scared.
Tonight I'm struggling really bad and I know if i phone crisis team the first theing they will say is are my children safe, do they need to phone social work standby? I'm scared to phone IHTT because they dont really know me and they could say the same so I end up feeling 10 times worse.
Our social worker just now is okish, shes better than what she was but its her senior thats the problem, he seems to think anyone with a disability of some sort shouldnt have care of their children. It's views like his that make it soo much harder for me to be honest and reach out for help.

BooHooo Fri 29-Jan-10 19:14:01

What are your thoughts on this? I struggle with PTSD and even told my doctor that I tended to keep emotional distance from my ds when he's ill without even considering the possibility of that having repercussions."

Sorry i don't know what you mean here, can you explain?

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 19:24:33

I mean that when I told my doctor that I emotionally withdrew from my son when he was poorly I never even considered that it might be unsafe to do so, that I might be considered a bad mum (although I believed I was a bad mum)and that someone might want to take my child away as a result.

Yet so many women seem scared to seek help sad.

So maybe I was naive (although I've only ever received positive support) or maybe a lot of women suffer ad worry unnecessarily.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 19:26:14

Boohoo I see what you mean now - My lay out is misleading. I'm asking for people's thoughts on this fear of having your children removed, not on my personal situation, sorry!

nickname123 Fri 29-Jan-10 19:27:03

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 19:29:48

Nickname I know this is your opinion - that children are adopted not because their parents are unable to care but because they are young and pretty. You've mentioned it on a few threads and I understand why it is such an emotive issue for you, but it is not a fact so please do not present it as such x

nickname123 Fri 29-Jan-10 19:34:59

Negative feelings can pass, but if you tell the authorities what you're feeling at your lowest of low (for example I admitted my baby didn't feel like mine when suffering exhaustion and going cold turkey from breastfeeding) that exact thing I said which I didn't even necessarily feel a day or week later, was used against me in court an entire year later and it contributed to the judge taking my son.

I thought if I told social services the worst of how I felt that they would HELP and give me some respite and support.
It was the biggest mistake of my life trusting them.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 19:36:43

Absolutely - as I said you have every reason to feel the way you do and I feel for you, I can't imagine what it means to lose a child that way sad

nickname123 Fri 29-Jan-10 19:38:15

willsurvivethis i'm sorry but it's statistical fact that social services are far more eager to take very young white children into care.
Look into it.
My second child is mixed race and just as pretty to me but I'm thankful that the figures show he's less likely to be snatched up.
Especially now he's 3, thankgod he's left the at severly at risk of being too cute and adoptable zone.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 19:40:18

Nickname I don't really want to go into a yes-no debate here - most of all out of respect for your feelings on this. But if you tell me where to find the stats I will have a look x

ellymouse Fri 29-Jan-10 19:58:15

I just want to say what a relief it is to find this thread, i was diagnosed with psychosis a few years ago and ever since i found out i'm pregnant i've been SO stressed worrying that my baby will be taken. My case worker says they won't cuz i know pschosis sounds scary but i'm no danger to anyone and i'm looking after myself. i'm sad that you lot are scared too but also a bit relieved in a very selfish way (sorry) that i'm not alone.

I agree that something needs to be done. This feeling that ss are bogeymen waiting to snatch children is a prevalent one. Women are afraid of them. Surely the system is designed to help not hinder and they are falling far short. But then sometimes you read articles etc that encourage and support this view. Was it last week that that young girl ran away to ireland in fear of ss taking her child only to have this happen anyway?(there was a thread- and links to the relating articles that i can't find) and i find it terrifying that babies can be adopted when the mother still wants them-nickname i can't possibly imagine how this felt i am so sorry for you.
Ss seem to be failing in many ways. Women who want help are afraid to ask for it, people who don't want help have it forced upon them, and children who are genuinely suffering and need help are falling by the wayside. Mnhq should be proud to front a campaign to right these numerous wrongs.

Message withdrawn

Message withdrawn

ruhavingalarf Fri 29-Jan-10 20:04:41

Is ss the best abbreviation for them?

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 20:05:57

Ellymouse I'm glad you're not feeling alone anymore - that's not selfish that's just good.

evanshayleyleanne you word it so well - for me it is a problem both ways, either women have reason to be afraid in which case something's wrong or they worry unnecessarily in which case something's still wrong.

I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling this way!

nickname123 Fri 29-Jan-10 20:06:21

"The number of babies taken into care rose to 2,800 in 2005 from 1,600 in 1995. They are usually between one and four years old when adopted and *adoptions for this age group has trebled* from 810 in 1995 to 2,300 in 2005. The number of older children who have been removed from their parents in the period has also risen, but not nearly as sharply."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1265792.ece

It's clear that children of a more adoptable age have become far more likely to be taken into care in recent years.

John hemming also quotes in the 'this morning' interview with fran on youtube that black children are far more likely to be left to suffer abuse without being removed from their parents' care.

Whilst politions and the times newspaper can certainly say things in such a way which supports their point of view, they cannot outright lie about statistics without being caught.
That said along with it being common knowledge that SS don't take older children into care that ARE being beaten, etc, happening right in front of our very eyes when you're growing up in a rough area makes in completely obvious that SS are more likely to take children who are more adoptable.
If you take you're 14 year old kid into a social services office and say 'I ca't cope, take them' the social worker will say no because a children's home is likely to worsen their behaviour. If you take a very much wanted cute baby there when there are adoptive parents lining up for wsuch a child they'll be fare more likely to take it, you see?
People who want to adopt are queing up for newborns.

NoodleDoodleDoToo Fri 29-Jan-10 20:14:27

Well this shows that black and mixed race children are OVER represented in the Care population......

Lies,damn lies and statistics. make of them what you will.

www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/EIA%20Final.docHere

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 20:17:06

Hmm yes indeed - I'm a lawyer with an A-level in applied maths and statistics and yes statistics can show ANYTHING you like...

heQet Fri 29-Jan-10 20:20:52

I didn't get help for my pnd because me and my husband were convinced social services would take our son away. And I was so bad that a couple of times I thought my son had died at birth and been replaced by a demon. I sat and pictured how he had been cut out of me sad. At my best I just used to shake when changing his nappy. He nearly died at birth (shoulder dystocia) and was left with erbs. It took my 3 years to stop crying and shaking when I tried to talk about it.

My husband used to coach me on what to say to doctors, hv etc and helped me to hide it all.

They would have taken my son away if they'd known how bad I was - I have a history of mh problems and spent some time in a psych unit many years ago. You are never treated the same by the medical profession after you've been through that. you are damned by your medical records until the day you die. If they'd known how I truly felt I don't think they'd have supported us, I think they'd have taken the kids.

Something must be wrong for so many people to have this fear! It doesn't come from nowhere. Something really does need to be done.

uglymugly Fri 29-Jan-10 20:25:02

This fear has been around for a long, long time. My DC1 was born in the 1970s, when all first-time mums stayed in hospital for a minimum of ten days. It wasn't a caring environment - babies were only to be fed every four hours, and when not being fed/changed/bathed were to be in their cots; any baby that cried in between those times was removed to the nursery. It was "well-known" that a mother who decided to leave before being permitted to do so would be reported to social services. Of course, I have no idea whether that would have been the case, but it sure kept all us mums and dads pretty passive.

I think the biggest problem with this is that the family courts are secret and not accountable, so vulnerable people are often forbidden from getting any kind of independent support, told they will go to prison if they complain, etc. Yes, of course there are good, caring social workers, and situations where removal of a child is the best thing to do (mother who won't get rid of an appallingly dangerous partner, for instance). But we have a Government with an extremely controlling attitude towards the general public ('non-compliance with professionals' unleashes a world of hurt on you even when - especially when, said professionals are incompetent or indeed malevolent. It is sadly true that quite a substantial percentage of people who work in the 'caring professions' have taken up this work because they are bullies, egotists or abusers and get off on having power over other people's lives.)

Message withdrawn

heQet Fri 29-Jan-10 20:29:01

It has, uglymugly. I remember my mother telling me not to say X, Y, Z to the school because social services would take us away.

She had an absolute terror of this happening.

Years later I found out that this was because she went into a mother and baby unit with me and had to prove she was capable of caring for me, or they'd take me.

They used to inspect the rooms in the unit and the message was clear - don't keep it clean enough and it's a mark against you! she still spends hours every day cleaning her house. Moves all the furniture, cleans every ornament. Every day is a spring clean! It's a compulsion. They really screwed her up. sad

StarExpat Fri 29-Jan-10 20:29:25

Well.... I wasn't scared before reading all this.... but now I am. I had PND, took anti depressants, still take a very very low dose. I see a counsellor weekly because birth was so traumatic. My DS isn't in any danger. I am totally in love with him and he is safe with dh and I. But after reading this, I am definitely going to stop being so open with my counselor about my feelings, though. And maybe cut down visits. I don't want anyone thinking ss needs to intervene. I'm a teacher. I couldn't bear it if anyone at school found out either!

Nymphadora Fri 29-Jan-10 20:31:48

Not sure I want to get involved in this discussion but there are cases out there of SWs making bad decisions but nobody so far has looked at the role the media plays in the scaremongering. Obviously in most cases the wrong decision is never admitted to but compared to the number of children taken into care when it was right to do so surely this is a small number.

I work in the system and I am coming across overzealous new SWs or undereducated and/or jaded older ones but there are good SWs out there and you cant tarnish ALL of them. Its probably the only job outside of Doctors/Nurses/Health where you have to make life or death decisions regularly.

Nymphadora Fri 29-Jan-10 20:35:29

heQet- I have read many court reports on how clean peoples houses were, one referencing the TV being dusty from one visit to the next so unfortunately that one hasnt improved.

In the case I read it definately was the right decision for the child NOT to stay with their parents but I do think comments on dusty TVs undermine the whole picture

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 20:36:49

Thanks Nymphadora -

Can I ask this does not become a SS bashing thread - I know we can all say what we like but it's not why I started it...

And please don't stop/change treatment because of what you read on here! Talk to someone you trust in RL before doing anything like that!

twistedhazel Fri 29-Jan-10 20:38:18

I sadly have to agree with you Starlight, yes they can ruin a family as we experienced with the way they 'dealt' with our elderly parent.

I found our by accident (whilst riffling through my antenatal notes) that there was to be a meeting with a social worker whom I had never met, a hv I spoke to briefly - and who had written an extremely embroidered case on the brief meeting-, child protection officer etc re our unborn son on the strength that I had suffered depression some 12 years earlier.
No one asked my husband or myself to attend.

I had not relapsed before my pregnancy nor had suffered PND with my previous two yet on the strength of a highly fabricated report by the HV, we could have had our baby taken into care.

Now I am suffering depression again and am terrified to go for help. It is a Catch 22 situation.

Bloody hell - I work in the mental health field and I have to say my main problem is that parents are given chance after chance after chance to fuck up their kids lives.

If you could see some of the kids that we have to deal with who have been left in the care of their parents and by the time they reach their teen years are so bloody damaged that they will never lead normal lives you would be horrified.

Starexpat - do you really think being less open with a counsellor who is not allowed to discuss your case with others except in extreme curcumstances is wise - she is probably helping you.

BigMomma3 Fri 29-Jan-10 20:45:00

OMG this is something I have been terrified about lately. I have 3 DCs and am pregnant with my 4th.

Last year, after almost 30 years of suffering (from around age of 8), I finally plucked up the courage to see my GP about my OCD (obsessive, distressing thoughts are my biggest problem). I did not know what it was until then, just thought I was a loon but my life has been a living misery because of it sad. I was referred to my Community Health Team and after an assessment from them, they said CBT would be the best course of action. I did pay privately for a while but could not carry on paying 60 quid a pop. So still on waiting NHS list.

I am now unexpectedly (but happily) pregnant and without my knowledge, I was transferred from my local midwifery team to a team that 'offers extra support' when I asked my GP why, he said it was because of my 'mental health issues'. I have been panicking ever since then and wish I had never approached my GP as I am worried that because of my pregnancy, I may be flagged up to SS. Not that I have ever had any dealing with them before of course but I am unsure at how my OCD will be looked upon. No one has ever expressed any concerns about my children so I guess it's just my paranoia!!

BigMomma3 Fri 29-Jan-10 20:50:18

Oh and just to clarify MadameCastefiore - my DCs are not fucked up because of my 'problem'. I have kept it very well hidden (suffered in silence) and they are totally unaware that their mother is 'ill'.

PARANOIA is part of depression and lots of other mental health issues - I would say that was the main problem here and it bloody well seems to be catching!

Exactly nymph. Doesn't the fact that they do make life or death decisions make this perception all the worse if it reflects even some me the truth. the fact that there are good sws doesn't make up for or excuse this feeling that women have. There shouldn't be a pot luck situation where if women ask for help they may or may not recieve good care. Pnd and ptsd are serious conditions but are not reason to question whether a mother has the right to raise her child. I think the point of this thread is to say yes there are good sws there, and involving them and gps and any other authority that acts as a support net should only be a good thing. Women should get the help they deserve. But when women are in fear, whether justified fear or not, there is a problem. And without intending to be rude, i agree that the media sensationalise and misery sells at the end of the day, not happy outcomes when all is well- i still think that there is no smoke without fire.
A bad reputation is earned not given.
Its not so much individual sws that are being attacked as the ss system as a whole.

ellymouse Fri 29-Jan-10 20:52:08

just want to say to those of you with depression, up to 12% of the uk population suffer from it during any one year. they can't possibly make it a policy to take children away from people suffering from depression so dont put off/stop getting help. i dont regret getting help for my psychosis, otherwise i wouldn't be here to be pregnant. what worries me though is the diagnosis psychosis, its a serious diagnosis. people hear it and think psycho (knife in the shower etc) i do trust my case worker but i won't have her for more then another year, what will i do then? if ss do get involved they'll hear psychosis and think i'm dangerous or something. does anyone else have the same diagnosis? i'm so scared. havn't given birth yet but i want to be a mum.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 20:55:54

Ellymouse you are so right - 1 in 4 people has a mental health issue at some point in their life.

Feel verysad at the effect of your diagnosis - stupid word. It belies the fact that psychosis can be ver well treated and is indeed not always or not at all dangerous to others

No elly SS will not think psychosis is that bad - it can be very mild and fleeting or very very severe but it will not scare them it is something that those in the mental health profession see everyday.

And Bigmomma - your kids will definately know - and getting help as a family is the best thing you can do - not hiding it from them and from others.

StarExpat Fri 29-Jan-10 20:56:38

I know, madame. And I have a background (degree) in psychology as well. However, I am not from this country originally and not sure of how easily ss is called in for such matters. I've been very open with my counselor about some thoughts I've had but don't have anymore (i.e. I just feel like I'm not a good enough mother and maybe DS would be better off with someone else ). And like the poster who said that secret conversation was had between her HV and SS, what if she goes and brings info like that to them, considering it "severe"?
Yes, I am paranoid now.

Mmmcoffee Fri 29-Jan-10 20:57:31

My DD slipped in the bath when she was about 3yo; she sat down hard on a plastic penguin and got a cut right 'up there'.

I was actually SCARED to take her to A&E to get it looked at because of what they might do. And then I was petrified that it would get infected or something and we'd be under MORE suspicion because we hadn't sought out care in the first place.

It is so wrong when innocent people are afraid of The Authorities.

UnderneathTheStream Fri 29-Jan-10 20:57:53

Great.
I’m terrified now – history of eating disorders with a brief side step into alcohol abuse for a change, then just plain uncomplicated depression – the last episode being 2 years ago with my third suicide attempt.

So what you are saying is that the one thing that I am living for: having a family; will be taken away from me just because of my depression that was largely related to me not having a family?!!

I am literally terrified by this…

twistedhazel Fri 29-Jan-10 21:00:36

I cannot understand why there is still such a stigma attached to mental illness. Say for example you had angina or some other illness- there would be no stigma attached to your treatment or ability to be a good parent.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 21:01:25

StarExpat that must be the most common statement made by women in counselling 'I'm not a good enough mother' - usually by good mothers with low self esteem and depression. Counsellors must hear it every day.

If we're just going to scare each other now I'm going to ask mn to shut this thread down and remove it, maybe i should not have started it...I wanted to make it discussable not scare people sad

woodyandbuzz Fri 29-Jan-10 21:01:31

I met a social worker (in the context of friendships, not through her profession). We arranged to meet up somewhere and she told me she couldn't go to that particular place as she had been involved in the removal of a baby nearby and the family were in pieces and furious (and would attack her if they saw her). Another friend asked her if she was 100% sure that it was the right thing to do (to take away the baby). She said she thought it was the right thing to do, but was not 100% AND the SW was a twenty something with no children of her own. It utterly terrified me. I cut contact with her immediately and I would never ever go to any authorites with any MH problem ever ever ever.

The media do sensationalise, but the bare bones of this stuff is true. Although newspapers can be littered with inaccuracies, they don't usually go for total and utter fiction!

StarExpat Fri 29-Jan-10 21:02:25

mmmcoffee how horrible!
Much less severe than that, but when DS was about 6 months old, I had to give him calpol for a fever. I was so exhausted from the constant bfeeding and not sleeping that I gave him the 2.5 ml spoonful and then immediately went into a panic that I had given him the wrong side and it was actually 5ml and he had overdosed and what would happen - would people think I poisoned him if I brought him to A&E? Or would he just be ok? But I didn't want to just let him lay there, overdosed... after a minute (which seemed like forever), I went and checked the unwashed spoon... which was still pink and sticky on the 2.5ml side. Thank goodness. Such a little thing, I know... but my heart was racing and I was in such a panic about whether I should "tell" or not and I still remember that feeling now!

StarExpat Fri 29-Jan-10 21:04:04

willsurvivethis It's ok! A little dose of reality is a good thing sometimes.

It's actually helpful to know that others feel this way, too. A relief!

BigMomma3 Fri 29-Jan-10 21:04:29

MadameC - I can assure you I act no differently than other mothers (I do not have compulsions, I have obsessions and they are all in my head) and my DCs are NOT aware. I am the one who has been suffering not them. It has only since I have recognised what I have (and that has taken 30 years)that I am starting to realise that I am not loony or evil and your posts are not very helpful!

ellymouse Fri 29-Jan-10 21:06:19

people aren't saying what your living for will be taken away, its a common concern, one that i myself have but what is alarming me more now is that people will read this and be badly effected. please everyone suffering from any kind of mental health problem, get help, dont stop help, dont read these posts and give up. i'm very scared and paranoid about ss myself but dont give up.

Mmmcoffee Fri 29-Jan-10 21:07:58

star that is the exact feeling I had. It is truly horrible.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 21:09:55

Well I guess I am now sure that i want MN to take this further - all your posts really strengthen my feeling that whatever the truth is and the facts are - many women find it too scary to get help and that is in noone's interest sad]

StarExpat Fri 29-Jan-10 21:10:57

at the time, with that calpol incident, ss didn't even enter my head!
I was just worried that the doctors at A&E would think that I was a bad mother or hurting my child. I have no idea why... just never considered that ss might come take my ds from me until I read this... but had that same paranoid feeling, iyswim.

So this thread is helpful!

