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Are social services really stealing children?

(154 Posts)
user1491583343 Sun 09-Apr-17 09:53:14

Hi all,

I just seen a terrible documentary in Portugal where some parents living in the UK where asking the government to help them with their children, which were taken away by social services unfairly.

I know some of this documentaries can be only one sided but really made me wonder as they seem pretty terrified and genuine... I am also pregnant so this was really distressing to see. Some of the cases there in my opinion shouldn't lead to the kids been taken into fostering or adoption - they were too extreme and cruel.

To give one example a mum there, had her 2nd baby and noticed something wasn't okay as the new born baby seemed to shake every now and than... She took the baby to Hospital a few times (she showed all the letters and videos of the baby "shaking"). Apparently different doctors told her that was "hiccups" she was always sent home. 5 days latter her baby dies and social services take away her 3 year old as doctors believe she had "shaken the baby until he passed away" - even though the case was still under investigation the 3 year was given for adoption (not fostering), even though she had her grandparents living also in the UK with all the conditions to get custody of the child.

It's super scary but basically more medical exames have showed latter that the baby could have died due to epilepsy as their was no signs of agression, abuse etc... but as the child was placed into adoption this was already too late.

I am sure some details are missing but seemed so cruel that I decided to ask for opinions and see if anyone here has had any experiences.

The documentary also showed the pressure SS get to meet their targets and how it's not the first time that they are accused of lying etc...

Some parents in the documentary have showed concerns on seeking help from professionals due to this extreme procedures - for example another case their was a woman who got post-natal depression. She got her baby taken away after going to GP to discuss this matter, because the GP reported her to SS who have assumed she wouldn't have the ability to look after a child. We all know that woman can get depression but what is creating the problem is the fact that close family don't even get offered to foster. Children are given away and in most cases ends in adoption.

Would love to hear experiences and your thoughts on this.

Doyoumind Sun 09-Apr-17 09:56:11

Pretty sure this documentary has been discussed on threads before and there's something dodgy about it.

OhWhatFuckeryIsThisNow Sun 09-Apr-17 09:58:32

Briefly, no they aren't.(why would an overstretched, underfunded agency be making more work for themselves?
If it's the doc I think it is it's by a guy with a huge agenda against ss, I'm sure someone will be along etc. Nasty scaremonger.

TaliDiNozzo Sun 09-Apr-17 09:59:40

Haven't seen the documentary but I imagine SS are capable of making mistakes and have some bad eggs within their staff. This is much like any other profession it's just that the mistakes can be more devastating in this instance.

catscurledupbythefire Sun 09-Apr-17 10:00:39

They make mistakes and won't admit to it and present correct information disingenuously.

Gallavich Sun 09-Apr-17 10:02:49

No darling we are not
We do not have the legal mandate to take children without evidence. Judges decide whether to remove children not social workers, and they often turn down applications for care orders.
Secondly taking children into care is costly and uses a huge amount of Human Resources. There are not enough foster carers to care for the children in the care system already, nobody wants more in it unnecessarily.
Thirdly there are no financial incentives for adoptions. Neither local authorities nor individual social Workers get financial bonuses for adopting children. Just like having children in foster care, adoption is costly and time consuming. Nobody wants to do it without cause.
Also social workers are human beings, usually parents themselves, usually compassionate and ethically aware people who are acutely aware of the responsibility to balance protecting children against promoting family stability and of the impact of taking children away from their parents.

Nobody is stealing children.

Gallavich Sun 09-Apr-17 10:04:48

I imagine SS are capable of making mistakes and have some bad eggs within their staff

Certainly. But as no social worker has the power to remove children nor to initiate care proceedings alone then bad eggs have less power than people imagine.

A cursory read of community care magazine will show what happens to poor social workers who do sub standard work or lie about evidence.

AgentProvocateur Sun 09-Apr-17 10:08:16

Do people genuinely think social services have a "target" amour of children to remove? I read that over and over on Mumsnet, and it astonishes me that people believe this.

user1471558436 Sun 09-Apr-17 10:10:06

I always assumed that social work counties had targets. Had to remove x numbers of children per annum.

user1471558436 Sun 09-Apr-17 10:11:40

Thinking about it targets for rehoming rather then taking away. Babies and toddlers are easier to rehome I guess.

Gallavich Sun 09-Apr-17 10:13:52

Why though? Do you think our departments will get shut down if we don't remove enough kids? Do you think we don't have enough genuine neglect and abuse cases to deal with?
Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a case to court or to accommodate a child in foster care?
Bear in mind local authorities are public bodies and spending public funds - how do you think it could transpire that they have minimum targets of children removed? It's the absolute opposite. Our targets are to reduce numbers of children in care and care proceedings and we get constantly scrutinised as to why this isn't happening.
Honestly, what purpose do you think targets would serve?

