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

(543 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.

LovelyBath Sun 11-May-14 19:51:36

I just thought it might be useful to share my experience. I have had a long history of depression since a teenager and then had PND after my first birth. I was open and shared it with my HV and GP who supported me. I asked for a ss referral 'Child in need' to get a space in a supported playgroup, which was given and I found this supported, As I felt a bit better we stopped it as I didn't need it anymore. (as part of it I could go onto the children's centre for support when in town if I needed it too)

My children are older now, school age and when I had psychotic depression a couple of years ago was referred to the MHT and got a support worker, 2 years have past and they have told me it is all confidential and if any need to refer to ss would talk to me first, that they would need a reason to do this however. they did say a single mum in the same position may have been offered this however I have family so it wasn't needed.

Hopefully this may reassure others.

kinsorange Sun 11-May-14 14:53:17

Taking a child away is very extreme and lots of things are done before that happens.
sws want to keep children with birth famililes.

It is very expensive to take them away

jbean3 Sun 11-May-14 12:44:45

Taxianne if the court does take your child way it is only because it is in the child's best interest. Also SS doesn't make the choice to take children away, that decision is up to the courts.

Howmuch101 Wed 07-May-14 08:55:52

I read a comment on DM website last night whereby a woman had one other children taken off her (custody given to father) as she had postnatal psychosis. She's fine now but not seen so much as a photo of the child for 6 years. Not sure if it was this country but tragic all the same. She'd contacted media and no one cared. It scared me. I have had MH issues since having DCs.

taxianne Wed 07-May-14 08:19:09

my son was taken into long term foster care 3 years due to domestic domestic violence and alcohol and a long history of depression, i am no longer in that relationship and my drinking is under control. I see my son every 6 weeks and we maintain a strong bond but i am now in a very loving settled relationship and have found out i,m 17 weeks pregnant, and very concerned that this child will be taken away from me due to past history is this the cause i am unable to enjoy this pregnancy due to worrying all time.

Loopdeloop09 Tue 31-Dec-13 08:58:04

Hi I really feel for u bless that must of been horrific for u and then how on earth u must of felt when carrying ur now 3 year old. The bit u put about blonde hair blue eyes I have just had a little boy just like that I have 3 year old girl blonde hair blue eyes I asked for help nearly six years ago as I broke down in a school meeting not long after my servicing twin was home cut a very long story short as I can I lost one of my twin girls she was 16 days old and hospital perforated her belly 3 times bless her anyway I ended up a mess asked for help not realising ss was there they have taken e court 3 times now one time I won due to proving sw was lying since them I ent been court they have done legal meetings etc which I have proven new sw to be lier to anyway before I had my little man everything in there eyes was alright after I had him by c section cause there were things I couldn't do and I have suffered my norm postnatal which they all know about which house ends up complete mess and I can't be asked with myself etc routines go out door well coz of this ss are now taking me to court to have my children I have spoke to docs several times still no joy there then I have been in touch with them to due to realising I'm a hoarder which don't help due to house etc and I really ent gd at routines etc I'm single mum which there using I really don't know how to stop them this time I really don't the family intervention team support worker explained to my eldest what was happening a couple days before Xmas so all my children know now which hasn't helped as they have behaviour problems already and when they worry they get worse everyone one seams to think its best idea for children to go in care which to be fair I know that isn't best option if they helped me with the issues that are making me this way it would help out loads and it wouldn't be such a problem all this due to mental health that needs treatment which I have asked for I just ent got clue what to do

NanaNina Fri 29-Nov-13 20:49:59

Sorry but I totally disagree with you Dandygal - I have some 30 years experience as a LA social worker and team manager and am now retired. The thing is that no court case stands or falls just on the report submitted by the child/children's social worker. There are numerous assessments carried out on the birth parents, dependent upon their individual circumstances, but there will always be an assessment/report undertaken by a psychologist (who is independent of the LA SSD) a consultant psychiatrist if there are mental health issues, possibly a GP, sometimes a play therapist/nursery worker/teacher/school nurse/health visitor. Alongside these assessments/reports there will always be a children's guardian appointed in care proceedings. They are social workers but independent of the LA SSD and work for CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory service) Their role is to investigate all of the circumstances and make a recommendation as to whether they are in agreement with the LA's application for a Care Order. They appoint a lawyer to act for the child

Care proceedings go on over 4/5 days dependent on the complexity of the case. All report writers have to be available for cross examination (LA social workers are often cross examined for 2/3 hours by the lawyers for the birthparents) Who ever else has agreed with the LA's application will also be cross examined. There is one more step before a final decision is made by the Judge and on occasions agreement will be given by the Court for the birthparents to be assessed by an independent social worker who is experienced in child protection work. That social worker has to submit a report at the end of the assessment. At the end of hearing after reading all the documentation, all the evidence and cross examinations, the Judge makes the final decision. SO any social worker who is lying would very soon be found out. I find it hard to believe a secret recording is admissible in court. Why does it have to be secret? I would have no objection to birthparents taping recording my meetings with them.

