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LA's witholding information from adopters - radio 5 live, 11.00AM today (19th)

(13 Posts)
Lilka Sun 19-Jan-14 03:19:37

What the title says!

At 11.00AM today (19th), radio 5 live are talking to adoptive parents who were "kept in the dark about key information they needed to know about the children being placed with them"

Should be interesting, if depressing

Something I have personal experience with, with DD1

Lilka Sun 19-Jan-14 03:20:47

Altthough the program (5 live investigates) today also covers diamond investment scams or something, so we'll have to listen to that as well

Hels20 Sun 19-Jan-14 08:18:27

Gosh - I thought this was all a thing of the past…although it did mildly annoy me that I couldn't see some of the reports (like the Guardian's report) and have had a better account of the circumstances of my DS's removal from the care of his BM from his lovely foster carer than from anything I have read.

Will listen in interest.

Lilka Sun 19-Jan-14 14:24:50

Listen back here -

Starts at about 40 minutes in to the 1 hour program

Terrible actions by LA's. The family who were going to adopt the little girl with the "minor medical issues" especially

I read the court judgement they are talking about near the end. I have to agree with the judge, the likelihood the council would have told all? Very low

Choccyjules Mon 20-Jan-14 10:02:23

I also thought this was something which wasn't allowed to happen anymore.

I haven't listened to it because there's only so much emotion one can take and the past couple of weeks there seems to have been a media spotlight on all things adoption, which is good but can also be draining.

Both SWs we have had during our assessment have made a point of saying, unprompted, that they will share everything they know with us. I think it's a policy they are very hot on in our LA and I believe them. Let's hope my trust isn't unfounded when the time comes.

Meita Mon 20-Jan-14 12:56:06

My aunt is a SW in fostering, she told us that these days LAs have to disclose everything they know, or else they open themselves up to litigation (don't know if that is the right expression?)

However IMO there is always a grey area between 'known' and 'suspected'. And if a SW 'knows', from her experience and personal knowledge of the people in question, for instance, that a woman drank a lot of alcohol during pregnancy; that doesn't mean she 'knows' in a sense that would hold up in court. So she might withhold that bit of information, after all, she doesn't 'really' know it, and nobody could blame her/her LA for withholding rumours and suspicions…
Also wonder if in some cases the risk of litigation (?) has the unintended consequence that sometimes SW don't try to get firm evidence of things they suspect, which would make a baby/child harder to place… so as not to have to disclose it. But that's just me being cynical I suppose.

Off to listen to the programme now, thanks Lilka for saving me from listening to diamond scams ;)

mrsjavierbardem Mon 20-Jan-14 13:06:15

A friend of mine adopted two children who had foetal alcohol syndrome. She felt the LA did not prepare her nearly well enough for the long term implications of this condition.

But who knows, the LA probably have targets to meet like traffic wardens…. I can see how they might be tempted to underplay a factor which can have consequences of unpredictable severity.

Meita Mon 20-Jan-14 13:54:09

Hmm, the programme mentions a few cases they can't give details about, and all they say is that the adopters feel they haven't been told significant things. It is clearly impossible to judge or even form an educated opinion on the basis of what was said. Then there was one case discussed in detail, very sad indeed - but as the nearly-adoptive mum said, it sounds like it was mainly a problem of too many different professionals involved and one hand not knowing what the other was doing, rather than deliberate withholding of information. What I learn from this is that apparently sometimes you need to insist on information being given, or more importantly, on information being attained in the first place - such as medical tests being conducted, and then seeing the reports, rather than just trusting that the results were fine.
There was another case where the judge didn't believe the LA was informing prospective adopters adequately, and apparently in one in three cases countrywide, the child's detailed expert report is not properly reflected in the child reports the prospective parents get to see. Which is quite troubling.

Hels20 Mon 20-Jan-14 14:03:27

I did find it frustrating that I was not given access to the reports on which the CPR was based. The CPR was a summary of what the SW/LA thought was important. They blamed data protection but it annoyed me...

Why couldn't I see Guardian's report??!
I was never given a satisfactory answer.

fasparent Wed 22-Jan-14 11:19:55

Very sad situation too be in for these children, it is however very hard too predict outcomes, most will be undiagnosed and may only surface as the child gets older., as with FAS and FASD., attachment's, PTS.,
SS and SW's are not Medical Professional also conditions are not exclusive too Adopted Children or Children in care but all Children., The new pupil premier plus will go some way too help on going support needed in schools., What is debatable is that Adopted children and children in care often do get support as apposed too the latter because of understanding of their historic history.
Sure there are more children in SEN schools than adopted children and in care., We have four with special need's and others with associated problems but are a blessing too us all and much loved. We have too learn as the children grow as too what problems we encounter as with ANY child.

Devora Wed 22-Jan-14 18:55:53

Thanks for the link, Lilka. I'll try to listen to this. Personally, I've experienced serious gaps in communicating information, but I think these were down to human factors rather than deliberate policy.

In my case, the social worker: wrote the PAR with such poor grammar that it can be read as though birth father sexually abused a minor (and refused to correct it when clarified); disclosed after several months that birth father carried a level of risk to us that had we known about earlier, we would have changed her name and not agreed to meet birth mother; and told us birth mother was about to have another baby. Months on, she said birth mother wasn't actually pregnant - she definitely had been, oh yes, but she had no idea what happened to the baby. (The only way I can cope with this is to decide that she didn't want to admit she was mistaken about the pregnancy, rather than the possibility that there is a child at risk who social services aren't bothering to follow up.)

Also, and quite seriously, I thought the way medical information, including medical uncertainty, was handled was really poor. We weren't able to see the medical advisor till the 11th hour before placement, and when I started asking questions about the ?FAS and asking for worst case scenarios, she turned to the social worker and started saying, "This woman isn't suitable to adopt; she only wants a perfect baby". I was furious - the clear message was that asking hard questions and exploring what you might have to cope with was an admission of ill faith or inadequacy. I was also, of course, terrified that they wouldn't go through with the placement because of this.

Clake66 Tue 04-Mar-14 18:30:23

I lost my grandchild as a result of gross negligence by SS and medical teams. Not made any easier by what I saw as collusion by the family legal teams as a group. So are you saying if a child was abused or came from a family with drug or alcohol problems you are not told?
A child who had a procedure which nearly killed them while in a local authority care and may have a huge impact on their learning ability and may lead to behavioural issues , you would not be told about?
I have been led to believe that adopters are given a graphic illustration of the child's life which led to their of placement in the care system. That the adopter would have to explain all this to a child in preparation of the SS signing them off at 18......

It looks like I am going to have to do a lot more homework.

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Tue 04-Mar-14 21:47:16

clake So are you saying if a child was abused or came from a family with drug or alcohol problems you are not told?

Yes absolutely you would be told that. For the most part, adopters are told most things in a lot of detail. You would most certainly be told about drugs etc

However, it doesn't always happen. The information that tends to get witheld is not about drugs and alcohol, or the bare bones of why the child was removed

In my experience, when it happens, witholding often is about downplaying a childs behavioural issues, to make them sound easier to parent than they actually are. Or if someone has expressed concerns about the child having say, attachment disorder, that concern can be mysteriously forgotten about

With DD1, I was not told about some of her emotional and behvioural difficulties. And whilst I was told a lot about her birth family, they witheld information about some of what happened to her. All to avoid me being "scared off" I suppose

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