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Child Protection / Mental Health(2 Posts)
A Child Protection Conference has been called next week to discuss risks Social Services believe are posed to my unborn baby by my mental health difficulties (Borderline Personality Disorder & pre-natal depression/anxiety) and difficulties in my marriage (instability of relationship & arguments).
This is causing me much anxiety and distress as, whilst I welcome all support being offered and have co-operated fully with all agencies, I feel a Child Protection Plan would place me under unfair and unnecessary pressure and only increase tensions in my relationship and my life in general. I am 8 months pregnant and stressed enough as it is!
I have an advocate from Rethink attending the Conference with me and am getting friends to write supporting statements about their faith in me and my husband to safeguard our child ourselves.
Anyone have any advice?
I am a retired social worker with 30 years experience all told. I'm so sorry you're going through this when you're pregnant. I don't think pre natal depression and anxiety would be a reason for concern, but Children's Services must have some concerns if they are holding a pre-birth case conference. I'm not sure how your BPD affects you, but again I wouldn't have thought that was a significant concern, though that depends on how you are affected.
I suspect the main problem is your marriage difficulties - is domestic violence involved because if so, that will ring alarm bells as this has a very adverse effect on children (even babies) and there is even evidence that a baby in the womb can be affected by tension in the mother caused by arguments. Even if DV isn't a part of your marriage (and I hope it isn't) there is still a problem, as you talk of instability. The thing is if you and your husband are arguing, shouting, etc then you won't be safeguarding your child, because even very young babies are adversely effected by this kind of behaviour. To be honest I don't think letters from friends are going to carry much weight.
Try to stay calm and rational at the meeting even though you're stressed and maybe you and your H could give some thought beforehand to how you might live more harmoniously together - have you thought of counselling although you'd probably have to pay for a private therapist, unless the LA offer this, which is unlikely. I think you need to be absolutely honest and not try to hide or minimise anything, because this is what a lot of parents do, and it just makes things worse, and the social workers start to mistrust the parents, and it becomes a viscous circle.
I assume you H is going with you and he too will need to stay calm and assure them that he will co-operate with any advice given. Sadly there isn't a great deal of support these days as social workers are all very overworked. The thing is before the LA can go to court to ask for an Order to remove your baby, they have to be able to provide evidence that he/she is suffering significant harm or is likely to suffer significant harm on the balance of probabilities.
It's difficult to advise really with so little information, so feel free to PM me if you like.
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