Anyone had experience of Children's Social Services.....(46 Posts)
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...and brave enough to talk about it?
Its probably the worst nightmare of any parent to be wrongfully accused of being unfit to parent your child...and maybe you think that is not something that happens to mumsnetter types. It does.....and the worst thing about it is it is so isolating... you cannot not tell anyone and then what happens if you do?
Usually strangers are kinder than our closest friends....so to any strangers out has this happened to you?
Dc2 is a very clumsy child & I had taken her to a&e after 2 separate head bumping incidents (both happened on weekends so no go) in the space of 6 months. I then had a call from social services and a home visit to check all was ok. The social services team were very friendly and I didn't feel uncomfortable with them coming as I had nothing to hide and I was pleased that their policy was to follow up when a child had been injured. This was 3 years ago so don't know whether the policy is still the same. Fortunately we,ve had no other incidents since then.
Surely the question is, OP, why would 'mumsnetter types' need to be brave enough to talk about it to you? What's in it for them?
I think that false and malicious allagetions to social services are a massive and important issue, and I would love it if it were being seriously researched.
If that's what you are doing, great, but could you please give some context.
Hi there yes I could give some context. It was horrible. I went to the doctor because I thought I was a cr*p mum because I was depressed and my son picked up on it.
A junior locum with no kids and no experience thought it would be a great idea to refer DS to social services.
Nothing in it for me but to try not to feel isolated wierd and too crap a mum to post on parenting websites ..six months ago I wanted to post about something completely different and I thought I can't because mumsnet is for 'nice' mums who have never had intervention from social services.. if fellow posters knew what had happened to me I would get barred.... because that is what happens socially you are stigmatised, ostracised unable to baby sit a friends kid or invite a friend of DS to a playdate..
But I know now that by reaching out to people strangers can be kinder than family or friends and that has restored my faith in human nature. That's all ... There's nothing in it for me but I don't want other mums to feel like I did ..that literally I could not smile at a kid in the street because if their parent knew they would whisk them away.
I'm sorry about wht has happened to you, OP. Truly. It is awful to be falsely accused.
There are lots lots of threads and posts on MN about women being maliciously reported. You won't be alienated on here.
I do a lot of lurking and am always amazed at how impossible it is to define MN types. I have read posts from such a wide range of backgrounds and experiences I'm sure there are very, very few experiences where you wouldn't/couldn't find anyone who has been in a similar situation.
The only alienation I've seen are of NM types
I had a 'brush' with Social Services 3 years ago. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
I'm a midwife, who previously worked in a service along side Social Workers in a residential unit for young single mothers.
I split up with my DS's father, and during the process of the separation he hit me several times on one occasion. This had never happened in the relationship and was shocking for me. I fought back and wouldn't let him 'get the better of me' ie. I didn't roll over and just take it! I reported him to the police for this behaviour, and Social Services were automatically called.
They turned up at my door several times (I was at work FGS!) with snotty cards through the letter box saying they would be back!! Eventually they found me in, while DS was at school (thank god, because he was old enough to understand everything that was said). I was in my PJ's at the time, and was fuming to be quiet honest, I felt vulnerable in that state! Anyway, they asked me lots of intrusive questions. I answered them in one sentence - Ex DP no longer lives here, so if you will, please go and speak with him, as me and DS are the innocent party, and I am capable of taking care of both of us. Hence why DP was now ExDP. They refused to speak to him because he was in a 'different area'. They then told me that if I called the police again that I would be investigated!!
I was gobsmacked - so my ExDP basically had free reign to hit me, because I certainly wasn't going to report any further problems to the police. I mean why would I with that threat! Urghhhh!
I thought that was the end of the matter, but a few months later they turned up again questioning me saying my DS was not registered at a school. Clearly they had been investigating me any way, looking in to school/medical records etc. Well, they couldn't have checked very hard, he is registered at a school in a different LA if they had cared to check. I then found out that they had rang the school, and spoken to my mum - who is the headteacher!! I then had to tell my mum why they were checking up on me. NOT a conversation I wanted to have. It was my private business. I was furious. It bought back all the memories of the previous three months that I didn't want to, and set my mum off about ExDP.
Anyway, I've heard nothing in 3 years, so I assume I'm innocent . But seriously, how can they target the innocent party in these things . Surely they should have spoken to ExDP as it was his horrific behaviour that caused them to visit!
Dd's chronic connective tissue disorder was misdiagnosed as psychosomatic and the paed made it quite clear that he thought she had been abused; he wasn't going to let her home out of hospital. Thankfully, we already had an appointment for the following week with a rheumatologist who came up with a proper diagnosis. But for years afterwards we kept coming up against doctors who clearly thought it was in her mind and kept asking me searching questions which were clearly intended to pin me down as a Munchausen parent.