As for "asking the sw if she/he has mental health problems" frankly I find this ridiculous. Who are you imagining will ask this question? Any lawyer acting for the birthparents (and they are almost always legally represented as they get legal aid) would never ask such a question as they know that they would lose all credibility with the Judge and discredit the case of the birthparents.

I agree that social workers like all other professionals and employees vary a great deal in their empathy and competence and I see no reason why birthparents (and anyone helping them) should not keep written records of what's been said/agreed. In fact I think it's a very good idea because if there are inconsistencies they can point these out to their lawyer and believe you me, lawyers will cease any opportunity to discredit the LA social worker, or indeed anyone else if they think there is good cause.

Dandygal76 Fri 29-Nov-13 12:54:21

I would like to add to help people 2 things;
1) record your meetings. You do not have to have permission for this under the law because it is your own personal information (don't let them know). People will argue with the ethics of it but it is not illegal and there is more at stake that the SS feelings. It is admissable in court. Don't even use it to begin with. Let them go along their merry way and at the last innings submit your recordings and highlight all the inconsitencies. I have known social workers to lie but they will be belived above you (as in why would they lie?).
2) Ask them in court if they suffer mental health issues that could effect their judgement on the case. You may just be surpised at the hypocracy of it all.
This is not from personal dealings with SS. This is from a professional capacity and also assisting a friend who became involved with them.
There are lots and lots of good SW's out there. The majority of times you will be treated with respect, honesty and professionalism. Good SW's want to help. But as with any profession or just in general in life... there are some less desirable social workers and the consequences are so dire that you must absolutely keep your own comprehensive records and recordings of events.

Tiptops Sun 25-Aug-13 23:15:50

Thank you for your reply SirBoobAlot thanks

That, along with the initial panic of reading the thread subsiding a little, is making me feel a bit calmer about the whole SS and mental health situation. I will be more hesitant about what I share with the MH team but hopefully if I engage with treatment and manage to get my illness more under control then that will work in my favour too.

I'm glad I've read the thread as it's made me think deeply about my health and realise it's probably best to delay my plans to start a family in the near future.

SirBoobAlot Sun 25-Aug-13 13:19:47

Tiptops don't let scare mongering prevent you from being honest with MH services; being honest is the only way you can get the support you need to recover.

As I said last time I posted, I had SS involved because I had been in a psych hospital within the year previous to becoming pregnant. They were lovely, supportive, and disappeared very quickly after DS was born because they had no concerns.

Since then I have continued to see my mental health team fortnightly / weekly depending on my mental state, have at times seen my psych every two weeks too, have attended day hospital services, done two intensive therapy courses, and have had the crisis team involved a few times; they're currently visiting me nightly. At no time during all of this has social services been mentioned. I asked my psych once about it, and he reassured me considerably. And I also spoke to the social worker about it, who told me that they work to keep families together wherever possible.

Social services get bad press; they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. You don't hear about all the families and individuals they help on a daily basis, you just hear the horror stories - because we've become addicted to wanting to know the drastic situations and how everyone is out to get us. That's not how society works, and it's certainly not how social services function.

So please... Continue to be honest with mental health workers. In the long run, it will be better for you, and for any children you have, if you are progressing with recovery, and the only way to do that is to work with services as fully as possible.

Stripedmum Sat 24-Aug-13 21:26:35

I have to agree with Yellow in that one of my best friends is a SW and says there is a very high 'bar' for intervention.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 21:18:10

People resurrect threads in the main to terrify people.

1/3 of the people in this country get mental health issues at some point in their lives.

If people with mental health issues had their children taken away....well, everyone would be employed in social services to be able to cope and care for all the taken away children, and I have no idea where all the children would be put.

Tiptops Sat 24-Aug-13 21:09:52

Well, this thread has absolutely petrified me. I don't have any children yet but from now on I shall be even more cautious what I share with my mental health team. I have always been honest and open with practitioners about my illness, this thread is making me seriously regret that.

Can anyone in the profession answer a couple of questions for me? If you have a MH illness and are receiving treatment are you automatically referred to SS? If you have a history of MH illness but are currently functioning well i.e. full time job, no involvement with MH services, are you automatically referred to SS?

If so to the above, why should parents with MH illnesses be referred any more than 'normal' parents? I myself have training in child protection and I fail to see why the same good practice of being observant of neglect/ abuse from any parent shouldn't be continued.

I always hoped to emigrate in the future, maybe it's best I bring that plan to fruition before starting a family if my illness is going to used against me.

Stripedmum Sat 24-Aug-13 08:21:44

I haven't read the whole thread but in response to the OP - I have always been honest about my MH problems with the professionals as I was so shit scared about what was happening to me and didn't feel I had much of an option.

However after first DS my worry was that I'd 'lose control'
And hurt him in some way during a 'lost control black out' (irrational anxious thought). This, however often got converted into me having thoughts of harming DS which I never, ever did. A huge difference despite me emphasising at each meeting this wasn't the case. This did worry me.