Gallavich Sun 09-Apr-17 10:15:06

Children aren't dogs hmm
'Rehoming' babies and toddlers is still really expensive. What would be the purpose and value of removing babies and toddlers to 'rehome' with other families? Why would we be doing that?

GinAndTunic Sun 09-Apr-17 10:15:07

Are social services really stealing children?

Yes, so that they can sell them to the residents of planet Zorg.

Gallavich Sun 09-Apr-17 10:17:10

Of course there are targets to provide permanence for children already in the care system
That should be obvious though! Children in foster care need permanence. Either adopted families or special guardianship with relatives is preferred. Those children who are removed legally and unavoidably should be placed with permanent families as soon as possible.

catscurledupbythefire Sun 09-Apr-17 10:17:46

I think some of the piss taking replies are a bit hmm

The UK is one of the only countries with a forced adoption system.

It's fair enough to think about why that's the case.

treaclesoda Sun 09-Apr-17 10:18:04

I don't understand this suggestion of social services having targets to take children into care. It just doesn't make any sense in any way. Taking children into care is expensive and resources are stretched. Arranging adoption is expensive and resources are stretched. There are very few babies to adopt and very few parents who want to adopt older children. The conditions for being allowed to adopt are so extreme that most people can't bear the emotional strain of going through them. None of this adds up in any way to there being a conspiracy to steal children and give them to other families.

I'm not saying that SS are beyond criticism or never make mistakes, but that's a whole separate issue.

Welshmaenad Sun 09-Apr-17 10:18:16

What Gallavich said.

I have worked in an intervention setting where we work very hard with families on the cusp of care to try to address issues that are putting their children at risk of being accommodated. I poured everything I had into these families to try to keep them together. And when the evidence (because plenty is needed, believe it or not) was too overwhelming and the parents were not able to continue looking after their children, it was genuinely devastating. Even when I knew it was in the children's best interests.

Anyone who thinks social workers are heartless automatons or work to some kind of target to remove children or get bonuses for doing so, or actively enjoy separating children from their parents - well, I wish you could have shadowed me for a day. I actually find those kind of assumptions really offensive. I became a social worker because I am committed to people, and achieving justice and fairness for them, and helping to make their lives better. Because I care deeply.

Hoppinggreen Sun 09-Apr-17 10:18:19

I have a friend who is very senior in our local Children's services. She says she sometimes wishes she COULD steal children.
They have to make an application to court and it's not done lightly

motherinferior Sun 09-Apr-17 10:20:54

Do you mean 'place in the care system'? Or foster - it's not exactly secret that there is a huge problem with finding enough foster carers to look after the children already in the care system? Or offer for adoption - and again, it takes a lot of time and work to be approved as an adoptive parent (rightly so, given the things most kids have gone through before being put up for adoption)?

Why on earth would a social care system in extreme crisis have 'targets' for 'taking babies away' and rehoming them?

We rehomed cats.

EdenX Sun 09-Apr-17 10:21:30

Social services don't have the budget to steal children.

Social services of course make mistakes. What you have to remember though is that they won't comment publicly or appear in documentaries about cases, so you only ever hear the parent's side. Few people will admit they were inadequate or abusive parents.

limon Sun 09-Apr-17 10:21:57

No I don't believe they are. The only person I know who has had her children taken away was a serious drug addict and was convinced her kids were stolen to provide them to childless adopters. She couldn't see her own neglect through the haze of her drug and mental I'll health problems. Her sister also had a child taken away and insosts the doctor broke his bones at hospital in order to provide him to adopters.

onwardsupwardsbethbeth Sun 09-Apr-17 10:21:58

my experience of social services thanks to my prick of an ex is that actually they are really desperate to not get involved with families unless they have to.

user1491583343 Sun 09-Apr-17 10:23:49

I am sorry I really didn't meant to offend anyone. I genuinely just wanted to hear your experiences and have a better understanding how the system works in the UK. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain and share your experiences, it's appreciated.

We all make mistakes and SW are humans too so I can imagine how difficult it must be some of the cases they have to handle.

ReginaGeorgeinSheepsClothing Sun 09-Apr-17 10:26:07

User at 10:10 I'm hoping that's a piss take and you cannot actually believe that!?!

BastardBloodAndSand Sun 09-Apr-17 10:26:24

I don't think they do.

Then again I know a lady who only has her grandson because he's profoundly disabled.........She'd been told she could have him because she was 'too old ' (( 52 if I remember rightly))

Weeks later (( after a load of tests revealed all the problems he had )) that same sw leant over him in his incubator and asked her if she'd be taking him home.

Which I think is wrong. If he'd been peddled off as a 'healthy newborn' he'd never have had the love he's had being raised within his family. I think that's wrong.

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