Message withdrawn

Reallytired Fri 29-Jan-10 21:24:58

I think that anxiety and depression are very closely linked. People can also post whatever they like on the internet. Children are not taken into carely lightly.

I had absolutely crippling depression seven years ago. To the extent that I decided it was a good idea to stop eating. I don't think I was fully in touch with reality.

In my experience health professionals worry when you hide things. With my daughter I have a truely gifted health visitor with 26 years of experience. She had postnatal depression 30 years ago so knows exactly what it feels like. She is monitoring me by telephone about once a month. She knows how to support without making me feel underminded.

Starlight- don't really want to go into my story but wanted to let you know that I went all the way to the ombudsman, it was rejected and I went back again. It took 3.5 years, nearly killed me but I still have in my file a complete and utter unreserved apology from all involved. Keep going, the anger did it for me. They also promised to review/ change the secrecy to parent. This was 7 years ago in Oxford. Sounds like nothing has changed. I was a nurse, middle class, happy family, at the time quite well off. It is obvious what I was accused of..

ellymouse Fri 29-Jan-10 21:40:57

i have never heard of the ombudsman before, can someone explain it to me? just in case i do ever have any dealings with ss, the more i know the better i'll feel! if anyone has the time of course.

You can go to the ombudsman when you have exhausted the full ss complaints system. If you are going through the legal system you can't use the ombudsman. I found it impossible to get a lawyer to take them on privately ( ie not on legal aid) because many act for them in other cases. My children were not at risk of being taken away or even monitored but I was so angry at records made, meetings had without any effort to check any facts. They took every word of a malicious phonecall as truth because the caller ran a nursery. I hade complained about the nursery and it was in retaliation ( this didn't occur to ss though).

nickname123 Fri 29-Jan-10 21:52:08

UnderneathTheStream
If you have recorded suicide attempts just 2 years ago, regardless of how you feel now, i would advise you not to have a baby untill you've built up a good case of how you have recovered, because it's likely social services could be called in.

A social worker told me (as they were adopting my child because of 'depression') that if I had another baby within 3 years they would come and take the baby from the delivery ward and adopt it out. I had to go and have an abortion and I told the clinic I did NOT want to be there and I did not want an abortion but I couldnt cope with them taking another baby from me.
The son I have now who is my life was LUCKILY born 4 years after the adoption so they couldn't automatically take him and they actually only spent half an hour with us to 'assess' us and said we were fine.
And 3 years later we are fine :-)

I don't appreciate people saying my fear is from fabricated media stories, I have seen real cases around me, a girl i grew up with also had one child in care and the next was automatically taken at birth and both adopted.
I havent spoken to her about it but I suspect she was as guilty as me, depressed, very young and with absolutely no support, thought the social services would help and didnt know her rights.

In fact, I only found out because I saw something about ss meeting on the computer when I was at my gp for a sore throat. Sorry- I said I wouldn't go on about it and I have.
I have little respect for them, not just because of my experience as a parent but they were useless when I was working as a nurse.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 22:01:22

Nickname I don't think that your story is made up or media fuelled or whatever. I think your story is true and extremely painful.

I do feel it colours the way you see other stories and facts in a way that doesn't do anyone any justice.

Social services mess up - fact. Lawyers mess up - I'm one- fact. Doctors mess up. Bike mechanics mess up. In case of ss the consequences are unusually serious, but i don't think a witch hunt is helpful/

nickname123 Fri 29-Jan-10 22:07:04

My main concern is that when a young single parent is struggling, they may exagerate how hard it is to a social worker, like I did because I wanted them to take me more seriously and give me support.
But it's very dangerous to do that, because social services aren't there to help make parent's lives easier as I learnt, there there to asses the risk to the child alone and make some harsh judgements that will massively affect your life.
I am CONSTANT;Y made to feel like there must have been something wrong with me and that I must be at fault for thinking so negatively about social services.

*this thread is very relieving for me to read*

as I now know so many more people have gone through the same things and have the same justified feelings about the social services.

Chickenwoman Fri 29-Jan-10 22:07:48

Yes Social Services mess up, but the issue is really that the consistently and systematically mess up, and when challenged or asked for their accountability they have the power to make your life extremely difficult, moving their vendetta against your complaints to the secrecy of the family courts where you have no right of appeal of even representation.

It's dangerous.

ArthurPewty Fri 29-Jan-10 22:20:12

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

nickname123 Fri 29-Jan-10 22:20:27

willsurvivethis
You needent worry about social workers becoming victims.
I can assure that people, even my own friends will far sooner defend social workers than take me seriously.
There is no risk of wronged birth mother's being anywhere near as supported as social workers.
Everyone I speak to is quick to defend social workers.

And I will too, simply because I understand the job is impossible.
Social workers can't possibly REALLY care and look into *every single case* properly.
If they're the kidest person out there they'll find it too distressing and quit, otherwise they'll become hardened and not care enough. But mainly it's that they don't have the time to do every single case properly.
It's a system that can't work 100%
The only hope of getting them to help would be to be assertive and on top of what they're doing with you, best believe i'm assertive these days.
But vulnerable parents arent assertive so they get screwed over because SS can't devote as much time as is needed.

willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 22:23:40

Nickname thanks for that - I think that's a really good and fair post

Chickenwoman Fri 29-Jan-10 22:24:46

LEonie Can you take SJW and BF?

ArthurPewty Fri 29-Jan-10 22:31:06

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

ArthurPewty Fri 29-Jan-10 22:33:10

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

Chickenwoman Fri 29-Jan-10 22:35:33

Thanks Leonie. I 'know' you and trust your sources. (not in a social-services reporting way I rush to add)

ArthurPewty Fri 29-Jan-10 22:36:26

Aww bless! someone what knows me on MN! I are famous wink

Chickenwoman Fri 29-Jan-10 22:41:16

yup smile

AvrilHeytch Fri 29-Jan-10 23:08:57

Message withdrawn

I'm off now, but iwillsurvive, i think that your right and completely support taking this further. Regardless of how bad ss actually are, the perception that they are to be feared needs to be challenged and hopefully changed. People shouldn't be afraid(sorry to repeat myself) and the experience that many posters here have had is unacceptable. clearly something is wrong and it needs to be addressed.
I don't think that ss is a terrible system, i'm sure that many involved work very hard to help, but this fear and the stories and experiences that lead to it should be dispelled for the sake of the families that need support. Good luck.

uglymugly Fri 29-Jan-10 23:43:59

By willsurvivethis Fri 29-Jan-10 21:01:25
If we're just going to scare each other now I'm going to ask mn to shut this thread down and remove it, maybe i should not have started it...I wanted to make it discussable not scare people

-----

You can't scare people unless they think there's a reason for them feeling scared. What you've done is open up an area for discussion where people can relate their own experiences of fear. And you are not responsible for that by posting your concerns.

This is an area which needs to be aired, and mumsnet is good at that. Personally, I thank you for raising this topic. I first encountered this fear more than thirty years ago - my children are at the age where they might possibly have to deal with the same fear. It does have to stop. And we need to figure out how to do that.

weegiemum Sat 30-Jan-10 06:03:05

Been reading this over again and am apalled at the number of people who have been bullied by SS.

I was bullied at school, but what I endured from the social worker in my CP case was a million times worse.

My best friend is a SW, who got out of CP work as she found it too distressing (now does CP training for teachers etc) but I find that now I am still a little scared to tell her (my bf for 20 years!!) how I am, just in case ......

There are too many power-hungry SW out there, (I have met them!!!) who like the idea of having power over families, being able to be in touch etc ....

I was villified from the moment dd2 was born. I had had to take some serious painkillers in pregnancy and was referred to the "addiction service" (sorry! I was taking prescribed morphine for my excruciatingly painful kidney stones! And its safer than all the other fancy meds out there!)

I looked at my notes while I was in hospital and found a section suggesting that I "wasn't bonding" with dd2 as I had not bathed her! (I had washed her all over many times but as I hadn't taken the stupid bath out of the cupboard I was "neglecting" her). I challenged the hospital on this and the were very blush but would not take it out of my notes.

So when, 13 months later, I suffered a rare and yet well known reaction to the antidepressants I had been on for years I was immediately referred to social services as there were "concerns" for my children.

At that point the sw were all very hmm that I was still breastfeeding. I had to justify it in a meeting, I ended up bringing WHO guidelines etc (was a bfc trainee at the time) and they were still all hmm. Cos I was bf a 14 months old baby! I was told by them I was "babying" her by "letting" her bf at that age! SHe was a baby, of course I was "babying" her.

They refused to listen to anything me, dh or our fabulous GP who advocated for us had to say. They had to stop after 3 meetings as there was clearly no cause for concern. But when the last meeting was finishing to hear the SW dept representative (not my SW, who was awful, but another one) say "well I still don't beleive any of this" was just a kick in the teeth.

We never got copies of the minutes of the meetings - my GP copied them for me as he was appalled by this as well. We were kept totally out of the loop. Our GP was invited to a meeting we weren't - he took us along (you should have seen their faces that day!!!!)

My kids are now a lot bigger (6, 8, 10) but I would still be very loathe to suggest that I sometimes don't cope too well (depression has relapsed). I refuse to see a psych after what happened the last time. I am glad I am out of the clutches of the HV service!

The SW service in this country needs a huge overhaul. I'd love to see MN do something.

What worries me the most I think is that while they were putting so much energy into our investigation which was pointless from the start, what was missed? Who was abusing their kids but we were all sat round a table discussing whether or not I should be "allowed" to continue bf my 14 mo dd2!!! (for the record, I did. Till she was 2!)

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 08:59:31

weegiemum
it's insane how much ignorance there is around breastfeeding.
I absolutely plan on bf mine for a good 2 years, i remember when my 3 yr old was a year old a health visitor came into our home and was baffled i wasnt giving him cow's milk and said that i 'couldnt breastfeed him forever'. Well i breastfed him for over another year and am proud. Their attititudes are **ed up.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 09:11:54

aaah, but SWs know more about your kids and how to raise them 'properly' than you do - just ask them.

[eyeroll]

one of my DH's aunties is a SW, and the number of times we were told by her, [in addition to numerous medical professionals GPs, HVs etc] that we were being neurotic parents and just needed to relax, if i had a quid for each time Auntie tried to tell us how to raise DD1, how we were doing it wrong etc... just because she is a [now retired] SW, despite having no children of her own [and no maternal instincts either] ... in her head she compared DD1 to the kids she adopted out to families and to textbooks, and concluded we were neurotic.

I dont think she bought DD1's HFA diagnosis. In fact i know she considered it bullshit at the time. Lord knows what she thinks 3 years on...

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 09:15:54

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

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ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 09:22:24

err, i meant i WASNT trying to lie - i was too sick with the flu and too stunned and shocked to remember to try and lie, i was completely and utterly honest to my own detriment!

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 09:24:22

Starlight - thank goodness i didnt mention DD1's vaccinations at the time either - she's never had one in her life!!!

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 09:24:52

I have actually also noticed that many mums with depression and other mh conditions are such good long term bfeeders- probably because they care so much for their children. Yet at the same time they often think they're bad mums. I can't believe sw/hv discouraging bf so early!!!!!!!!!!Just read it from the below posts to dh who dropped his jaw and said 'but isnt's the WHO guideline 2 years?' - look he knows! FFS

Message withdrawn

JollyPirate Sat 30-Jan-10 09:38:46

Sorry to asll of you who have had crap experiences - I don't disbelieve you BUT there is some utter crap being written here all the same.

SW do not have the power to remove children without a court order to do so. That court order will only be granted if there is some pretty convincing evidence that the child may be at risk if is not granted. The evidence comes from a variety of people and not just the social workers. It may include doctors, health visitor, psychologists, police etc etc etc.

I work with some really difficult families where neglect continues for a long period of time before enough evidence is there to enable a court to say that the children might be better off elsewhere while the parents work through whatever issues they have - and in some cases that will be never.
Over that period of time they remian in the home children suffer - end of story. In most cases the parents do work through whatever and the children are not removed.

Thank God I am not a SW given the crappy attitude they face on a day to day basis. No wonder they are in such short supply.

There is no conspiracy to remove pretty white babies. I work all the time with parents who have mental health problems, learning difficulties, drug and alcohol issues - in the vast majority of cases social services don't have enough resources to address the issues - the ones they do work with are those where so many referrals have come in fronm a variety of sources that they cannot ignore and HAVE to investigate.

So - if you have PND, depression or anything else get the treatment you need and talk about it. Unless there is something else going on that you are not being honest about that on it's own is not a good enough reason to remove a child from your care.

Threads like this can be good - too many women worry about SW or anyone else taking their children because they are depressed. I'm a HV and I can tell you it doesn't happen - not unless there are many many other issues. The one case I was involved in where it did happen was because the mother could not handle her baby, wanted the baby in respite every weekend, threatened to harm the child (on a regular basis) and just said she never ever developed any feelings. The baby was removed at HER request and subsequently adopted. As was the next one she had.... after 10 months of exactly the same pattern (should I mention that both babies were white, fair haired and pretty).

You are more likely to run the risk of SS getting involved if you DON'T seek help as then you depression may get worse and in severe cases lead to you neglecting yourself and the child.

<okay - am off to hide thread now - am amazed that John Hemming has not turned up with his anti SW stance>

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 09:41:10

Thanks for this JP - I think that wass a very necessary post!

Message withdrawn

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 09:48:52

What about the thread recently where a mom with twins was threatened that she would be reported to SS if she didnt FF top up??

What about the thread recently where a mom said her HV said she'd just take her baby now because the mom confessed to struggling to cope?

We're not making these things up, which is largely why that 'fear' exists - the so called professionals involved in these situations are CREATING a fear!!

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 09:51:13

Starlight maybe you need to clarify what you mean with asking for help. If you go to your GP and say you feel depressed isn't s/he much more likely to give you ads and refer you for counselling than to ring ss with concern that you're a bad mum?

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 09:54:36

Leonie there is a lot of self selection going on here - very few women would post and say gosh I felt so depressed and I just want to write how fantastic my gp/hv have been in supporting me or even I needed help from ss and thanks to their input my family is still together and doing much better.

The ones that post are the ones with the bad experiences. And while not accusing ANYONE of lying, this is th'Internet and we may not always get the full story.

Reallytired Sat 30-Jan-10 09:55:20

I have sort help for depression/ anxiety with both my children from health visitors. With my son I was very ill, I stopped eating and got very skinny. No one ever suggested taking away my son. Health professionals worried about me NOT him. They knew that my son was very much loved.

With my daughter the health visitor has monitored me to try and spot problems before they happen. I have not been depressed but I have been scared of crowds and enclosed places. For example I find that going to the supermarket or the baby clinic terrifying.

I have found that health visitors have a very broad idea of what consitutes good parenting. My health visitor is not in the slightest bit bothered that I do not follow conventional parenting. I am planning to breastfeed until two and although we have a side cot my daughter often ends up co sleeping.

There is a difference between being MAD and being BAD. Many health visitors are a bit mad themselves, they know what its like.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 09:56:31

"So - if you have PND, depression or anything else get the treatment you need and talk about it. Unless there is something else going on that you are not being honest about that on it's own is not a good enough reason to remove a child from your care."

Well, apart from risking having SS breathing down my neck, i would never want 'depression' on my medical records simply because GPs tend to never ever take you seriously about anything in future, they blame it all on your depression!!

(i have a good mate with crippling back pain who struggles to ever be taken seriously about pain because she has been diagnosed depressed in the past and given pills for it)

this is, however, a digression from the topic, sorry.

One of the first things that happened when SS visited me was that they accused me of being depressed. When did they get their psychology/psychiatry degrees, then?

Nymphadora Sat 30-Jan-10 10:00:32

Think that is another issue -professionals using SS as a threat when actually SS wouldn't do anything. Lots of referrals that come in and dealt with in a quick phone call to referer and families or occaissionally a home visit.

Starlight- I think those things you listed would be minor but if you 'complied' then SW would assume you were following advice and would therefore follow advice on other stuff IYSWIM. Tbh if you were a family I worked with I would encourage regular meals/ bedtimes but as long as they were eating/ sleeping enough they wouldn't be an issue. The cradle cap & ironing wouldn't bother me.

Just to echo jolly care proceedings are very difficult and especially if it is classed as neglect as it is very difficult to prove. ( unless you have 4 kids & a dog sharing a room with no toilet facilities- one of the most disgusting cases I read about)

TotalChaos Sat 30-Jan-10 10:08:26

bigmomma - I had a bad OCD relapse when I was PG, ended up referred to psych as GP was bloody useless. Noone referred me to SS. HV supposedly supporting me after the birth was a judgmental nightmare though (telling I wasn't an instinctive mother, how my mate visiting with her baby was doing stuff better then me) - but it took me a while to cotton on that she wanted me to kiss her arse - i.e. that she wasn't there for me to spill my innermost thoughts to, and to comply with all her suggestions and going to toddler groups and surestart was the way to get rid of her.

strawberrykate Sat 30-Jan-10 10:08:29

I remember the booking forms at my GP, there was a tick box 'would you like a visit from a social worker' yes/no. I couldn't help thinking you'd have to be nuts or naive to tick that one!

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 10:17:38

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

TotalChaos Sat 30-Jan-10 10:21:32

Leonie - completely agree about it all being about complying. though my experience was of HV rather than SW. I was bullied by HV into weaning DS at 5 months (the local baby health "experts") didn't believe in the revised guidelines for 6 months.

Message withdrawn

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 10:24:31

i guess what i'm saying is, at what point does a failure to comply become a crime? Why do we have to comply with what they say, especially if we know better? What makes them right and us wrong, as parents?

Its a scary indictment of society, that the authories are the only authority on raising children, and that differences of opinion on raising children equates to wrongdoing, that cosleeping or breastfeeding could be extrapolated into neglect or abuse, etc etc...

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 10:31:05

Starlight: "but not in many others and certainly has nothing to do with whether a child is appropriately cared for."

That's another problem - who decides what is 'appropriate' in appropriately well cared for? Where is the Big Fat Rulebook that determines these things? Its down to the judgement of the individual SWs involved and that is Very Scary indeed.

Too much power in their individual hands, too much power in their collective hands. And too much secrecy in family.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 10:31:49

family courts - sorry, DD2 helping me press post too soon. lol

twistedhazel Sat 30-Jan-10 10:36:57

I want to write about a very positive outcome.

A while ago, I had a fairly severe spell of depression and the GP referred me to the local Mental Health team. Through lots of councelling, practical advice and a strong back-up, the CPN helped not just me but my entire family.
I had opted out from taking ADs but spoke freely with my CPN and we had trust. I often told her how terrified I was of SW removing my children and he put me in touch with the Mental Health SW who reassured me that my children were well looked after and fine, that there was no reason at all for their removal.

The irony of the whole situation was born from the non MH SWs treatment of our family when we were carers to my parent who had dementia.
I won't go into detail about it but will say that they were very heavy handed and not always truthful, yet it was their word against ours.

I do feel that I can trust my CPN should I need help again and he and his team also have a big say in Child Protection meetings but tend to protect their patient whilst justifying what help they have offered the families IMO.