On balance I would still always open up as secrecy for me and not having someone listen to my worries and label them as anxious rather than abnormal would worry me more.

I know a mum though who is suffering from severe OCD revolving around her children and she's never once sought help for this reason. Best friend also worries for me every time I make 'contact' with the system for me too, for fear SS will become involved.

I don't know what the answer could be.

keller24 Thu 22-Aug-13 22:11:56

Unfortunately I believe some Social Workers arent in it for the right reasons. I was in a very violent relationship and had two children during. SS became involved after my 2nd son was born and was 1 month old. I had been depressed since my 1st was born 14 months earlier. I was thrilled to have my baby in my arms at last but living with domestic violence every day, trying to keep your children safe and pretending everything is A okay to the rest of the world is mentally exhausting. I was scared to seek help for my depression, when social services got involved they told me I had one week to make some sort of progress otherwise my boys would be taken. This was a shock to the system. I went to the doctor, she was very understanding and I was put on 50mg of anti depressants a day because suicide was a regular thought in my head. After a very serious incident with my childrens father I left him. My social worker was like my rock the whole way through. She offered me endless support and nagged me like she was my mother sometimes. But I made it very clear from the start that I would not tolerate being pushed about. Be honest, dont be pushed around, and if in any doubt what so ever, SEEK LEGAL ADVICE! I cannot urge you enough to always double check if you are unsure about anything at all. Saying good bye to my social worker was like saying goodbye to a family member forever. Try not to tar them all with the same brush, there is hope for everyone!

lp3006 Tue 20-Aug-13 23:23:33

sorry to have snapped at you mess, today has just been a really tough day with lots of tears, I apologise x

Messupmum Tue 20-Aug-13 20:04:27

My post wasn't just aimed at you Ip3006, but ss don't take babies away because of a breakdown. They may care for the baby until you are well again, but surely there must be more going on, and ss should be cooperating with you, explaining the reasons behind all this.

I feel for you, and hope things work out for the best, as obviously something has gone wrong somewhere along the line.

lp3006 Tue 20-Aug-13 19:13:11

messupmum - I'm not scaremongering, I'm in absolute pieces here and just reaching out for support. please don't kick me when I'm down

lp3006 Tue 20-Aug-13 19:11:42

Hi - I've written a post (thanks) explaining as much as I can. babys dad wants no involvement at all
x

Messupmum Tue 20-Aug-13 19:09:14

SS don't just take babies because of mental health issues! There must be other reasons for them to take those drastic measures. I'm sorry, but I'm fed up with people scaremongering and vulnerable mums who need help and support, will read this and not seek help.

I've been in hospital a few times due to my mental illness, and attempted suicide, as a single mum, ss were called by a nurse at a&e. My cpn, HV, GP and teachers had no concerns, we had monthly visits and meetings, and the case was closed. I was terrified when I got the call from ss but they reassured me, children were only removed if deemed at risk. It would have to be serious.

If you do what they suggest regarding meds and support, then they can be there to help.

Stop scaremongering, and tell the full story or nothing at all!

HoopHopes Tue 20-Aug-13 18:43:30

Lp I would suggest getting a lawyer immediately that specialises in this. Is there a family member who can help or have the baby until they let you? What about the babies dad too?

SnowyMouse Tue 20-Aug-13 17:27:42

Hi lp3006

You might want to start a new thread to talk about what you've posted, people that can help and/or empathise might have hidden this thread.

lp3006 Tue 20-Aug-13 16:18:14

SS took my baby at 6 days old and are now planning adoption for "future risk of emotional harm". They have no issues with my parenting capacity citing "higher than average care given", I don't drink, have never taken drugs, have never commited a crime and am a decent human being. But I have mental health problems as a result of abuse in my childhood and had a breakdown 16 months ago. Though I have been stable since, it's not enough and I am likely to lose my baby forever. Can anyone help? I am overwhelmed with grief at being separated from my now 6 week old baby and can't cope with losing him for good.
Thanks x

insanityscratching Sun 18-Aug-13 22:00:20

My SS story is a positive one that will hopefully reassure some people. After the birth of my fourth child I developed pueperal psychosis, I became suicidal and was subsequently sectioned. SS did support us as a family and I understand why it was a CP issue as psych was concerned that if I committed suicide I would take my children with me.
SS provided respite care for my children where they would go to a FC during the day a couple of times a week, they sent in home helps to clean and do laundry, they organised a district nurse to come and bathe and cream and bandage ds's eczema. I believe they did everything in their power to keep us together as a family and when I was out of hospital and recovering they were quick to back off with SW only visiting monthly until CP order was removed after six months.
At no point did I feel I was in danger of losing my children and my parenting didn't seem to be scrutinised, their position was always one of being there to give support whilst I was ill until I was well enough to continue to be the good mother I was.
When I had dd eight years later there was no puerperal psychosis and no sign of SS.

SirBoobAlot Sun 18-Aug-13 21:56:41

It's scaremongering, and a very old thread, Cake. Try not to worry too much (though I know that's a foolish thing to say when you suffer from anxiety).

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