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To think not looking like you parents

(215 Posts)
DevonLodger Wed 23-Oct-13 20:59:48

Is not a good reason to take a child into care and carry out a DNA test.

I look nothing like my daughters. Should I be worried?

JackNoneReacher Sun 27-Oct-13 18:19:20

Friday thank you for the link even though it made my blood run cold.

So - even when SS and the police are aware of a girl who is at risk or has already had parts of her cut off they wont remove her from her family - if she's brown.

But so much as a groundless allegation about a white girl and she's in care.

JackNoneReacher Sun 27-Oct-13 18:09:51


The idea that the police would remove a child from a white family based on an allegation of abduction via the internet is ludicrous.

Can you imagine all the neighbour disputes, malicious/racist pranks, and family feuds that would conclude with someone phoning the police and alleging that a child has been abducted?

In the normal scheme of things the police take statements/gather evidence and in this case I can see why they may do a DNA test/check records but to remove a child for three day based on a nasty accusation...

This would not have happened to a white family.

JackNoneReacher Sun 27-Oct-13 17:58:54

Venushasrisen The police were very quick to remove the child in Ireland. If they had any evidence of abuse or risk of abuse, you can be sure they would not have returned her so quickly.

friday16 Sun 27-Oct-13 07:57:32

I'm sure you aren't saying that the blonde blue eyed child needed to be 'saved' from this but not the brown children?

Well, we should get down off our high moral horse. I suspect that if parents were to take a rusty razor blade to their blonde blue eyed daughter's genitals, even Birmingham social workers might be stirred into action. But mutilating brown children's genitals isn't even worth investigating, paragraph 5.3, or bothering to remove them, 5.6. So in Birmingham social services land, you don't remove children from the risk of genital mutilation, because the parents are "otherwise" loving and brown girls don't matter.

So the idea that blonde girls should be protected, but brown families can abuse their brown daughters with impunity, is the way social workers operate.

Kewcumber Sat 26-Oct-13 21:31:13

As for whether there was any evidence of abuse/paedophilia/neglect etc I'm sure you aren't saying that the blonde blue eyed child needed to be 'saved' from this but not the brown children? Because that's what happened.

The fact that the justice minister so quickly ordered an inquiry implies to me quite strongly that there are no mitigating factors and that the police, whilst they might have meant well were heavily influenced by local prejudice and media hysteria.

There should be a procedure which is followed regardless of race or colour and production of a birth certificate and passport in the absence of any credible evidence of a crime. Just how many low income families do you think have access to forged birth certificates and passports so convincing that could fool the police?

The sad reality is that trafficked children are almost darker skinned and from poor countries and they aren't discovered happy and healthy enrolled at school and a doctor in a decent house amongst a family.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sat 26-Oct-13 19:41:23

That's from here

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sat 26-Oct-13 19:40:38

The charity seems very dodgy all right.

Although they insist that they received her willingly from a Bulgarian Roma couple shortly after her birth, the couple Maria knew as her parents are now in custody accused of child abduction, while she has been placed in the care of one of Greece’s most prominent children’s charities.
Since receiving her, the charity’s director has painted an idyllic image of the life she now leads compared with what he says was the environment of neglect she experienced under her supposed Roma parents.
“She’s happy because probably for the first time she’s got the care and tenderness that a child needs in this age. She has toys to play with and people to take care for her,” says Costas Yannopoulos of Smile of the Child. But when pressed if evidence exists that she was mistreated by her purported parents, Yannopoulos avoids going into detail, saying that his charity has received reports of sightings and photographs, which he says he has passed on to the police, of Maria being “exposed to begging” in various parts of Greece.
After her Roma relatives released videos of the girl dancing at community festivals and ceremonies, in a way that children of her age in Greece and elsewhere are prone to do, Yannopoulos, in comments to the Daily Mail, interpreted the footage as showing “her dancing, going round and round like a little trained bear” for money.
“This argument is now coming up that they took care of her. But whatever they did, it was against the law, was against the child’s protection and the child’s dignity,” he says, adding he believes Maria’s case to be part of a much wider European problem.