Reallytired Sat 30-Jan-10 10:45:52

"Well, apart from risking having SS breathing down my neck, i would never want 'depression' on my medical records simply because GPs tend to never ever take you seriously about anything in future, they blame it all on your depression!!"

That is not true. One in three people have a mental health problem at some point in their lives and at any time 1 in 10 people are depressed at any given time.

If you want your GP and HV to take you seriously then seek help and be sensible. Social services aren't going to put your children in care. There simply aren't enough foster carers for children who do need to be taken into care. 1 in 10 mums have postnatal depression and many Jolly can tell if I am right, but I think 1 in 100 have postnatal depression badly enough to need a secondary referal. If you think about it that a lot of mums and children across the UK.

If all the children of mums with postnatal depression were taken into care then the system would collapse. Putting a child into care costs an absolute bomb. Even if a baby gets adopted social services aren't actually allowed to sell beautiful babies.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 10:57:49

Reallytired: it IS true that once you have depression on your records, future complaints are all too often dismissed!

That's what i said, if you read the quote you quoted from me - i never said anything about adopting or selling beautiful babies!!

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 11:03:53

Leonie I'm sorry that's your experience. It's not mine and not my dh's so maybe we can leave it at your opinion/experience rather than fact? Because it obviously does not apply to everyone.

wubblybubbly Sat 30-Jan-10 11:28:22

It's a very interesting topic and also some very sad stories.

I suffered from depression prior to DS and also after his birth.

I did seek help on both occasions, although I actually found it much harder to ask for help the first time around, it was a new experience and very terrifying. I think that quite possibly most people suffering from depression for the first time struggle to ask for help.

Whilst I was pregnant and visited by midwives, we talked about my earlier depression and they mentioned I might be more prone to PND. It wasn't done in a threatening way, but just highlighted for me and they also mentioned that, because I'd suffered before, I was more likely to spot the signs earlier.

When DS was born by ECS he was whisked away into SCBU, followed by loads of health issues, BF difficulties etc. I felt a complete failure as a mother, struggled to bond with DS and the depression came back.

Perhpas because I'd had a good experience the first time around, it was easier for me to seek help again? I had great support from my GP and a NHS CBT counsellor, no critical judgements about me or my abilities as a mother and certainly no threats of SS involvement.

I can see know how lucky I was. I had the benefit of having already been through the system succesfully, I had enough experience to be able to identify that my feelings didn't mean I was a bad person/mother but that I was suffering from depression.

I think that seeking help for MH issues is extraordinarliy difficult the first time you face it. To seek help again after a bad experience must be terrifying and, add to that mix, the threat that SS might get involved must put many people off finding help all together.

I don't have the answers, I just wanted to add a positive experience to the mix.

Message withdrawn

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 11:33:54

willsurvivethis: i think you'll find its not just my experience, but MANY people's experiences. They may not be posting on this thread, but if you start one elsewhere asking if it happens, i guarantee you'll find it happens a LOT. I think you and your DH are probably the exceptions, not the rule.

Nymphadora Sat 30-Jan-10 11:35:30

Sorry starlight have read your case before and the treatment does seem to have been crap but I just answered your question for a Neglect situation. Ididnt specify timesof meals etc, just regular.

Regarding 'comply' it's a matter of convincing SS you can manage/ improve. If you disagree on health grounds etc ensure you can back it up or your GP/HV will.

As I said before the majority of SW are ok but there are some crap/thick/lazy ones and they unfortunatly are the ones people o here have met. I also have a problem with Sws without life experience as the young new ones seem to be working in CP as the older experienced ones have had enough.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 12:06:39

Leonie, I believe you. Still think it's more helpful if we just discuss our own experiences rather than those of hypothetical others.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 12:23:24

Hello all!
Just to add my bit.
People are scared of SS, of course they are, because they have the power to remove your children. yes yes the courts blah but the fact is that the SW are the ones who come and JUDGE you, and they are the ones who recommend removal. That is the nost scary thing in the world. Naturally people are scared.

What happened to me.
During the course of my life I have had excellent experience with GP, hospitals, HCPs. I suffered from perinatal anxiety with DD2 and sought help with no qualms, as at the point I knew that HCPs are there to help you. The support I received was wonderful.

After DD2 I decided that I was drinking too much. I had always liked a drink more than is healthy, and I decided that now I had children I should stop. I was drinking in the evenings, when the children had gone to bed, with my DH in the house, who would only ever have one glass of wine to keep me company (he has never been much of a drinker).

So natuarally I sought help, as I had when I quit smoking. I assumed that some help would be available. I stopped drinking and went to see my GP and he gave me a phone number. I rang it, they said I was not drinking enough for them to be interested and they would refer me on.

Anotehr organisation called, I had a 5 min chat and they asked a few questions. I said that I had stopped drinking and was happy that I had done it (it had been a few weeks and it was fine) but that I would contact them if I needed support. It was a cheerful upbeat conversation.

An hour later the woman called back to say that they had reported me to SS because they had serious concerns about the safety of my children, and that they would have to come and assess me. I said couldn't they wait to repoty until they had met me? No. Would SS take the children? She said yes if they have cause for concern.

Anyway I rang SS (on advice of MNers) to try and explain that the charity had been hasty but she obviously didn't believe me.

The SW came to see us. She was OK. There were obviously things sje didn't like, I think she thought we were lying. Because we are normal and happy etc and maybe they aren't used to dealing with people with no problems? So people who say they have no problems must be liars?

Anyway she said she would call GP and DD1 nursery to ask about us, and it would be best if I warned them. So I had to talk to nursery manager and tell her all about it and call GP and obviously it is now on my GP records. And she NEVER BLOODY RANG THEM. So now my GP and nursery know that SS have been involved with us, when they didn't need to.

Anyway. I lost a stone in 2 or 3 days when we were first reported, I couldn't eat.

We had to wait 2.5 MONTHS for a letter from SS which was really stressful, hearing what would happen next. When it came it said no further action "as discussed when I met you". She did not bloody tell us no further action when she met us she looked worried and said she would 1. phone us with details of who to contact for support with giving up drinking and 2. write to us. She never rang and left us hanging for 2.5 months.

No-one at any point really tried to give me any support with stopping drinking. Apart from that I should contact the woman who reported in the first place. Yes like that's going to be a big help. No alternatives were offered and no-one has asked how it's going or anything.

What I have learned:

Once you have children all eyes are on them. Before, it is all about you, afterwards, it is all about them. If you have any problems, the first thought will be how does it impact on the children.

If I ever have another problem, i will deal with it myself or through anonymous help. Internet/phonelines etc. until teh children are much bigger anyway.

I think we will have to cancel 3rd child as with the perinatal anxiety, it could trigger a report (even though all that happens is I won't go out) and I don't think I could do it without the support I received last time from the perinatal team. We had said that for 3rd child I could have ADs, but obviously that is not the way to go, I know that now.

Also the fact I had a loving sober husband with no issues with anything was seen as largely irrelevant. It is all down to YOU the MUMMY. If you are judged to be lacking, well who knows what will happen.

It is a valuable lesson that I feel I have learned, through a truly shitty experience.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 12:24:29

Oh shit sorry for monster post blush this is all quite raw the letter came a couple of weeks ago. Sorry.

feistyfire Sat 30-Jan-10 12:31:10

yeah social services are involved with my unborn baby cos i have apparantly got anger issues
i spend every minute of everyday worrying my unborn and my 2 year old will be taken
my son is in nursery hes well loved and looked after.yet my life is a constant worry cos i have to watch how i speak or act in case its taken out of terms,i cry a lot with worry and im a nervous wreck i feel i cant do anything right
im getting depressed.cos of it

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 12:41:59

ImSo - don't apologise if it at all helped to get it out. It's fine smile

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 12:45:24

By the way ImSo - on the schools admissions thread you sweetly asked if I was ok because of my nickname - well I guess now you know - PTSD due to child abuse....

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 12:45:42

feisty sad that sounds so stressful I'm not surprised you're a mess.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 12:47:07

Oh willsurvivethis I'm sorry.

So many sad and awful stories.

feisty are you getting any support - do you feel there is anyone on your side in all of this?

StarExpat Sat 30-Jan-10 14:40:30

So, the answer then, is to not tell too much or be too open about how you feel if you're feeling anything less than happy if you have young children?

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 14:46:58

Well no StarExpact, that's not my answer at all. I opened up and got the help I needed and all everyone ever did was counter my constant comments about being a bad mother.

At one point this summer I decided I should disappear so Dh could remarry and ds have a better mummy. I walked out of the house but was able to reach out to a friend who knew what was going on and they talked it out of my head. If I had not gone to doc, been referred for therapy and had support from the people around me I honestly don't know where I would have been now.

I was not depressed (!) but PTSD did not help me think clearly as I was sleep deprived and going round in circles in my head all the time. My ds was only 18months but not stupid. He knew something was wrong and we have grown a lot closer now I'm doing better. I feel I was just in time in pulling back and pulling closer to my child.

I despair at the thought of women keeping such serious feelings for themselves out of fear - that's why I started this thread.

twistedhazel Sat 30-Jan-10 14:54:32

Some of these threads are so terribly sad.

What do we want in the way of help when we become depressed? I'm trying to look at it from a 'we would like help in this area but not for the threat of the removal of our children' type of practical help.

I would like to be able to actually begin a course of ADs but with practical help the first couple of weeks if they make you feel a bit woozy and unable to drive.

I want to be able to sleep in the knowledge that my children are being properly cared for while I sleep. (In their own home.)

I want GPs to look past the mental part and more at the illness.

I want to be completely open about how I feel to a professional without the fear of my vulnerability being misconstrued.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 16:59:27

i think the way to solve this problem is:

1. Open up the family courts. Anything shrouded in secrecy is bound to raise suspicion. Plus the scary media reports can't be refuted.

2. Everyone who is seen by SS should have an advocate. Their concern is with the children, they are acting for the children. They are not interested in the parents (except to see how they are looking after the children) and they are not acting for the paretns. As they have so much clout and can get into people's lives so much and can recommend such awful things, I think that parents should have an advocate. When teh police interview you, you get a solicitor to help you. With SS it is just you and them. And what they say goes with the other authorities. One SW came to see us - she could have written anything she wanted and we would have no way of proving otherwise. As it is the report contains some pretty weird (incorrect) stuff. It wouldn't have to be a lawyer. It could be a friend, GP, someone provided by the council etc. To help the parents and hold their hand and be another witness to what is discussed. The current was of doing things is very scary.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 17:10:37

I do want to confirm here that every parent whose child is subject to care proceedings in the family court is entitled to free legal aid for a solicitor. I used to issue the certificates for this. It's surprising how many parents did not take them up..

But ImSo I think you suggest an advocate at a much earlier stage, when SS first becomes involved? That does mean it's us and them right from the beginning in every case though (I know a lot of you feel it is that way anyway) and how helpful is that really? hmm

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 17:22:23

It's more helpful than it being you and them with no-one on your side surely? And would protect people from SW who are incompetant etc.

I was thinking about fiestyfire - doesn't she deserve to have someone on her side when she is being threatened with the removal of her children, including one she is carrying? it sounds like an awfully lonely place to be, i'm not surprised she's becoming depressed.

Look at the people on this thread - SS investigations resulted in people being extremely stressed, losing lots of weight, heading into depression. In my case I had recently stopped drinking having decided I was drinking too much - what sort of result were people expecting by then applying a huge amount of pressure and not offering any support? I didn't go back as it happens, but if ever there was a time I fancied a good drink it was then.

No-one feels confident and happy when they are told someone has resported them to SS do they? No-one says "oh great, well it will be nice to talk to some people and maybe they will help me". Everyone thinks "oh fuck. what am I going to do?"

Having someone who you felt was supporting you and on your side would help I'm sure.

People are never interviewed by police without the offer of someone there to see fair play, and the potential consequences are nowhere near so dire as getting entangles with SS.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 18:06:50

I think IMDO has made a very very good suggestion, wrt someone accompanying you from the beginning. Very very good idea, etc.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 18:07:28

err, IMSO - sorry, DD2 helping me type again,m argh.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 18:10:24

with SS, whatever you say can and will be used against you in a secret family court, so, a sort of miranda rights and someone to accompany you would be entirely appropriate and fair, and probably a damn good idea.

I am sitting here imagining how different my first meeting with SS would've gone if i had someone there to say to me 'Leonie, dont answer that...'

NanaNina Sat 30-Jan-10 18:37:57

I am very loathe to post here as a social worker with 30 years experience in child protection. I know from other threads about cp that I will be shor down in flames BUT I really am concerned at some of scaremongering on here which is it seems going to prevent some women from getting help with mental health problems.

It is ver sad that so many posters haave had negative experiences with social workers and I am in no sense trying to discount those experiences, but I think it needs to be understood that whilst sws might make crass comments at times, these will not serve as reasons to remove children from parents where they are not at risk of significant harm.

So many posters talk of social workers having so much power - this isn't entirely true. I am not going to try to change anyone's mindset as I know from experience this is impossible and I know that my post will make some you even more angry than you already are, but I just want to appeal to those of you still with an open mind that it is not possible for your children to be removed for the flimsiest of reasons and never returned to you. I would ask you to give consideration to the following facts about child protection and the removal of children from parents.

1. No social worker can remove a child from their parents without a Court Order. Fact.

2. The police have powers to remove a child under Powers of Police Protection for a period of not longer than 72 hours.

3. If there is serious concern that a child is being significantly harmed or is likely to be significantly harmed and the sw thinks that the only way to keep the child safe is to remove him from parents they must seek an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) the application is made in court (sometimes at short notice) and the magistates will not usually grant a hearing ex-parte (without the parents being present) so right from the outset the parents have the opportunity to put their side of the case before any decision is made about removing the child.

4. If the court does not make the EPO the child cannot be removed, regardless of what the sw might think. If the Order IS made the child can be removed for a period of 7 days.

5. If the SSD think the child will be unsafe if returned home, they have to within 7 days apply to the court for an Interim Care Order (ICO) The court will need to hear evbidence from the social workers about their reasons for applying for this order. The parents will be legally represented and will be able to put their case to the court.

6. If the ICO is not granted the child is returned home. If it is granted the child is not returned home. Arrangments will be made in almost all cases for their to be ongoing contact between the child and the parents. If it is avery young child, contact can be on a daily basis.

7. There follows a lengthy period where there is a comprehensive assessment of the parents, and the circumstances that are giving rise for concern. They will make a recommendation to the court based on the best interests of the child

8. The parents will have a psychological assessment and sometimes a psychiatric assessment. All those previously involved with the family e.g. HV, midwife, GP, nursery worker etc etc will write reports for the court.

9. A guardian-ad-litem will be appointed (this is a social worker) who is completely independent of the SSD who have brought the aplication. The guardian will also make a comprehensive assessment of the case and make a recommendation to the court based on the best interests of the child. The guardian will appoint a solicitor to act for the child in the court case.

9. Sometimes the family will be offered the opportunity of a residential assessment so that they can be monitored whilst caring for their children. In such cases the staff of the res resource will write a comprehansive report about the parenting capacity of the parents.

10. On occasions the legal representiatives for the parents will request that the court agree to an independent social work assessment of the parents and their ability to parent the child and keep him safe. (I am involved as an ind sw in carrying out these kind of parenting assessments.) All the parties involved in the care proceedings have to agree to the appt of an ind sw and the judge has to agree. The court also have to agree on who is appointed to carry out this work.

11. After all this there is a final hearing. All of the reports are presented to the court, and the parents make their own statements aided by their lawyers. They are fully entitled to legal aid for this purpose.

12. Sometimes the parents will improve their parenting (come off drugs) for instance and the care proceedings are dropped and the child returned home. This can happen at any time before the final hearing.

12. If it still felt the child is unsafe at home, there is a 4/5 day hearing during which everyone who has written a report has to provide evidence to the court (not just what they think/feel) but actual evidence to support what they are saying about the parents and the reasons why they are of the view that the child will not be safe at home.
PLEASE be assured that evidence of significant harm does not include the things mentioned in some of these posts, eg. mother has depression, not following routines etc etc. Any sw would know better than to try to present these things as risk of significant harm. Indeed the local authority lawyer conducting the case for the sSSD would refuse to act in such a case and it woul dnever reach court.

13. Anyone writing a report or making a written statement can be expected to be examined and cross examined by any lawyer in the proceedings. It is routine for a lawyer acting for the parents to cross examine a social worker (or myself as an ind social worker) for 3/4 or on one occasion 5 hours in total, and woe betide the social worker who cannot evidence what he or she has written because the lawyer for the parents will (quite rightly) make mincemeat of you.

14. At the end of the final hearing the judge and not the social worker or anyone else involved will make the decision about the child's future. He can make a Care Order (a placement Order) which means the child can be adopted, a Supervision Order (which means the child goes home with sw. supervision for a time limited period) or NO order at all and the child returns home.

SO I am trying to point out that it is not as simple as some of you seem to think for social workers to breeze in and remove a child. It is also worth bearing in mind that all social workers have to adhere to the relevant legislation which is the Children Act and the first duty of all social workers is to do all they can to keep families together. I can tell you that if any local authority tries to take a case to court where there has been insufficient support to a family the judge will (quite rightly) throw it and send the l.a. off with a flea in their ear (I have seen it happen though very very rarely) because SSDs know that they have to have the evidence before going anywhere near court.

I sincerely hope that those of you who are anxious about losing your children because of mental healthy problems are in the vast majority of cases worrying without any cause. The task of the SSD in those cases is to support the family and only if the child was at significant risk of harm would removal ever be considered.

I think too that you need to bear in mind that parents whose childreh have been removed are unsurprisingly very angry and will almost always give a very one sided account of the circumstances, for obvious reasons. Sadly the tabloids like to pick this up and run with it and so readers only get to hear one side of the story. The SSD can never give their side of the story because of confidentiality. I can see this happening on this thread - many of you are just totally believing what you read or hear from others without knowing the full story.

And yes whoever it was who said they were surpised John Hemming hadn't come along to add to the scaremongering (as he conducts a ccampaign of bashing social workers and courts based on his own person experiences) I too am surprised - he must have missed this one. If he does find this thread please can I urge you to take what he says with a very large pinch of salt.

OK enough said - probably far too much - I will now put on my hard hat and retreat to a safe distance. I just think it is time for the facts rather than the fantasy of what really happens in child protection in this country.

AvrilHeytch Sat 30-Jan-10 18:55:52

Message withdrawn

NanaNina Sat 30-Jan-10 19:10:25

I am not talking about my personal experiences. I am talking about what has to happen legally before a child can be permanently removed from their parents, though i can see that all my explanations have fallen on stoney ground which I more than half expected.

I'm afriad that if children have been adopted agains the parent's will that will be because the judge made a final decision based on all the evidence in court that the child would be at risk of significant harm if he was returned home.

I don't agree that the family courts should be opened because I don't think it right that all and sundry can be made aware of the facts of the innocent victim at the centre of these proceedings i.e. the child - I think he/she has the right to confidentiality. BUT I wish they were open so that all you people could see what really happens as opposed to what you think happens.