Strangely enough, even when dd had had a proper diagnosis thoroughly confirmed by several eminent specialists and letters of explanation sent to the school, dd's headteacher still couldn't expect it and got SS involved a couple of times to observe our parenting. I found very helpful; they had clearly been told all sorts of strange things by the school, but they were always ready to listen to us and the doctors. The last time was really funny: they came to a meeting at the school and just sat there glaring at the head; they couldn't get back to the office quickly enough to write him the letter announcing that this case was Now Closed.
I have always spoken quite openly about the whole thing: I feel it is important for dd to know that yes, those things happened, they are nothing to be ashamed of, somebody made a mistake and then it was sorted out. She has to live all her life with a disorder that looks very unconvincing from the outside; she has got to learn to handle suspicion in a constructive way, what to say to people, how to stand up for herself without seeming defensive. If I don't teach her that, nobody will.
The silliest thing was having the school and Education Welfare officers- all of whom were considerably less well educated than me- lecture me on the benefits of education, as if I had never heard of those before. I particularly remember one session with an EWO who gave me 10 minutes on the importance of education and then had to ask me for help to fill in her forms as she didn't understand the wordings and couldn't spell.
How awful. I sometimes feel like my GP's are judging me as I suffer from anxiety and DD comes down with awful infections so I am at the GP a lot; very worried and stressed out, sometimes in tears. I do worry they will flag me up as incapable. When I had PND my Mother warned me in no way to let on how I was suffering so I kept it to myself. I think she was right
Yes, we were investigated as DH was suspected of child abuse.
We were all interviewed/observed separately and with utmost respect.
When the investigation was complete and he was cleared, we were offered counselling to help us move on.
The school was involved and, again, they were very kind and supportive.
I havent been investigated by childrens social services although I remember being questioned at length by my sons head teacher, in front of several other teaching staff and professionals and with my son and husband present - regarding his Trichotillomania and other health problems.
Hed already been seen by umpteen different professionals however, she seemed to think I hadnt noticed the little issue of him having pulled out his eyelashes, eyebrows and patches of hair and took a patronising tone with me, looking down her nose in disgust / confusion as though I couldnt give one. Shed written notes about what sort of things I should / could be doing to help and made additional notes about the people she planned to contact following the meeting.
That pinched more than anything else Id gone through with him and I had to get up and leave the meeting because I didnt have the energy to get mad and didnt want my son to see me upset.
I drove for miles to the arse end of nowhere, parked the car up in a lay-by, switched off my phone, and cried buckets / smoked cigarettes for the next five hours.
As it happens I work for social services only with vulnerable adults instead of children. Im aware of the avenues that have to be explored and the difficulties with approaching people and raising the subject of support and help they might need etc but even this wasnt enough to give me a head start that day.
I can still remember how soul destroying it was to hear someone insinuate I didnt care and needed someone else to step in.
It is the worst possible thing any parent could face of being falsely accused of wanting to harm their child....onahotday you are right that is exactly how it should be handled its so important that where there are concerns they are handled sensitively and parents and children not labelled and stigmatised.
Because parents must be able to seek help when they need it and must be able to trust healthcare professionals otherwise children families will suffer dreadfully. See this one.
This has made me very afraid. I haven't read the Daily Mail link though. I've just been to the GP with antenatal depression an she has referred to Children's Services as I told her I'd been aggressive towards DD.
Dawn you need to get a cleaning company in to blitz your house seriously, it'll be the best money you ever spend.
And anything you've bought for your new baby, get it out on display.
A friend of mine had SS involved when her step daughter was abused by her birth mother. SS bent over backwards to keep the child with it's mother even though she was actually hurting her and the child begged not to be left with her so there's no rhyme or reason to their behaviour.
All you can do IMO is ensure your home is clean and safe, that seems to be the most important thing in their eyes.
I have had dealings with them. I have posted on here about it before. If you search my name I think you will find the comments I have made about my experiences. If not I am happy to pm about them when I am more awake.
Dawn if you want to talk to someone who has had experience of what you are going through, please pm me.
WTF having a clean house has nothing to do with social services taking or not taking your child you are being completely ridiculous and are upsetting people with untruths and exaggeration stop trying to push your own agenda and let people have balanced responses. HOnestly!
Wrong thread but directed at ithappenedtome so same difference!
This is the third thread on this started by the OP - all scaremongering it seems to me.
I am .going to.post the same response to this thread as I posted on.the one the OP started in Mental Health as I.am concerned that a woman with depression who reads these threads may well be dissuaded from seeking help.