“In Dublin, you have a similar situation with Romanian and Bulgarian women that expose children in the streets. It should be tackled like this because these children are exposed like Maria to a form of slavery. It’s a whole system, a business system, that is exploiting children,” he says, arguing that only some “gypsies”, as he refers to Roma, are engaged in this.
“We have gypsies who are working in the fields, who have families and love their children. But there some gypsies who are following another track. They see the camps as a closed circuit where they can deal drugs and other illegal activities.”
To underline that she’s happier now than before, Yannopoulos points out that, unlike other children taken into care, she has not asked for her “so-called parents”. But Maria only speaks the Roma language of her adoptive parents. When asked if an interpreter has been engaged to help her communicate, Yannopoulos says: “No, because we didn’t risk it. But she has managed to learn a lot of Greek in these days and to communicate through paintings and her dolls.”

friday16 Sat 26-Oct-13 18:53:06

how come nobody has suggested the first measure might be to pay for an interpreter?

Because none of them, including the "charity" involved, give a shit about the child. They're grandstanding, not protecting children.

cory Sat 26-Oct-13 13:04:27

How come the outrage doesn't focus on the way that poor girl in Greece is being treated now?

This is a child old enough to be at school, she has been taken from her family, nobody has explained to her why she has been taken because they can't be arsed to get an interpreter. So she is shoved into a hospital, surrounded by people who speak a language she doesn't understand, nobody has explained to her if she is mortally ill or is being punished for something she has done, she can only communicate in sign language.

How can you expect a child that age not to become traumatised under those circumstances?

Even if the parents were known murderers, paedohpiles, what have you- what excuse can there possibly be for treating a child like that?

The eyes of the world press are on that hospital and on that charity- how come nobody has suggested the first measure might be to pay for an interpreter? Can you imagine that wouldn't be done for a French or German child under those circumstances? And it's not as if a Roma interpreter would be hard to find: there are very substantial Roma communities in Greece and there are organisations who no doubt could provide.

I can only see two possible motivations on the part of the authorities, either:

all Roma lie so we couldn't possibly find a reliable interpreter


this poor blond child must be sheltered from further Roma contamination

cory Sat 26-Oct-13 12:52:34

What is worrying is that there was nothing that set this family or the Irish families apart from thousands of other families except that they were Roma.

Many, many of us have children who do not look in the least like their parents. Yet we never get challenged, even if people suspect there is no biological relationship their minds do not jump to the illegal solution.

I am blond and blue eyed, my dd is brown eyed, dark and olive skinned. Her brother is blond and blue eyed. Have the authorities ever worried that she might be stolen? Certainly not.

My dn is very clearly South American in looks: my brother and ex-SIL are blond and blue eyed. And while ex-SIL was occasionally stopped by passers-by and asked if dn was adopted the question was always a positive one, with the subtext "how lovely that you are giving this child a family" - never "you must have stolen this child from her much better family".

(and then ex-SIL had to explain that, well actually, she hadn't, she had just DTD with somebody from a different ethnicity...).

My own db is of a different ethnicity to his siblings: he is very obviously East Asian and we are Scandinavian. Nobody could believe for a moment that he was biologically related to our parents. That's because he isn't. He doesn't carry his adoption certificate stamped to his forehead, there would be nothing at all to show that his adoption was legal and above board. Yet somehow nobody ever challenged my parents, no neighbours reported them to the police, no policemen appeared to take him into care.

There are many, many adopted children in the West, Asian and African children adopted by white parents. How often do you think those parents are challenged?

At least one of the Irish families did show the passport and the police wouldn't accept it because the passport photo did not resemble the passport photo of the child. That strikes me as utterly bizarre!!!