You talk of interrogation by SS - sorry but I think that is a gross exaggeration of what hhappens and parents do have an advocate - ithey're called legal representatives, lawyers who act for them. Parents also have the right for a McKenzie friend, someone who can be with them at all times when dealing with SSD and at all case conferences and in court. If the parents have learning disabilities they are entitled to support from specialist advocates in this field in addition to MCK friends and lawyers.

WHY do you want to believe that parents are ridden over and not afforded any rights when this is not the case, regardless of what people might tell you or what you read in the tabloids. I wish I knew the answer to this.

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 19:15:31

Nananina

I need to quickly respond to you saying that a judge makes the decision to remove a child.
I do not agree with this I think the 'judge making the decision' is a formallity and rarely much more than that.

The child gaurdian in my case who tells the court the child's best stood up for me and said the social services hadn't given me a chance with any support and that I should be in a mother and baby unit with my child as I had done nothing wrong.

However I was advised by my soliciter, barrister, and teh child gaurdian that they were afraid that the judge very rarely will go against what the social services want, despite the case.
That judge didn't know me from Adam, if he knew ME and not just the shit the social services had wrote he would have known that I could have been a good mother and only 5 years later I was a good mother and still am to another son.

The judge doesn't really make the decision they just OK whatever the social services want, unless it's an exceptionally ridiculous case of crap social workers.

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 19:27:14

And how is it that my son was adopted because of 'an established serious risk to my child' when only 5 years later (me being absolutely the same person) they just do a half hour visit and leave me alone with a new son and say i'm fine.
How can they say I was at risk of hurting my first child (but hadn't yet) and that i'm not a risk to my second child?
It's absolute bullshit.
I have never had any drug addictions or anything, they said I could possibly hurt him emotionally in future because of 'my depression', but my doctor can tell anyone I never had depression before my son was separated from me.
What a mess of a case.

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 19:31:20

Social workers get their way by not telling parent's their rights.
My soliciter informed me that during the first few months of my son being in care i could have taken him back at any time because it was 'voluntry' but SS made a point of keeping that info from me, they lied and said i couldnt have him back.
They never told me i should have had a social worker for myself and never gave me one (as i was under 18)
ANY support i should have had to help me and tell me my rights was withheld from my knowledge purposely so they could take my child more easily.
My solicitor told me that they wouldn't offer me a mother and baby unit (which was the obvious solution) because it cost too much and they didnt have the funds.
That's fucked up.

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 19:33:25

It makes their jobs easier to just adopt a baby than give a mother support in keeping their child.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 19:36:50

NanaNina I am very grateful that you have posted this even though you knew you would get some negative responses. I knew a bit but found it very helpful to see an outline of what needs to happen before a child can be removed and to have the view of a seasoned professional.

Thank you smile

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 19:38:51

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 19:39:39

Nickname it does NOT

It is NOT easy to have a child adopted. You keep repeating it but it is not true. The number of hoops that need to be jumped through is huge. I'm not going to minimise your story or your pain but you repeating over and over again how easy it is to adopt children is very subjective and not helpful.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 19:41:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 19:44:31

nickname123 I feel physically sick in my stomach reading your posts, what happened to you is every parents worst nightmare.

nananina thank you for telling us the protocols. Of course the system is supposed to be fair, evenhanded and just.

the problem is that while the courts are closed, people will be feasrful. while there are stories of SW behaving incompetently or maliciously, people will be fearful.

SS has a terrible reputation and something needs to be done to change that. Giving people support in their dealings with them, and ensuring they know their rights would be a help.

<goes to google mckenzie friend>

heQet Sat 30-Jan-10 20:09:58

Nana - I haven't noticed any 'scaremongering' on this thread. I read some people who are telling their own stories. telling people what happened to you isn't scaremongering. Having no experience and saying "SS will take away your kids because I read it on facebook" is scaremongering.

then there are the people who are afraid that ss would/could take their children. Again, that is not scaremongering. Sharing your own fears is not scaremongering. Saying things that you hope will strike fear into others is scaremongering.

I think that saying that people who are sharing their own fears and / or telling others what happened to them personally is scaremongering is like saying "shut up" - and isn't that part of the problem? people are supposed to shut up?

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 20:16:42

I have to say that although I knew logically that my children wouldn't be removed, at least not "just like that", in the deep of night when I lay awake worrying I felt a terrible fear. I cried a few times, very unlike me. I lost a lot of weight (also very unlike me!).

When you hear that SS are coming knocking you panic. It is not logical, maybe, but it is a natural emotional response, I think. Because they are the ones who are involved in taking your children. Yes there are procedures but no-one else can do this. That is very scary.

I think that SW need to be aware that people are terrified of them. Are they aware of this?

NanaNina Sat 30-Jan-10 20:18:32

willsurvivethis - glad that you are to some extent reassured by my post. It wasn't meant to discount people's experiences but to try to outline the legal aspects which everyone has to adhere to.

Imsonotelling - I do appreciate that people are fearful - I read it on these posts - I honestly think the media has a lot to be responsible for - the tabloids love printing one sided accounts from parents who are involved in care proceedings. I have always always ensured that parents know their rights (and this was certainly ingrained into every social worker) in the l.a. where I worked for 25 years. Clearly there are sws (according to these posts) that do not do this and this is very worrying. At the risk of repeating myself, people can be supported in their dealings with SSD (they can have anyone present (doesn't have to be a MCK friend) can be anyone - family member or friend. The SSD must keep all facts of the case confidential but if the parents want their family or friend to know all the fact s and be present that is a matter for them. Also I can assure you that lawyers for parents rigorously fight their corner all the way through (which is how it should be)

Nickname and Leonie - I know you are both very angry and I am not going to try to change your mindset - this would be impossible. I don't however agree at all that Judges go along with social workers - as I said there are a host of professionals involved, not just social workers. Whoever said that judges go along with social workers in my view was incorrect. I will say however that in my experience guardians are very influential in care proceedings and I have known cases where social workers will change their care plan because it does not accord with the views so of the guardian. This I find worrying because I think people need to be honest and have the courage of theri convictions and for all the evidence to b heard in court - and I'm sorry but the judge does make the final decision. Of course he is influenced by what he has heard and he bases his judgement (which is in writing and very lengthy) on the facts of the case. How else could he make a judgement.

FWIW I sometimes as an ind sw disagree with the l.a. care plan to remove a child and have no hesitation in saying so in my independent parenting assessments. This is usually because I think the parents haven't been given enough opportunity to prove (or disprove) that they are capable of properly caring for a child. In these cases I ask for the parents to have a residential assessment and mostly judges agree but not always, dependent upon the facts of the case. In one caseit was refused because the mother who was a heroin addict refused to attend a drug rehab clinic prior to a res assessment, which said it all really.

I think some of you would be very surprised if you really knew how some parents abuse and neglect their children. You would be even more surprised to know how many parents don't even bother to turn up to court for final hearings to fight for their children. There is much much more to this than what you read or hear about second hand and I would urge those of you who are worried to take a step back and ask yourself if a judge really is going to just "rubber stamp" some social worker's thoughts.........again I stress you must be able to provide hard evidence to support your case. Honestly.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 20:28:00

If there are children being really abused and neglected then why are they hassling us lot then?

NanaNina Sat 30-Jan-10 20:29:23

To posters who are talking of the feeling of being scared of SSD involvement - of course I can understand this - fear of losing our children must be one of our greatest fears - as a mother and grandmother I can't think of anything worse.

What I am trying to say is that I think there is a lot of misinformation/misconceptions about social work activity and this so called power that they have - this is totally exaggerated - many people don't even realise that the courts have to sanction everything, every step of the way. I think the media are responsible for a lot of these misconceptions and people who have had children removed are going to be agry (natureally) and they are going to have a different perception of why their children were removed from the reality. I'm sorry but that's the way it is. Then a biased account is given in the press or on TV and the SSD have to stay stum and so it is easy for people to believe the parents especially as they are often very compelling in giving their side of the story.

Having said all that there are obviously some very inexperienced social workers around who are making inappropriate/crass comments to parents and they should probably be in a different job but that is a far cry from going to court and giving evidence to convince a judge that what you are saying has some merit.

There is also a notion it seems that sws love nothing better than seeking to remove children. In my experience the vast majority of them would rather walk over broken glass - its's incredibly stressful and time consuming and anxiety provoking for the workers as well as the family. Indeed my worry is that too few children are removed for their own safety and that's why there are tragedies like baby Peter and the like. I am not criticising however because I know how horrrendously difficult and stressful cp work has become in this country.

Thos of you that call for reform will probably get it sooner rather than later as SSDs are in crisis because of trying to run services at 30/40% vacancy rates, high sickness rates (through stress) savage spending cuts and a media that wants to discredit them at every turn. I fear more children will remain unprotected for these reasons.

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uglymugly Sat 30-Jan-10 20:42:52

Sorry if I sound a bit negative regarding social workers, health visitors, etc., but reiterating that social workers can't just take a child away, or that social workers have never sought removal of a baby to satisfy the government's adoption targets, doesn't really help.

Social workers who post here are not going to be the type of person who would put the fear of god into a parent. There are people in all walks of life who are uncaring or brusque or power-mad, and there have been too many people posting about their experiences with people like that at a time in their lives when they feel vulnerable. And that includes social workers, just as in any other profession.

Many people here, including social workers, have the opinion that the system itself is flawed and maybe in time the system will improve, especially in light of the many official reports recently into social services' failures. But many parents and their children can't wait for that, because they're dealing with their situation right now.

The fear does exist, and that is what needs to be addressed, irrespective of whether social workers feel that fear is unjustified.

LeonieDelt's experience is worth thinking about. To be suddenly confronted with strangers at the front door demanding to come in under threat of the removal of a child, is the stuff of nightmares. Has there ever been any research into the long-term effects of such sudden involvement by social services on families where such an approach was unwarranted?

AvrilHeytch Sat 30-Jan-10 20:42:58

Message withdrawn

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 20:50:11

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

twistedhazel Sat 30-Jan-10 21:05:18

Is it not ironic that so many SWs are off work with 'stress'. Is that anxiety/depression under a different guise?

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 21:05:55

NanaNina
"I'm sorry but the judge does make the final decision. Of course he is influenced by what he has heard and he bases his judgement (which is in writing and very lengthy) on the facts of the case. How else could he make a judgement.
"

Correction;
The judge does NOT make his judgement on the 'facts of the case' he makes his judgement on the social worker's views of the case.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 21:09:51

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

NanaNina Sat 30-Jan-10 21:13:33

Ok nickname - have it your way - I'm not going to argue with you any more. I think however I am right in thinking you base your assertion on one experience - your own. I have been involved in hundreds of cases of care proceedings and think therefore that my assertion has more credability.

Avril - I am not assuming that these "protocols" are followed and I hate to split hairs but they aren't in fact protocols. It is the law - the law of the land - it has to be followed - it isn't a noption. I have missed out all the directions hearings also involved at regular intervals prior to the final hearing.

I'm not being strident - I'm trying to outline what happens in reality and of course I don't think the system is flawless - nothing ever is but that is how life is in general surely?

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 21:19:57

"""""By twistedhazel Sat 30-Jan-10 21:05:18
Is it not ironic that so many SWs are off work with 'stress'. Is that anxiety/depression under a different guise? """"

That's hillarious :-D

When WE suffer stress (due to them destroying our lives) it's called 'mental health issues'
When they suffer stress it's simply just everyday understandable 'stress'.

Interesting

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 21:25:23

Nickname please - I KNOW you are feeling negative about sw and 'the system' but yes your own experience has coloured the way you see things and you have a negative answer to everything.

It is not necessary to keep posting negative comments, you have put your point across.

And a bit of credit for NanaNina who sticks out her neck where most others would have run for the hills. You don't need to agree to respect surely.

nickname123 Sat 30-Jan-10 21:25:27

NanaNina
I am basing my veiw on how the SS can often be on lifelong experiences, other's including my own.

I appreciate you coming in here and having your say, I think it's very brave of you and you're making a good contribution to this thread.
I'm obviously going to point out were the proceedings haven't been done properly in my case, and therefor making the point that they're not always met in a way they should ideally be.

The problem is that when social services make the odd mistake, they can destroy a person's entire life, that's what i think causes the fear.

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I think perhaps what is most needed (and what maybe MN could get behind) is an awareness campaign to inform people of their rights, and of who to complain to if they are subjected to unwarranted SS interference or incompetent, bullying SWs. Because there's a wider problem here: the way in which the current (and for the past 10 years) Government has been slowly but surely creating an atmosphere of 'Professionals are right, the public are ignorant feral monsters who must be controlled'. Look at all the horrors they are trying to visit on home edders - basically suggesting that they should all have to be CRB checked and monitored to see if they are fit to look after their own children.
It;s OK to be different. It's important to protect the rights of people to be different and (for instance) not iron, or keep unconventional hours, or have untidy houses. Being different doesn;'t make you bad, or dangerous. But while SS has a percentage of officious little twats frantically box-ticking (while having no actual experience of looking after children, or spending time with a variety of people in a variety of situations) as well as power-hungry bullies who want to lord it over the 'lower orders' this kind of abuse is going to continue.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 21:40:03

SGB: well put, as always.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 21:53:14

SGB I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

It is and must be always about the safety and welfare of the child. Now I'm not saying that SS always gets it right, I have seen a sucession of kids that my friend fostered that could have done with being rescued at birth rather than at 3 years old, but we do not need a campaign about teaching parents how to fight the system, we need a system that allows parents to seek support and get it.

Maybe
*Remove the stigma that mental health carries
*Have more low threshold support like surestart and homestart available to more people and get health care professionals to link in/refer to this more
*have a more transparent and accountable ss so people know how things work in general even if not in specific cases
*somehow find a way to give social workers far more work than anyone can handle so that we stop a system where the good ones leave, go sick with stress or become independent sw and the less conscientious ones stay and cut corners.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 21:54:14

oops major booboo - we need to STOP giving sw more work than they can handle

Oblomov Sat 30-Jan-10 21:56:25

This thread is terrible. Great but terrible. it has really frightened me.
I had no idea that so many people either felt like this, or had actually had a bad experience.
I was refered to ss. By my GP. when I went to ask for help. I was struggling, but I was not depressed. It was so awful, and I have made a complaint against the GP.
Every time i see a thread that suggests refering to ss, i have to post, just to to let people know that this over -zealous compulsion that society has to report to ss, is very damaging.

I hate it. Hate it that society has become this. I know that the main priority is the safety of the children. But if there is not solid evidence, the idea that anyone can report you is so very frightening. curtain twitching. has destroyed my belief of society. so sad. and i have no idea how to make any of this any better.
sad

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AvrilHeytch Sat 30-Jan-10 22:04:21

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ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 22:12:45

Starlight: "That is the misconception that it is better to investigate a family and find out they are not abusing their children than to miss a family that is.

It is wrong because it implies that there is no harm in the former when that just isn't true. I think it is important that this is recognised and accounted for."

I see that a lot on MN - usually on the curtain twitchers' threads - 'should i report this to SS?' and sooooo many people say 'you'll never forgive yourself if you dont and something happens...' but what if nothing happened to begin with, and the family are left bereft and devastated because of the unwanted unsolicited intrusion into their lives?? That's the fallout that all too often isnt recognised.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 22:15:40

Avril our rights and welfare should not be sacrificed - that's the whole point of my thread! Our rights and welfare are sacrificed the minute we are to scared to ask for the help we need and are entitled to.

I also think kids suffer when mums have untreated mental health problems - my opinion only and only based on my personal experience. My mum didn't care for me properly when I was two as she lost my sis at birth and wasn't coping but this was the seventies so get on with it. I wasn't the mum i want to be for my ds when my PTSD was at its worst this summer. I did not neglect him ever, but wasn't always as close as i should be. Support and confirmation helped.

It is almost always in the child's interest to help the parents to cope and I do stubbornly believe that most social workers believe that too. A few very strong and negative stories on here will not change that belief. Even if I totally believe the women who tell the stories (I have not been given reason not to).

Starlight - I did not particularly think of the order in which I put things.

Dominique07 Sat 30-Jan-10 22:17:29

I haven't had any problems with SS. but even my limited experience has put me right off. the fact that a HV can come to visit you, days after giving birth and not having had enough sleep in the meantime, and does not behave politely like a visitor but asks you to lie down to have your stomache touched, show how you are breastfeeding (show your breasts) can ask - rudely - why is the baby half undressed (O because you called me halfway thru changing the baby, do you see the baby sick all over me?)
and also tell me my nipples are too flat to breast feed.
Then when moving to another area the HV came to visit once when DS was 1.5 and then wrote to request another visit on his 2nd birthday. Personally, I don't know who they think they are intruding into my home and asking personal questions, not if there is no problem.

Dominique07 Sat 30-Jan-10 22:18:46

Yep, so no way would I be going into the GP to ask for help with diagnosing possible insomnia/PND.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 22:20:44

Dominique they have no right to do so against your wishes and you do not need to let anyone examine you. I don't think HV are trained for most of the things you mention there - you sure it wasn't a mw?

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 22:22:51

Now that I, and DD1, are known to SS, i would never seek help for 'depression' or 'not being able to cope' because they'd be back onto me like stink on shit... they accused me of being depressed the first time - if they had proof that i was depressed (ie a dx and antiDs on rx), then it'd all be over.

Message withdrawn

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 22:24:28

Leonie you are speculating - a depression diagnosis is simply not enough for that. Whatever you say, it isn't.

namechange4this1sorry Sat 30-Jan-10 22:25:27

OK i just typed a really long post and bloody lost it. I just wanted to firstly say to nickname123 - i understand what you have been going through and are still. I am so sorry that this happened to you and you must miss your ds1 desperately. xx

When my ds1 was a week before his 1st birthday sw's took him. I had pnd and the sw involved and gal told court i would never recover and had personality issues. They twisted truths and told blatent lies. They actually coached the child psych (who was a personal friend of gal) prior to seeing me to say 'this woman lies, dont beleive a word she says'. I was terrified of the whole process and fought with all I had to keep ds, which apparantly proved i was mental? My psych's were not allowed to give evidence and the independent psych who thought the whole thing was barmy and shouldnt be in court was dismissed as the gal overheard him stating that he thought this. Anyway, the crux of it is ex-dp had him with him and eventually after 2 and half years gained legal residency. (2003). the sw had left case in the 2001/2002 as was promoted and the new sw was completely shocked at how the case had been bought about and felt it should never have got as far as it did and that me and ex were equally good and capable parents. It was a desperate time and I missed so much time with ds1 and milestones. We were extremely close and was still bfing him when he was taken (literally in the night, I wasnt even allowed to feed him or kiss him goodbye , in tears remembering). Anyway, I started my nursing course on the day after the final court date. Ds was 3 and half by this time and I was having regular contact and it was staying contact by now (after months of 2 hours in a family contact room which ds still remembers vagually). By the time ds1 was 4 he was staying more and more and ex asked if I would be happy for ds1 to come and live with me full time. Which I of course was overjoyed and ds been home and happy with me and my dp ever since. He'll be 10 soon and now has a little half brother of 2 years old. He is a brilliant brother to him and I am so lucky to have them.