In my case I had severe PND after DD was born. I was suicidal. If I had not sought help in all likelihood I would now be dead. I was terrified that DD would be taken away from me but the GP was lovely and reassuring, as were the psychiatrists and community mental health team.
The case outlined by the OP (who seems to be the woman named in the blog) is sad and awful. But it is not typical. Over the last few years I have come to.know many women with PND or other types of depression and not one has been referred to social services.
And even if they had been, even if I had been - better a mother wrongly investigated and subsequently cleared than a dead mother. No?
I don't get all this stuff about the cleaning company. All the SS I have ever met- and we have had regular SS involvement- have been quite equal to a bit of ordinary lived-in-ness. The posters on this thread seem to think that the only thing SS do is to investigate and judge you. Whenever we've had SWs around it has been about offering support.
I am very concerned that a mother who is diagnosed with ante natal depression and has told her doctor that she has been aggressive towards her child is now being advised by OP to pretend that everything is fine and give the SW tea and biscuits.
SW and HV will hopefully be able to put a package of support around this family to ensure that mum gets what she needs to deal with her depression and looking after her DC. In fact, you can turn up at the SS office and ask for services and support - Be proactive in helping yourself and your family.
CHILDREN'S SERVICES DO NOT WANT TO TAKE CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES. UNLESS THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION. IT HAS TO BE VERY SERIOUS AND THE LAST RESORT.
SW want to see parents who acknowledge difficulty and risk and engage with any services that are part of a plan.
By all means take notes, get support from Family Rights Group, have a friend present. But don't panic and try to get the support that you need.
I have had SW intervention and I am a social worker.
And to the midwife who had "snotty cards" through the door from SW, did you not think it important enough to actually phone them and make an appointment to go into the office and meet them. You basically waited for them to come back and then were upset cos you were in your PJ's.
OK so I have read the DM link and I just don't get this quote:
I am now ineligible for the Criminal Record Bureau check required for working with children or young people,
She has not got a conviction so nothing would show on a CRB check, even an enhanced one.
I do think some of the advice on here is a bit
I never offered our allocated sw coffee or biscuits. He was a nob and I couldn't stand him. I was polite and did what was asked of me. I didn't need to be nice to him - they don't want nice, they want you to demonstrate your children are being properly cared for.
As for mess in the house, I agree with Cory. I got pulled up cos they felt the house was TOO clean and tidy! They felt it was odd that there wasn't toys everywhere, and that the kids had been taught to tidy up after themselves.
What people really need to do is LISTEN to what ss are saying, be totally honest and work WITH them to sort through the issues. And yes, it can happen to anyone, and it is a very difficult experience.
Dawn, I understand that it is easy to panic but you have to remember that ss are trying to give you access to all the help you can receive. Just be honest and real. Really and truly these people on this thread are scaremongering for their own ends.
And although our sw was a nob, it's not because he was a sw. I met several sws throughout the whole intervention, some of which were absolutely brilliant. I was just unlucky enough to be allocated with a nob.
Dawn, listen to Raven, she has got it right. Please don't be afraid of the scaremongering. I wish you the best for getting the issues sorted.
gingerchick having a clean and tidy house can and does affect SS decisionsy re taking children. Do a search on my name and read my experiences!
Other than that I agree totally with what Raven has said. Other than 1 over zealous SW (who said she would have signed me off, but felt she couldn't because I hadn't made the boys bed, as in straigtned the duvets that day, they had sheets etc on) my experience was nothing but positive. SS what they neeeded to help me get my house, and life sorted!
IMO covering the problems won't help, and could make them worse in the long run if you don't get help for them!
And although our sw was a nob, it's not because he was a sw. . I was just unlucky enough to be allocated with a nob. And this!
Obviously I don't know your personal experience but I know from mine that a spotless house doesn't affect the way you are perceived by ss and actually can have the reverse affect. Whatever you believe you must see that the advice here re having a tidy house is misleading and dangerous but you are welcome to your opinion as I am mine
Interesting to see that the OP hasn't come back. I had a look at her Facebook campaign page earlier and a couple of people (MNers I presume) had posted pointing out that her claim of widespread Mumsnet support was inaccurate as she had started all the threads herself. One also pointed out the impact that her scaremongering could have on vulnerable women.
Those comments have now been deleted. It seems that the OP isn't as interested in open debate and discussion about this as she could be.
Oh I totally agree that rushing off in a panic and hiring a cleaning company would not be helpful, but just wanted to point out that having an untidy/dirty house can result in SS involvment, thats what my problem was. I also agree that a house can be 'too tidy' (not that my SW seemed to agree!)
