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to wonder why on earth this child had not been removed from his parents?

(132 Posts)
Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 22:37:27

Shaun Binfield, 45, and Sally Dent, 33, of Belper, Derbyshire, had both denied the charges and were convicted after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Two-year-old Riley Pettipierre died in March 2012 after drinking Dent's prescription methadone which had been poured into a child's drinking beaker..............................The court was told that police found evidence of heroin and cannabis hidden around the house and scientific tests showed traces of both drugs in strands of Riley's hair.

Ms Coen said it was highly likely Riley had consumed heroin and cocaine in the months leading up to his death.

Quoted from

Why in the name of all that is good was this child still with these parents? He must have been a heroin addict at birth. Drug abuse should surely be a reason to remove the child at birth?

lisad123everybodydancenow Fri 18-Jan-13 22:41:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WorraLiberty Fri 18-Jan-13 22:42:53

I assume the test would have been done after death sad

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 22:46:13

But she gave birth, presumably under NHS care, was receiving methadone from the GP. The child would have been registered with a GP, surely the connection should have been made?

He would have needed special care at birth due to withdrawal, so SS must have been informed shouldnt they?

SashaSashays Fri 18-Jan-13 22:46:17

1. We're they aware of his exposure before death? Considering one was on methadone you would think SS would know.

2. I don't think drug use is generally considered enough of a reason for removal, especially if a child appears otherwise cared for, turns up for school etc.

ScalesAndMirrorsLie Fri 18-Jan-13 22:47:23

It's horrific IMHO that children now, this very minute, are suffering horrific abuse of all sorts.

I personally, would rather take every single child that might be in danger away from the parents/carers they are with. Than to give them a chance to offend.

Unfortunately that is the law/how it is/ the uk etc

Very sad. I couldn't work in this field. It would kill me.

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 22:49:33

For me that is a big problem, the missing years. You get midwife involvement after birth and you get school involvement from 4+ but you dont have to have health visitor involvement in the middle years. It seems no coincidence to me that the deaths of neglect, abuse etc that make the papers happen during those lost years.

Perhaps HV involvement should be compulsory. It would be annoying for those of us that are doing it right, but could be life saving to the children of those that aren't.

Narked Fri 18-Jan-13 22:50:13

Being an addict alone isn't considered enough to remove a child as far as I know.

3littlefrogs Fri 18-Jan-13 22:51:31

You can't open a newspaper these days without reading horror stories about the staff shortages and cuts in the NHS.

Social Services is at least ten times worse. Staff are being made redundant, administrative and clerical services are being replaced with inexperienced temporary staff, case loads are unmanageable, children are being left in extremely high risk situations and it is only going to get worse.

I am not the least bit surprised at this story. sad

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 22:51:53

scales I couldnt do it either. A good friend of mine worked as an advocate for children who had been taken into care. They told her what they wanted and she told SS or the courts. She said that she would get children who had been beaten, neglected and sexually abused (the same child) who would still want to go home to mummy and daddy, and she would desperately want to tell them that they shouldnt, but that wasnt her job. She was a far stronger person than me, I couldnt do it.

Lovelygoldboots Fri 18-Jan-13 22:53:14

The fact that it was in a child's beaker, well I am just incredulous. My brother came to visit me when he was on methadone and I was so fucking paranoid that my kids would get hold of it and did everything I could to make sure it was out of reach.

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 22:54:46

Being an addict alone isn't considered enough to remove a child as far as I know.

Sadly, I believe you. But why? Anyone who know's anything about addiction knows that they will service their addiction first. Thats how come previously law abiding loving people will mug old ladies, steal from their parents, partners or children, will shoplift, will hurt themselves to get morphine in hospital.

So an addict will not, by the very nature of addiction, do what a parent must do and put their child first. Therefore that child should be removed. Shouldnt it? Shouldnt it?!

Cortana Fri 18-Jan-13 22:56:20

I know where you're coming from and YANBU. When you read a story like this the urge to scream "But why FFS!" is strong.

From what I've read of those involved in the social care of children on MN it's not just a case of being better off without the parents. It's about social workers case loads, not enough time with each child, the effect being in care for years has on a child, resources.

So sad when a child's wellbeing is determined by resources, hats off to all of the professionals working against the odds to keep children safe, not a job I could do.