I am so cross with the system which is shrouded in secrecy and it went very wrong. There was so much to the case and I have considered going back over it all but I still live in the same area and I just dont trust them now. I believed they were there to help us sadly the SW involved seemed to have a very different agenda. They received one of the highest awards for adoption numbers iirc.

I am a trained MH nurse and had to be assessed prior to the course by occ health and their dr and was deemed fit I'd recovered from pnd by this point. I was lucky enough not to have it again with ds2.

I am aware that there are stages that need to be fulfilled before child is removed but the sw involved was key in those stages and her opinion was heard above all others. She was infact like a god in this. She was wrong, even now from a professional persepective looking at it I can see she was wrong.

They sought and EPO (emergency protection order), for my ds1 who was on the at risk register of harm due to some the the paranoid thoughts I was having with PND which was that someone would take him and hurt him. (There had been some very upsetting new stories and I was so frightened that i couldnt protect ds). The EPO was sought as I was an inpatient on mother and baby unit with ds1 and he was a week off being 1 year old. I was instructed by my hv (haha, the one who told me to wean pre 4 months and that at 5 months he should be on 3 meals a day and that I shouldnt give breast feed in morning but water) to leave him to cry when settling for nap for 5 mins, go and resettle and then leave again. I was first time mum and just trying desperately to get it right. Was still writing down every single feed etc (obsessive). Anyway, there was a locum dr who newly qualified on ward. Ds1 was not settling so i went in my room and he was led on me drifting off to sleep and she marched in, flung open the curtains and shouted we do NOT have crying babies in this hospital. I was so shocked and ds1 promptly bawled his eyes out. I stood up and said I was just trying to settle him but if she though she could do a better a job be my guest. I plopped ds1 on the bed (there was a nurse right next to him) and left the room as I was so angry and felt like the worst mother and knew they were with him. I was wrong to do that I know. Anyway, the dr called sw and that night they took him all based on this and the locum saying that the hosp cant guarantee ds1 safety now. I ached for him and can remember the complete awfullness of it. He was only little and had never ever been away from me, never settled at night without a feed and always been with me and dp. He was taken to a complete stranger for a whole week. He must have found it so daunting and confusing. I wonder wether this has had an effect on him longer term. Anyway, tangent.

That is exactly how it happened he was removed. From that moment he didnt come home for years. But i count myself lucky, he is home at least.

namechange4this1sorry Sat 30-Jan-10 22:26:09

my goodness, sorry blush that was a long one.

Oblomov Sat 30-Jan-10 22:26:46

I have seen Nina on many sw threads I have been on recently. And whilst I appreciate her posting here, I find her attitude strange.
Not just hers, but when someone says, basically, "your view is not valid, it is based on a personal experience". I think. Yes, so is everyones. you hold a view on family life, society, work, career, etc etc, based on what YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED. Thus I don't get that argument.

willsurvivethis Sat 30-Jan-10 22:33:59

NanaNina's point was that she has seen many cases, most people posting here only their own.

I am an immigration/asylum law specialist and originally from abroad. I have my personal experience with the Border and Immigration Agency and I have my professional one. The first based on one experience, the second based on best guess about a 1000 cases directly and more indirectly. My professional experience is what I use to help people through the system, not my altercation with that b** in the passport office who said my son wasn't British

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 22:34:15

oh my god, namechange4this1, they took him while you were feeding him in the night???

oh my god you poor, poor thing. i am so, so very sorry.

I'm gonna go upstairs and kiss my kids - i am so very lucky to have them, here with me where they belong, even if they dont sleep and drive me batty.

i'm gonna go on a limb here and offer unmumsnet-like hugs to you, namechange4this1... [[[[hugs]]]

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 22:36:04

Yes starlight avril and leonie.

Our letter saying no further action included stuff which we didn't say, concerns about us hmm and a plan of action etc etc etc.

Exactly as starlight says - the report should say "everything fine, they were reported unnecessarily, case closed" but of course they don't say that because they need to show they are earning their money. So they are going to make damn sure they find something to put in their report. I would do the same, I'm sure, It's human nature. But that is wrong.

And it was terribyl stressful, the worst experience of my life. And like anyone I have had some not very fun bits in my life.

Previously i was confident as a parent, knew that HCPs and people were there to help me, that it was my right to seek help and be helped and that generally professionals of all sorts were "on my side".

I am still confident as a parent, but very cagey when I talk to people about my children. I no longer make jokes that I used to in case they are misinterpreted or overheard - it has changed my social interactions. I used to be fairly trusting, now I am suspicious. Anyone could report me. And if they do - and I have been reported before - well the SW said it would be very bad news if she ever heard anything about us again.

This taking the kids stuff is not all it is about. The whole thing is awful, even without that at the nack of your mind all the time. They can force you to do stuff you don't want to do. They are judging your every move and everything you say. it is simply scary.

Message withdrawn

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 22:42:08

namechange for this one I am so sorry to hear what happened to you and your family

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 22:42:48

namechanged: "He was taken to a complete stranger for a whole week. He must have found it so daunting and confusing. I wonder wether this has had an effect on him longer term."

This raises a concern i had at the time, and still do - what of the effect on the children, of being snatched in the night by SWs/police wielding EPOs?

How could a child ever rest easy / go to sleep at night again? what about long term damage to the child, even if s/he were returned to the parents in time? What about the bond between parent and child? what about attachment disorder? What about creating an insecurity that plagues them into adulthood??

With DD1 being autistic, i really do fear for what would have happened to her if she'd been taken from me that day. She wouldnt have understood. Even aged 3 she had never been away from us at night (at 6 she still hasnt), and she'd have been utterly, utterly terrified. She has always been shy around strangers and unwilling to socially engage men without a long time to settle down and get used to them so being forcibly removed from me and put elsewhere for even 72 hours would have wrecked her, utterly.

shocking, it is so shocking that they can do that to a mom, and more shocking, to a child. And people dare to say that if you have nothing to hide, then there's no problem being investigated. epic fail!!

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 22:48:20

and the SWs dare to say that the parents create most of the problems that children in care have, not the system/care homes/foster homes etc - i contest that very strongly!

namechange4this1sorry Sat 30-Jan-10 22:49:41

Imsonottelling - I know what you mean. I believed that the SS were there to help our family through the hard patch, but they took the family apart. Ex was told he had to choose between me and ds1 (thank go he choose ds1 as he would have been adopted). They said ex said things he didnt, I said things I didnt, my mum, sisters etc. I dont really understand why the SW did say stuff in reports that wasnt true, but it was believed because why on earth would she not be telling the truth. I had to fight and fight to prove i was capable and sane. Apparantly I was trying too hard! hmm According to the sw it was a concern? I would gladly lay my life down for my kids, how on earth is is it possible to try too hard to have your baby home? One thing that is so amazing out of all this is that ds1 and I have maintained such a close relationship. I lie with him everynight to say good night and we have a chat and I sing a lullaby. Sounds daft but he loves it, and i know he'll say someday that he's too big for all that but i relish the time that we have. It has made me appreciate every aspect of ds2 too. I missed the toddler years 24/7 with ds1 (I even missed first step and word). Going through the 2's here with ds2 and its all new to me. I wish I could have been with ds1 for all this but I cant change the past and our family have to live with how things are now. I am naturally very angry with the injustice of what happened, but it wont change it. I just searched the sw involved and whilst she was 'promoted' she still works for same council, which i am living in shock. Maybe i'm a coward but the thought of raking this all up terrifies me and i dont think it would be fair to ds1 and so scared i'd lose both my wonderful boys.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 22:53:24

namechange4this - you're no coward! you're very brave telling us about all this, truly.

namechange4this1sorry Sat 30-Jan-10 22:54:24

LeonieDelt - Ds1 went for his first camp a while ago and I had to collect him as he didnt sleep at all first night and was sobbing for literally hours the second. I got call at 11pm saying he was very distressed. He came on the phone sobbing and wanting me. I got in the car straight away. He's been upset at the only 2 sleepovers he's had missing home too. He is only 9 (well near 10) so it could just be that he is still young but i wonder..

He has school trip in May planned, only 2 nights but what to do? Is a hard one. Paid deposit and want for him to go and enjoy. Dont want him to go and feel completely distressed.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 22:58:32

Our report says that neither DH nor I could see any way that it was a problem for babies to be cared for by people who had been drinking heavily.

FFS.

What we said was we couldn't see any problem with a baby being cared for by someone who had had a lot to drink - when there was a sober person there as well who was the one doing the caring when/if the other person had had one too many.

? what are you supposed to do with this stuff?

It's so minor compared to what happened to you namechange but it's just stupid and wrong. And there is no recourse is there? With police you sign a statement to say it is accurate. With this they just write up whatever they think they heard and that is that.

ArthurPewty Sat 30-Jan-10 23:02:29

Bless 'im. By time May rolls around, all sorts of wonderful things may have happened development-wise, and he might just be ready. Or, failing that, you can pick him up?

DD1 is in no way ready to stay anywhere overnight, its all part of her nighttime routine thing which has to be followed to the letter or cue tears and frustration... even now you may alter tiny details (like read a few more or less pages of a book, etc) but you may not alter the steps from bath to books to brush teeth to PJs to bed, can't change the order, can't miss one step out, etc.

No idea how she'd react age 6 to staying somewhere else overnight, but can mentally picture floods of tears and her repeatedly saying 'but that's not how we do it at home!!!'

namechange4this1sorry Sat 30-Jan-10 23:03:24

Isonottelling, Those few words changed make the meaning so different. Imagine reports literally filled with lots of errors like this. Then imagine how it looks to the judge? Professional sw (very exp) giving evidence in report with GAL (who is a good friend) with reports littered with errors and inconsistencies. Then you have me with my report, and responses to theres. My responses are basically going through bit by bit of there report correcting them to actually what happened. Of course the judge is going to believe the sw and gal as they are the professionals and have 'no reason' to get it wrong. Whereas the mother has every reason to lie? Then you cant bring other parties in etc as secret to protect the child. Actually the 'protect the child' argument is very valid but also often used to as a sheild to protect the sw

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 23:19:13

I can imagine all too easily namechange.

And the parent bleating from the side "no that's not right, really, I didn;t mean it like that, I didn't say it quite like that" and you just look like a liar. Because professionals wouldn't get something as fundamental as that wrong, would they.

I feel for you so much namechange.

namechange4this1sorry Sat 30-Jan-10 23:20:23

Leonie - I just read your posts and wish i could say i was shocked at what happened but am sadly not

Aww at your daughter

Starlight - the list you put of their concerns, i reckon the main thing was the arguing with professionals hmm They do not like you to disagree with them. Think that was onbe of my mistakes.. Weirdly i now feel more protected from them now i have professional qualification myself that i hope i would be taken more seriously, but as you and other mums say too, i'll be avoiding any involvment with them. I dont really do toddler groups etc just because the local one is at a family centre and i just hate the feeling of being 'assessed'.

namechange4this1sorry Sat 30-Jan-10 23:26:08

Imsonottelling. thanks. I found mumsnet years ago because of this actually. Felt lost and didnt know where to turn to so searched the net. I am ok, I know that there are mums and dads out there who have lost the whole their childs childhood so I am lucky in a way I only lost 2 and half years (though 2 and half years too much). I cant live feeling crap about it, I wont let it have that effect on our lifes. We are together now and that is what matters. In the end, what should have always been is. I even try and tell myself that life has a plan. If ds1 hadnt been removed and ex and i split up due to it and he lived with him.. Then I might not have done my nursing and met up with an old friend from years and years ago. We wouldnt have got together then and then we wouldnt have both ds1 with us and now ds2. So in the end despite the shit thats happened, we are together, happy and healthy.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 30-Jan-10 23:38:36

smile namechange and on that positive note I'm going to hop off to bed.

Night all smile

NanaNina Sat 30-Jan-10 23:45:25

Oblomov - I am not discounting people's personal experiences nor the distress that has been caused to them. I am simply trying to point as the OP says that it is not really fair to attempt to discredit the entire system based on one experience, hurtful as it was. Yes of course our experiences shape our view about all sorts of things in society as you say. However as far as child protection and care proceedings are concerned I am challenging some assertions made by poster on the basis of one single experience because the assumption is that this is what happens in every case. Given that I have the benefit of being involved in many many cases I just think I am in a better position to give a more balanced and accurate view.

A GP did not take my sister's health concerns seriously and misdiagnosed her lung cancer, from which she died at a relatively young age. Yes I was angry with the GP especially as she had made many visits complaining of symptoms that he refused to see as serious. We will never know whether she might have been saved with an earlier diagnosis. I do not however seek to discredit all GPs - I have to accept that that particular GP made an error of judgement.

Iwill survive - you started an interesting thread and I am rellieved to see that you seem to be one of the few rational posters and I'm glad that you are to some extent reassured. The thread is being dominated by people who have had bad experiences and as so often happens on these threads, they are managing to fuel each other up, and perpetuate the idea that all social workers are incompetent bullying individuals etc etc. I know from past experience that there is little that can be done to turn this kind of thread around in any way or get people to see things from a different angle, so I will bow out at this stage.

Oh and whoever raised the issue of social workers going off with stress and some sarcastic comments about whether this is mental health or not etc. I think that stress can be seen as anxiety/depression and social workers are human (despite what most of you think) and the work is very stressful. I don't think they would see a distinction between the anxiety/depression that they often suffer through trying to cope with huge caseloads etc and the mental health problems that are suffered by service users. I think people trying to make these distinctions are just having another pop at social workers.

The only good thing is that John Hemming (an MP for Yardley in Birmingham) who posts on MN regularly and believes (along with lots of posters) that the cp system is evil and social workers just like snatching children from decent parent has not found this thread. I think this is because it is posted under Mental Health.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 09:09:24

"Iwill survive - you started an interesting thread and I am rellieved to see that you seem to be one of the few rational posters "

that's quite offensive, really.

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 09:11:23

Leonie after all you've said that's quite pot kettle of you to say that really smile

I think this thread has run its course...

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 09:29:27

errr...

nickname123 Sun 31-Jan-10 11:19:42

namechange4this1sorry

I really appreciated you sharing your story, as heart breaking as it is.
I find it a lot more valuable to hear of people's experience with social services first hand, rather than listen to constant wishful thinking about how SS supposedly are, from people who have never had SS assess THEM.

I too am plagued with worrying about how the social services sudden and very absolute removal of my son could have traumatised him, I used to go to the fosterhome and watch him play all on the floor and he looked so lonely, the woman taking care of him was about 60 years old and had a few other babies there, I don't think he got any affection at all.

He went from co-sleeping and breastfeeding with me and recieving all the affection in the world to that cold home and they kept him there for nearly a year before adopting him.
They critised me on their records for being overly affectionate him when they occasionally let me see him.

The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that I gave him all the love he deserved for those first 4 months and hopefully his adoptivr parents are loving now too.
But all that time they held him hostage in care could have really hurt him, even my solicitor mentioned the adoptive parents had commented on how little affection he seemed to be recieving in that time too as they visited him at the foster home.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 11:33:21

your poor babies. i feel so sorry for them, both of you.

i sure aint perfect, and i'm sure i shout too much, sigh, but i love my children, so very very much, and i feel so sorry for children who arent receiving the affection they deserve...

If that makes me irrational, then so be it.

Dotgreen Sun 31-Jan-10 11:36:15

Name cahnge here too. I am about to go into a new Police role in Public Protection. I'm going to read this thread very carefully later. My Mum had a very difficult time when we were younger but she got through it. I wouldn't be where I am today without her support and love. I hope to be able to do my very best in my role. You may not see me post again as I worry that my opinions will be taken out of context but I will take on board what is said.

nickname123 Sun 31-Jan-10 11:36:40

"i think this thread has run it's course"

For the first time in ever I'm able to hear about other birth mother's experiences and traumas and for ONCE finally feel empathy with these people, and feel empathised with, rather than the constant complete nonunderstanding i have to endure and at this point YOU 'think this thread has run it's course'
Has it all become too real for you, hearing about what people have really been through?

As for the socialworker posting here I think they're being very defnsive and putting words into mouths.
I've not read any person say 'all social workers are such and such'
We're sayin what we've been though.
Our veiws, based on experience are always being belittled by people saying 'oh i hate this media driven scaremongering'
Have any of us mother's who have been through hell because of social workers cited a media report as the source of all our worries?
Absolutely not.
Will we get irrate when such an issue is brought up? absolutely, it's natural for us to.
Obviously if your life hasnt been terrorised my SS then you can keep as cool as a cucumber, because you're probably not too bothered by it all, doesn't mean your veiw is any better or rational than ours.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 11:48:00

Dotgreen - bless you and i hope your new job works out brilliantly. The mere fact that you're willing to read this thread and the difficult issues raised, and take it on board means you're going to be fabulous at what you do.

Yes, let's not forget the damage done to children by being taken from their homes and made to answer a lot of insulting questions. Of the many horrors of the Orkney and Cleveland cases in the early 90s was the SS complete indifference to the trauma they were causing to children who had previously been safe and happy with their families (for those of you who don't know, these were cases of SS departments becoming subject to mass hysteria and removing DC in dawn raids because of 'Satanic Abuse' which in most cases was non-existant).
This is why it is so important for the public to be able to FIGHT BACK against the system, for the system to be HELD ACCOUNTABLE. It is not right nor fair for the state to have such arbitrary powers over people in the name of 'protecting' them, because people with power may abuse their power and therefore need to be open to independent inspection.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 12:57:32

Brilliant post nickname123.

On MN it is not for anyone to say what people are "allowed" to talk about, or try to close down a conversation if it takes a direction they don't like. As long as there are no personal attacks, anything goes.

I for one am glad that this thread is enabling women (two in particular) to share their stories and if that helps anyone then that can only be a good thing.

This idea that people who come to these threads and report their bad experiences (we know who we are wink) are in some way driven by an irrational fear brought on by media hysteria is silly.

Everyone knows it is hard to take a child and they can't just come and remove them. Everyone also knows though that mistakes can be made.

I would draw an analogy with a visit from the police - if you get a call saying teh coppers want to come and pay you a visit on suspicion of a heinous crime, you feel extremely nervous and worried. Even if you know you are innocent. Because innocent people have been convicted of crimes they didn't commit, and the police have a lot of power. Your rational brain would think it highly unlikely that it could go wrong, but emotionally you would not be able to feel anything but fear and concern.

It is exactly the same when you get a call to say SS are on their way. They too are coming to invetigate you on suspicion of a heinous crime (child abuse/neglect) and similarly the consequences are dire, and mistakes have been made.

When people are falsely accused of terrible crimes like rape and murder, when they are exonerated it is accepted when they say that they have suffered emotional problems as a result, that they have trouble sleeping at night, that is has been hell, possibly that their lives have been ruined.

But when people on the receiving end of such action from SS say that it is hard and stressful and scary etc they are told they are over-reacting and being silly. Yet they have been accused of abusing/neglecting their own children, and as crimes go you don't get much worse than that.

So why this continual assertion that it is in some way wrong or a sign of paranoia etc to feel like this? I would say it is impossible to understand why someone wouldn't experience some amount of trepidation.