BAsically me and you actually agree!
I am one of two Safeguarding Professional in a school.
We do not make referrals lightly. If a child discloses that last night she saw her father smash her mothers face into a wall, we refer.
If a child tells us that her older brother puts his hand in her knickers when nobody is looking - we refer.
If a child tells us they're unhappy because their mum is suffering from depression, we ring the Mum, ask if there is anything we can do to help and offer to start a CAF to assist, not with any sneaky ulterior motive in mind. Only if we became very concerned about the child (i.e turning up in dirty clothes, unwashed, crying all the time) would that be referred.
I used to think I would loathe Social Workers - all left wing and green woolly tights, so I thought. But they do an amazing and very difficult job for very little pay.
I am sure some SW's out there are over-zealous and can cause an extreme amount of pain when there is no need. My predecessor saw problems with so many families it got to the point where she was making a referral every week (95% unfounded). She was... removed from her post shall we say?
But if the 5% of the time she was correct has potentially saved 1 child from abuse, neglect or death, then it has to be worth it.
Yes, all the time as a foster carer.
I have no objection to any of the unanounced visits, the tour round my bedroom (more embarassing for my SSW than me) and the endless form filling.
It's to keep kids safe and I'm not defensive. I have no problem with being open and honest - I sometimes get things wrong and they help me identify issues - they are not judgemental.
"And to the midwife who had "snotty cards" through the door from SW, did you not think it important enough to actually phone them and make an appointment to go into the office and meet them. You basically waited for them to come back and then were upset cos you were in your PJ's."
No I did not, because I had done nothing wrong - it was my exP they should have been contacting. Why would I want to contact social services? I had no need to.
m a care leaver a domestic violence survivor and im autistic, all 3 of those im a risk they walked out the door with my perfectly adoptable ( sorry sellable) 6 month old HEALTHY daughter who had NEVER been abused and NEVER needed protecting, but when i tried to take her to refuge with me, social services BANNED me from taking her with me THREATENING me with a KIDNAP charge. oh yes im paranoid..social services lie through their teeth and now im spitting feathers. my child is now 6yrs old, i recently survived cancer but she's not allowed to know, she's not allowed to know her mother nearly died! IM not allowed to know if she is dead or alive for 12 more years... by the way im ofstead registered and taking a degree in child protection law. I am a ursery assistant (voluntary) they screwed up my care and removed my daughter because they stuffed up.
i had 48 social workers in 4 years- not one stayed on my case long enough to do ANYTHING. my daughter had 6 SIX social workers from birth to 6 months when she was FORCE adopted AGAINST my will without my PERMISSION which is ILLEGAL in the EU.
you telling me social workers do their job? go find me some proof and i promise you i will find more proof they dont do their job!
OP - I totally agree with your statement. I believed it could never happen to a family like us and if I had heard about it before our case I would have genuinely believed that there would be no smoke without fire etc etc. It is not something I still feel able to discuss in RL for this reason.
Thesilencethatscreams - i believe that if my DH or I had fitted even one of your categories then we too would have lost our children. Luckily we also had the contacts and money to fight all the lies. I just cannot get over the fact that other families will not be so fortunate.
diabolo - sorry I cannot agree that it is acceptable for 95% of families to be falsely accused if there is no evidence and especially if as in our case total lies are documented and I have proof that this was so in our case.
It is not something that a family can ever fully recover from and it has certainly totally destroyed me. Perhaps there should be a support network to help recovery. I am happy to get involved in something to try to prevent the dreadful miscarriages of justice that can occur.
nearly a year ago, I took my little girl on a holiday to florida and we had an amazing time, when I got back we where both understandably shattered, we must have been a pair of zombies that just ate and slept for the day we got back and half the day after. I hadnt noticed bruises of various ages on the bottom of her back and a giant one on her chest, I took her to nursery and went to work as usual. I recieved a call on my mobile from social services wanting to ask me questions about the bruising and how it had happened, her nursery had reported me and when I got there they asked me if I would have her examined. we where at the hospital for 5 hours and during that time I racked my brain for an explaination apparently I dont know we did so much stuff when in florida wasnt enough for them and they grilled me. they decided that night that I was a risk to my child and had my friends mum not have been with me they would have gotten the police to take her, I had to sign a child protection agreement I wasnt allowed unsupervised contact with my own child from that point onwards.