Surely that happens to all children's passports: they all grow and change and if you travel with a baby you will end up with a passport photograph that does not resemble the 4yo. So how come we are not all challenged on this one?

I have travelled backwards and forwards across the continent for years with a child who a) does not resemble me in the slightest b) did not as a 3yo, 4yo, 5yo look at all like her passport picture of a 6mo baby.

Again, the fact that the hospital couldn't instantly locate a birth record that matched his birth certificate was seen as almost proof that the parents were lying. As if none of us had ever had a nurse bustle up to us, all flustered, and stammer "oh we are so sorry, mrs X, but we don't seem to be able to get hold of your medical records". Nobody tends to suggest that I must be lying about my identity because they can't find my records.

That is the definition of racial profiling: when people are suspected of crime when other people of a different ethnicity would not be suspected of crime under the same circumstances.

MrsDeVere Sat 26-Oct-13 11:10:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jossysgiants Sat 26-Oct-13 10:02:37

Because let us face it. These cases are racist but they are also fueled by the fire of that poor little girl going missing.

So many things worry me about this - the racism and the justification of it, the iconography of the blonde child, the 'on the safe side' way in which people are prepared to give away all of our freedoms. Unless as was pointed out up thread that we think this cannot happen to PLU?
On another note, but I think it is relevant - there was a horrible hoax poster going round FB a couple of nights ago. Again, playing off the imagery of a blonde child being taken by an ethnic group. It was frightening how willingly people would share this damaging stuff without any attempt to look into the veracity of it. Hysteria abounds.

Venushasrisen Sat 26-Oct-13 09:51:01

Then why would "they're blond and their parents aren't" be either new information, or sufficient to tip any balance

I am saying that we don't know that that is the actual facts of the matter or the issue that tipped the balance.
But as my reasonable suggestions deflate your opportunity to rant hysterically about racism and pour opprobrium on the police please just ignore them.

I am not influenced by rants on the DM nor am I influenced by hysteria on MN.

MrsDeVere Sat 26-Oct-13 09:42:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

friday16 Sat 26-Oct-13 09:38:41

If SS had had previous dealings with this family or the extended family because of suspected child abuse, or a member of the family or extended family is a known paedophile

Then why would "they're blond and their parents aren't" be either new information, or sufficient to tip any balance? If social workers were already involved, what, precisely, would a report that the parents look a bit foreign and the child doesn't add to the available information, such that previously the child did not need to be taken into care, but now they do? And if there were such concerns, why would a DNA test or other identifying checks be sufficient to return a child to such a potentially abusive situation?

Sorry, you're grasping at straws. Are you say that there could be a situation where social services had been engaged, up to but not at the point of removal, but an anonymous tip off that the child's hair was a different colour to the parents' would be sufficient to move that balance to the other side?

Venushasrisen Sat 26-Oct-13 09:13:54

The child was not in physical danger

How can we know this? If SS had had previous dealings with this family or the extended family because of suspected child abuse, or a member of the family or extended family is a known paedophile, or a dozen other reasons to behave cautiously, the police might err on the side of caution. SS info is surely not available to the general public or press. We just don't know.

DevonLodger Sat 26-Oct-13 08:45:39

I've asked mumsnet to withdraw my last post which I posted without reflecting on and I went too far. Actually, I don't think that about the police at all I think they were just trying to do their job in a frenzy of hysteria. Sorry. I do stand by what I said about needing corroboration to investigate though.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Sat 26-Oct-13 08:24:14

Great post Friday. This is institutional racism at its worst. waits for police to take DD because she is olive-skinned and black-haired and we are pale and pasty realises they won't as we are white British and middle-class

DevonLodger Sat 26-Oct-13 08:21:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

friday16 Sat 26-Oct-13 08:01:04

Took her ID and verified it was genuine with the issuing authority. Job done.

Indeed. Which is exactly what the Irish didn't do. They started a hare running of checking whether the ID was genuine but mis-issued, which is a whole other world of fraud.