Message withdrawn

Yup, this whole business of 'you must comply'. Actaully, as a free citizen of the UK I am not entirely sure why I should 'obey' some officious little twat fresh out of uinversity and fresh out of braincells. It should be possible to stand up to those SW's who are idiots or bullies or simply misguided without having your life turned upside down, and have an independent advocate if you are being mistreated by the authorities. Because the state is the servant of the people, not the other way round, and 'officials' need to remember that.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 13:21:48

Great post starlight.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 14:11:34

The grauniad on SS this morning - not exactly the daily mail...

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 14:13:00

The grauniad on SS this morning - not exactly the daily mail...

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 14:29:38

"Has it all become too real for you, hearing about what people have really been through?"

Nickname sad If you knew what my life was like as a kid and young adult and if you knew what kind of cases I deal with professionally you would not have made that comment. Believe me sadI know a bit about damage.

When I said this thread had run it's course I meant that what started as my attempt to see if others also think it is bad that women are afraid to ask for medical help has descended somewhat predictably in a very one sided attack on the 'system'. MN is a place where anyone can post so I won't stop you. Just feel I don't have much left to contribute because I don't 'do' black and white, I've seen too much from both sides.

nickname123 Sun 31-Jan-10 15:28:36

willsurvivethis

Should I now imply that you're not being rational because you're thinking about your own personal story?
You seemed to want the thread to end when people got upset about what's happened to them.
No one here is saying that SS don't do any good.

You imply at the end of your post that we're just talking in black and white, that's offensive.
Have you really seem too much of both sides?
Have you been a mother whose wrongly had her child taken away and really seen what an impact that can cause?

I'm also concerned about kids who are wrongly left with abusive parents.
In all honesty, I personally, can empathise more with the wronged mothers because of my experience.
Maybe your veiw is as biased as mine just on the other end of the scale.
You've seen kids left to be hurt my bad parents, so you're more concerned about that.

Most of the pain that I have seen is from mother/child separation.
So I'll admit that is the greatest thing that concerns me.
Maybe we both have much to learn about the seriousness of how devastating the other end of the scale can be.

tabouleh Sun 31-Jan-10 15:36:27

willsurvivethis

From your OP

"There seem to be so many women out there who are afraid to seek help for depression and other problems out of fear that they will lose their children.---- What are your thoughts on this?"

I have a DS 2.3. I think that I probably had PND. I am a bit depressed at the moment.

Will I be going to the doctors?

No.

Why not?

Because I will try to manage this myself at the moment. Not because I think that if I am diagnosed with depression someone from SS will turn up and take my DS.

But - I don't want it on record should my DS have an accident and I'm investigated.

The very fact that this thread has as you say "descended somewhat predictably in a very one sided attack on the 'system'"
means that you have a resounding answer to your OP question.

"YES" - of course women are scared and at times reluctant to seek help.

I strongly believe that social services should be interviewing under caution and should be TAPE RECORDING all interviews like the police do.

This should cut out the subjectivity.

Open up the family courts so they are reported on in the media.

Certain journalists could be granted special permission to do this.

They would be bound by the court not to reveal names of the people/children involved.

It is so so frightening and damaging that families are split apart due to suspicions of professionals.

Sad and tragic as it is, the line has to be that we are prepared to "accept" that some children will be harmed by their parents - but that children are never ever removed unless it is proved BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT - that there is a problem.

Thank you to everyone who is sharing their stories here.

Please look at these:

Elisha and Rachael's story

Mother Song and Toddler A's story

Ben, Kerry & Mark

(Leonie - found these on the blog you linked to on the thread about Kerry & Mark.)

I think that it is very interesting and heartening to see what a difference it makes when the internet world starts to shed light on these situations (eg Kerry & Mark's story - real time updates on Facebook and in blogs etc) instead of half-baked crappy reports in the papers.

johnhemming Sun 31-Jan-10 15:40:50

nananina said "The only good thing is that John Hemming (an MP for Yardley in Birmingham) who posts on MN regularly and believes (along with lots of posters) that the cp system is evil and social workers just like snatching children from decent parent has not found this thread. I think this is because it is posted under Mental Health. "

That is true. I look at "In the News". People complain about me posting on Mumsnet because I shouldn't have the time. I don't have the time to look at everything, but I do watch "In the news" from time to time - although nothing should be read into whether I respond or not.

nananina and those who defend the system should listen to those who have personal experiences of how bad the system can be. With good practitioners it can be good, but when the practitioners are poor (50% in Birmingham) it can be a complete disaster.

The reason for this substantially is that the Family Courts normally fail to operate quality control on judgment. Hence children are taken into care when they shouldn't be (and end up psychologically damaged as a result of their experiences from the state).

It is entirely possible for someone to have good experiences from the care system. However, very many (and I mean tens of thousands) have very bad experiences.

The system as a whole is a mess. Notwithstanding the efforts of some good people.

It would be nice if more mumsnetters would be willing to join up with the campaigning on this.

People can contact me at parliament at hemmingj@parliament.uk if they wish to join the campaign.

atlantis Sun 31-Jan-10 15:54:30

" you seem to be one of the few rational posters "

" your one experience "

Can someone please change the record whenever anyone posts of their experiences (however many) with the ss they are accused of being irration and inexperienced.

I think sw's are only seeing things from their own experience not the aftermath of destruction left in their wake.

I think across the MN boards there is a wealth of experiences with the SS and on the whole these are mainly bad, therefore the general consensus would be the ss are failing and contact with sw's is to be avoided and that there are far too many sw's out there with a god complex who are not doing their job correctly.

They are the borg. We will assimilate you and resistance is futile.

Mental health problems are used all too regually to take children into care, which is without a doubt barbaric.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 16:23:07

I have absolutely no doubt that the SW who saw us is pleased with her sterling work, her lovely report and a job well done.

She does not know the stress and anxiety, the weight loss, the tears, she kept us waiting for 2.5 months for the outcome. That is not in the report.

What is in the report is inaccuracy, misinterpretation, and a statement that she had told us there would be no further action when she saw us (she didn't). It also doesn't mention that I had to sit down with the manager of my DD1s nursery and tell her all about it, as the SW had instructed, and then the SW never bothered ringing so I needn't have had to have that conversation. Ditto the GP.

So now the people involved in my care and my DD1s care have on their record that we have had SS intervention due to alocholism.

Am I likely to then go to my GP if I suffer any problems in the future, with that on my record? Um no obviously not. They must know that is a consequence of what they do. Why did they make me tell my GP if they had no intention of doing so themselves? I feel too embarassed to go there for anything now TBH.

wahwah Sun 31-Jan-10 16:35:33

I don't want to get into any arguments as I don't have the energy, but my job is to manage a front line child protection team. Speaking from MY experience, I do not want your children in care or for
your family to be involved with us for any longer than needed. I have paid for childminding to enable
mothers to have a break / attend therapy/ whatever is needed, involved other organisations and asked friends and family to offer support as appropriate. I have arranged respite fostering for hospitalised parents without family support ( and given the children back!)

The question I want answering is what does the child need to be secure and happy and in that sense any mental health issues are not the biggest issue ( unless of course the children are subjects of parental delusions and there is a high risk of harm) it's the impact on the child.

I know there are people here who have had terrible experiences, but I can honestly say that I think this would not be the case in my area and that avoiding seeking help would be counter productive and could
make things more difficult for you and your children as recovery could take much longer.

Nananina gets a lot of flak here, but her post is very informative and describes the process of my team's work.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 16:42:33

It was seeking help that brought SS onto us in the first place. If I had not sought help I would not have ended up in that position.

That is the long and short of it really.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 16:46:59

I was not offered any support with giving up drinking, incidentally, we were simply investigated.

I gave up drinking by myself. Despite having an enormous amount of pressure applied in the form of a report to SS on the basis of a 5 min phone call, and then having to wait 2.5 months to hear the outcome, and in the meantime have the humiliation of having to tell all this to GP and nursery. Which it turns out I needn't have done anyway.

Not at you wahwah I am sure you are good. But what happened to us will have been by the book, yet there will be nothing on record to show the adverse affect this experience had on us, and any future repurcussions.

Message withdrawn

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 16:50:08

[sad smile]

scaredoflove Sun 31-Jan-10 16:51:17

I don't want to upset anyone on this thread but in most of the cases stated, someone informed SS, they investigated and it was signed off on as no concern. Are people saying they don't want others to be investigated?

Surely, SS have a duty to look into every case referred, even if the referral is from over zealous busybodies. I would imagine that each investigation follows a line of questioning regardless of the family being visited

wahwah Sun 31-Jan-10 16:54:13

I can only write from my experience, as can you. What I have written is true of my experience of my team's
work with thousands of families.

I don't know how you get help to recover, without actually getting help and what the impact on childen is of any untreated illness, but from
my perspective mental ill health is a common factor on our work, so we tend not to get too alarmed by it or overreact. Also, many of us have experience too.

wahwah Sun 31-Jan-10 16:59:43

Also, where once social services may have been seen as the gateway to services, now the common assessment framework can be used and the lead professional coordinating services for your child could be your HV or CPN, whoever is best- this might be less scary for moat people.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 17:00:19

No.

SS need to understand that investigation is a very unpleasant and scary experience, there does not seem to be any awareness of that at the moment. The results of these investigations are long term - stress, anxiety, people not seeking help with illnesses etc. These things are not in the best interests of children.

They need to understand that most people would view a visit from SS in the same way they would view a visit from teh police.

People who find themselves in this situation should have someone on their side. As they do when investigated by the police. tabouleh's points were good and valid.

They should approach sensitively - with an innocent until proven guilty approach. The vibe I got was guilty until proven innocent.

People should have to countersign documentation. In a work meeting, minutes are circulated and agreed. With this, you are told what you said, with no opportunity to correct inaccuracies.

And so on.

Mine was signed off as no further action, but the document still losts things they think I was doing wrong, and misquotes DH and I. That is now permanently on our record.

If there are no concerns or no further action required, why the need for a report which actually says "well they're crap, but not crap enough to do anything".

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 17:02:54

wahwah I have been looking for statistics about numbers reported to SS, for my own interest (to see how common it is which will hopefully be quite common which will reassure me a bit).

Do you know how many initial investigations are carried out by SS every year/how many reports they receive?

Google is not helping me with this!

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 17:04:04

Sorry my rather overstrident "no" was to scaredoflove asking if people were saying SS shouldn't investigate.

scaredoflove Sun 31-Jan-10 17:12:59

I understand SW can be abrasive and cold but isn't that the nature of their job? They must come across some really awful situations and horrible people and they don't know what they will encounter when they go into peoples homes

It must be devastating to be in these situations and I can understand the strength of feeling but I don't see how they can go in softly softly when many people they meet are rude and abusive and lying

Message withdrawn

wahwah Sun 31-Jan-10 17:52:31

Sonottelling, I'm sorry I don't have the answers, as I only have data for my LA, but you may find something on the DCSF site if you're lucky.

wubblybubbly Sun 31-Jan-10 17:53:52

Scaredoflove, the thing is, the same thing could be said of the police investigating an alleged crime, yet the accused in those cases have enormous protection under the law!

Firstly, the law states that you are innocent until proven guilty, that doesn't seem to be the case with SS, most certainly not in the experience shared by some of the posters on here.

You also have the right to silence when being investigated for a crime. Can you imagine how that would go down with the SS?

Thirdly, you also are not bound by the crazy privacy rules that surround child protection cases, meaning that it is virtually impossible to challenge the system when you are going through it, without causing further harm to your case.

Shouldn't parents suspected of failing to provide a 'secure and happy' environment for their children be afforded, at the very least, the same rights as someone suspected of murder?

Wubblybubbly's got it absolutely right about SS giving people worse treatement than accused persons are given in police custody. Just think for a minute, if you happened to be a vindictive arsehole who wanted to destroy a family - all you would have to do would be ring up and tell the SS that the father (or eldest son, or grandad) is a peedaphil with porn on his computer. NO*-*ONE would ever believe that the person was innocent even if the SS said so. Right now we really do need to change the asssumption that anyone who accesses help is a moron or a monster who needs to be spied on and controlled.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 19:06:24

From DCSF (in case anyone is interested!):

DCSF: Referrals, assessment and children and young people who are the subject of a child protection plan, England - Year ending 31 March 2009

Summary:

The latest statistics report on the period year ending 31 March 2009 and update those previously released on 16 September 2008.

The key points from the latest release are:

* Referrals. There were 547,000 referrals to social services departments in the year ending 31 March 2009, compared to the previous year's figure of 538,500. Of the 2009 referrals, 23% were repeat referrals within 12 months of a previous referral, a decrease of one percentage point on the previous year.

* Initial assessments (NI 59). Of the 349,000 initial assessments completed in the year, 250,500 (72%) were completed within 7 working days of referral. This compares with 226,300 (71%) out of a total of 319,900 for the previous year.

* Core assessments (NI 60). Of the 120,600 core assessments undertaken in the year, 94,300 (78%) were completed within 35 working days. This compares with 83,700 (80%) out of a total of 105,100 for the previous year.

* Children who became the subject of a Child Protection Plan or ceased to be the subject of a Child Protection Plan (NI 65). There were 37,900 children who became the subject of a plan in 2009; this compares to 34,000 in 2008. 13% of these had previously been the subject of a plan one percentage point less than in 2008. During the year ending 31 March 2009, 32,800 children ceased to be the subject of a plan; this compares to 32,600 in 2008.

* Length of time a child was the subject of a plan (NI 64). 6% children who ceased to be the subject of a plan had been on it for 2 years or more, one percentage point more than in 2008.

* Review of child protection cases (NI 67). The percentage of child protection cases which were reviewed within the required timescales was 99%, the same as last year.

Seems like a lot of reports and initial assessments.
Now going to find out how many families in the UK but bedtime may get in the way...

atlantis Sun 31-Jan-10 19:06:40

Couldn't agree more, guilty until proven innocent, the only trouble is you are never innocent because the paper trail of destruction will follow your child through their childhood.

The rights of the child are never adhered too, the right to a family life is a joke. The right of the child to have contact with the parent on a regular basis are ignored completely.

State parties ie; the government are supposed to provide the financing to keep the family together and offer support and yet sw's openly admit there is no financing for this and so children are taken into care instead of the family being helped and /or supported.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 19:15:33

families

2006 there were 17.1 million families in the UK, but this includes couples without dependent children.

Families and household data shows 13.1 million dependent children in UK in 2008.

Have to make an assumption so say 2 kids per household on average = 6.5 million families with children. That seems OK to me next to the 17.1 million families data.

So according to the previous data, in 2009 roughly 1 in every 13 families in the whole country were reported to SS, 3/4 of these for the first time.

That seems rather a lot, doesn't it?

And 1 family out of every 20 had an initial assessment done.

I think my sums are right if anyone wants to check.

Going to think about those figures while I help DH with bedtime.

Hi,

not read the thread but my husband has suffered depression for years. I've been OK throughout a couple of down patches but generally OK.

However I have anxiety, I recently contacted my GP and have been refered to have CBT.

When the letter came I crapped myself as it said 'mental health team.'

It dawned on me that now both me and DH are 'under' them and what if SS gets involved because of that,

ridicolus really as my anxiety does not aafect me being a parent as Im anxious when im seperated from them, im fine when they are with me, but all the horror stories you hear have made me worry

piscesmoon Sun 31-Jan-10 19:28:51

I haven't read the whole thread but I am surprised that so many people seem to have a fear of social services. I would have thought that anyone who bothered to post on mumsnet was a concerned parent who was trying to do their best and that it would be recognised.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 19:30:22

I accesed services for my perinatal anxiety, disenchated3, and there was never any hint at all that SS would become involved.

The problem is that you can't predict when or how you will be referred - many of the people on here brought the referral on themselves.

In my case it was an overzealous alcohol charity who did it on the basis of a 5 min phone call.

IMO having spoken to some people, HCPs do not refer unless they have a real and genuine concern, which they won't with you.

What happened to me was totally random. None of the people who knew me or dealt with me otherwise had ever had any concerns and were shocked to hear what had happened.

Try not to worry smile

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 19:31:09

ROFL pisces they didn't ask me if I was a MNer!

wubblybubbly Sun 31-Jan-10 19:31:56

Disenchanted, from personal experience I hope I can reassure you that seeking help for depression/anxiety doesn't automatically mean that SS will get involved.

I had great support from my GP and through CBT when I was suffering depression after my DS was born. They were fantastic with me and really helped give me some tools to cope, nothing judgemental or preachy at all, just lots of support and practical advice.

I know it is difficult to seek help, I found it terrifying to acknowledge that I couldn't deal with it on my own but I don't regret it for a minute. I'm sure you're doing the right thing.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 19:36:35

To look at the figures another way:

7% of referrals resulted in a child protection plan
11% of initial assesments resulted in a child protection plan
32% of core assessments resulted in a child protection plan

It seems to me the reporting and filtering mechanims are off somewhere.

StarExpat Sun 31-Jan-10 19:36:57

I remember the GP asking me very specific questions when I went because I suspected I had PND. I was asked if I ever felt like hurting my baby or leaving him alone... things like that. I didn't feel that way at all, so I told the truth - thank god I didn't have those thoughts. But I know people who do have those thoughts but would never ever act on them, so I wonder if they answered yes to those questions, would they be referred to SS or red flagged?

piscesmoon Sun 31-Jan-10 19:47:57

I'm only mentioning it I'mSoNotTelling because so many people seem to worry about it-as in 'if I leave my 8yr old for 5 mins while I pop to the post box someone will report me for child neglect!! If I want to leave my 8 yr old for 10 mins on their own I will do so and social services can lump it!!

Message withdrawn

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 20:07:17

It sounded v funny though grin

SS: We need to come and see your children
Me: Don't you know who i am??? I am a Mumsnetter!
SS: Oh sorry madam terribly sorry to have troubled you

grin

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 20:09:33

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 20:12:40

Anyone else find the stats interesting?

DH and I have worked out that during the course of your children getting to age 16, chances are you will be seen by SS at some point.

They also seem to be seeing more families than new families are created by births each year IYSWIM (some massive assumptions on the figures by DH and I there) but basically I think they are not in a steady state - as the years pass they are gradually working their way through more and more of the families.

This chimes with what the nursery manager said when I told her what was happening. She said it was really common and not to worry and it would be fine. She also said a lot of other things but they would be gossiping wink She was very very down indeed on SS. And she has been working with children for about 25 years so presumably has had her fair share of contact.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 20:19:22

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 20:23:20

I assume we are all "known" to SS.

My approach is going to be:

Head down
Nose clean
Mouth shut

Job done.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 20:28:00

hear hear.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 20:28:24

Having said that, given 350,000 assessments every year (not sure if they would do another initial assessment on someone who had been reported before?) lets assume not, and that 200,000 were brand new people (being generous).

Over 5 years that is 1 million new families looked at. But there are only about 6.5 million families in the UK.

Leonie i really don't think they will have the time to follow people around making trouble for them, really I don't.

Over 10 years 2 million new people looked at - that's 1 in 3 of every single family in the UK? No hold on there are new babies born... But still - it's a huge number isn't it? It seems all wrong.