they arranged a child protection hearing and I knew there was no chance in hell I was going to get my daughter back without a fight, she was subjected to a blood test (6 attempts to get blood and she was traumatised and covered in bruises from being held down) she was subjected to a full skeletal survey to check if she was a victim of abuse before this meeting and I was cautioned by the police before the hearing under the child protection act she was placed on the at risk register and a plan was put in place and that wasnt the worst of it 12-14 strangers in most cases decided my parenting wasnt good enough, they judged me and said I had limited interation and we showed now attachment as mother and daughter... she was 17/18 months old at the time and I was devastated by it all... I kept saying I didnt know and they kept saying it couldnt have been the seat belt on the plane .. i suggested it to give them an option not a difinitive answer.
they had me arrested and charged with harming my daughter and I was interviewed at a custody suite my entire rights taken away my dna, my finger prints and my photo I am now as an innocent woman on a police data base even though I had done nothing wrong. I was interviewed for hours and hours and I was asked horrific questions any mothers heart would break at and lucky for me was bailed and faced the prospect of christmas living in the same house as my daughter but not being able to be alone with her for even a cuddle. I was constantly being watched and I was found innocent by the police and my bail dropped before christmas and as such the child protection plan of no unsupervised access was cancelled... the plan however remained.
I was persecuted by social services, they removed her from the register after 3 months, but that isnt the end of it I cant move nurserys because she is in a red list with any nursery she attends, she gets one bruise and its refered straight back to them, I am a nervous wreck and I watch her like a hawk its affected our bond in a way thats horrifying as a mum I am to afraid to allow myself to relax and even play wrestle or allow her to do anything that can cause bruises. I have always been a careful and cautious mum, I cant tell you how clumsy she is and I am, when we where in florida we did all the experiences we could, I had bruises from my anemia and I watch her like a hawk I just couldnt give a specific cause and I couldnt give a definitive answer they where not looking for evidence they where looking to hang a 27 year old, single mum that works and they even told me I was obsessed with my job at one point and understandably I was shocked by that. my daughter always has and always will come first but they dont care about that, they have their back office meetings that you cant even bring a solicitor to, your forced to sit there with your fate hanging in the back ground and things like oh well with baby p we have to do this and that... why has a child that died because of failings with their systems and their staff been allowed to be brought into their current procedures? why are they not learning from that and instead of getting tough and accusing and putting innocent mothers through hell why dont they make the necessary changes in place to ensure that it doesnt happen again.
I cant express the heart break that I feel daily and the pain they put me through, essentially they dont care and the effect that it has can ruin your life if you let it. I used to be a happy and positive person but my heart was broken in the experience that lasted 8 months in all and shattered my belief in the entire system.. should I be grateful my nursery reported me without asking what had happened first? should I be glad that they cared about my daughters well being enough to have our little family put through that? what happened has made me distrustful and negative because I have to live with this long after it is over and done with. when she goes to school it will rear its ugly head and I cant try as I might get my information removed by the police.
whats the answer for me and my little girl? I dont know but I have to get on with things regardless and know that everytime I drop my daughter off at nursery that they are watching and waiting for the chance to start that whole thing off again... sure start nurserys people beware... thats all I am saying
I am going to park my arse on this thread and tell you my story when i feel emotionally able to. Bit wiped out to do it right now.
They are horrid and can and will systematically destroy your faith in your parenting ability and can and do make false and misleading accusations and reports.
The 'experts' are disgusting slugs and should be disbarred or whatever it is from practising.
I have spoken to Ian Josephs and also to John Hemming and although what he did was lower than a snakes belly he has at least helped to bring this problem to the fore.
Interesting thread and i can see it opening a few eyes
Here Took me ages to write, about 4 hours.. n a lot of tears.
Hope its the kind of thing you meant ..
I am going through hell with lies with ss and am trying help the person running this site below who had nightmares as well. We are trying to collate lists of 'good solicitors- legal aid' who are not corrupt. If any of you know of any please pm so I can get a list going for the site. Any other ideas please let me know. This is going to be m mission in life to help anyone I can....
Yes, just in the past few years, I have only seen them 3 times.
Once was them telling me to remove DH from house or move DC out, I was on my way to Solicitor to do so so was quite irate with them tbh. He was holding me back if anything.
Second time was a visit to tell me not to let DH see DC and ask about his contact with DC.
Third time was a few weeks back, when my ex said my DC were dirty, neglected, lived in shithole, I am a heroin user and an alcoholic who drives my Dc around a lot when drunk and crashes, the one that annoyed most was poor dental hygiene We ALL got the all clear and well done for 6 months in November.
Thankfully Social work didn't believe a word he said and re-affirmed, 'the only reason their is not a child protection in order is because you keep DC from him'. Kinda shot himself in the foot again the arse!
They have always been very nice to me, apart from the first annoying man but I was a tad stressed that day.
OFSG this is so old......