It's trivially easy to check if a passport is genuine if you are the police of the issuing country: you quote the passport number, and you are shown the passport office's copy of the photograph. You might even be able to do this yourself for a passport with a chip in it with the right equipment: I don't know when Ireland started issuing them, but not all current UK passports have chips in.

But here the police went all Frederick Forsythe and, starting from the assumption that the passport was the result of a fraudulent issuing process, asked for evidence stronger than you need to produce to obtain a passport in the first place. And they did that without the slightest evidence, other than a racist tip-off on Facebook.

So here's what you think is "reasonable". A racist reports a family, anonymously, on Facebook, for having an abducted child. Not a particular abducted child, but just "oh, that doesn't look right". The police rock up and are shown a passport and some other ID (let's put aside that a lot of children in the UK don't have passports, or any other form of photo ID, particularly children in marginalised communities who don't have the twenty quid a year it costs to maintain a passport). The police immediately say that the passport is not sufficient, and start to perform a primary background check.

You still have answered why any of this requires removal of the child. The child was not in physical danger. There was no suggestion that the child was being abused, or, at least, abused to any extent which would of itself provide grounds for removal. We're always told that removal is incredibly hard, and children being beaten black and blue can't be removed because of that. But here, with no substantive abuse allegations, with valid ID documents, but merely on the say so of a racist rant and the police suddenly deciding that passports can't be trusted, a child was removed.

My neighbours have adopted a child from Vietnam. Suppose I phone the police up and report them (your Mrs Bloggs example). Hospital records? Good luck with that. DNA testing? Obviously not. What evidence could they produce to prevent their child being removed for as long as it took to re-check the entire adoption process? And then, for fun, what happens if I report them again the following month? And the month after that? After all, they might be killing Chinese children and getting a fresh one shipped in each month, and we can't be too careful, can we?

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sat 26-Oct-13 00:08:02

Did you read the FB screenshot, Sal?

Do you think that person looked credible enough to have a child removed from their parents on nothing but their say-so?

SeaSickSal Sat 26-Oct-13 00:04:47

So the child in Athlone, it might have been longer than a couple of hours but as soon as the places that could verify his ID were open he was returned to his parents.

I'm not arguing this anymore but I still think it's absolute nonsense that the police shouldn't make sure a child is safe and is who they're supposed to be when an allegation of abduction is made.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sat 26-Oct-13 00:04:40

They can check the child's ID without separating her from her family for three bloody days!!

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sat 26-Oct-13 00:03:22

The hospital did not fuck up! The guards fucked up by giving the wrong name (the mothers maiden name and the child's name in use, not her given name) and the wrong address.

The Irish Idependent sent a reporter straight to the hospital to check the records directly and immediately found the correct record. The fucking Indo!

It is totally reasonable to expect the gardai to be capable of conducting the same level of investigation as the bloody Indo. It is totally unacceptable to let bigotry and incompetence lead to removing children from their homes.

SeaSickSal Fri 25-Oct-13 23:58:42

But Kewcumber, the woman who reported it didn't say she was just reporting it because she didn't look like them, she said she had information that she was abducted as part of a child benefit scam.

Again, you are saying this with hindsight, because we now know that these children DID belong to the people they were with so we know that the caller can't have genuinely had this information and must have been ringing up purely because she looked different.

But the police didn't know this at the time. The claim could have been genuine. They may have suspected that it was only being reported because she looked different but they couldn't just assume that was the case.

I honestly cannot believe what I'm reading. On what planet is it not reasonable for the police to check the identity of a child who is reported abducted? It's not just Roma, there was a girl in New Zealand who was reported to be Madeleine McCann who had to be ID'd and DNA tested. It's highly likely that in that case they did exactly the same thing. Took her ID and verified it was genuine with the issuing authority. Job done.

Nobody has explained to me what exactly should be done as an alternative to checking the child's ID and verifying it when a child is alleged to be abducted. It's just common sense.

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