TotalChaos Sun 31-Jan-10 20:36:24

dis - I was under the mental health team when PG and under a psych, even had the psych come and see me on the postnatal ward to check I was OK. SS was never involved. I found the mental health docs v. pleasant, and keen to support me, rather than seeing me as an adjunct to my baby.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 20:45:19

ISNT - glad you have a head for maths! Yeah, you're right, it doesnt sound like they have the time or resources for that kind of surveillance and shitstirring... that said, i can only wonder. I will never know when the next knock on the door will be them again, and it will probably hound me in the back of my head until the kids are grown...

wahwah Sun 31-Jan-10 20:45:55

Imsonottelling, I don't have the time to do your research justice, but the numbers of assessments are for each child, not per family. An initial assessment is undertaken if the referral needs further action and is a brief assessment. If any further assessment is needed, then a core assessment is made. If a cp investigation is undertaken (and this is agreed with the Police) then a core assessment is always made. Some assessments will be repeated on the same children ( new incident or circumstance requeing a fresh look)
I hope this puts the figures in context, we are busy, but we don't get involved with quite as many families as it might appear!

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 20:45:55

Am I right to think that it is usually (except in Nickname's case) NOT the MEDICAL professionals who refer to social sevices or do I have a skewed picture?

I used to be scared of SS, my ex had two children in care from his previous relationship.

However they did become involved with my children twice after we seperated for two very different reasons, and both times handled it really well. They never gave the impression of being anything less than helpful!

So I can totally empathise with ss phobia, but would like to say it is not necessarily justified.

I have just read through some more of this thread and have to agree that something is wrong if the volume of people scared of SS intevention is so high as this thread suggests... regardless of whether that fear is justfied...worrying.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 20:58:55

So an initial assessment on a family of 5 will count as 5 assessments? And there may be repetition... That takes something of an edge off the figures!

It still seems like an awful lot though...

I have been interested to put our experience in context - the context appears to be that being investigated by SS is very very common - as anecdotally backed up by the nursery managers at mine and leonie's nurseries.

willsurvivethis - yes I think that is correct.

I cannot emphasise enough how much fantastic support I had with the peri-natal anxiety - I had a toddler at the time and was pregnant (obviously). Right from the initial woman at the GP surgery (a nurse), the community mental health person, the psychiatric department at the hospital, and the perinatal team... Everyone was supportive and kind and understanding, it never even crossed my mind that there might be an issue with the children and they never suggested it. It was all great.

The person who reported me. Was a person at an alcohol charity who I had (in a roundabout way) sought help with. When they contacted me I said that I had stopped drinking and actually it was all fine and I didn't need to see them but would contact them if I felt I did. We had a 5 min chat.

An hour later she called me back to say that they had reported me to SS on the basis of that phone call. I asked if they would take the children and she said they might hmm She said that in her opinion the children were at immediate and serious risk of harm hmm It turned out that she had completely misunderstood my home situation and thought that I was drinking a fair bit while in sole charge of the children. She completely overlooked the fact that my husband was here hmm Anyway I could go on all day, I'm still so angry about it.

TBH I have a huge problem with them, and less so with SS. SS had to investigate, once they had the report, I understand that. It was a hugely stressful and awful experience though. We should just never have been reported in teh first place.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 21:00:07

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 21:06:05

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

wahwah Sun 31-Jan-10 21:11:54

Ime it depends what you mean by 'investigate', for me it has a particular meaning in terms of child protection, whereas involvement /assessment could be for a number of reasons eg private fostering, request for payment of nursery fees, mother experiencing dv etc. We do tend to get most referrals /requests for services from a few areas, so it might just be the nursery has higher than usual proprrtion.

Another thing is that people often like to over emphasise how much their professional circumstances involve them with social services as weirdly it makes them feel more important, even if they then go round saying how shit we are! I don't get it myself, but there you are...

Sorry, really am going off now-lots to do.

Oblomov Sun 31-Jan-10 21:16:08

I cried about tit this morning.I can't stop thinking about this thread.
I can't seem to get over the damage done to me. What does that tell you ?

I keep going on to MN threads which suggest ss referals. I am on one at the mo, suggesting neglect, over what i consider minimal grounds. saying don't do it. it causes so much damage, unless you have significant grounds. but this all falls on deaf ears. people want to shop eachother. and my attempts to express what damage this does, does no good.
I don't know what to do. what can we do ladies to stop this. i am at a loss.

Oblomov Sun 31-Jan-10 21:19:23

And no.like ISNT and others say, I will never ask for help again. I will never tell anyone that i am struggling with parenting my 6 yr old.

and you think that pyschological damage has not been done to me?

and yet no one aknowledges this, or seems to care.

Message withdrawn

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 21:22:30

Message deleted by MNHQ at poster's request.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 21:24:18

<<hugs oblomov tightly>>

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 21:27:19

Yes same here actually, thinking about it.

Whenever the baby cries I worry that the neighbours will hear it and do something

If we are out and I suddenly notice that one of her snowsuit shoe bits has slipped and her sock is poking out I wonder who has seen it and what they think

I have been to the pub twice since I gave up drinking, just had coke, it was fine. Apart from I couldn't relax as I kept worrying that I would bump into the SW and she would assume I was drinking alcohol

Stuff like that.

Oblomov, that is really sad that it has effected you so much,
I wonder if unnecessary referals are more down to people feeling they should call SS, that SS themselves, as it seems from your comment about other threads on here? Maybe people in general are reluctant to offer each other help and so call SS instead?

Oblomov Sun 31-Jan-10 21:30:52

Starlight, I am so sorry. I have no qualms with ss. they never took my case any futher. I was refered by my Gp when I went to ask for help. even though she said i wasn't depressed. I am making a complaint against my Gp and Hv, currently.

Oblomov Sun 31-Jan-10 21:32:47

thanks ISNT.
mana, i think you are right.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 21:33:39

ISNT - know what you mean. boo.

I've been dealing with sleep 'training' for the last few weeks - though i wouldnt call it that, its more like a halfway between Pantley and Ferber... its actually Dr Jay Gordon's suggestions of core hours for BFing and then eliminating night feeds one by one til they're all done...

DD was up for over an hour around midnight last night, screaming etc... i wasnt trying to eliminate the last feed, exactly, though i was trying not to feed her as early as midnight because i desperately needed sleep!

its hard going. DD2 gets upset. She is 16mo so its not like she needs to be nursing all night, and it has improved her appetite for solids to no end... but by christ she's noisy and insistent and hard to dissuade...

what if.... you know? ARGH.

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 21:36:46

It's becoming a culture isn't it - of 'child protection' and informing ss. My dh is a clergyman and the number of child protection courses he is sent on is huge. But with good reason given the history of the church let's be real there.

And something had to change. It is a lot harder for teachers today to do what my teacher did to me when I was 8-10 as his colleagues would hopefully spot things.

And most abuse takes place in the home.

But from reading stories on here we are heading into the other extreme.

I notice that quite a few of you with negative experiences have the huge grace not even to blame social workers but mainly the referring agency.

I guess for sw it's the same as with 999 calls - once you are told you need to go and see?

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 21:40:02

Leonie - I need to stretch my son's legs and arms every day. he screams, sobs and rages. In the summer with the window's open I've often wondered if any neighbour would ring ss and say every evening at 7pm this poor child screams and screams and they seem to do nothing about it. But I seem to have good (or indifferent?) neighbours.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 21:41:35

I can tell you what has worked for us on the sleep training front - but I suspect we had quite easy babies anyway so in no way saying this is a definitive answer!

Anyway when I want to cut out the night feeding (I BF too) I get DH to take some time off work and he goes in in the night when they wake. DD1 took 3 nights, DD2 we are doing it with at the moment and it seems to be working. Fingers crossed.

Have you tried that?

Just if I go in and don't feed them, then they go bananas (understandably). They seem to get the idea that they won't be fed at night and then they start to sleep better. i only do it once I am convinced they are not waking from hunger, obviously.

Oblomov Sun 31-Jan-10 21:46:51

ISNT and Leonie, I have followed your stories, as you have done mine. I am so sad. I sit here sobbing. We are unable to convince anyone are we ? as to the damage that has been done to us. what can we do ? i know not.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 21:47:04

willsurvivethis I am so sorry for what happened to you when you were a child.

It's so hard to know what to do for balance with all this stuff. So many people being investigated, probably more than ever before i would guess, and yet tragedies still happening all the time. That horrifying stat from the NSPCC about something like 1 in 9 (or 1 in 7?) children would be sexually abused before age 16 in the UK.

A new approach is needed. The one we have clearly isn't working.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 21:48:12

Yeah, DH has gone in, only makes it worse! lol.

DD2 is one really hardheaded little person, so very sure of what she wants, and very insistent! vocally so, too!!

like i said, we're down to 1 night feed from 4-6 at christmas, so we've done quite well. its just slow going, and sometimes VERY noisy.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 21:56:20

Well was worth a try leonie! These children can be tricky little blighters can't they grin

Note: That's exactly the sort of jokey comment I can't make in RL any more.

oblomov - I think in due course the family courts will be opened up. The campaign appears to be gathering strength, the broadsheets are on it, MPs are involved.

As for the psychological distress caused by being reported/investigated, even when exonerated, I don't know.

<holds oblomovs hand and puts arm round her shoulder>

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 22:01:33

I think if I was to be investigated by ss without reason it would finish me off. All my insecurities about being a mum, all the times when I feel I fail/failed ds would feel confirmed. I can't imagine what it is like to have gone through this.

But I'm going to say something very harsh and if you all want to attack me then I will know it is because of how much you suffered so will not take it too personally.

I rather have 5 adults dealing with the traumatic aftermath of an ss investigation that was unjustified than one more child going through what I went through. i was r8ped in 3 different ways before I was 10 and NO ONE noticed it.

(goes off and hides)

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 22:02:15

And nickname yes feel free to say this makes me irrational as I am totally motivated by my own personal experience.

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 22:10:52

ISNT: they sure are. And i also refrain from joking in such a way, if i can help it.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 22:20:26

willsurvivethis, the thing is, that the current way of doing things doesn't seem to be stopping any of this stuff happening.

I can see and understand your POV. Absolutely.

I wonder though if providing children with information about what is right and wrong in terms of contact, and ensuring they have someone safe to talk to, would help matters? Rather than this current idea where someone has to notice that something is going wrong with the child first, and report it, and then the people doing the wrong thing have to not pull the wool over SS eyes.

Prevention better than cure and all that.

I am so so sorry for what has happened to you.

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 22:22:32

Thanks ISNT - on reflection not sure I should have posted this. Too personal and making me feel very stressed - plus way of the original subject....

willsurvivethis Sun 31-Jan-10 22:23:15

Plus not taking into account the trauma suffered by children unjustly removed.

namechange4this1sorry Sun 31-Jan-10 22:24:42

nana - re your post about tarring all sw's etc that is not my posting. Our family had a really awful experience, prior to it me and my extended family included had absolutely no fear of social services and when it seemed I may get some support whilst suffering PND we welcomed it. Something I hugely regret. I am now a trained MH nurse and work alongside social workers and I do not think they are all terrible but you do get bad ones, just like you do in health care. We whistleblow, but there seems to be a shroud of secrecy over social work. The whole secrecy of family court and the power they ultimately hold in these arenas needs to be addressed.

Nickname123 - only just logged on and for you so much. I know virtual hugs are not the mumsnet way but sod it, I am sending a huge one your way. I really hope your little boy gets lots of cuddles and gets the chance to be reunited with you one day. Do you keep a memory box for him. The over affectionate statement - ditto here. I mean how the hell can you be overly affectionate? I also co-slept with ds1 but as I said before he was only with foster carers a week so that pales in comparison to the whole year you little one had.

Leonie - Mothering nursing toddler is a fab book and very helpful.

Read the links and made me very and could see so easily corrolations in the the situation. I so wish that my legal team had the knowledge regarding the bfeeding.

namechange4this1sorry Sun 31-Jan-10 22:27:03

willsurvivethis. Dont hide, and it doesnt make you irrational. You just see things from your expereience which no child should ever have

ArthurPewty Sun 31-Jan-10 22:30:08

namechange4this - will look it up, thanks so much! x

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 22:31:00

if you report the posts you feel uncomfortable with, MN will delete them for you, no problem smile

Just hit report next to the post and in the box say you would rather that personal information wasn't on the site.

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 22:34:33

I am boggling at the idea that a mother being affectionate towards her baby could be constued as a negative thing?

I don't get that at all.

There was a case where SS were interested in a family and I seem to remember they said the father of the baby was showing an inappropriate amount of interest as he went to visit them in hospital every day. I mean, what???

Message withdrawn

ImSoNotTelling Sun 31-Jan-10 22:59:16

So what do you do?

I think you are right BTW starlight, about the power balance thing.

KerryMumbles Sun 31-Jan-10 23:04:27

i had severe ocd\pnd with ds1. gp told me if I didn't stop bfing and go on anti depressants he would put me in a fucking psych ward and while they liked to keep the parents with their newborns they couldn't always guarantee it

you've never seen anyone snap the fuck out of it as fast as i did.

problem is it was all a FACADE. Inside I was fucking CRUMBLING....

I did eventually get the help I needed and recovered without the use of drugs but I had to leave the fucking country to do so...

mamadoc Mon 01-Feb-10 00:41:26

I have appreciated reading this thread.
I am in the bad position as a Dr of sometimes having to be the one to refer someone to social services.
We have to attend cp training updates every year and it is always drummed into us that the welfare of the child should come 1st. The party line does seem to be better to refer than to miss something.
BUT it is always a horrible dilemma for me. I can understand (and even more so reading this thread) the negative consequences, the fear.
I also do feel a big duty to my patients and I want to be on their side unless there is really obviously something that I can't let go. I am first and foremost trying to help them and I don't want them to feel scared to come or that I am reporting back everything they say.
It would never cross my mind to refer someone who I was just seeing for depression. The times I've had to do something are eg single mum who got blind drunk and took an OD with toddler sleeping upstairs. Surely people would agree that child was at risk.
I also see the flipside of it. People who are adults now who had horrible childhoods and have been badly damaged where someone should have acted.
I often don't know where the line lies.
Maybe something about the way it is done needs to change. eg The thresholds for referral. We are all being told to consider cp all the time and I think some are over-reacting. There should be a way of discussing a concern without it having to be investigated.
I think the idea of having an advocate is great and often recommend it to people. Charities eg MIND have free advocacy services.

mamadoc Mon 01-Feb-10 00:50:10

www.frg.org.uk/history_of_family_rights_group.html
This group are specifically an advocacy service for childcare proceedings and there is a lot of useful info on there.

atlantis Mon 01-Feb-10 01:16:51

"This group are specifically an advocacy service for childcare proceedings and there is a lot of useful info on there. "

From the site;

" We were instrumental in influencing the preparation of the 1989 Children Act and associated guidance, which introduced the key principle of working in partnership with parents to secure the best interests of children."

That's worrying.

I see also that they are a 'charity', so are Bernardos, nspcc , coram and Tavistock to name but a few and all of those have written the 'framework' that every child matters is working too along with Margaret Hodge MP (child abuse scandal islington
council)all those 'charities' have money invested in the adoption framework (along with BAAF) they either run care homes, run training for prospective adopters or make money by providing propoganda literature for social workers and LA's and hold 'conferences' or 'training for said groups. It's like an evil little spiders web there to 'catch' the children fly.

There was a website that detailed in some length the actions of these groups and how much they made had invested in the adoption system ( I can't remember which one though, must look it out), BAAF , coram and Tavistock being the worst.

I remember the 'sure start' programme was also aimed at 'identifying' children in need.

willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 08:18:48

Atlantis I must be honest and say the word 'conspiracy theory' jumps to my mind reading your post!

Mamadoc thanks for your point of view- very valuable

nickname123 Mon 01-Feb-10 08:57:22

Imsonottelling

They probably wrote iwas too affectionate becausei wanted tospend most of the time cuddling him, he was only a baby.
They also wrote that i didn't carry him correctly for his age, because i held him like a baby.
And they wrote other things that werent true that he didn't respond to me much.
Also they wrote i had bad hygene, they set the contact in the furthest possible children's centre across the city to 'test my commitment' i had to walk an hour and a half each way every day as it wasnt on the bus route and in the summer, i'm going to sweat, hello.
If i was 6 minutes late, rather than just 5 they would happily cancel the whole contact session and take another weekday out of howmuch i could visit.
That's how they reduced it to just an hour a week before adopting him

ImSoNotTelling Mon 01-Feb-10 09:05:30

nickname it's just so awful. Your post has brought tears to my eyes.

What kind of "child protection" experts think that it is a bad thing for a mother to cuddle her children?

mamadoc you must use your professional judgement, of course. There are many children being abused and neglected and I'm sure you're not "trigger happy".

willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 09:09:12

Starlight/ImSoNotTelling I've spent a lot of sleeptime thinking about what I want and why I started this thread:

I want a woman with a mental health problem that does not impact on her parenting ability (ie almost all of them) to be able to feel confident to get medical/therapeutical help.

I want women whose parenting ability is affected to get help that is focused on keeping her and her family together, with the help and support of as many professionals as is needed, cost what cost.

I want children who are being neglected/abused to be protected by SS - pronto.

Should not be too much to ask surely.

Atlantis yes all those charities subscribe to 'every child matters' - would you want an organisation that would simply protect all parents who say they are falsely accused by SS. Something similar exists in the US and it is frightening. The False Memory Syndrome Association advocates for and supports every parent accused by an adult child of having abused them and will discredit the child's memories with the use of 'experts'. All you have to do to get their help is say that you didn't do it...

atlantis Mon 01-Feb-10 11:06:48

"Atlantis I must be honest and say the word 'conspiracy theory' jumps to my mind reading your post!"

Thats ok, it occured to me too. But when you join the dots and see how they ll work together you find the pattern is there.

Look at cafcass, top man is Anthony Douglas, cafcass as your probably aware are the 'independent' court advisory service, they not only work in private law but public law deciding if children should go into care (which can lead to adoption) now look at BAAF, top man is Anthony douglas (one and the same) BAAF or the British Association for Adoption & Fostering as it is better know do what they say on the tin ( as it were) BAAF also produce literature for ss and run million pound schemes for their adopters before allowing them to adopt. Then look at Coram, coram work with cafcass doing court work but also run adoption homes and produce literature for BAAF and CAFCASS and ss.

And it goes on.

I don't mind being labelled a conspiracy theorist some of the worlds top minds have been labelled that in the past grin

AvrilHeytch Mon 01-Feb-10 13:42:42

Message withdrawn

willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 13:52:37

Avril - I agree, from my own experience. This summer when my PTSD was at its worst my son noticed I wasn't right. See my OP. And I needed help and he was my main reason to get better.

But all that time he was hugged, cuddled, told I loved him, fed, changed, read stories, taken out. It just cost me ever such a lot of energy and it is now I'm halfway better that I can suddenly jump up and say yey lets do something stupidly fun and very messy.