PacificDogwood Fri 18-Jan-13 22:56:23

I know nothing about this case <disclaimer>. So v sad.

But this is why addicts need to get methadone daily dispensed at the chemist, taking it in front of the chemist with a sip of water afterwards (to prove they have actually swallowed it and are not going to spit it into a container once out of the shop in order to sell it on. Really).

Having said that I have experience of stable ex-drug users who are very good parents, so I would agree drug use alone is not a good enough reason to remove a child. However chaotic drug use/non-engagement with services/ drug use while also on methadone - big warning bells.

HollyBerryBush Fri 18-Jan-13 22:56:26

But if the parents had methodone, then they were trying (presumably) to wean off their addictions?

3littlefrogs Fri 18-Jan-13 22:57:00


Where would you take the children? Who would look after them?

Do we really think being "in care" is any better for many of these children?

Frying pans and fires.

As a former midwife and health visitor I wish there was some way of preventing some people from having children. However, I realise that is not a politically correct thing to say. But I have seen some terrible things.

Lovelygoldboots Fri 18-Jan-13 22:57:06

I have to agree with you Bogeyface. Addiction is a cruel disease and makes you self serving. I cannot see how a child can thrive with a parent in the throes of addiction.

Moominsarescary Fri 18-Jan-13 22:59:27

Well ss probably had some involvement. I know in the area I live locked boxes are given to addicts to keep drugs away from the dc's. Not all ate taken from their parents, especially if only one of them is a drug addict.

I worked with some addicts in an inpatient detox centre who were given the chance by ss to become clean and keep their dc's.

Poor little boy though, it's heart breaking.

SashaSashays Fri 18-Jan-13 23:00:06

DM is a social worker. It's hard to explain on here but there is a lowering of standards once you've seen so much according to her.

Also probably in the eyes of SS, the boy had a parent who was not an addict (think the father although am just basing this on what I've read). If there were few other issues that got flagged up such as good school attendance or when they visited he seemed well cared for, SS will do their utmost to keep children with parents or family.

Predominantly because the car system is overloaded and has been failing for years. Look at statistics, many of the outcomes make it appear as if children aren't that much better off in care.

Lovelygoldboots Fri 18-Jan-13 23:00:13

HollyBerryBush, methadone is not a quick cure. Many people spend years and years on it and can lapse inbetween. I am not convinced it is a panacea for curing heroin addiction.

Narked Fri 18-Jan-13 23:02:52

What % of people using methadone are also still using drugs? I think it gets used as a cheap option. Sending people to residential rehab is much more expensive.

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 23:05:08

I am sure I am having a knee jerk reaction, but it just seems wrong and so avoidable.

I feel bad if I leave DD playing her cot for 20 minutes after a nap while I have a coffee and MN! I cant imagine sleeping off my drugs and allowing her access to heroin, cannabis and methadone. I just cant.

And I cant imagine anyone else leaving a child in a house where that could happen.

Spero Fri 18-Jan-13 23:06:40

A drug addict can still be a good parent. If they are engaging with support, trying to deal with their addiction etc, etc. There aren't enough foster parents as it is. If you removed children from the thousands of drug addict parents, where are you going to put them?

AgentProvocateur Fri 18-Jan-13 23:07:54

I agree that there needs to be more "state supervision" between six months and school. The official line is that not all drug addicted parents are poor parents, and that you can live a normal life on methodise long term, and that many people on methadone hold down jobs etc etc.

In a previous job, I worked with pre school families, and I can say hand-on-heart that I never met a drug addicted parent who put their child before their need for drugs. What is true though is that children remaining with even the worst of the worst parents, still have a better long-term outcome than those brought up in care. And that's the real tragedy.

steppemum Fri 18-Jan-13 23:09:30

actually there are addicts who are able to be parents. There are people who have long term 'steady' drug addictions, who manage everyday life surprisingly well. There have been some interesting programs about it.

There is a parent at our school who is a drug addict, apparently her kids have been in and out of care over the years, but she has them with her now. Kids have issues, the boy is in ds's class and he is very, very out of control, but is basically a nice kid. I wish someone had put him in a good stable family about 6 years ago, but it is easy to be wise in retrospect.

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