So my parenting was affected, but still adequate, I was still a good enough mother (my therapist would be so pleased to see me write this...grin) - I did not need SS and I did not need the fear of SS (so glad I didn't have either)

Reallytired Mon 01-Feb-10 14:06:26

By willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 09:09:12
"...I want a woman with a mental health problem that does not impact on her parenting ability (ie almost all of them) to be able to feel confident to get medical/therapeutical help..."

I think this is already the case. What is hard is convincing the majority of mums with depression that their children are in no danger of being snatched.

"See, this might be hurtful but I have to say that I believe that all mental health problems impact on parenting ability, mine certainly do. That is not to say that my baby is not adequately cared for, or that parents with mental health problems should lose custody of their children"

Of course mental illness impacts on parenting ablities. So does having a common cold, cancer or any other physical aliment.

There is an element of paranoia on this thread. My GP told me that even if my brain chemistry was slightly unusual I was still a better mother than many of the mums on his list.

willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 14:09:35

By Reallytired Mon 01-Feb-10 14:06:26

I think this is already the case. What is hard is convincing the majority of mums with depression that their children are in no danger of being snatched.

That's exactly it - that's why I started this whole thread

nickname123 Mon 01-Feb-10 15:51:03

I think everyone wants a mother with PND to get help.
But many mothers on here who know about the awful things that can happen from having PND documented, which is why they're worried about telling a doctor.
If I get PND I would love to be reffered to a counsellor, but is it worth the risk of having social services possibly use it against me, or my ex who wants to take our son away? Absolutely not, I'd have to deal with it alone.

willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 16:33:14

Nickname - despite the many posts on here there are actually only a few to whom it has actualy happened. It is thankfully rare to have an unspeakably horrid experience like you.

But if you would say each one is one too many I would wholeheartedly agree!

ImSoNotTelling Mon 01-Feb-10 17:35:51

The stats from earlier show an awful lot of assessments being carried out though - wahwah was kind enough to clarify that the figures include repeat assessments, are counted twice for 2 children in a family and include people being assessed for fostering etc.

But half a million referrals a year and 350,000 initial assessments still seems an awful lot next to the number of families in the UK.

Look at what leonie's and my nursery manager said - that it is really common.

There is something wrong in the referral/targetting of this service, I don;t know a better way of doing it though I have to say.

What I am sure is true though is that HCPs are less likely to refer than other agencies - see mamadoc's post earlier and my experiences with perinatal anxiety.

It seems to me to be down to bad luck, getting reported unnecessarily. So I guess maybe you need to look at it the same as getting hit by a car. It's a very real risk every time you go out, but a very low risk, so you don't stop going out. It's a very real risk you may be reported unnecessarily, but a very low risk, so still continue to seek help?

willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 17:49:09

I think wahwah also mentioned assessment for statementing etc - that will account for a lot of assessments too.

I am fairly good with stats and all I could see from the stats provided is that they were likely to be accurate but that I needed a lot more info to correctly interpret them. And although wahwah helped with that we are still no nearer to knowing how many families were unnecessarily subjected to an assessment.

I like the car crash analogy and it had occurred to me too - but I think the problem is that most people are confident that A&E would take care of them and fix them afterwards...

ImSoNotTelling Mon 01-Feb-10 18:44:45

smile someone else who likes numbers.

Agreed teh numbers are impossible to interpret without further info and breakdowns by type etc etc.

i suppose I was just trying to reassure myself that it is quite a common thing to happen, which makes me feel better.

Yes re. A&E.

The other problem with this is that we are talking about PND, depression, anxiety etc etc mental health issues, which as someone earlier said can involve paranoia & unhelpful thoughts. Which baturally compounds the problem. Not saying these symptoms are there with all mental health issues but it is worth factoring in I think.

wahwah Mon 01-Feb-10 20:33:50

I'm sorry that I can't be more helpful, but in relation to the stats, a minority of assessments are of children thought to be in need of protection and a majority of these ime don't go any further once we've taken a look at the reality of the situation. Of the assessments which do conclude that children need to be protected, most are subject to a plan ( I think it's around 27 per 10,000) and it's only in a tiny minority of cases where court action is required.

The vast majority of assessments relate to looking at what support services (if any) are required eg eligibility for disability registration, children living in violent households.

I agree that one family traumatised by unnecessary intervention is one too many and I don't underestimate the impact. However, we're not always going to know which children are ok and which aren't without intervening, but we should intervene sensitively and carefully. I totally support advocates and encourage sharing as much information as possible. I am less sure about recording all conversations as it can set up a background of mistrust and hostility (imagine if every professional you were in contact with wouldn't interact with you without recording it) but I don't feel as if it would stop me saying what needs to be said.

I really hate this climate of suspicion about social workers, it stops people getting help and makes out job a million times harder. Now I accept there have been mistakes and problems, but I do not believe the system is broken - it is overwhelmed and struggling, but at heart it is sound. Bit like me on occasion!

nickname123 Mon 01-Feb-10 21:46:18

""I really hate this climate of suspicion about social workers, it stops people getting help and makes out job a million times harder.""

If I had had ANY suspicion about social services back then, i would still have my son with me now.
The PROBLEM was that I trusted them to help me.
If i can warn anyone to stay away from them i will.
Rather me safe than sorry when it comes to your life (your kids).
All my family also let them do their thing because they too trusted them to help me.
What a mistake. The costliest mistake that could be humanly possible to make.

johnhemming Mon 01-Feb-10 21:51:37

wahwah don't think it is the comments of MPs that are frightening people away from asking for help.

MPs are not that influential. People learn first from their own experiences and then they listen to those of the family, friends and acquaintances. MPs come a long way down the list.

It is the way the system behaves that causes this reaction.

ImSoNotTelling Mon 01-Feb-10 22:08:24

It's also one of those things where one bad incident gets propogated, but positive ones are not told.

Like when the police kicked that bloke to death, combined with a few other things where they acted less than properly, and bingo large swathe of people lose all faith in them.

Difference is that police are aware of this problem and are permanently on a charm offensive, issuing their results left right and centre and telling us what a good job they do and how nice and friendly they are really etc.

I am not sure that SS are fully aware of how terrible their image is, and how badly they need to go on a charm offensive. presumably they want people to feel positive about the service?

willsurvivethis Mon 01-Feb-10 22:14:26

Nickname seeing your experience, can I rope you in positively and ask you how you think the system can be changed and improved?

What needs to happen for women to be safe with social services in your eyes?

Imso - I totaly agree with that post, but I'd rather not have a charm offensive if it covers up problems.

John Hemming I don't think wahwah blamed you or indeed MPs

nickname123 Mon 01-Feb-10 22:39:39

I think we need good social workers with common sense, like people who have actually been parents or carers themselves, people who have the life experience and knowledge to realise that children belong with people who love them 99.99% of the time.
Not judgemental little pricks who wanna come around and see how dusty your TV is and make negative comments about you still breastfeeding a 1 year old, etc

If mum is staying with an abusive man, for god's sakes realise she's a victim herself and take her to a refuge, she might not even know a refuge exists, help the mother to stay with her children.
They critisizedme for not knowing where i was sleeping some nights, i was 16 yrs old, why didn't they tell me somewhere i could go? They just used it against me as another reason to keep my kid.
Even in extreme cases if it means putting a woman in a sheltered house to help her care fo her children initially and teach her how to be a good mum, it is worth it when a mother child bond is established.

But they don't help the parents in many cases i know of, despite the child guardian saying i should be in a mother and baby unit to have a chance with my child they didn't want to pay the money for it, or 'risk' me possibly not being a good mum.

They don't realise how important it is for (an innocent) mother and baby to stay together regardless of ££££

I read of a woman who was told her babies would be taken away because she had learning difficulties and they just adopted them at birth.
I think even if they would have had to check on her everyday for 18 years it would have been worth it for those babies to have their mother.
They seem to work like a bussiness to do whats financially easier.

Having your babies taken is the worst thing that could possibly happen to a person, like the hindus say, they wouldnt wish it on their worst enemy.
But they take babies from vulnerable people because in 'their' view the babies would be better off with x,y and z.
What if a woman cant teach her kids to read past key stage 3?
What about the mother and child bond? the most important thing imaginable to me, and they dont even acknoledge it.

nickname123 Mon 01-Feb-10 22:54:00

I think girls under 18s who have babies themselves should have the opportunity to go into a foster home together, before being helped to go out into the big wide world together
:-) ...in a perfect world

ImSoNotTelling Tue 02-Feb-10 10:29:32

Great posts nickname, and very sensible.

Especially the last point.

ShinyAndNew Tue 02-Feb-10 10:37:32

That last point is a good one nickname. Although I was under the impression that teenage girls and their babies were fostered together? I take that is only if you are under 16?

willsurvivethis Tue 02-Feb-10 10:49:01

Nickname that happens here locally - there's a big house where they all live with support and child care is arranged so that education can be finished. It works ok if you bear in mind just how hard it is to be a teenage mum and sit exams too.

nickname123 Tue 02-Feb-10 10:59:53

I was 15 when i had my son but just turned 16 when i asked social services for help.
If you go into care a day before your 16th birthday they will look after you untill youre 18, then give you your own place, extra money to start up, etc..
however the day after your 16th and youre completely on your own.

My solicitor, child guardian and the manager of a mother and babyunit came into court and asked that i go into that place with my son like i said.
Social services refused (it was said to cost around £1000 a week)
like i said they just adopted him cause they didnt wanna risk me possibly not coping :-s

willsurvivethis if every girl in my position then had the chance to have what youjust said then i would be happy.

newtohere1 Tue 02-Feb-10 11:16:27

I understand first hand what a tight budget social services are on. when my mum was sectioned i was left looking after my six year sister and my twelve year old brother.
I was 16, in fulltime college and as we were involved with social services already (had been in care when i was under 16 when mum had cracked up) i asked the social worker to put my 6 yr old sister in the after school club so she would come home at 5pm not 3pm.

She said she could only send the crisis team round to the house in the mornings and afternoon, she couldn't pay out £13 for the afterschool club 2 days a week to help us.
I had to say yes to the crisis team coming instead, but they never even came.
It was a really difficult time with no support and i missed lots of college.

ImSoNotTelling Tue 02-Feb-10 11:26:40

Hello newto here - are you very new? If so welcome to MN!

I do like the way that inevitably these threads always end up with people who have stories to share, and experiences to talk about, I hope that talking does help with some of this stuff, for everyone who has had such difficult times.

Great suggestions on here about how to improve matters - we know that at least one MP reads these threads and I know from experience that relevant charities etc look at MN too - just putting things down here might spark something somewhere you never know.

willsurvivethis Tue 02-Feb-10 11:37:57

Newto - that is so ridiculous!! I'm sorry you had to go through that!

It sounds like so often money has to come from a specific pot/budget and but if you want something cheaper than what they offer and it needs to come from a different pot then you can't have it angry.

Nickname looking at the real costs in your case, a short time in a unit like you needed -taking into account all the contact arrangements and social worker time and effort(?) involved in preparing for adoption - may well have been cheaper overall. Shortsightedness of a very damaging kind.

Organisations can be surprisingly bad at looking at true costs of things and 'forget' to take certain things into account. (She said as junior manager in a very badly run legal charity)

CardyMow Fri 05-Feb-10 09:52:22

I haven't read the whole thread, but I really struggle with asking anyone for help. The reason for this is that I had pre-existing depression before I had my children. I had jump through hoops just to be allowed a 3 month 'trial' of looking after my DD. I suffered from very bad PND after having her, and although I went to the GP and took AD's, I didn't ask for any other help, as I had SS coming in twice a week to check that my house was spotless, I had food in the cupboard and nappies for my DD etc. I managed to get free of them when DD was about 15mo, it went down to monthly visits then (a lot of it was also because I had been on the at risk register, still was when I had DD as I was only 16). When DD was 18mo, I was pg with twins, which I lost at 11 and 13 weeks due to TTTS. I went 'off the rails' and got VERY depressed, so I went to SS for some help. I wasn't allowed to leave the building with my DD, and I was told that if I didn't sign the papers to put her in 'voluntary foster care' then I would never see her again.sad.

It took a really serious court appearance with a very good family law solicitor for me to get my DD back after 3 weeks. And now, even though I am struggling with my epilepsy, DP's MH probs, DD's complex medical needs, DS2's complex medical needs, and to give my DS1 what he needs from me, I'm sodding petrified of asking for any help. I need help, I know I need help, I'm struggling to get through each day, and I'm trying to cope with ten times more than is humanly possible, I'm too scared to ask for it.

When my DP and I split up last time, and he did some pretty stupid things phoned SS and told them my kids weren't safe because of my epilepsy, and he wanted custody, I had hell and all trouble trying to convince them that just because I was disabled, didn't stop me from giving my DC's what they need, and that they didn't have to take them off me. They got adult social care to do an assessment for me, that said I needed a carer every day to provide support for the family with cooking and housework etc. I have never actually got that help, and I'm afraid that if I phone them and ask for what they (ss) have said I need that they'll say I can't cope an take the DC's off me.

CardyMow Fri 05-Feb-10 11:15:55

And I do have experience of being a CHILD in the sw system as well, I was taken away from my alcoholic mother when 4yo, was in FC for a year, then was placed with my dad who has MH probs. After my dad committed suicide, no-one on his side of the family could be bothered with me, and SS wanted to save money, so placed me at 10yo back into the abusive situation they had originally pulled me from...to save money on FC costs. Despite being abused in various ways, it took another 4 years and me running away, refusing to go back, and taking an OD when they tried to take me back before anything was done. I was then shunted about between different family members until I fell pg with DD.

I was repeatedly told that because I had been abused as a child myself, it was a known fact that I will abuse my DD/leave her in abusive situations. NOT TRUE!!!

When DD was placed in FC, she was placed in a different TOWN to where I lived, 15 miles away, and I didn't have enough money for transport there, as I only had JSA to run the house, as if I'd not kept my house going, I'd never have got her back. I had to walk 15 miles there and 15 miles back for a 2 hr contact session. I was told it was to 'test my commitment to my DD'. On one visit, as I wasn't eating in order to pay all my bills out of £35 a week JSA so I had a home to bring DD back to, I collapsed from malnutrition whilst trying to get to an access visit. That very nearly lost me my DD. I was rushed to hospital and spent 2 days in there (discharged AMA as was due for next access visit). They said that my commitment to my DD was 'variable' because I missed that ONE contact visit.

While I did come across 2 (out of nearly 40) social workers that were wonderful, and as I wish all SW's were/are when I was a child, I have yet to meet one as a parent who doesn't think that my involvement with SS as a child has impacted on my parenting abilities.

When DP has made malicious calls when we have been apart and his depression has been bad, It has just extended their record. I have been told that even though the previous 3 times they have been contacted it has resulted in a 'no concerns' result being recorded, If I get one more referral (malicious or not) then SS will assume that there is 'no smoke without fire' and will seek an EPO for my DC's. Two of whom have asd, and even 72 hrs away from me will regress them horrifically (sp?).

I NEVER get any notice of a visit by ss, if they turn up at the door, and don't let them in, I have been told by them that they will INSTANTLY apply for an EPO on the basis that I 'must have something to hide'. Which means that any/all visits I do have are unannounced, giving me no chance to arrange to have someone with me to provide support.

So many many people out there do not have unjustified fears. If there was transparency in Family courts, it may not be such an issue. And if SW depts. weren't desperate to hold on to the few SW's they've got (good OR bad) then maybe complaints against individual SW's who are NOT working properly might be taken more seriously. TBH I think the fact that people who complain about bad sw's are put pressure on that they will lose their dc's (to shut them up) is because in some cp sw depts, that even the loss of one, BAD sw, can make it impossible for them to do their job at all. So while I can see sw's point that they are doing their job, don't take away dc's with unfounded beliefs etc, THEY are the GOOD SW's, who do their job properly. And I understand how criminally underfunded social work is as a whole, and especially CP sw. That however does not make what is an all to real fear prevent lots of people out there from getting/ asking for the help they so desperately need.

CardyMow Fri 05-Feb-10 11:18:42

that should read * all too real fear.

And TY if you have managed to read both of my massively long posts.

AvrilHeytch Sun 07-Feb-10 17:20:49

Message withdrawn

3coolcats Wed 10-Feb-10 13:21:21

This thread has helped to crystallise some of my own latent fears regarding going to the GP and discussing my state of mind - prone to depression, mood swings, lack of physical/mental strength to 'get up and do' stuff. I find it very hard to deal constantly with my 3yo DS' behaviour, and to top it all off, I home-educate, and don't vaccinate, etc... I was referred for some CBT after the birth of my 4th child, which was vaguely useful, but obviously can't 'solve' any of the underlying issues.

I had been considering trying to get organised enough (a major achievement at the moment) to make an appointment with my GP to ask for anti-depressants, but after reading StarlightMacKenzie's post, and others, think I'll just try to survive on St John's Wort. There is definitely a problem here.

willsurvivethis Wed 10-Feb-10 14:05:17

3coolcats if you've read the thread you will also have seen that specifically health care professionals are not the people to ring social services at the drop of a hat.

Sounds like you are not the only one suffering, your ds is too. Please go see your GP.

3coolcats - honestly please don't listen to scaremongering. I was very seriously depressed and I found the professionals supportive, there was never even the faintest possibility of taking my DD away. If you need ADs, get them there is really no point suffering unnecessarily.

NanaNina Thu 11-Feb-10 14:25:16

I have popped back in to have a look and only read this page. However it seems there is still scaremongering going on about SSD "taking children into care" because mothers are depressed. I'm sorry but this sort of stuff is scaremongering. The fact that mothers are refusing to go to their GPs for help with anx/dep because of this fear is really really worrying.

I know there are people coming on here with horror stories and please believe me I am not repeat not saying any posters are being untruthful, but sometimes there are differing perspectives on things and you just can't tell from anonymous posts on these threads what is the entire story.

I have spent 30 years of my life in childrens services as a social worker and manager and it is the law (Children Act 1989) that the first duty of the SSD is to keep families together wherever possible. There is rarely one single reason for applying to remove a child from home- it is almost always a combination of reasons and yes I know I am going to get shouted at by some posters for saying this, but I think this may be the case with posters talking of the children being removed because they were depressed.

It is true that sadly some children do need to be removed from their parents where there are very serious mental health problems, as in extreme forms of psychosis where thinking is so disordered as to pose a real risk to the child. As far as dep/anx are concerned the task of the GP is to offer prescriptions and or counselling and if necessary to look at what support is available externally to assist the parent whilst she is struggling with anx/dep.

I am amazed too that some posters are talking about the possibility of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act because they are depressed. There seems to be a complete misunderstanding and fear of how the mental health services operate in this country and I think the media ar partly responsible for this. Someone is only sectioned under the MH Act (meaning they can be compulsorily detained in hospital for a specific period of time) when they are a significant danger to themselves or others, and again this is people with a serious psychotic illness which makes them out of touch with reality. Depression is a mood disorder not a thinking disorder and sections under the MH Act are not relevant. It's a bit like saying "I'm afraid to go to the GP with my sore throat in case he wants to amputate my leg" (sorry a bit extreme but you get the idea.)

So PLEASE any of you mothers suffering with dep/anx please remember it is very common and GPs will see around 40% of their total patients with this problem. Please get the help you need without worrying about losing your children.